Thursday
September 12, 2013

Culinary Delights to Try in Turkey

Turkey has been forged from centuries of the clashing, merging and meshing of myriad cultures and civilisations, including Roman, Ottoman and Byzantium to name but a few. The result was that this huge land with its dusty, vibrant cities, glassy lakes, pine-covered mountains and fascinating geological formations became a melting pot in every sense – even geographically, bridging, as it does, the gap between the middle east and Europe. All this is equally reflected in the country’s much-loved cuisine, which comprises elements of: Ottoman, Balkan, Asian, Middle Eastern and, of course, Mediterranean. Taking holidays to Turkey means you’ll have a chance to sample the myriads of culinary delights that the place has to offer, and they vary from region to region. Read on to find out what you might be eating at different Turkish resorts to whet your appetite further.

Palmiye

Located in the Taurus Mountains with their rugged peaks, the Palmiye resort offers diners three restaurants and a weekly gourmet cooking demonstration. What’s more, the dining facilities here have all have the title of Table Coup de Coeur bestowed on them for top-quality food and service.

The Topkapi restaurant specialises in Turkish cuisine in the form of Fish Tagine, a beautifully fragrant and flavoursome dish cooked in a pot with garlic, paprika, tomatoes, lemon and olives. Mangal is also served here, which is essentially Turkish barbecue. Named for the outdoor stove used by Turkish peasants that was popular prior to the 20th century, mangal is as much about food as hospitality and sharing. While the mainstay of this concept is meat (mainly chicken and lamb), salads, shish, köfte and grilled vegetables are served alongside. It’s traditional to drink Saglam with mangal – which is salted, spiced turnip juice!

Belek Villas

Set on the glorious Turkish Riviera, here, you can enjoy your cuisine either in your own villa, which will be personally catered, or in one of the three restaurants.

Specialities at Belek Villas include meze, a smorgasbord that comprises of white cheeses, calamari, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, garlic, stuffed vine leaves, aubergine salad, melon, pork sausages cooked in orange peel, goat’s cheese and much, much more. Other meat and fresh fish dishes are on offer, such as lamb cooked on the bone and sea bass cooked in chard. Snacks include Gözleme, a pastry stuffed with spinach, cheese or potato and authentic kebabs. Everything is seasoned with fresh local ingredients.

Bodrum Palmiye

Set on a peaceful peninsula, jutting out into the warm Aegean Sea, the restaurants at Bodrum Palmiye also have Table Coup de Coeur honours. Gourmet cooking demonstrations are held three times a week and you can taste the creations in the form of and Cappdoce Lamb (which was traditionally cooked in a sealed clay pot which was then smashed open to be consumed).

Uniquely, there are also weekly excursions available to the local food markets, where you can taste a variety of local delicacies and products like simit (Turkish seeded pretzel) and lamb sweetbreads.

So when you’re in Turkey, the trick is to eat like the locals. Follow that advice and you’ll be dining like kings and queens every night.

Categories: AD
Tuesday
September 10, 2013

Creating the Illusion of Space in a Smaller Flat

You shouldn’t feel miffed about having to move into a flat that’s smaller than your last residence. Arranging and furnishing a smaller living space should be viewed as a challenge to be met, not as a sentence to serve.

A quick flip through home design magazines or blogs will leave you pleasantly surprised at the amount of things you can do to create the illusion of space in a smaller flat. A quick look at bettaliving.co.uk for instance, will show you some examples of what you can accomplish.

There are so many things you could do to enhance the space in your flat, but here are some of the basics:

Interior colours

It’s advisable to use light and neutral colours to give your flat a sense of space. Go for white, beige, grey and other similarly neutral colours. This gives the impression that your walls further back, as opposed to bringing them in.

You can enhance the effects you’ve achieved with the colours by using mirrors tactically; place them opposite windows so you can bounce natural light around the room to add an extra dimension.

Furniture

Multi-functional furniture is the way forward in smaller spaces. You want pieces of furniture that provide storage, function and if you’re lucky, aesthetic pleasure. You can have a dining table with plenty of storage space beneath it, for instance, which can double as an office desk during the daytime if you work from home.

You should also be keeping an eye out for futons and fold out couches. They’re perfect if you don’t have a guest room, but love having people over to stay.

The same goes for your wardrobes too. Replace the ones you have with ones that have sliding doors, so they don’t use too much space. Try and get wardrobes that are as tall as possible, allowing you to store things in boxes at the bottom.

Utilising the hallway

It may initially seem like a bad idea to use the hallway to store things. If you do it in the right way however, it can really help de-clutter the rest of your flat. Cleverly located shelving is the perfect place to keep gloves, car keys and other bits and bobs.

If you don’t have any more room in the rest of the house to hang up your family photographs, perhaps dedicating a small section of the wall in the hallway will add a nice touch.

Categories: AD
Tuesday
July 23, 2013

Chocolate Chip Avocado Muffins (gluten-free)

avocado

My sis gave me this recipe last month (visit her at yogapeach.com)! They turned out pretty delicious, my toddlers LOVED them! The recipe is adapted from kitchen-apparel.com, but I substituted chocolate chips for the walnuts. I am not crazy about nuts in my desserts, & the chocolate chips add a lot of flavor!

Wet Ingredients
6 tablespoons avocado oil (or your choice of oil)
1 cups milk (almond milk or goats milk to keep it vegan)
1/2 cup natural cane sugar (unrefined)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 avocado peeled and mashed up (about 1/2 cup)

Dry Ingredients
2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour mix
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
vegan choco chips

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer on a low setting, mix all the wet ingredients together until smooth. In another bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredient mix to the wet mix and using your mixer on low speed blend everything together (be careful not to over-mix, stop mixing once it is combined). Divide the batter into a lined muffin pan or a greased muffin pan with 12 spaces (I like to use a ice cream scooper to help with this part). Sprinkle on your topping of choice or leave them plain. (I topped mine with finely chopped almonds) Bake 20-25 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test. Set them to cool on the counter or cooling rack.

Tuesday
July 23, 2013

Five Unusual Pancake Recipes

Pancakes can be so much more than the annual lemon-and-sugar Shrove Tuesday. Below are 5 unusual recipes that breathe life into the floppy old pancake. Click here for your basic batter ingredients, or for more pancake ideas, here’s how to make pancakes Schwartz style.

1. Cinnamon swirl pancakes

This filling works equally well with classic pancakes as it does American-style pancakes.

Mix raisins, brown sugar and a pinch of ground cinnamon in a bowl before heating in a pan on medium-low. Slowly add small amounts of water to create a sticky paste. In another bowl, combine natural yoghurt and honey to taste.

Arrange the raisin mixture on the pancakes in a nice swirl, drizzle with the yoghurt and top with crushed walnuts and extra honey.

2. Baked cheese and mushroom pancakes

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Fry the mushrooms with garlic and thyme, adding a little seasoning and some crème fraiche when they’re done. Spoon this mixture onto your pancakes (at this point you can also add spinach or bacon if you like) and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Roll the pancakes up, place side to side in a baking dish and cover with more grated cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

3. Pancetta and ricotta maple pancake stack

This reinvention of a classic recipe requires American-style pancakes. For a twist, add ground cinnamon, ginger and lemon zest to the batter before frying.

Fry pancetta until crispy. When the pancakes are done, it’s time to build your stack. Work in layers, adding the pancetta, crumbling ricotta cheese and dribbling maple syrup as you go. Goes fantastically well with banana milkshake.

4. Spicy lamb pancakes

The secret to these delicious pancakes is the crispy polenta crust. Add salt and lime zest to your normal batter mixture to really bring out the flavour of the lamb.

Brown lamb mince in a pan on a medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the pan and add onion, garlic and red chilli. Once softened, add the lamb along with some paprika and tomato puree and cook on a low heat for twenty minutes.

Spoon the mixture onto the pancakes and roll them up, tucking in the ends to form a parcel. Beat an egg or two and spread polenta on a plate. Brush each pancake with the egg wash, roll in the polenta and fry in a little butter until crispy and golden.

5. Coconut pancakes

Sift 100g plain flour, 1 tablespoon caster sugar and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add an egg and 150ml coconut milk. Whisk into a thin batter and add a few drops of vanilla extract and some lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, combine grated coconut, raisins, molasses, ground cardamom and nutmeg. When the pancakes are done, stuff them with this mixture and serve with vanilla ice cream.

The simplicity of pancakes makes them the perfect blank canvas for your culinary creativity. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination and seek out those original flavour combinations.

Categories: breakfast
Wednesday
May 29, 2013

Top Gadgets for Your Kitchen This Year

It’s never a good sign if you feel fed up walking into your own kitchen. It doesn’t help that you feel demotivated because of the lack of appliances to help you make things interesting at mealtimes for your family.

However, if you have a bit of cash to splash, you can turn things around in your kitchen by investing in one of these new kitchen gadgets. You might be able to finally get off the instant coffee and treat yourself to a machine that uses coffee pods instead. Browse through this list to see what other kinds of gadgets you can spruce up your kitchen with.

Philips Avance Taste Infusion

For just under £100, you can buy a mini-barbecue which lets you infuse the meat you’re cooking with smoke, wine and herbs from the reservoirs built in at the back of the grill.

Put woodchips into the smoke reservoir to give the meat a smoky flavour. Then the liquid reservoir takes in wine, vegetable stock or other liquids. The centre of the grill is where you can really char your meat.

OrangeX Jupiter Juicer

This handy juicer will pulverise any fruit that you feed into it. After you’ve halved the fruit and placed it on the platform, you pound it with a pump-action lever that juices it almost instantly.

It’s great for making juice on the go as well as giving your arm an early morning workout!

Magimix Gelato Satin Steel

This ice cream maker is essential for the hot summer ahead. Best for sating spur-of-the-moment decisions to gorge on ice cream or sorbet, it whips up the dessert in a matter of 20 minutes with its own built-in freezer.

If you run out of ideas for making your own crazy flavours, you can always find a plethora of recipes online, or ice cream recipe books to go with your machine!

Onion Goggles

Say goodbye to your (onion chopping-induced) tears with these innovative pair of onion goggles which use a foam seal to prevent the onion vapours from getting in your eyes. Crying while chopping onions is a massive hassle and can really slow things down in the kitchen. However, with this pair of onion goggles, you won’t have to worry about watery, stinging eyes any more.

Kenwood ‘Fire Cracker’ kMix KMX84 Food Mixer

Apart from adding a sense of style to your kitchen, this food mixer really packs some punch – it isn’t just a pretty piece of design. It also comes armed with a full pastry kit as well as countless attachments so you can go to town with experimenting.

Categories: AD
Tuesday
April 30, 2013

5 Bedroom Ideas for Newlyweds

If you’ve recently married and moved into your new home, you may be looking for some decorating ideas. When it comes to the bedroom, you might want to consider a luxurious, sensuous theme.

As a newlywed couple, you can make your bedroom your own little haven with a bit of thought and creativity. This is the perfect time to enjoy relaxing and spending time together in your bedroom before the stresses of everyday life and finances take over or you start a family. So grab the chance to enjoy quality time together as newlyweds and create the perfect bedroom space in your home.

Tips to make your bedroom into a more romantic space

 A romantic theme is perfect for a newly married couple. Here are a number of steps to take in order to transform your bedroom into the perfect romantic space.

Get rid of clutter: there is nothing romantic or sensuous about clutter, so if your bedroom has stuff all over the place that is not really needed, find a new home for it. Whether you sell or give your clutter away, find suitable storage space in the home for it, or simply get rid of it is up to you. The more space you have in your bedroom the more scope you have to turn it into a luxury space for you and your partner.

Think romantic colours: think of certain colours and combine them in your decor in order to create a wonderful romantic look. White can be a romantic colour, but only when used selectively – you don’t want to feel like you’re in a laboratory. This is why you should mix and match sensuous colours, such as white, gold and red, to create a room with depth and romance. These colours can be used for everything from the walls and curtains to lightshades and bedding.

Choose the right materials: the look, feel, and texture of certain materials can be very sensual, so put some thought into the materials that you use for your bedding and curtains. Lace, satin, silk, and velvet are among some of the more sensual and romantic fabric options, and you can mix and match these to create the perfect look and feel for your romantic haven.

Pick the perfect furniture: a few choice pieces of furniture can make or break a romantic bedroom. A huge, comfortable king size bed is a must for any newlywed’s bedroom. You might want to invest in a chaise lounge or love seat for the bedroom, which can look very effective. Also, make sure you have plenty of pillows and cushions to place around, as these help to add a feel of luxury and decadence.

Choose the right lighting: the lighting is an essential part of creating a romantic room. Of course, you need to have access to your main lighting, as there is nothing romantic about breaking things because you cannot find your way around. However, it’s still worth adding some special touches with beautiful lamps to fit in with your colour scheme, and maybe attractive main light shade or chandelier – even scented candles dotted around to add colour and fragrance.

Once you’ve created an ideal romantic den in your bedroom, you can start looking forward to spending some quality time in this luxurious and sensuous space.

Categories: AD
Tuesday
April 23, 2013

How to Get Your Kids to Help with the Cleaning

It’s a topic many parents often debate, worry and complain about, but getting your children to help with daily chores around the house can become a nightmare if you’re not careful. If children have not been raised in an environment where they are expected to help, then they will become very reluctant to do so if this new responsibility is thrust upon them.

It can also be tempting to do the work yourself, as you may worry that your children will break something, hurt themselves or simply not do the job well. However, it is important to not let this become an excuse for you to be lumbered with all the housework or your children will not learn responsibility for their actions. I remember my mother entrusting me with household chores as my brother sat back and watched TV – the excuse being that he was too clumsy and would break something. As clumsy as some children may be, you will find them eager and careful participants if the following rewards are to be gained.

Pocket money

The old favourite of giving pocket money in exchange for household chores has prevailed for good reason: the majority of parents believe that children learn independence and financial responsibility through handling their own small finances. However, giving your children money in exchange for chores also teaches them about the value of doing a job well. You can set the price differently depending on the length of time you expect the job to take, and you can always raise the price for an exceedingly good job.

If your aim is to have your child clean out their room, Music Magpie is a brilliant way for your children to earn their pocket money by getting rid of old CDs, DVDs and games. They will soon learn the value of what they buy this way as well.

Special treats

If you don’t like the idea of pocket money, or if you want an extra option, rewards are always a good one. If Timmy cleans his room very well on Wednesday, then we will have a trip to the zoo on Saturday. This use of incentives teaches children how good actions can have good consequences, as well as teaching the value of a job well done.

The treat itself can be as big or small as you want it to be, so long as it is attractive to the child. Don’t make things difficult for yourself by setting an unwanted precedent; a simple reward for your child could be having a friend stay over if they help to clean their room in preparation.

Competition time

This is a great way of making sibling rivalry work in your favour. Stick a chart with your children’s names somewhere prominent (e.g. on the fridge) and give them a sticker or a star when they have completed a job well. The child with the most stars at the end of the week can choose a prize – it can be something as simple as picking their favourite dessert for Friday night or what the family movie should be. Kids love a competition, and they’ll be sure to want to impress you as well as win!

To ensure this works for as long as you want it to, gradually make it possible for everyone to win. Hand out jobs and judge how well they’ve been done in accordance with your child’s age and maturity.

If your children don’t have siblings, then a collaborative cleaning approach between parent and child often works best, with you leading the way.

Categories: AD
Wednesday
February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day Heart Cutout Cupcakes

valencupcake1

This is one of my absolute FAVORITE Valentine’s Day recipe ideas! It looks super easy and you could tint the frosting red or pink for Valentine’s day. You could also do the same cupcakes for other seasons…a shamrock cookie cutter & GREEN frosting for St Patricks Day, or a Christmas Tree cookie cutter for Christmas.

valencupcake2
valencupcake3

For the detailed recipe visit the oh so brilliant Glory of glorioustreats.com.

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