EBBP#5 A Taste of Summer

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My EBBP Parcel

EBBP is short for Euro Blogging by Post. This time it was Jeanne from Cook Sister organizing it! I first came across this event on Andrew's blog and found it exciting. What it simply is, is a few bloggers living in Europe getting together and sending a parcel filled with something according to the theme. This time it was appropriately A taste of summer.
As you can see what I interpreted under this. My homemade pineapple and yellow plum preserve (recipe will follow shortly), a wonderful Honey cake to spread the preserve on and my fave chocolate - Chili and Almond! Oh and my parcel is not complete without a wonderful photo of some summery blueberries from yours truely!
These are just a few of the things that keep me in the summer mood this season. The spread is so fruity and tasty and with the honey cake it bursts with lovely flavour. In the evenings I love to sit outside and nibble on this lovely chocolate with a slightly spicey taste.

My parcel is off .... I think I won't reveal just yet where. Thought I'll make a little game out of this. Can you guess where? A little hint ... further up north to where I live!



Update August 8, 2006
My parcel arrived! It was Anne of Anne's food all the way up in Sweden. Anne I am glad you liked my offerings to you. See you around!



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Who's your postcard buddy?

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Sssshhhhh! Don't reveal it!

A quick update for you all. I have now sent out all the addresses of the blogger postcard buddy to everyone taking part. The list has also been updated.

One has already blogged and mailed hers. Sam is on the last hours of her Blogathon and wanted to get the postcard event coordinated with her 24 hour day!

For the rest of us (with a few exceptions) on August 1, everyone please blog about the postcard .... DO NOT REVEAL the name of the person you are sending the card to. Then send it off!

Have a great Sunday!
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Let Me Entertain You

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20:30 CET - Berlin, Olympia Stadium.


"Ladies
Gentlemen, this is not a drill!"

The lights go on, fireworks and in the middle of the stage I see a 2 cm tall Robbie Williams! The Olympia Stadium is big and the place is packed. He kicks off the evening with "Radio" and everyone starts jumping and cheering. It is at this point that I too am overwhelmed by the entire scene. I am not a 14 year old teenie, but I do feel a little elated at the sight and join the crowd chanting "Robbie!". If the crowd was not moved by his first act, at the very latest the second got them moving. On the first few beats of "Rock DJ" everyone goes wild!

Robbie Williams IS an entertainer. There is no doubt about that. The bad critique I had read about his European tour in the German press prior to the concert had made me skeptical. "He's put on weight and can't move!" was to be read. "He seems to be bored on stage!" and one article also compared him to Justin Timberlake, who was also in Germany giving a few concerts.

It is true Robbie does not look too good. The large video screens on either side of the huge stage and a look through the binoculars, reveal dark circles and bags under Mr. Williams eyes and a little more. He looks very pale and he seems like he's a little irritated and in a bad mood. But this does not last very long. One look at the Berliner crowd and getting involved in the atmosphere loaded with so much energy, even a Mr. Williams' moods turns for the better.

A Timberlake might really be good and maybe even fitter with a six pack tummy, but there is something so charming about Robbie's British accent and that cheeky grin on his face, that a little belly, that he constantly showed, bothered none of the thousands there in Berlin last night. Robbie simply ROCKS. He knows what it takes to get the crowd excited, to get them involved and to make them scream. It is not easy to de-throne the "King of Pop" that easily.

He jokes about soccer. For those who know Robbie, will know that he is a huge soccer fan. He makes fun about Zidane and gets booed by the crowd when he says "I was in Italy last night! They really are champions" But makes it all up again by saying how much he loves Germany and feels great in Berlin.

He brings the fantastic Jonny Wilkes on Stage. Jonny, who accompanied him on his show at the Royal Albert Hall, and Robbie sang a couple of songs together and played a little soccer on stage. A competition between both entertainers. Who can kick a ball furthest. But a warning from Robbie "These balls are signed by me ... so don't sue me if they hit you!" Jonny wins this competition and Robbie headbutts Jonny in the best of Zidane manner!

We even got a taste of his next album. With the single "Rudebox" Robbie's new album covers a completely new sound. Something I really liked but my girlfriend was not too sure if it was Robbie like. Yes, it was! Because Robbie is full of surprises. Just like his legendary swing album "Swing when you're winning". If the whole new album is similar to the sounds of "Rudebox" I think it will not only surprise a few bad mouths but the fans will love every bit of it. I am not going to reveal much about the sound as I think I will leave it as a surprise for you all to discover on your own. For those who have already heard it on UK stations like CapitalFm (where I first heard it too) you know what I am talking about, right?

He even made fun of his old Take That times. I admit I was never a big Take That fan and to be more honest my least favorite member of the band was Robbie, but I could not help but smirk when he did that typical "boy band" .... I don't know what you call it ... but let's just say jog! You know the one I mean the one that all of the boy bands probably learn as their first step into the big music world. Robbie's humor about those times is unbeatable, however when he sang the old Take That song "Back for Good" I think even he was moved.

Would I go see Robbie again? The answer is ... No!
Not in a stadium! Of course I would go see him play anywhere else. I was very disappointed at the fact that the sound was so rotten. What we got to hear was soup!! For those of us who know his songs inside out were lucky to be able to make out what was being sung. But if you were not familiar with the music ... well all you got on most occasions was loud bass and unclear jumbled words. Not too hot, taking into considerations our seats costed EUR 140!!! I expected for that price a kiss from Robbie personally at the very least ;-))

I think when he sang "Feel", Berlin was in a Robbie trance and I had goose-bumps. It is my all time fave Robbie song and the feeling could not have been more intense.

If there are any of you who have tickets and are looking forward to see Robbie in action well you will be surprised. Yes, it is true he is not in top form nor in best shape, but he can entertain. And when he came down from the very top of the stage in a metal cage singing "Let me entertain you", there was no doubt .... Robbie is the King of Pop!

For my readers from the USA. I know the big time fame eludes Robbie across the huge pond. It seems that America is just not as Robbie crazy as we are here on this side of the World. But people do me a favor, sign into iTunes and buy one of his albums. I recommend either "Sing when you're winning" or "Intensive Care". You won't regret the little investment made, because you just can't help but be dazzled by Robbie's magic. Once you've joined us in the mania, I then recommend to get "Swing when you're winning". By this time you will have to agree ... Robbie has that charm that no one can beat.

Now, I am off to download "Rudebox" from iTunes on my iPod and reminisce with a few hours of Robbie music!

Robbie Williams official website.


IMPORTANT: The Blogger Postcard deadline has now officially been stopped.



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STOP!

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Hi Folks!

Just a quick note for the BPW event: STOP! The deadline is up! It is 18:00 CET and I am not accepting anymore registrations. For those who missed it this time I will be having one in September again so don't be too disappointed. In the meantime I hope you enjoy my photos and recipes on my Blog!

For those playing here is the end number!
Updated on July 29th: I took two last minute registrations ... coz I'm just so nice ;-))
Blogger Count: 64

I'll be sending the addresses out tomorrow, maybe later this evening if I get a chance!

Ciao!
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The Water Lilly

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I leave you today with a beautiful picture I took last weekend at my in-laws. I am off to Berlin to see ROBBIE WILLIAMS in concert. I've been waiting 6 months for this and finally the day is here!

I'll be back tomorrow evening and will start sending out the first addresses to you all taking part in the BPW event.




BPW update:

Deadline for the registration: July 28, 2006.
Deadline to send postcards: August 1, 2006

Blogger Count: 56



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2006 Blogathon

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*Photo courtesy of Sam Breach

This weekend is going to be exciting! On July 29th it is the 6th annual Blogathon, an event where bloggers blog for 24 hours, posting and reporting back to us readers every half an hour, all to help raise money for a local charity.

An amazing event and my hat of to all those registered bloggers doing the 24 hour spint. I am doing this post to help raise awareness for this event. I would like to call upon my fellow bloggers to support this event by donating pledges and supporting those bloggers actually going for the 24 hours.

One of them is Sam Breach of Becks & Posh who is raising money for Food Runners in San Francisco and is looking to collect a lot more than the $665 she already has. Sam's got an interesting program lined up for us and I for one will log onto her blog to cheer and root for her in her 24 hour Blogathon. She might just also be blogging about her postcard she is sending for the BPW event. You see Sam, will be sending the postcard a little earlier than the rest of us ;-)

Hope to see you all there too!


BPW update:

Deadline for the registration: July 28, 2006.
Deadline to send postcards: August 1, 2006

Blogger Count: 52



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Mine on Explore!

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Explore is a place on Flickr where interesting photos from Flickr members are displayed. Rated by interestingness it is an honor for any member to have theirs displayed in this sort of hall of fame.

I have had a few of my photos displayed in the Explore section and was extremely proud and happy. These are currently the most recent ones that are revolving around in the Explore area:

1. Sugar Currents Red, 2. Summer Berries Blueberries, 3. Sugar Beet Molasses, 4. A trio of sauces, 5. Strawberry Kisses, 6. Spaghetti with jumbo prawns and rucola, 7. Raspberries 2, 8. Power Potato Cakes

The others can be viewed here.

Hope you like them too!



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Blogger Postcards from the World - The List

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Updated on September 5, 2006!

Deadline for the registration is up!

It's September and we are still getting postcards from around the world. I thank those still sending in their links. I am beginning to wonder if we all will get the postcards before I announce the next BPW!


Blogger Count: 64




Wow! I did not expect this huge rave about the BPW. Ok, you convinced me!

Here is the deal let's see if we can flood the mail offices around the world with our postcards on August 1, 2006. That is the date we all have to send the postcard off to their specially chosen recipient. So, I need all your addresses by July 28, 2006. This will give me the weekend + 1 day to send you all your recipient's name.

This is how it will work. On August 1, 2006 I want everyone to put up a post on their blogs about the card that they are sending off. Please send me the permalink of your post so I can update the list. Make sure you link to either this post or the BPW post. Then off you all go, to the mail office and mail that postcard to your special recipient.

Then we will all have to wait and see as the postcards arrive on the several different doorsteps of the recipients. Once they arrive, recipients please blog about it and link back to the sender and this page. Send me the permalink to update the list.

This page will serve as the list to check back to at every stage of the game. You'll find the link to it easily on the sidebar just below the event announcements.

If you would like to announce this event on your own blogs so that more people can take part, please go ahead and do so.

I've already received 2 addresses and they are the fist ones to make the list.

OK folks, I have just given the start shot for the Blogger Postcards around the World. Start sending me your addresses to blogmeeta@hotmail.com (blogmeetaAThotmailDOTcom).




The List


  1. Ivonne
  2. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  3. Petra
  4. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  5. Sumi
  6. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  7. Pam
  8. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  9. Suelily
  10. Postcard blogged and sent
  11. Isis
  12. Postcard blogged and sent
    Received my postcard
    Postcard received
  13. Ulrike
  14. Postcard sent and blogged
    Postcard received
  15. Pushpa
  16. Postcard blogged and sent
  17. Natalia
  18. Postcard Blogged and sent
  19. Anni
  20. Postcard blogged and sent
  21. Vaishali
  22. Postcard Blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  23. Ed Charles
  24. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  25. Jenny
  26. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  27. Johanna
  28. After a few mishaps ... postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  29. Lisa
  30. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  31. Kat
  32. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  33. Ellie
  34. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
    and yet another one received!
  35. Francy
  36. Postcard blogged and sent
  37. Tanna
  38. Postcard blogged and sent!
    Postcard received
  39. Alison
  40. Postcard bogged and sent
    Postcard received
  41. Fran
  42. Postcard bogged and sent
  43. Paz
  44. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  45. Pratibha
  46. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  47. Vicki
  48. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  49. Andrew
  50. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  51. Ashwini
  52. Postcard blogged and sent
  53. Petra Holzapfel
  54. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  55. Shammi
  56. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  57. Sally
  58. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard recieved
  59. Ximena
  60. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  61. Calista
  62. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  63. Polly
  64. Postcard blogged and sent
  65. Macky
  66. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard recived
  67. Lizzle
  68. Postcard blogged and sent
  69. Barbara
  70. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  71. Linda
  72. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  73. Molly
  74. Postcard blogged and sent
  75. Rachael
  76. Address sent
  77. Barbie
  78. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  79. Neelu
  80. Postcard blogged and sent
  81. Gillian
  82. Postcard blogged and sent
  83. Plume
  84. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  85. Stella
  86. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  87. Julia
  88. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  89. Sam
  90. Postcard Blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  91. Janice
  92. Postcard blogged and sent
  93. Nandita
  94. After a long search for a postcard in Bombay - she finally found one, blogged about it and sent it
  95. Payal
  96. Postcard blogged and sent
  97. Randi
  98. Postcard sent
  99. Joey
  100. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  101. Kim
  102. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  103. Suzanne
  104. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  105. Priya
  106. Postcard blogged and sent
  107. Cindy
  108. Postcard blogged and sent
  109. Jenni Oh
  110. Postcard blogged and sent
  111. Paige
  112. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  113. Susanne Fritzsche
  114. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  115. Lea Sheler
  116. Postcard blogged and sent
  117. Rebecca Kurek
  118. Postcard blogged and sent
    Postcard received
  119. Bron Marshall
  120. Postcard blogged and sent
  121. Anupama
  122. Postcard Blogged and sent
  123. Susan Brady
  124. Postcard blogged and sent
  125. Ricky Singh
  126. Postcard blogged and sent
  127. Jillian Johnson
  128. Postcard sent and blogged




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Blogger Postcard Event: Update

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Have you seen how many of us are taking part in this event? People, the number since the weekend has risen to a great 28 happy bloggers!! If you do not believe me scroll down and check it out for yourself!!

I really am getting too excited about this event and I would also like to say thanks to everyone who is joining in! Just a few things I'd like to clear up though.

If you all want to register I really, really need your postal address. I have had a few people wanting to join but have forgotten to send in their address. So, no postal address, no where to send postcard, folks!
I also need a link to your blog in the mail you send. As you all will require to post this twice (once on August 1 - when you send the postcard off and once when you receive your postcard) it is vital that you do have a blog. Furthermore, I would like to update the list with a your name and link to your blogs!

I would also like to thank the gorgeous Ivonne for this post and for raising the awareness for the event.

One last thing: This post serves only as a little update to the event. The official post for you to check the status of the postcard event is still the list, which can be easily found on my sidebar. Here I will be posting the status throughout the event. Just in case you are not sure how it works you should read the guidelines in the Details.

If you still unsure of anything just drop me an email!

Deadline for the registration: July 28, 2006.
Deadline to send postcards: August 1, 2006





  1. Ivonne
  2. Petra
  3. Sumi
  4. Pam
  5. Suelily
  6. Isis
  7. Ulrike
  8. Pushpa
  9. Natalia
  10. Anni
  11. Vaishali
  12. Ed Charles
  13. Jenny
  14. Johanna
  15. Lisa
  16. Kat
  17. Ellie
  18. Francy
  19. Tanna
  20. Alison
  21. Fran
  22. Paz
  23. Pratibha
  24. Vicki
  25. Andrew
  26. Ashwini
  27. Petra Holzapfel
  28. Shammi




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A Very Berry Dessert

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It just had to happen. Another blog swap with Pam! It was so much fun the last time that we had to do it again.

Pam was over here and served this up, something refreshing for this blog swap. We decided to keep the theme similar to my Monthly Mingle. The summer's been a great one. We've had great warm or rather hot weather and as I see on a lot of blogs the trend is pretty much worldwide. So, we thought we would inspire you with something cooling to Beat The Heat.

I am serving up a delicious and refreshing dessert, that is not only simple to make but scrumptious that it'll leave you licking your fingers. What's more it uses the perfect ingredients for the summer - berries.

As a matter of fact did you know that Blueberries are one of the world's most healthiest foods? Furthermore, they are currently at the peak of their season and available almost everywhere. They are not only bursting with flavor but low in calories and deliver powerful antioxidant protection from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. I just love their sweet and tangy flavor and currently am using them in everything I possibly can. My men at home can't get enough of these lovely berries either, so there is no excuse to serve bowl fulls of this dessert ;-)

And no excuse not to send this to Cate's ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday either!






Ingredients:
Vanilla Pod
Berries - Blueberries, red currents, strawberries or whatever you fancy
Thick natural yoghurt - please do not use the low fat type for this one
2 tablespoons sugar
Cinnamon -just a pinch
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar*
A few pieces of Cantuccini - or any other nutty type cookie






Method:

To make the vanilla yoghurt: Pour the yoghurt in a bowl and whisk till smooth. Cut open the vanilla pod and scrape the insides out into to the yoghurt. Mix well and allow to cool for a few hours.

Wash and clean the berries and place in a clean bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla sugar and mix together well. Allow to cool.

Break up the cantuccini in coarse pieces.

Serve the berries in little bowls and pour some of the vanilla yoghurt on top. Sprinkle with the cookie bits.

* To make vanilla sugar just place the rest of the vanilla pod into a jar with some normal sugar. You can also add some fresh pods including the inside to give it a more intensive taste.






Verdict:
Very Berry indeed ;-) I love this type of dessert in the summer. As a matter of fact I love it just about any time of the day. Kids love it anyway because of all the lovely berries and this is a healthy dessert for them. So, I can always give seconds without have a guilty conscious.

I really hope you enjoy this and I look forward to your comments.




Make sure you sign up for the Blogger Postcard around the World - BPW event. It's going to be a tidal wave of postcards around the World!



This is also going out to Nandita for her bi-weekly Weekend Breakfast Blogging




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Blog Swop #2: Pam presents Gazpacho

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Since our last Blog swap was so sucessful that Meeta and I decided to have another, our tastes and ideas about food are so similar it's hard to believe that we have never met.

Check out Meeta's posting over at my site Posie's Place.

Since the whole of Europe has been sweltering under a heatwave for the past couple of weeks, Meeta's theme for the Monthly Mingle is very appropriately "Beat The Heat", in addition we decided to use this theme for our swap.

I got my thinking cap and and tried to identify which ingredients really screamed summer sun. I didn't have far to look for inspiration. On my balcony my tomato plants are in full bloom and within the next couple of weeks I will have a glut of tomatoes on my hands. What can be more summery than tomatoes

So now I had my main ingredient in mind, what would help "Beat The Heat" ?
Gazpacho!! Delicious chilled soup of tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, here goes..




INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Cloves garlic, chopped roughly

  • 1 Red onion, chopped roughly

  • 1 Green pepper, chopped roughly

  • 1/2 Cucumber (1 cup), peeled, seeded and chopped roughly

  • 750ml (3 cups) Passata or tomato juice

  • 1 Cup chicken stock

  • 1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 Tsp White wine vinegar

  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

  • 1/2 Tsp Black pepper

  • 1/2 Avocado (optional)






PREPARATION

  1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.

  2. Chill well in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour but preferrably overnight as the flavours develop over time.

  3. As a twist I took 500ml of the final gazpacho and added half a ripe avocado, the two were blitzed until smooth in a food processor. Two different versions of gazpacho to be enjoyed on a hot summer day! Enjoy!






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The Door to your Dreams?

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Could this be the door to your dreams? Are you daring enough to open it and see what's behind it? Or are you rather the type, who walks on the safe side and go past?

Contemplate what you might miss if you did not peek inside. Are you inquisitive enough?

Something that you just cannot miss is the great postcard event happening right here. Check out the list and see if you're on it, if not well what are you waiting for. This is going to be a totally fun event and you'll be sorry if you did not take part in it. Read the details and join in the blogger postcards from around the world.

Update:
We've got 8 happy bloggers all waiting to send and receive their postcards. As a matter of fact I was able to convince blogger number 7 to take part even though she was on holiday. She wrote and was disappointed that she was going to be away while we were having this fun event. So, I thought of a way to get her involved. Just this much ... whoever the lucky blogger is ... the postcard from Ulli is going to be from a great holiday destination. Ulli will blog about it when she returns. Oh and as I write this, I see we just have blogger number 9 registering for the fun and games.

Keep checking back here for regular updates or just have a look at the list. This will be your main information point throughout the event. Here you will see how many have registered then later who has sent theirs off and finally who has received theirs.

Let's send postcards to the world!



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Mixology Monday V: Limoncello Cooler

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What can I say, after hearing your comments on Limoncello in my post for the Lemon Sorbet I thought I'd treat you to another Limoncello pleasure. It was also a fantastic idea from JD over at Jiggle the Handle to choose lemons for the theme of the next Mixology Monday.

That bottle of Limoncello from Italy did not last very long and I was able to use the last for a few summery Limoncello coolers over the weekend.

Soeren was at his grandparents and we had the whole place to ourselves so in the afternoon we crashed in our backyard with our neighbors and we whipped up some real cooling mixtures. This was my mixture. A great light and very refreshing drink for the summer and a brilliant alternative to the Lemonade ;-). Hey I did say the kid was out of town, OK!

The best thing is, it's easy and won't keep you away from the hammock for too long!





Ingredients:

Juice of half a lemon
2 cl Limoncello
Chilled aerated water like Perrier
Ice cubes






Method:
In a long glass place a few ice cubes. Add the Limoncello, lemon juice and top off with the water.

Drink!

Verdict:
Phew, that was refreshing! Anyone for seconds?




Make sure you sign up for the Blogger Postcard around the World - BPW event. It's going to be a tidal wave of postcards around the World!




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Secrets of My Kitchen - My Italian Herb Mixture

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I think every woman has her little secrets, especially in the kitchen. I know women that have recipes for mixtures, sauces and other concoctions that have been handed down from generation to generation. These are probably just as well guarded as the Queen's crown jewels. Getting them to disclose anything would be like breaking into Fort Knox - yup that hard!

Well I am no different, but you know I really don't mind sharing my little recipes with friends and those I see really enjoy my creations. After I revealed my secrets with the Three Sauces I thought I'd let you in on another one of my favorite creations and truly a huge help in my kitchen.

My herb and spice mixture! I have a few different types of such creations to fit different types of cuisines. So, whatever I'm preparing in the kitchen be it Italian, French or Greek I have the right mixture close at hand.

For Kalyn's WHB this week I wanted to enter something special and I thought this would be perfect. My Italian herb mixture.

Now, we Indians have had a spice mixture that is very well known around the world - the Garam Masala. It is used in a lot if Indian dishes and I think many an Indian housewife would be lost without it. There are those amazing women that make this mixture everyday from scratch.

It was based on this idea of the "Garam Masala" that I started experimenting with my own herb mixtures.

I use a variety of dried herbs and spices. I try and save those fresh herb plants that seem like they are just going to give up their fresh life and allow them to go through a dryness procedure. My mother in-law recommended that I tie and hang the leaves/plants upside down and leave for a few days/weeks until they have dried. It worked for me and ever since then I buy fresh herby leaves at our local farmer's market and dry these for my mixtures. Do this in the spring/summer time when most of these herbs grow fresh and they can be used all through out winter!

It's true my kitchen ceiling sometimes resembles a little plantation of herbs but believe me the aroma is wonderful.

I then break the leaves (or roughly grind them) and store in little spice bottles (IKEA).

Here is what I use for my Italian herb mixture.





Ingredients:

Oregano
Thyme
Basel
Rosemary
Sage
Green, black, red and white peppercorns
Course salt crystals
Small dried chillies - as many as you think appropriate. I only use a few for my Italian mixture as I do not want to take away the lovely tastes of the other herbs.
Dried Garlic flakes






Method:

Mix all together and fill into a spice grinder. I buy mine from IKEA. It has a good size and the glass bottle can be filled or cleaned easily. I like the fact that it also allows to variate in the coarseness of the mixture. If I want larger flaky looking herbs in my dish/salad I can regulate it accordingly.

Verdict:

You'll admit it is ingenious! I use this mixture for practically everything. Salads, antipasti, marinades, barbecues, or my favorite: A slice of fresh bread, butter, cream cheese and some juicy, ripe cherry tomatoes and a good sprinkle of my Italian herb mixture!

I hope this idea motivates you to experiment with your own creations too.




Make sure you sign up for the Blogger Postcard around the World - BPW event. It's going to be a tidal wave of postcards around the World!



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Blogger Postcards from the World

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Summer in Weimar - The beauty

What do you think of this photo? I really like it! A wonderful photo of Weimar in its summer colors. If you like this, you can view a few more here.

I took some pretty nice pictures and wanted to share this with you. Wouldn't this look lovely on a postcard?

I love getting postcards from all over the World. I got one yesterday from Payal my blogger friend in California. She was in Hawaii and sent me a great postcard.

I truly believe this is one thing that will not be replaced by the electronic media.

This got my ever so active mind churning and I had a fantastic idea! And here I am sharing the idea with you.

I know of many people who also love getting postcards and thought wouldn't it be great if we shared postcards among us blogger buddies.

So, I am now announcing the begin of the 1st (at least I believe it is) Blogger Postcards from the World (BPW in short) and this is how I thought it would work:

Anyone who is interested in taking part emails me their interest and their address by the announced deadline. Don't worry I will not post the address anywhere on the net! I'll announce a deadline of the date all names/addresses have to be in by.

Once I have all the names, I'll list them all on a table. Then I'll pull out a name from a bag, hat or a pot and add this name to the first name on my list. I will mail that person from my list and inform them of who that person (recipient) is and their address. Now this person (sender) has to:
  1. Buy a postcard or make one of their own photos
  2. Take a picture of this postcard and write a post on their blog that a postcard is being sent off - WITHOUT revealing the name of the recipient. Please link to this page so that anyone reading can get the idea what it is we're doing. Maybe they'd like to join.
  3. Send the postcard to the recipient I pulled out. Get it!
Then the recipient who receives the postcard has to:
  1. Take a picture of the postcard
  2. Simply write up a post about it and link back to the sender's page and to this page
  3. Send me the link to her write up so that I can do a round-up of all senders and recipients.

Example:
Pam is the first name on my list and I pull out Ashwini's name from the bag. I will inform Pam of who she has been paired with. Pam has to then take a picture of the postcard she is sending, write up a post on her blog not telling where it is headed and then send thepostcard to Ashwini.

The neat thing about this is that Ashwini has no idea from who she will be receiving the postcard from.

Wait it goes on! Now Ashwini, once she receives her postcard, has to take a picture of it and post it on her blog. Then she sends me the link to the post and I will make a round-up of the list and the links.


This way we all can see who got what postcard and from whom and hopefully start a tidal wave of postcard blogging.

For myself I will be pulling a name of a recipient too, to send. As the host however, I leave it all to you to surprise me with your postcards ;-))

What do you all think? Want to take part in the BPW? Before I actually go ahead and announce the deadline - let me get the feedback from you all. Once I see that there is enough interest then I'll announce the deadline.

Folks, lets send postcards around the world!

Keep yourself updated and check out The List throughout the BPW.




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7/11 - A Sad Day for Indians

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My thoughts go out to all my fellow Indians. This is a sad time for India and many Indians around the world.

The blasts that rocked Bombay yesterday were senseless and inhuman.

My deepest and most humble condolences to those affected by this attack.

At Mumbai Help you can get information and assistance for those who require more information and for those who are close enough to give a helping hand.
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Penne with Broccoli and Coconut Milk

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Why is it that kids can live on a staple of plain pasta? Maybe a lot of you are nodding your heads and smirking, because you can relate to what I am about to say.

I have never met a kid who does not like pasta. They can live on this 24-7 and never seem happier. Soeren is just the same. Whenever I ask him "Hey Soeri, would do you fancy today?" He looks and says,

"Pasta!" is always a sure answer.

I remember last year when we were vacationing in Liguria, Italy, I think we did have pasta almost everyday. In the town where we stayed there was a restaurant called "Macaroni". A wonderful place with a delightful ambient, directly on the beach promenade. This place actually had only pasta on the menu, pasta in all shapes, sizes and forms and served in a huge variety of sauces.

You would think Soeren would have gone for some fancy type of sauce - after all he does get some good stuff at home ;-)! No, he was happy with plain tomato sugo! Life is so easy from a kids point of view.

Anyway, so when I asked my men "What do you fancy for lunch, boys?" I got the same answer from Soeren "PASTA!" Tom agreed!

OK pasta it was to be. However, I decided I was not going to give in to a normal tomato sauce. I have nothing against tomato sauces but ... hey! it ain't all that challenging for mummy in the kitchen. I like to cook and I enjoy my time out in the kitchen, especially on the weekends. The boys are playing in the garden and I put on some nice music and conjure up something GOOD! The idea of tomato sauce just did not appeal to me.

I had broccoli in the freezer and a can of coconut milk in the pantry. Here's what I whipped up!




Ingredients:
500g Broccoli - cut into florets
400g Penne
2 garlic cloves - chopped finely
1 onion - chopped finely
1 tablespoon olive oil
small handful of coriander leaves - finely chopped
4-5 tablespoons white wine or vegetable stock if cooking for kids
400 ml coconut milk - unsweetened
1/8 l vegetable stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons lime juice






Method:

Steam the broccoli for approx. 6-7 minutes. Cook the pasta according to instructions.

Sauté the garlic and onions in a large pan, with the olive oil. Add the wine (or stock) and simmer for a few seconds. Add the coconut milk, 1/8 l stock and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat. Mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water and pour into the sauce. Simmer for 1 minute.

Add salt and pepper to taste and pour in the lime juice. Put the broccoli florets into the pan and cover with the sauce. Allow to heat through. Add the chopped coriander leaves.

Place pasta on pre warmed plates and pour the sauce with the broccoli over this.



Verdict:
Brilliant! Soeren loves broccoli and so he was not disappointed to see no tomato sauce. He really loved the all the tastes this pasta sauce had to offer. Tom was also surprised at the "strange" creation. He thought coconut milk was something specifically for Asian/Indian cooking.
Isn't it funny how when you tell someone what's in it they kind of look all funny and think "Well that can't taste good!" I like the look on their faces when they try it and the face kind of lights up - almost as if a light bulb went on in their brain. That is the same thing you will get with this one, I promise.

The coconut milk offers a wonderful and smooth texture, the lime juice adds a little tanginess. It is a harmony of flavors that really works well.

I doubt the tomato sugo will ever fall from it's glory for Soeren, but I do know one thing this one is just as fast and certainly a good run.



This ones for Cate's great ARF 5 A Day Tuesday.



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Monthly Mingle #3: Beat The Heat

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I recently made this refreshing and very cooling Lemon Sorbet. It has been so hot here the last few weeks that any way to cool down was good enough - even from the inside out!

I also heard from a lot of blogger buddies that they too were having an amazing HOT summer. That's when I got the idea for my next Monthly Mingle.

This time round I'd like to invite you all over for a perfect chillin' party. Let's cool down with some of your ideas and recipes. Whatever you cook up or freeze up to cool down bring it on over. Ice-creams, sorbets, salads, smoothies anything goes.

Folks, come on over and let's Beat the Heat together. Deadline for your entries is August 5, so don't make it a stress factor - it only heats you up more LOL!

Here are more details to the Monthly Mingle.


See you at the mingle!


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Big on Barbecue Round-up

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Monthly Mingle 2 - Big on Barbecue

Isn't summer just fantastic. Long, warm evenings and it seems that there is always far more energy in the air. It's no secret that I love to entertain. Having friends around, cooking, eating, drinking and just relaxing is one of the best ways I like to spend my time. In the summer months though our house sometimes resembles something more of a busy street side cafe ... we are always having friends pop over. On some days it can be different friends for lunch, coffee and dinner. It's no wonder that my kitcehn closets are filled with 4 different types of dinnerware and the drawers have 3 different types of cutlery!!! And of course thank the inventor of the dishwasher for the brilliant invention.

Entertaining on the blog - virtually - does not require all that much of stuff. So, it gives me a chance still to play host to all my lovely guests but all I have to do is sit on the couch with my precious MacBook Pro.

This time round I decided to barbecue. Imagine my delight when my gals came around with such fantastic looking dishes and drinks. What a fantastic evening this is turning out to be.

From Basel, Switzerland my dear friend Pam brought along a most delectable looking Salmon Teriyaki from Delia Smith's recipes. Pam serves it with a refreshing salad, making this a wonderful light dish for the barbecue party.

Wondorous Sumi also from Switzerland, presents a spicy marinated grilled pork. It was Sumi's first time grilling and also first time joining the mingle here! Welcome Sumi, hope you too become a regular.

Lydia from Pennsylvania, USA goes in search for the DaVinci Cole! She brought a mysterious salad. Check it out ... and can you crack this cole!

Another one of my great blogger buddies all the way from Merlbourne, Australia spoils us not only with a feast for our eyes but for the tastebuds. Dear Haalo brings along Lemongrass Shrimp Skewers and Chermoula Chicken Skewers. I can't wait to tuck into these!

Isis comes over from France and brings along a light Courgette sprinkled with some oil. The courgettes are from her own garden. Thanks for that one Isis and I am honored that you were able to make time from your busy schedule and decided to join us!

I think I can say that Vaishali is pretty much of a neighbor for me, as she joins the mingle from Düsseldorf, here in Germany. As she did the last time, Vaishali thought about the drinks and whipped up a fantastic looking and cool tasting Balck Grape Smoothie. Great color!

I was really happy that Shammi joined us from Shrewsbury, UK. She brings along a fantastic kebab. The Moong Dal Kebab made from yellow lentils was an eye opener for me. I did not know kebabs could be made from lentils. They look fab!

As the host of this mingle, in Weimar, Germany I too had a small part in preparing something palatable. With my three sauces I whipped up a variety of vegies, shrimp and swordfish skewers.

As all good things, even this mingle came to an end. However, I think we truely enjoyed ourselves. I look forward to having you all over for the next mingle. This time a way to cool off in this hot summer. Let's find a way to Beat The Heat!


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Big on Barbecue

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You know when I write this post I think back to the actual day we had this barbecue. It was back then when Germany played against Argentina. Although we did not know it at the time the pictures were taken, but Germany would win the match and a mad soccer craze would pour not only at our place among our guests but throughout Germany.

Ironically, I am doing the write up now with the knowledge that Germany lost to Italians in the semi finals. Funny how in the process of an actual post you can share so many feelings, thoughts and experiences.

It was a turbulent wave of feelings, for both matches. On one side ecstatic happiness and then four days later, a sort of numb with shock feeling.

We are over it now and with the knowledge that the Germans not only played extremely well throughout the world cup but also with the fact that Germany was a fantastic host to all the guests and teams during the matches, we look forward to the next match against Portugal.

Sometimes, this country goes a little under-rated in the World but even though with all the bickering that goes on here about high taxes, expensive gas prices, high unemployment .... this and that ... it really is a fantastic place to live.

Anyway, yet another ironic fact in this story is that my Barbecue concentrates on the Italian tastes LOL! (so that brought me back on track!)

My previous post here was all about the basic sauces you would need for a quick barbecue. If you have made the sauces and already have these in your refrigerator, then you know that this grilling session is gonna be a quickie.

In the scrumptious photo above you can see just a few things I made all using the three sauces as a marinade, sauce and dip.



Pesto Aubergine Wraps

Ingredients:
Pesto alla Genovese
1 Aubergine - cut in slices lengthways
Mozzarella - sliced
Tomato - sliced
Olive oil

Method:
Spread some Pesto alla Genovese on the sliced aubergine. Lay a slice of tomato and mozzarella and fold over once. To keep it in place stick a toothpick into the middle of the wrap. Drizzle with olive oil. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes.

Put on barbecue and grill till soft and the cheese has started to melt.



Garlic/Herb Potatoes

Ingredients:
New potatoes - cut in half
olive oil
Aglio Olio
Dried Thyme
Salt and pepper

Method:
In a bowl place the potatoes. Add 2 teaspoons of the Aglio Olio. Drizzle with olive oil. Add the thyme and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well. Allow to marinate for 20-30 minutes.

Grill on a barbecue till soft and slightly brown.



Mixed herb vegetables

Ingredients:
Aglio Olio
Mixed dried herbs
Vegetables of your choice. I used whole spring onions and long pointed bell peppers cut in half.
Olive oil
salt and pepper

Method:
Place vegetables in a long dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub in some Aglio Olio and drizzle with olive oil.
Grill on a barbecue until soft.




Garlic Shrimps



Ingredients:
Fresh jumbo shrimps - peeled and cleaned
salt and pepper
Aglio Olio
lime juice
skewers

Method:
Rub the shrimps with plenty of Aglio Olio, salt and pepper. Pour the juice of one lime and allow to marinate for 6-8 hours.

Place the shrimps on skewers. A little tip from me: If you are using wooded skewers place them in some water for 20 minutes or so. This way they won't burn on the grill.

Grill the shrimp skewers for just a few minutes on each side.



Spicy swordfish skewers



Ingredients:

Swordfish filet - cut in cubes
Arrabiata
salt and pepper

Method:
Place the fish filet cubes in a bowl and mix with the Arrabiata well. Salt and pepper to taste.
Marinate for 6-8 hours.

Place the fish cubes on skewers and grill for a few minutes until cooked.



Verdict:
Phew! The write up took more time to do then the actual preparations for the barbecue ;-)
I am just going to say one thing for the verdict - DELICIOUS.
It was easy, simple and the most important thing - I had time for my guests and was able to enjoy their company.

If you are like my friend - fussing and fretting, I really hope this post shows you that sometimes you too as a host can relax and have fun.

As the host of the Monthly Mingle I would like to thank all those you have sent in their entries.

Round-up tomorrow!



There are so many gorgeous things on this barbecue so I thought Cate would be glad to receive a whole barbecue meal for the great ARF 5 A Day Tuesday.





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Three Sauces - The Basics

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One of my girlfriends makes such a huge hassle when she decides to have a barbecue party. It really gets tiresome to watch her fret and fuss about simple details and not to mention she is constantly running to the supermarket to get something that has been forgotten and is an absolute must .... or the barbecue party will simply fall apart without it.
On the day she is like a wild animal running to and fro ... very exhausting and where's the fun?

I keep telling her to take it easy and then I shared a little secret with her. This secret I will share with you too.

Get yourself a basic! Well what does that mean, I presume you are asking yourself!

Easy ... Decide on a basic dip, sauce marinade and theme and you've just completed 60% of the job.

The rest is buying the ingredients, preparing and then of course sitting back and enjoying.

To demonstrate what I mean, I recently had a barbecue party. As a matter of fact it was rather spontaneous and I had just enough time to buy the most important things. I decided on a spicy Italian combination and wanted to do fish. The best thing was that my basic was already in the refrigerator just waiting for me.

I normally make three of my favorite sauces/dips in huge amounts and keep them cool in little jars. They are then used in a variety of different types of dishes, with meats, poultry, fish or just plain pasta.

I am sure you have heard of these:

Arrabiata Sauce
Pesto alla Genovese
Aglio Olio

With these three sauces, trust me, you can whip up a most delicious barbecue too. In this post I'll tell you about the sauces first. My next post will show you how to use these sauces for the barbecue.

Of course, this is my first entry to my own event!



Arrabiata Sauce



When I want to store this sauce in the refrigerator I normally make it with sun dried tomatoes. Otherwise when it is supposed to be made fresh and eaten with pasta use ripe, juicy fresh tomatoes. The problem with the following recipes is that I normally make this with just a feel for the amounts. I urge you to test yourself by tasting how you like it. Some like it tomato-ier other spicier. Just experiment till you have found your perfect taste.

Ingredients:

300g sun dried tomatoes - I like to use the ones in jars as these have been preserved in a little oil and have a ton of taste.
2 tablespoons tomato puree
4-5 cloves garlic
a handful of fresh basel leaves
3-4 chilies
enough olive oil to make a smooth sauce.

Method:

In an electric blender or mixer put all of the ingredients together and blend at a high speed. Open scrape the sides of the blender and mix again. Check the consistency and add more oil if required.

Depending on how thick or thin you like it, blend the mixture until smooth.



Aglio Olio



I love this one! It can be used really everywhere. A touch in an Indian curry, plenty in a Thai dish, and of course a heap full on some toasted brushetta. Try getting organic garlic for this one if possible. You'll notice the difference in taste immediately.

Ingredients:

Depending on the amount you make:
1 or 2 entire garlic spud - peeled
2 - 3 red chilies
olive oil

Method:

Place the garlic and chili in an electric mixer and chop according to your desired texture. I like it to be fine but not mushy.

Place in jars and fill with good olive oil.



Pesto alla Genovese



Now this recipe is a secret from an Italian lady I met in Liguria last year. This Pesto alla Genovese is probably the sauce I make the most at home. I love spreading a nice toasted italian bread with cream cheese and then adding a spoonful of the pesto on top. Simple and delicious.




Verdict:
These sauces are versatile to no end and only the lack of imagination will hinder the variety. Always good to have in store for a quick meal and for an elegant barbecue. as I'll show you in my next post.

Entry for:
Weekend Herb Blogging over at the lovely Gariella's blog.
Spice is Right IV at Barbara's.



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