Tuesday, 30 October 2012


A Palestinian savoury upside-down rice cake ~ a whole meal in a single dish


2 medium aubergines, sliced and sprinkled with salt
1 cup basmathi rice
6 boneless chicken thighs
1 large onion, sliced lengthways
1 tsp black peppercorn
2 bay leaves
oil, for frying
1 medium cauliflower, divided into large florets
350g cherry tomatoes, halved
4 garlic cloves, halved
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp baharat spice mix

Wash rice and soak in water for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat up a large saucepan and sear the chicken pieces until golden brown.
Add the onion, peppercorns, bay leaves and 2 cups of water.
Bring to boil, then cover and cook on a low heat for 20 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the stock and set it aside.

Heat up a casserole dish over a medium-high heat.
Add oil.
Once it starts to bubble, fry the cauliflower florets until golden brown. Place them onto kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt.
Pat dry the aubergine slices with kitchen towel and fry them similarly.

Remove oil from the casserole dish and wipe it clean.
Start by arranging the slices of tomato in one layer, followed by the aubergine slices.
Next, arrange the cauliflower pieces and chicken thighs.
Drain the rice and spread it over the chicken pieces and scatter the garlic on top.
Mix all the spices and seasoning into the stock and pour over the rice, making sure all the rice is covered with stock.

Put the pan on medium heat and simmer before covering the pan with a lid.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 30 minutes.

Once ready, remove the lid and invert the pan onto a large serving plate.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Eid Dinner

A simple celebration with the Family

Since Eid is not a holiday here in Europe, any celebration (if any) would have to wait until Elsa is home from school and MrD's back from work.

I decided to make Maqluba, a Palestinian dish literally translated as upside-down in arabic.
The family just adore this dish.
What's great about Maqluba is its a one-pot meal of rice, vegetable and meat.
I'm all for an easy life!

For my version of Maqluba,
I made it with sweet cherry tomatoes, fried cauliflowers and aubergines
and boneless chicken thighs

But, first...
the all-important Family photograph
if you don't know me by now, I like to subject the Family through this arduous little task before they can enjoy the food prepared.
It's fun to see them squirm!!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Alton Revisited

It was great to be back!
The last time we were here was back in April 1994. Boy, how the time flies!
MrD and I were so looking forward to show Elsa around the park,
just so she knows we were young once...
'tho we like to think we're still young, our creaking joints tell us otherwise

The haunted house had a bit of makeover...

Thank goodness MrD finally came to his senses and got rid of his 80's tache.

Oh, yes the Nemesis
It was the most talked about white-knuckled ride when it was opened to the public in March 1994.
Eighteen years after its opening, Nemesis is still one of the most popular rides in the park.
Eighteen years ago, I did not ride it, and I am not about to change my mind... ever!

Notice the gorgeous house on the hill...
not a lot has change.
The garden is still as beautiful as I remembered it to be.

The yew arches still remain the same

Back then, the castle was just an empty shell of a ruin and was in a state of disrepair.
It has now been restored with the addition of a ride based on the true legend of the towers.

The big trees still remain the same after eighteen years