Thursday, March 31, 2016

Yoga in Kuwait

If you are looking for a Yoga place in Kuwait, this is the best one.



Tawas - an all natural deodorant

Ever since I read about deodorants and their side effects, I have been on the search for an all-natural deodorant.

Coconut oil can be used since it has antibacterial properties. Just apply a small amount after bath and when you wake up you will not have smelly underarms. But once you start sweating, you end up smelling but not as bad. But then it fails totally when you do some heavy duty work like exercise.

Another option is mixing equal amounts of baking soda, corn flour and coconut oil. This concoction does work but it takes time for the body to get adjusted for it to work for you. And then too, it isn't effective during exercise.

And again my search was on.

It was during a casual talk with a friend that she mentioned about Tawas and how she was using it as a deodorant. I couldn't wait to try it out and bought it the same day :)


This is how the packaging is. 
A small see through container filled up to the brim. There are scented and non-scented varieties available. I bought the non-scented variety.
It is also available as a block or a stick.





That is how the powder looks like.Its very fine and white in colour. I have been using it for a month now and you can see how much powder is still left in the container.

How to apply?
Immediately after bath, take a small pinch and apply it to the damp armpit. That's it. You will be amazed at how you don't stink the whole day. Yes, it works. 100%. It does not inhibit sweating but eliminates the sweaty stink. And as an added benefit, it helps in whitening your underarms.

If you are using the stick form, just dampen the stick and rub it on your armpits.

Tawas is actually the commercial name of the product (in Phillipines). The ingredient is alum powder. Alum is hydrated potassium aluminium sulphate. 

It is called Fitkari in India and is available online.

And as per the shopkeeper, this can be used by men also, to sooth the skin after a shave.

I am really happy with this product. 
It is natural and doesn't cost much. The small 45gm container costs me 0.250fils and the stick was 0.600 fils. It is very cheap but does its job.

My only issue with the product is with the packaging. It is filled up to the brim with the product and if you are not careful while opening, it can spill.

So if you are allergic to deodorants and anti-perspirants or would like to try natural products, you should definitely give Tawas a try.

An affordable, easy to use and natural deodorant.
Yayyyyyyy.




Wednesday, March 30, 2016

appam with wheat flour



Appam made of wheat flour?

What? Huh? Really? - this was the expression on my face as I saw a friend's post on the social media.

It looked like a doable kind of recipe and the curious me who likes to experiment wanted to try it out.

And what say, the end result was a soft appam that didn't have the taste of wheat at all.

Ingredients
1) Wheat flour – 2 cups
2) Milk – 3 tbsp
3) Sugar – 5 tsp
4) Yeast – ½ tsp
5) Salt – as required
6) Coconut milk – as required

7) Warm water - as required

Method

To lukewarm milk, add one teaspoon of sugar, stir till it dissolves and add the yeast. Close it and keep it aside for 10 - 15 minutes for the yeast to come alive and do its magic.

Add the wheat flour into a deep bowl. Add the salt and the rest of the sugar (5tsp) into the wheat flour and mix it well. To this, add the fermented yeast. Mix well by adding warm water. You need to get a thick batter; not runny but very very thick batter without any lumps. Keep the thick batter overnight to ferment (7 - 8 hours). 

Next day, add enough coconut milk to the fermented batter to get an appam batter consistency. Leave it undisturbed for an hour. 

When you start making appams, ladle the batter from the top and use.
Serve the appam with egg curry or chicken curry.



The appams were light and soft and tasty.

Another winner recipe.

Thank you dear friend.


Left over idlis with carrot


When ever I make idli, I often end up with some left overs and this keeps sitting in the fridge until the day I throw it out. 

I stumbled upon this recipe in my search for how to use those left over idlis.

The recipe is tasty, nutritious and filling as well.

The amazing colour of this dish is appealing to the eyes as well.

This recipe is adapted from here.

Ingredients
1. Left over idlis - 6 (crumbled)
2. Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
3. Coconut oil - 2 tbsp
4. Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
5. Green chilli - 2 (slit)
6. Carrot - 1 (grated)
7. Turmeric powder - a pinch
8. Garam masala - a pinch
9. Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp
10. Methi leaves - 2 tsp 
11. Tomato ketchup - 2 tsp
12. salt - to taste
13. Curry leaves - 5
14. Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp

Method:
In a deep pan, heat the coconut oil and splutter the mustard seeds. Add the curry leaves to it.  Add the onion, green chilli and saute till the onion turns translucent. 

Then add the ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone. 

To this add the grated carrot and keep stirring till the carrots are cooked partially. The idea is to retain the crunchiness of the carrot. 

Now add the kasuri methi leaves (crush it in your hand before adding it), turmeric, garam masala and the tomato ketchup. Give everything a good stir and now add the idlis (you can crumble them by hand easily) and cook everything for a few more minutes. Keep stirring in between and add the coriander leaves in the end.

Please note that this recipe calls for a day old idlis and not the freshly prepared ones. 

You can serve it as such or with some sambar or coconut chutney.


The semolina bread saga

I love to bake.
It is therapeutic for me :)
There is something about the measuring,sifting,kneading,pouring and seeing the fruits of my labour rising to glory in the oven.

I have seen many bread recipes while roaming the cyber space but was a little scared to venture into trying a recipe; Until a friend of mine, who is an avid baker (oh my you just have to see her posts) posted photos of her home made bread on the social media. A little chat with her and she encouraged me and I went ahead and tried my hands at baking bread at home. 
Oh my, bread making is a sticky process but at the end of it all, you feel proud of your creation. You can go wrong too if you are not careful. The bread can become dense if you knead it too much or add too much water. To sum it up, you need to try it out a few times before you can master it.

Well, a semolina bread is what I would call a beginner bread baker recipe. You can never really go that wrong with this recipe. And a positive end result is almost always assured (that is if you don't mess up the recipe too much). The recipe calls to dump everything at one go and yeah, that is my kinda recipe.

The bread is soft, has a nutty flavor to it. You can use ordinary semolina but I used the fine semolina called chiroti rava (available in bakalas in Kuwait).

The recipe is adapted from here.

Ingredients
1. Water - 1 1/2 cups
2. Instant Yeast- 1 tsp
3. Semolina or Semolina flour - 3 1/4 cups
4. Sugar - 1 Tbsp
5. Extra-Virgin Olive oil - 1/4 cup
6. Salt - 1 1/2 tsp

Method
Add water to a big deep bowl. To this water add the yeast, sugar, salt and olive oil. Give it a mix and add the semolina to it. Mix everything roughly with a spatula and wait for 5 minutes so that the semolina can absorb the liquid and become fluffy. Now knead it a bit so it forms a ball.

Transfer the dough to a work surface sprinkled with some semolina and knead for about 10 minutes (until it is smooth). Keep the dough covered in an oiled bowl and let it double in size. It took me 1 1/2 hours.

Punch the dough and shape it into a loaf and tranfer the loaf to a oiled bread pan (8 inch bread pan) and allow it to rise again (this step is very important; the dough has to rise upto the rim of the bread pan). This part took about 50 minutes for me.

Once the dough has risen a second time, bake it in a preheated oven at 180 degree celsius for 45 minutes (or more depending on the oven).

The size of the bread pan is important. Mine was a bigger one so the height of the bread was compromised.


It tastes different and it tastes good.

I have baked this bread a few times and each time the outcome was near perfect.

Definitely a keeper recipe and a must try recipe for those who like to try something different.



Monday, March 28, 2016

Bourjois liner pinceau 16H eyeliner

I do not consider eyeliner as a make up anymore. It is an integral part of my routine like a face wash or moisturiser.  

I have tried a few eyeliners but was never really happy with any of them. The Lakme liquid eyeliner was my go to eyeliner since it did its job quite well until I was introduced to this eyeliner by the sales assistant in Boots.

The Bourjois liner pinceau 16H eyeliner is available in black, brown and gold.
I bought the ultra black one.

The design is like a sleek pen.






Now don't be fooled by the look of the packaging. The brush part is longer than the product part. You will feel that the product is less but it easily lasts for about 6 months. The expiry date of an eyeliner is 6 months and that is stated on the package. 





The brush is amazing. It is of the correct length and thickness. You can draw an even smooth line in a single stroke without any smudges.

The product isn't runny nor very thick. It has just the right consistency and I am amazed how the brush picks up just the right amount of the product each time you open it. The product dries quickly, is very black in color and it does stay on for almost 10 hours (for me). I have not worn it beyond 10 hours but I do feel it does what it claims.


I am absolutely in love with this product and has repurchased it twice already. It gives me well defined eyes and it is oh so easy to carry around. It is priced at 5KD and available in Bourjois outlets.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cashew nut korma

Well, I like to try out different recipes. And lent time is when my recipe search intensifies for want of variety in dishes. 

Now this is one such recipe.

I use cashew nuts for garnishing, or as a paste in some recipes or simply eat it. You could make a korma or curry out of it was news to me. 

The recipe is adapted from here.




The korma was thick, creamy, delicious and rich. 
Definitely not a weight watcher's delight. lol
It is one of those curries which can be had once in a while. 

Home made strawberry jam

So what to do when you end up with a lot of strawberries in hand?
Unfortunately, the shelf life of strawberries is too short. So I HAD to find a way to use them. I need to find a way to preserve them and my thoughts led me to the idea of strawberry preserve or a jam.

The recipes on the internet calls for pectin sugar which gives the consistency of jam. I had none at hand. So I just went ahead with the castor sugar I had. 'Oh well, this is going to be an experiment anyways; so go ahead without any fear' I reassured myself.

Ingredients:
1. Strawberries (crushed) - 3 cups
2. Sugar - 2 cups
3. Lemon juice - 1/4 cup

Method:
Wash the strawberries and hull them.

Crush the strawberries with your hand or gently blend them so that you have pulp with pieces of strawberry.

Heat a deep pan and add the crushed strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce the flame to low and keep cooking the strawberries till the mixture reduces to half. This will take some time (about one hour or more). Do not forget to stir in between.

The mixture will thicken as it reduces. Allow it to cool completely before transferring to glass jars. Keep this preserve in the freezer.




While the strawberries were cooking on the stove, I was not very sure how it was going to thicken. But once cooled, it did have a thick consistency (not like jam but still thick). And it tastes good. 

World, here is strawberry jam without any preservatives or additives.

Notes:
You can add less amount of sugar while preparing the jam since you can add more while using it for recipes.
You can mix this with some cream and use it as a filling for cakes.
You can mix this with some warm milk and get instant milkshake.
The options are endless.

Yet another successful experiment.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Quiznos...

Ever since the American franchise, Quiznos, opened up in my work place, I wanted to try it out. They have subs, soups and salads.

Quiznos doesn't have many branches in Kuwait. But one can order online through talabat. They do have a Facebook (Quiznos Kuwait), twitter (quiznos_kw) and Instagram (quiznos_kw) accounts and a website.
Their hotline number is  188001.



Their small subs are like 5 or 6 inches long and is more than enough to satiate you. 
You can choose brown or white or jalapeno or rosemary Parmesan bread. I am in love with the rosemary Parmesan bread ever since I tried it. 



That is how it is packaged. I bought the egg and cheddar breakfast sub on a rosemary-parmesan bread.I do not like jalapenos and pickles in my sub, so I always avoid it. And thank god they do not give you much options like Subway :).



My friend ordered the steak, egg and cheddar sub.

The bread is quite flavorful and light. You do not feel heavy after eating the sub unlike other breads. 

Both the subs were extremely delicious and I will definitely go back to try the other ones:) :) 



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A weekend getaway at Albohayra farm

It was through a friend here that I came to know about the Albohayra farm aka Blue Lake farm. The strawberry picking part was what got me all excited about. So with great expectations, on a Friday morning, my family set out to experience and explore the Albohayra farm.


It is easy to find the location of the farm on google maps or waze app.

The sporadic rains in Kuwait has made the desert look yellowish green [The drive kind of reminded me the lands in India in the summer :). lol, what an irony.]



It was an hour and a half drive. 

Once we reached the farm, we parked our car and went right in. The gates to the strawberry farm was already open. 

Usually they open the farm by 12:45ish; so try to reach there early i.e. atleast  by 12:30pm so as not to miss picking the reddest ripest strawberries. There is always a crowd and the ripe strawberries get picked up fast. Make sure to call them to affirm that there IS strawberry picking on the day you are planning to go. This usually happens on Fridays.They have an instagram account. If you don't want to call them, just send a message on instagram and they will surely reply. 

This is the sight that greets you as you walk in.
Rows and rows of juicy red strawberries hanging down.

You will be given a pair of scissors to cut the strawberries and a plastic box to store them . One has to be careful and use the scissors only as otherwise if you try to pluck it by hand, you can uproot the plant.





My loot of the day :)




Once the strawberry picking was done, we then roamed around the farm. You can buy fresh vegetables, cheese, milk, eggs, pickles, dried herbs etc from the farm. Nabta tea is produced from here (I have a separate post on this tea. Click here)














Then we moved on to see the lillies. Ain't that sight a 'cooler' to the eyes!


We can buy saplings of lillies from here. They have scented and unscented varieties of lillies. The unscented ones cost more. I saw a lot of women with a cart of bunches of lillies. I couldn't help and bought some for myself too :D. They are sooo pretty.




This is the complete contact details of the farm.

Just as you enter the farm, on the left side is the fish pond and cattle. You can buy grass to feed the cattle and fish food for the fish.




The farm also has an artificial pond and play area for kids. There are tents which you can rent out to stay. Or you can just pack a picnic lunch basket and enjoy it in the open area. There were a few families doing that.


It was a fun filled day. We enjoyed every bit of our stay there.The weather was nice and this was a different kind of experience. I hope to do this the next year too..

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Nabta Tea


This is a made in Kuwait tea brand. I saw this tea when i visited Albohayra farm in Abdali. They have a variety of tea available like lemongrass, lemongrass and ginger, green tea with mint, black tea with basil etc.


The package is a tall cylinder which holds the cups, sugar, stirrer, and the cover for the cups.
The color of the packaging is different for different flavor of the tea.



Each individual cup holds the tea leaves and there is a mesh (which acts like a tea strainer). So when you pour water into the tea, the flavour seeps into the water without the messy tea leaves swimming all around the cup [it is a nightmare to drink that]. And yeah, no need to use a tea infuser or a tea strainer. Just pour hot water into the cup, stir in sugar, close with the lid and you are good to go.


The expiry date is two years from date of production.

They have an instagram account @nabtabrand and also a website www.nabtabrand.com


I picked the lemongrass and ginger tea from Saveco. I am not a huge fan of other flavored teas except green tea. I had tasted this tea from Abdali farm and I liked it. But you need sugar to get the real taste of the tea. I was having a sore throat and it was sooo soothing. It has the flavor of lemongrass and ginger and it is absolutely tasty. What I noticed was that one should pour some hot water into the cup, wait for a minute for the flavors to seep in and then add more hot water. Otherwise, the flavor is more concentrated in the bottom rather than throughout.



Athapookalams 2017

Onam was celebrated way back in September and there was a Pookalam competition also held then. My post is a bit late and but none the less ...