Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Cheer Up

I needed some cheering up today.  I've been so busy at work, at home, at my mum's.  STRESS...STRESS....STRESS!

So I decided to buy something bright, something colourful, something purple...Ta-Daaah...

A vibrant Celosia houseplant.  Price £2.99 from Asda.

I jazzed it up by buying a lovely yellow ceramic vase.  It transformed the plant and instantly made me smile.

If you've been feeling down in the dumps lately, how have you cheered yourself up?

Monday, 5 September 2011

Yahnilia Makarna

I was happily reading 'Bubblegarm's' blog, when I cam across her favourite turkish meal,  made of fresh tomatoes, chicken, lemon juice, halloumi cheese and served with a pasta of your choice.

She described the dish as tangy, spicy, enriched with the juices of the chicken and tomatoes.  Being a lemon lover I just had to give it a try.  I am a newbie when it comes to halloumi cheese, but that didn't put me off.  

I adapted the recipe according to my taste buds and whose saying you can't either.  So here goes...

Ingredients for halloumi

*  50-60 gms of grated halloumi cheese
*  2tsp dry mint
*  Black pepper (according to taste)

Mix all the ingredients together.  Set aside as this will be used when ready to serve.

Ingredients for Yahnili

*  2 chicken brests cubed
*  1 medium sized onion chopped
*  2tsp of tomato puree (I opted for one with added garlic)
*  2 tomatoes chopped
*   Half a tin of plum tomatoes
*  Juices of 2 lemons (or according to taste)
*  Pepper (according to taste)
*  2tsp of chilli powder(optional)
*  2 tbsp of olive oil

1)  Add oil to a deep pan with a lid.  Fry onions until golden
2)  Add chicken.  Cook until throughly cooked.
3)  Next add tomato puree.  Fry for a while.
4)  Add the fresh tomatoes and tinned tomatoes.  Cook until it all starts to come together.
5)  Add enough water to cover everything.
6)  Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and chilli powder.  Simmer.
7)  Check for seasoning after half hour.  Adjust now.
8)  Simmer for another half hour.

Ingredients for Makarna

* 250gms pasta boiled in salted water and drained.  (I used fusili).

Plate up

1)  Layer the halloumi mix in a deep plate.  Add some pasta, some of the sauce with the chicken pieces and top it off with another layer of halloumi.

*  Eat whilst hot, to enjoy the mouthwatering flavours.  BTW the halloumi cheese is so creamy and delicious.

Have you tried a new recipe?

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Eid Mubarak...

To all those who observed the month of Ramadan and are now enjoying the celebration of its end- Eid-Ul-Fitr.  

May we all be blessed with another year of Ramadan and let us remember the less fortunate and those who have lost loved ones, on this beautiful day.  

Pray for yourself, your family, for our prophets and those who have passed away.  Not only will your prayers be answered, but whatever you wish for someone else, the angels pray the same on your behalf.

Be patient and steadfast to what life throws at you.  Not only will you become optimistic, but Allah (SWT) will shower his mercy on you.

Recite the Qu'ran beautifully as much as possible, whenever you have a moment to spare, as it will be your intercessor on the day of judgement.

Read many Duroods for our Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).  70,000 angels deliver the details of those who have done so to the prophet himself.  On Fridays Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) listens personally to those reading durood for him.  Inshallah he shall intercess for us on the day of judgement.

Donate to charities. Not only will you helping those who are suffering, but you will be contributing significantly to your afterlife.  

Let us not burden ourselves with materialistic objectives and think about our everlasting world.  Where whatever we call for will be available at the blink of an eye.  Subhanallah.

Make sure you are ready for the aakhirah.  Make sure you have done enough to succeed in this life to benefit you in the hereafter.

May Allah (SWT) grant us peace and accept our prayers. 


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Vintage Hanging Letters

Like usual I was browsing during my lunch hour today.  I came across these cute 'Cath Kidston style' decorated letters in B & M.  They were on for a cool £3.99 each.  

 I immediately bought the 'LOVE' and 'HOME' letters, which came with a lovely heart and house piece at the end of each word. 

These would look great in a hallway or in the kitchen, as they have that Home Sweet Home feel to them.

Have you bought any vintage accessories, at low prices?

Lamb Chop Curry

Tender lamb, enveloped in a thick flavoursome sauce, accompanied with chunks of new baby potatoes, was one of many childhood favourites.

Walking back from school, getting nearer to home and the aroma of curry wafts through the quite street.  My mother didn't need to tell us what she had been cooking, as the bouquet of spices did all the talking.

Rushing inside, quickly removing my shoes and dropping my bag on the oak floor in the hallway, I would then settle in front of the television in our living room, with my younger sister.  My mother would fill a small round bowl with the hot lamb curry and of course make fresh chapatis to eat with.

Me and my sister were always arguing over the last piece of chapati, to scoop up the last lick of sauce, from the bottom of the bowl.


*  7 lamb chops
*  2 onions chopped
*  2 tomatoes chopped
*  2 cloves of garlic
*  Cube of ginger
*  1 tsp of ground garam masala
*  1 tsp of chilli powder (or according to taste)
*  Salt (according to taste)
*  6 new baby potatoes halved
*  3 tbsp of olive oil
*  Handful of chopped coriander to garnish

1)  Add oil in a deep pan.  Fry the onions until they are golden brown.  Add the ginger and garlic.  Fry for 2 mins.

2)  Add the tomatoes, along with the garam masala, chilli powder and salt.  Cook until some of the oil starts to appear on top.  Stirring frequently.

3)  Add the lamb and fill the pan with enough water just so it is all covered.  Simmer for 40/50 mins.

4)  The water will have reduced adjust the salt and chilli now.  Add another cup of water and  add the potatoes.  Cook until the sauce is thick and the potatoes are cooked.

5)  Garnish with the fresh coriander.

*  Serve with fresh chapatis, or  jasmine rice.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Balti Mini Lamb Kebabs

Highly spiced kebabs, baby new potatoes, sweet red onions and juicy cherry tomatoes make this a delectable meal.

Grabbing a handful of fresh coriander and green chillies, my grandma chopped them as finely as possible.  'To use for garnishing at the end' she would say in her own loving way, over and over.  

Stretching  naan bread with her soft hands into the famous teardrop shape, was a traditional method for my grandma.  I would watch her concentrating as she grilled the naan for a few minutes and when once done, brushed with lashings of ghee (clarified butter). 

Heaping spoonfuls of  the subtle sweet and spicy balti on the hot naan, we would then sit on her vintage cream garden furniture, detailed with intricate brocade designs and eat until there was room for no more.

Apologies, if the method seems so long, but I have wrote it in small bitesize instructions.  Easy and delicious.



*  600gms lean minced lamb
*  1 medium onion finely chopped
*  2 cloves of  garlic
*  2 tbsp of fresh coriander
*  1 green chilli
*  Salt (according to taste)
*  2tsp of chilli powder (or according to taste)
*  1 tbsp of gram flour
*  1 tbsp of olive oil


*  10 baby new potatoes (cut in halves and boiled in salted water until cooked)
*  8 cherry tomatoes cut in halves
*  1 baby aubergine thickly sliced
*  1 medium red onion finely sliced
*  1 green chilli finely cut to garnish
*  Coriander to garnish


*  2 ripe tomatoes chopped
*  2 tbsp of olive oil
*  1 clove of garlic crushed
*  Small cube of ginger crushed
*  1 tsp of garam masala (whole and crushed)
*  1 tsp of chilli powder (or according to taste)
*  Salt according to taste


1)  Apart from the minced lamb and gram flour, blitz the rest of the ingredients with a electric hand whisk, to form a green paste.

2)  Add to the minced lamb and gram flour.  

3)  Form the kebabs on metal skewers, making sure they are in bitesize chunks.  (If this proves difficult, mould into small sausage shapes and insert skewer through middle).  Remove from skewer and place in a plate.

4)  Add oil to a griddle pan and brown each kebab evenly, until thoroughly cooked.  Remove and place on a plate.


1)  Add oil to a wok, add the tomatoes, cook until they turn soft and start losing their shape.

2)  Add the garlic, ginger and garam masala, cook for a 1-2 mins.

3)  Now add the chilli powder and salt according to your taste.  Cook for 5-7 mins until the tomatoes have all softened and everything is combined.


1)  Add the potatoes to the sauce and cook for a further 3-4 mins

2)  Add the baby aubergine and onions and cook for a further 5-8 mins

3)  Put in the cherry tomatoes and stir until slightly soft, to release its sweetness

5)  Add the kebabs and stir for 2-4 mins

4)  Garnish with coriander, green chilli and a dash of lemon juice.  Stir carefully.

*  Buy ready made naan breads, heat and brush with butter.  Top off with the balti and serve with plain greek yogurt. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Rustic Tea Light Holders

I came across these wooden tea light holders a while back at Asda.  They were priced at £4.00 each.  So I decided to wait, hoping that they would be reduced in the summer sale.  

I nipped in today for some fresh flowers and guess what, they were reduced to £1.00 each.... now I'm a happy bunny.

The detail of the wood adds a rustic feel to each piece and would look elegant in any room,  whether your decor is crisp white or shabby to beachy chic.

Do you own any rustic accessories?