Tag Archives: food

Vegetable Soup and a Review of 2013

vegetable soup-0251-2The festivities have come to an end, many rich foods were enjoyed and now the fridge and freezer are almost empty… simple food is craved once again. With the last remaining vegetables I decided to make a pot of soup. Nothing fancy, no special ingredients just a tasty wholesome bowl of soup, served with thick slices of home-made brown bread on the side. You might say I am kicking off the new year with a healthy start but it more comes down to what’s left on the vegetable rack. The soups flavor is determined by the combination of vegetables used and sometimes I like to throw in a granny smith apple for its sweet-tart flavor. I would have used fresh turkey stock but as my good friend Sarah had taken charge of Christmas Day and did an amazing job (I did boxing day), I had no turkey to cook. Continue reading

spices from manama souk

During the cooler months of the year in Bahrain I always take the opportunity of visiting the Manama souk (market), this was one of the places that I frequented much more often many years ago… before all the air-conditioned shopping malls came into place!  As much as I favour air-conditioning, I believe the shopping malls can never capture the true essence of a market place that has been built around traditions and its people! The souk really is a unique shopping experience and definitely worth a visit!

With a lousy sense of direction I usually end up wandering up (probably in circles as well) and down the many narrow streets which are crammed with shops and stalls selling gold, materials, clothes, perfumes, household items, traditional sweets, nuts, flavoured waters… and a plethora of other essentials! Very enthusiastic store holders greet you at every turn, describing their products and services and each one promising a better price than the other!

Passing by an alley way I notice the usual daily gathering of men at a traditional cafe, many of which I am sure have been friends for years. All catching up on the daily happenings around the island and their own lives, while drinking chai (tea) and smoking tobacco leaves (gidow). Still as friendly as every and happily allowing a quick photo, offering me chai and water while passing through!

My favourite part of the souk… the spices!  Colourful mounds of different spices and herbs fill the surrounding air with a heady aromatic aroma that would make any foodie go weak at the knees!various ground spices

Pleased and relaxed with my morning visit, never coming away from the souk empty-handed (always little surprise finds) and with my supply of lentils and whole spices in hand… my next stop is the kitchen!

churning your own ice cream!

Having my own ice cream machine has given me much more flexibility when making different types of ice creams and frozen ices. Without the machine, the method of hand stirring and still freezing ice cream was very time-consuming with some recipes. Home-made ice cream without all the additives is a big plus. Children love to cook and I know that making their own ice cream will be a big hit with them… it was with mine!

Rock salt and ice used in the freezing process of ice cream

Some years ago I decided to buy my first ice cream machine and the only one I could find at the time was the type requiring rock salt and ice which you had to layer around the inside container of the machine, chilling and freezing the mixture inside while being churned … at least the churn was electric and not hand-cranked!

Crushing and layering the ice was a bit of a hassle plus keeping an eye on the salt and ice levels (living in a hot climate) posed another challenge. Over time, excitement and enthusiasm of making home-made ice cream began to melt away (pun intended) and the machine ended up in the store-room gathering dust…eventually given away.

Churning the ice-cream with an electric paddle helps break up the ice crystals and incorporates air, resulting in a lighter and smoother ice cream

When traveling, visiting kitchen shops are always high on my list… so it wasn’t  long before I had a new ice cream machine wrapped snugly inside my suitcase… bound for Bahrain .

The freeze bowl type with the  electric churn is the most popular and the one I use, light in weight and taking up very little space on my kitchen worktop. The bowl houses a special liquid freezing solution (hurray no ice and salt) insulated inside its walls which then needs to be placed for a minimum of 10  hours (depending on model) in the freezer before use. Before buying you might want to check that your freezer, especially drawer types can accommodate the size of the bowl.

Make sure when drying the bowl that you use a lint free cloth,  taking care to dry all the little nooks, if they get blocked with ice the motor head will not attach properly, plus chipping the ice away may damage your bowl.

Tip:  After making a batch of ice cream I always return the bowl (washed and dried) back to the freezer compartment where it is stored all the time, making it always available for use.

The larger and more expensive ice cream machines contain their own freezer unit and work independently. The big advantage is that they can churn out one batch of ice cream after another. Heavy and taking up a much bigger space on a kitchen worktop.

Other uses: Need to chill a bottle of wine fast…use the freeze bowl!

Pumpkin Ice Cream coming up …!

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