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Ramadan special – Vimto Ice Cream

This year Ramadan has been the hottest. It makes me wonder how all who are fasting are keeping up! I hope all of them are hydrating well after sundown. Each year, Ramadan also inspires me to try something new keeping up with the local tastes and ingredients. Vimto features prominently in all the Bahraini households that I know. Vimto is a mixed berry drink that is quite high on sugar but works wonders after a day of no food and drink. Usually Vimto is simply mixed with water and tonnes of ice to create a refreshing drink at home. It is also served at restaurants as an accompaniment to dinner. 

When I tried Vimto for the very first time, I wasn’t impressed. To me it tasted like medicine at that time and I vowed never to try it again. It was not until several years later that in 2016 that I tried Vimto at a local cafe that I actually found the flavour interesting. With tonnes of ice after a walk in souq, under the hot sun, Vimto revived my sagging spirits. Since then, I have enjoyed this drink on and off. This Ramadan, I felt like experimenting with this much-loved syrup-drink and thought that ice – cream was the safest way to do so. 

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While researching this drink, I found this interesting trivia that really surprised me –

“This  purple drink was first manufactured in Manchester in 1908 ( 105 years ago) and made from grape, blackcurrant and raspberry flavouring and lot of sugar”

Also the Vimto sold in the Gulf states is thought to be even higher in sugar levels than that sold in Western countries. 

With this interesting trivia engaging my thoughts, I embarked on creating this simple 4 -ingredient ice cream at home.  This ice cream uses Fresh cream, whole milk, Condensed milk and Vimto.

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It was very happy with the way the ice cream turned out especially because I don’t have an ice cream maker. It was creamy and the Vimto flavour was spot on. 

Vimto Ice Cream
Serves 10
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups whole milk
  2. 2 cups fresh cream
  3. 1 cup vimto
  4. 1 tin condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Blend the condensed milk with whole milk well.
  2. Add Vimto to this mix
  3. Whip the fresh cream until it form soft peaks and fold it into the mix. ( if you feel it is not folding well, just don't bother and blend it all in)
  4. Pour it in a container and cover it.
  5. Freeze it for atleast 2.5 hours or 3 hours and then bring it out. Give it a good mix to break all the ice formation until the ice cream is creamy.
  6. Send it back to the freezer for another 3 hours, bring it out again and blend it again to break the ice;
  7. Do this atleast 4-5 times for the creamiest texture.
  8. Serve the Vimto ice scoops with berries
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

Winner of #giveaway3 announced & participate in #giveaway4 NOW

The weather in Bahrain has been just perfect for the past one week. Dramatic clouds adorn the skies and an odd drizzle around the island makes it just perfect. I have been enjoying this weather because I know it is short-lived and the scorching summers are just a few days away. There is something else that I am enjoying just as much and that is announcing giveaways and winners on my blog. My 6th blog anniversary has been so special because of these generous giveaways from wonderful sponsors. With this I announce the winner of the third giveaway – Anusha Raghuram for consistently being so supportive of my blog. Thank you so much Anusha. You win yourself an Organic products hamper from Lulu Hypermarket.

With this, I concluded the organic hamper giveaway series. A big thank you to Lulu Hypermarket for sponsoring three gorgeous organic product hampers. 

But the giveaways do not end here. I have three vouchers for dinner for two at Skywalk Cafe at the Marriott Executive Apartments. The Skywalk Cafe has a sumptuous Italian buffet to offer every Tuesday night. Three lucky winners get to go to Skywalk and for that all you need to do is –

  1. Follow Marriott Executive Apartment on Facebook
  2. Tell me What is your favourite Italian dish to eat ? ( in the comments)
  3. Share this giveaway post on social channels of your choice

*This giveaway is open only to Bahrain residents

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I will announce the winners in 3 days time! So good luck! 

#Giveaway 3 from Lulu Hypermarket: Organic Quinoa, three- ways

It has been really hectic the past week and I didn’t have the time to update the blog. However, here I am with yet another giveaway from Lulu Hypermarket. Not just that, I also will be sharing Quinoa recipes that are extremely easy to prepare and healthy to treat your family to. 

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Quinoa is a versatile ingredient that is great for all age groups. Quinoa is a seed that is rich is protein and very useful for weight loss. There are primarily three types of Quinoa – Red, White and Black. I use all the three types of Quinoa varieties in my diet and here are my observations of the same-

  1. White Quinoa is commonly found and on cooking they tend to be mushy. Initially I cooked a lot of this variety but the mushy texture did not appeal to me and so I switched to its red and black varieties. If at all, I do use white quinoa, I use them in salads and eat it cold ( again something I don’t prefer). But I know many people who enjoy cold salads and white quinoa works just fine. 
  2. Red and the black Quinoa hold their shape after cooking and in my opinion taste better than the white variety. I make stir fries with vegetables, paneer, tofu, hallumi and even add scrambled egg sometimes. 

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Quinoa cooks quickly and is the best source of nutrition for people with gluten allergy. Quinoa is also available in flakes and powdered / flour form for several uses in cooking and baking. Quinoa as I mentioned earlier is very rich in protein and has the perfect balance of all 9 amino acids which is real in plant protein and commonly found in meat. So for vegetarians, vegans and plant based diet followers, who usually struggle to meet their daily quota of protein, should definitely consider including quinoa in their diet. 

So that was about the Quinoa and its wonderful properties. 

Before I get into the recipe, I would like to announce the winner of #Giveaway2 and announce #Giveaway3. 

The winner of #Giveaway2 is Anita Das. Congrats Anita! You got all the brownie points for sharing the news about the giveaway on maximum number of social channels – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest. You win yourself a organic products hamper from Lulu Hypermarket! 

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Now for Giveaway 3, all you need to do to win the LAST ORGANIC HAMPER from Lulu Hypermarket is obviously say that you are interested in the giveaway in the comments AND let me know which of the 3 recipes I shared during the giveaways is your favourite?

And then, ofcourse feel lucky <3

With this, let us head to the recipe- 

Quinoa three-ways
Serves 3
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup of white quinoa
  2. 1/4 cup of red quinoa
  3. 1/4 cup of black quinoa
  4. vegetable stock - 1 cup
  5. water - 1 cup
  6. black pepper and salt as per taste
  7. vegetables to stir fry such as peas , mushrooms, corn
  8. paneer - 1/4 cup, crumbled
  9. 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  10. red chilli flakes
  11. garam masala ( optional)
  12. lemon juice - 1 tbsp
  13. salad vegetables like onions, tomatoes, cucumber, chopped finely
Instructions
  1. To cook the quinoa, you can either use plain water or any kind of stock. For the corn and mushroom Quinoa, I used vegetable stock to cook.
  2. For 1//4th cup of Quinoa, you will need to use 1 cup of water. For 1 cup quinoa, you will need 2 cups water.
  3. To cook quinoa, you need to first rinse the quinoa under the running tap and the drain the water. Allow the water or the stock to heat and add the quinoa. Let the water come to a boil and then lower the heat. Close the lid of the vessel and cook quinoa at low heat. Check in between to see if the water has drained you will notice a tail like structure sprouting out of the quinoa grains. Once the water drains fully, take it off the heat and let it cool.
  4. Fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  5. The entire process takes about 10-15 minutes.
  6. During this time, you can cut and prep your vegetable and other condiments.
  7. Take a shallow pan and heat some oil, add your ingredients - first the garlic, then the vegetables, and once the vegetables are cooked, add the Quinoa. Give it a thorough mix and season the mixture well. Take it off the heat.
  8. Type one - For the Corn and mushroom using red quinoa, I used vegetable stock to cook Quinoa. Quinoa, beautifully absorbs the flavour of the stock to give the dish a wholesome flavour. Add salt, pepper, chilli flakes to season it. Serve it hot with yogurt.
  9. Type two - Peas and Paneer using black Quinoa, - I looked the Quinoa in water and then added it to stir-fried peas and crumbled paneer. It looks a bit mushy because of the paneer. Add garam masala and chilli flakes for more dramatic flavour. It is a very satisfying one -pot meal. Serve it hot with buttermilk
  10. Type three - Cold salad using white Quinoa. - Used water to cook white Quinoa and fluffed it up with a fork, once cooked. Added chopped salad vegetables.season it with salt, pepper, chaat masala, lemon juice or opt for a vinaigrette dressing. You can also add roasted peanuts or seeds to give it an extra crunch. Refrigerate it before serving.
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

Happy 6th Blog Anniversary with a baked Mango Cheesecake

This is my 414th post.

Never realized that taking baby steps can take you so far. 6 years don’t seem so long but statistics on my blog tell me that it has been quite a while. There have been times I have celebrated this space and more than often I have neglected it too. But this space of mine has never really been out of my conscious. This blog gave me an identity in a foreign land and allowed me to express my thoughts in the way I wanted. Sometimes I  cared who read my blog and most times, I wrote only for myself. It has been in sync with my life objectives and most times a complete paradox. This blog is an extension of me. 

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This space has challenged me to attempt things I never thought I would do. I have baked a pavlova, kneaded dough to make bread, used ingredients in recipes I couldn’t really pronounce and written food stories my memories. This space which I call my blog, made me think about myself in a life that was always about what others wanted, it allowed to me hone my skills as a cook, a writer, a baker, a photographer and a food stylist. 

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It made me a social person, who was unafraid to meet people and face unknown situations. This blog gave me that confidence. It took care of me like I took care of it. It gave even when I didn’t- like the numerous opportunities to work with creative people of words and pictures. 

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Six years of all this wonderful moments can’t be encapsulated in one blog post and that is why I have several blog posts after this one where I collaborate with some wonderful brands to reward my readers for being with me for so long. Last year I had a world wide giveaway but this time I am going to restrict it to Bahrain as a way of saying thank you for all the wonderful opportunities you sent my way; whether it was restaurant reviews or connecting with my other blogger friends, recipe development, food styling assignments and so much more. Thank you, Bahrain.

So readers in Bahrain, over the course of the next few weeks, 3 of you would have would have won a generous hamper each from Lulu Hypermarket’s “good life” products and another 3 of you would have have an Italian buffet for two from Marriott Executive Apartments.  Thank you Lulu Hypermarket and Marriott Executive Apartments for collaborating with my blog and being so generous. More details to follow in individual posts.

Meanwhile, in this post, I would like to share a beautiful, flavourful, Mango cheese cake recipe. I believe a cheese cake is for all seasons and perhaps that is why I selected it to showcase on my anniversary post. My blog has been wonderful to me through seasons and only something as evergreen as a cheese cake would do to celebrate the 6th anniversary.

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Also, if you are wondering about this beautiful cake plate, I must tell you where I got it from. It was a gift from Silsal Design House – which is leading producer of home accessories, furnishings and light furnishings. Silsal Design House’s USP lies in its contemporary yet Middle Eastern touch in all its designs. They are based out of Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. I love this green cake plate for its elegant design and unique patterns. You can check out all the other beautiful creations from Silsal Design House and even order it online! 

Now for the recipe of the Mango Cheese cake. This is the first time I attempted a baked cheesecake and might I add that I was nervous about how it would turn out. Thankfully, it turned out wonderful and I feel excited about baking more baked cheese cakes in the future. 

Mango Cheese Cake
Serves 12
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 25 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  4. 4 large ripe mangoes, cubed and pureed
  5. 685 gm packages cream cheese, softened
  6. 1 1/4 cups sugar
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 4 large eggs
Instructions
  1. 1. Stir together the digestive biscuits crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl; press into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 325º/ 162.7 C for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool
  2. Puree the mangoes in a blender. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and vanilla essence until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, mixing it well and finally stir in the mango puree.
  3. Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake at 325º / 165 C for 1 hour and 25 minutes. After the alloted time, test if the cheese cake is cooked in the center. If find it is still a bit raw, allow the cheese cake to continue baking in the heat of the oven after you switched off the oven for atleast another 10-15 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

 All photographs courtesy : Sushil S

Fresh food counter at Lulu Hypermarket : Review

Off late, my schedule has been outright maddening. There hasn’t been any time to cook or enjoy a meal in peace. But I am glad that I have plenty of takeaway and home delivery options in Bahrain, that make my life easy. One of the reliable options is the hot food counter at Lulu Hypermarket. It also helps that it is dot opposite my home. 

Any time I feel I am missing home and feel a deep craving for home style food, I head to Lulu Hypermarket to enjoy my favourite sweets, snacks like pakoras, samosas. 

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Lulu Hypermarket’s hot food section has a great selection to choose from as you can see from the pictures. 

When I was offered to the opportunity to review the hot food section, I preferred Indian food and this is what they packed for me as a takeaway.

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The menu consisted of – A spicy salad which we call “Kachumber”, my favourite kadai paneer, Lemon and spice chicken tikka, Kashmiri Pulao and a selection of Indian sweets. 

The Kashmiri Pulao was fragrant and delicious with long-grained basmati rice, vegetables, sweet red grapes flavoured in saffron and spices. Simply delicious!

The kadai Paneer was oily and very “dhaba” style – exactly how I like it. Indulging once in a while is good for the soul, I believe.

The salad was the right accompaniment as it served as a palette cleanser. 

The chicken was lemon-y and very appetizing but I preferred by vegetarian fare over the meat. 

The milk -based sweets hit the right note without being too sweet. 

All in all, the meal from Lulu Hypermarket’s hot counter was filling and scrumptious and comes recommended for that once in a while indulgence or every day meal ( where you should opt for the lighter dals and vegetable curries or grills for the meat eaters)