Category: AD

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
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
Thursday
November 1, 2012

Cooking for kids: simple and quick meals

Fast food outlets are everywhere these days and are a big temptation for hungry teens in need of a carbohydrate fix. To curb these unhealthy eating habits, teaching younger children about the importance of nutrition and how to prepare a healthy meal will get them off to a good start, so that by the time they hit their teenage years, they are confident in the kitchen and knowledgeable of the benefits of healthy eating.

Quick and easy recipes

There are lots of delicious meals that are quick to prepare and do not require much skill, so they are ideal for beginners. Staple foods such as potatoes, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice will provide nutritious carbohydrates for long-lasting energy. These foods are extremely versatile and can be teamed with lean meat and fish or a variety of vegetables and sauces to create meals that are easy to prepare and deliciously tasty.

Breakfast

Oatmeal provides plenty of nourishment at the start of the day, and kids love adding delicious ingredients to make it special, including yoghurt and berries – blueberries, raspberries or blackberries are ideal. Mixed together, oatmeal with fruit and yoghurt can make a scrumptious breakfast treat. Smoothies are also popular and, as long as they are supervised when using a blender, children can add healthy ingredients of their choice. Try one cup of frozen tropical fruit, one tablespoon of oat bran or oats, and 100 milliliters each of orange juice and milk – use soya for a dairy free version. Blend it all together until smooth and let the kids help themselves.

Lunch

It’s all too easy for everyday lunchbox food to become predictable and boring. Endless consumption of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is not exactly exciting and as parents cannot supervise their child at lunchtime, this can result in kids straying toward the nearest vending machine. Getting children involved in preparing their own lunchbox is a great way of encouraging them to choose healthy options and also have fun in the process.

For a different take on the sandwich, try getting kids to use whole wheat bread with a hummus spread (plain or roasted pepper). Teach them to carefully grate a carrot, not their fingers, and sprinkle the carrot shreds on top of the hummus. If there is mustard and cress available, they can snip some of these greens and scatter them on the bread. Simply cover the finished sandwich in plastic wrap and it is ready for a lunchbox or picnic basket.

Salads

Great for any meal, salads that use pasta, rice or couscous as a base are easy for kids to assemble and also give them the opportunity to try out different ingredients. Have fun by helping younger children cook their favorite pasta shapes. When cool, they can stir in a couple teaspoons of pesto, then add the contents of a small can of tuna or salmon, some cucumber chunks and halved cherry tomatoes, and mix together. After seasoning, a little French dressing finishes this dish nicely. The dish can be chilled in the refrigerator and will keep for up to two days.

There are many dinner recipes that are easy for kids to make, sometimes with a little help. Preparing nutritious meals can be a fun activity for young ones – they will be surprised and delighted as their culinary skills improve.

Categories: AD
Thursday
June 28, 2012

Espresso Madness

A perfect morning has to be a coffee morning! In fact, espressos are now taking over my life. It all started when I realized just how expensive my coffee addiction was getting. I would pay extraordinary amounts of money on coffee from generic coffee shops and cafes and I wouldn’t really like the coffee I bought. So I started looking into different options and I quickly realized that making my own espressos at home would be a great alternative to dripped sludge offered everywhere.

What surprised me the most was the relative ease that it took to learn how to make my own coffee to connoisseur standards. My espresso machine allowed me to experiment in the mornings before work waking me up just a little more while giving me that caffeinated bump to start the day. The machine itself is gorgeous and is a simple yet fantastic addition to my kitchen counter. In fact, it’s now one of my most used appliances. If it broke, I’d be devastated – but there’s a lot of websites, such as Partselect that provide replacement parts and help.

I love the feeling of grinding my own coffee. The smell it releases before setting it into the espresso machine is the first thing that gets me. After that it’s the lingering smell after having poured the brown gold into my cup. If only espresso cups could be bigger!

By Sophie

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