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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fashion that doesn't bleed!

Been a very very long time since I wrote something on the blog... :) 

But moving and being busy doesn't really help. So becoming vegetarian (again) wasn't really something I saw my self being capable of doing, because come on Australia has so much of wine, and with wine comes cheese and cold cuts.. 


But once I put my mind to it, it was easy as it could get. However today's post isn't about vegetarianism or veganism... its about Fashion. 






A few months ago, I put my head to buying my self a Prada bag (yes vain) but a girl needs a dream... I found the bag, found the price and was on my way to collecting/saving to purchase this beautiful bag for my self... I came across this peta video about fur and leather, which made me sit and cry my heart out. I never condoned fur - WHY in the WORLD WOULD SOMEONE WEAR FUR? WHY?? WHY?? and I always made it a point never to purchase leather goods... side note however I love shoes, and always bought them, never thought twice about the material until one day I was preaching to a friend about how all the big companies such as louise vuitton, prada, louboutin uses leather till she pointed out to me to check if my shoes said leather upper, which infact it did... this broke my heart.. I still have a few products which obviously is leather which I cannot throw away for sentimental reasons. However I will NEVER purchase anything leahter going forward. THAT was my promise.


After much research high and low and stalking instagram  I've found some designers if one wants to pamper your self guilt free and cruelty free. (these are only a few, you can find plenty online)  I my self carry a bag made out of cloth :) gives me a lot of pleasure... 



Corature


Stella McCartney


Freedom of Animals

Matt and Nat

Labante London

Ethique212

Viva  Creatures


Will be on the look out for some lankan designers.. But I do know for sure Lonali from House of Lonali  definitely is someone who looks for ethical ways of producing a garment... 

Remember,  PU stands for Polyurethane is a tad more eco-friendly than PVC. Bonded Leather and Genuine Suede actually does contain animal products. If you see the terms FauxPleatherSuedette or Leatherette  you are good to go!!!

Peace xox

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Sri Lankan" Lime Pie ;)

I've started subscribing to all things food recently, be it bite-sized (pun intended) recipe how-to videos on FB and foodie channels on Instagram and on and on. This makes me super hangry most of the time BUT also inspires me to get into the kitchen to try my hand at a few of them. One such recipe is the "Key Lime Pie"; made originally using key limes (Floridian) and pastry for the base. I picked an easier recipe which called for;

a) Graham cracker crust - crackers were easier to find/ prepare than pastry, and I was stuck for time... boo!
b) I used Sri Lankan lime which gave a really nice tartness to the pie as a whole. No lemon either :( Darn you Keells.

The important part of baking in general is getting all the stuff ready and to be at hand; makes life MUCH easier. (Laptop with loaded recipe :D). Pictured below is the Munchee version of digestive biscuits, quite sweet but very economical. I adjusted the sugar because of this.


The base is just the Munchee graham cracker with unsalted butter, sugar and salt. It disintegrates really easily and doesn't need any fancy food processes as such. I also added some flaked coconut for added flavour. 


Base patted down and baked to perfection below! The coconut gave it a yummylicious smell once baked too. *thumb up*


Separating the egg yolks "Masterchef style" (with a judgey judge watching my every move... eeks!)

I can has whatever you're making?
Whip up condensed milk, egg yolks and lime juice and add on top of the baked crust. The lime juice thickens up the yolks and milk into a pudding texture naturally, which was a real surprise to me :D SCI-E-NCE! (I made a smaller dish of the pie as a sample for myself...nom!)


Apparently the original pie was eaten without any baking but modern recipes call for 20min or so of baking since eating uncooked eggs may not be the healthiest thing to do these days.


And, TA-DA! Pretty easy huh? It came out exactly like the stuff you get in coffee shops. I also made a passion fruit coulis (fancy talk for syrup) to go with it. I covered the pie with the foil top and wrapped in a bag before keeping it in the fridge for later. I read that it gets better with time since the flavours have time to mingle.


Full recipe over here.

Happy baking ya'll!

xo
Dee

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Kalpitiya, Dolphins, Seafood!

We ventured up to Kalpitiya a few weekends ago since a few of us hadn't gone dolphin or whale watching at all. The drive itself is not too bad, being just 3 hours or so away from Colombo... but travelling with a 5mo old is an entirely different operation! She is generally a non-fussy baby but 3 hours cramped in her little baby carrier made her cranky and she insisted to be carried half the way. I know, I know....it's insanely dangerous - but please judge a mother when you're ACTUALLY a mother. We just do what we have to man.

Anyway, we stayed at Diyamba Beach Resort which is a cute little place, belonging to a lovely little Aunty called Ramani (not related, every adult is an Aunty or Uncle obviously). My review on Tripadvisor here, so I won't harp on the place here.

Diyamba Beach Resort
The sea - Well, if you're into swimming in really calm, warm waters... Kalpitiya is your thing. It's basically a lagoon with a natural reef so there's literally no waves. It's also very shallow and therefore warm - I assume kids would love it. Do I sound negative? Possibly because my kind of beach would be Unawatuna, where it's calm enough to swim but moves enough to give that bit of excitement :D (Why do I sound like a sex toy ad?)

Resident podi-guard and cutie "Singham" (a.k.a Lion in Tamil)
Dolphin watching starts early. Aunty Ramani arranged a boat to come pick us at 7am itself. There was about 10 boats in the sea that morning so not too much traffic. I wondered whether the noise and smell of diesel disrupt the marine life but never got an answer to that. Apparently the spinner dolphins feed early morning and just play around during the time the boats come in the see them. Also, if you see say, 15 dolphins on the surface - there are three layers underneath - making it a pod of 45...pretty cool eh?

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
We also dipped our GoPro Hero 4 into the water and got this amazing footage!

So Animal Planet-y
And finally, c'est moi! and my first time snorkelling!


You don't get a lot of colourful corals but there are lots of cool looking fish - especially lots of Dory types, lol (Finding Nemo ref).

Cost wise, other than the room cost, the boat should be about SLR 15,000 (dolphin watching and snorkelling both) and SLR 12,000 for dolphins only. Aunty Ramani said migratory whales should come by soon and that's amazing to see too. If you're REALLY REALLY lucky, you MIGHT see orcas too (killer whales)...but they are quite rare. Spinners hang around the lagoon and move on in the Indian Ocean since its warm and full of stuff they like to eat. The only scary part is the dynamite fishing going on in the lagoon...they even snag the occasional dolphin and quickly dispose of it, it seems. They've already killed half the corals and even the Navy used to not give a damn about corals back in the day (shared by our boatman).. I guess ignorance about nature and conservation is a large hindrance in Sri Lanka as always. Hopefully it'll change over time since the Director-General of Wildlife has changed to someone who's actually educated in the matter - Happy Days!

xo
Dee

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Walnuts galore!

SUNDAYYYYY is BAKE DAYYYY!!! I am a nutter for anything with nuts so this time around I thought of using some walnuts that I have been wanting to make use of. The earthy taste of walnuts goes well with coffee so I decided to make MOCHA WALNUT CUPCAKES!

This recipe makes 20 cuppies, more than enough for you to stuff ur face with while sharing it among friends and family :)

First things first:
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso coffee powder ( Living in Sri Lanka, espresso granules are not found in regular households so I used regular Nestcafe)
  • 85 grams butter
  • 100 grams white sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 200 ml water
  • 225 grams flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder ( I used Cadbury)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 large egg 
  • 40 grams chopped walnuts
Whipped cream frosting:
  • 1.5 tsp coffee mixed with 1 tsp hot water
  • 1 carton of small Anchor whipping cream (250 ml)
  • 2-3 tbsp of icing sugar (less or more according to your taste)
Decoration:
  • Few whole walnuts
  • cocoa powder for dusting
I always start to pre heat the oven half way through the cake making process so leave turning on your oven for now and get STARTED!!!

Place a bowl in the fridge large enough to whip the whipping cream later. This will ensure that the cream does not go flat and whips up to be more stiff.

Place the coffee powder, honey, sugar, butter and the water in a saucepan.

Heat gently while stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and leave it to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Pour the mixture to a heatproof bowl and leave it to cool.
Lightly beat the egg in a dish. Add the soda bicarbonate to the milk and stir to dissolve. leave it aside.




Make sure the mixture has cooled to start adding in the flour and cocoa powder. Add the egg and soda + milk mixture and beat together until smooth. Finally add the chopped walnuts and mix again.



Now is a good time to pre heat the oven to 180 C/350 F or gas mark 4.

Line your cupcake tray with 20 paper cases. Use an ice cream scoop to pour the batter in to the cases.


Bake for 15-20 minutes until its risen and firm to the touch. transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.



Take the cold bowl from the fridge and pour the contents of the whipping cream sachet. Whip it until it starts to hold its shape. Add the icing sugar and the concentrated coffee mixture. Whip until the cream is stiff enough to pipe on top of the cupcakes. 

Pour the whipped cream to a piping bag and drop them on the top of the cupcake. Place half a walnut on top for garnishing purposes and dust cocoa powder to add a more dramatized effect.



Now...the most important part of the process....
carefully select the cupcake of your choice and SHOVE IT DOWN YOUR MOUTH AS FAST AS YOU CAN. Repeat this process until you get sick of cupcakes!! (Only until next time) :)


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stuff you always wanted to ask a pregnant woman...



1. What's morning sickness like?

I have no idea. Never had it. I think MS depends on person to person and I was one of the lucky ones to never have it. I was instead nauseous for the whole first-trimester. The smell of Thai or Chinese food made me want to hurl. Hubby used to force-feed me so I would eat. The moment the 3rd month was done - I was fine!

2. Did you know you were pregnant? Without doing the tests and stuff?

Hmm... once I thought I felt a fluttering in my tummy, but I couldn't really say. It look a week of a missed period for me to want make sure and get the proper tests done :)

3. What do baby kicks feel like?

Sometimes like a fish swimming from one end to another... sometimes like a slight nudge from the inside-out. Sometimes small movements or ticks (these could be hiccups, I can't say). It's quite magical sometimes and sort of personal because its only between you and baby. :) Sometimes I wish I could share the feeling with Hubs but I guess he makes do with just keeping his hands on my tummy and feeling her move.

4. Are pineapples actually bad for you?

I really get sick of the many food based opinions people have. So far I've been told not to eat seafood, papaya (?), pineapple etc. But reading new resources like What to Expect when You're Expecting and credible online sources- yes, there are pretty obvious things you shouldn't eat - like raw fish/ sushi, raw papaya, tons of chillie paste (that's just stoopid), unpasteurised milk or soft cheeses - but my stance was EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. Also, there is no such thing as eating for two, apparently you need only a few extra 400 calories to a normal diet anyway. Oh and pineapples? It could apparently only create pre-term labour if you eat like 3-8 whole ones... who would do that anyway? :/

5. Do you get tired?

I was SUPER tired during the first trimester. 2nd trimester was the best! No issues at all. Third trimester, I get tired if I work a lot during the day (physically - like cleaning or walking a lot or the heat) and need to lie down a bit and maybe sleep early. Sleep is beautiful.

6. Any discomfort?

Only in the third trimester when I'm trying to get out of bed. I honestly feel like I've got a small sized bowling ball strapped to my tummy, lol. Oh and the peeing - yep, at least three times a night.
Other discomforts would be clothes I guess, when even the looser jeans feel snug under the tummy. T-shirts never make it past the belly button. Its easy to resort to fugly kurthis and stretch pants - but don't. Just don't.

Oh! And BURPING. Embrace it. It's gonna happen. Almost all the time. Especially when you're just about to get hungry and post-meals also. Burp burp burp burp burp.

7. Any weird side effects?

I've started drinking flavoured tea- definitely a weird side-effect. No weird food cravings as such except during the 3rd trimester.. again, I think it depends on each person. My most recent cravings were chocolate biscuit pudding, bredhure (SO off-season) and spare ribs. (This could also be my usual greedyness...I can't say!)

8. What are the most awkward questions people have asked you?

Did you plan to have the baby? (No - totally an act of passion. Yes - I'm super planned and have a control of my reproductive system) I mean...how do you even answer that? :/ (Psst...it was the latter)

You're really big for 7 months aren't you? (BITCH, people carry differently. Some are small, some are big - deal with it, ignoramus)

Should you be eating that? (Yes. I should be. Who are you, my mother?)

All the above questions in the middle of lots of people... totally awkward (not everyone wants to constantly talk about babies/ pregnancy - including meee :D)

9. Do you wish it was a boy?

Well, once you know the gender, I guess you sort of get used to the idea that you're going to have a daughter and that excites you. If it was a boy, I guess I'd be a little apprehensive but excited non the less. I think your mind settles when you finally get to know the gender and then you start planning. (Say no to pink!)

10. How is it overall?

I would say a wonderful experience! :) Nothing like the movies.... very personal and sweet.

I guess that's about it for now. "Stuff you always wanted to ask about delivery" - coming up!














Monday, January 26, 2015

The BIG move!

So after considering a move for almost 2 years the hubster and I decided to do a "long term 5 year plan"which is why I, was a tad quiet.

meh!

moving!

Big step!

FAMILY!!!

missing home. The hubster (because the "move" was broken in to two) he may take some time to make his move. this all depends on finding work etc.

gah!

friend!

new ones!

living life like a gypsy!

living out of a bag!

getting fat!

not getting to cook all that much....

new experiences!

new place!

just new things altogether!

oh well!!! you gotta do what you gotta do!

What I've realized so far, though I miss/dislike some of the above, moving/living/long term plan isn't too bad!

well, as I said the job hunt just started so I need to get on with it; from what I've seen, everyone is dare I say equal. One job may actually be sufficient for a family to survive (IF you don't really want savings... ;) )

Need to buck up and give it a go! (Open box. Take feelings. Put in box. CLOSE BOX. HIDE BOX. Put a do not open sticker on the box)

In other news my room is quiet. Way too quiet. I could actually hear my tummy grumble. 

hmmmm.....

the good thing for my bestie here is she gets a selfie of me everyday!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hooked on a Veggie Feeling

After two glorious days at Cinnamon Habarana with my in-laws, we are BACK with a vengeance to lose the extra pounds (yet again). Of course going to a hotel on full board means some amazing food and variety that you just can't say NO to (like blue cheese!) - and Cinnamon is by far NO exception. The continental food was tops and so was the Sri Lankan food. Habarana itself had a beautiful weather, a lot of rain and everything was so green, fresh and lush. Loved it.

So being back and not really in a mood to eat meat (since I binged on so much at the hotel) - I just pottered around and made this...


I used a whole-wheat Prima flat bread (available at Keels/ Cargills), slathered some french onion cheese spread (from USA but you get versions here.. mad expensive though) and topped it up with a salad of cucumbers, red cabbage, tomatoes and a dash of Italian salad dressing (not creamy, just olive oil, herbs, vinegar). In hindsight, onions and a little balsamic vinegar would have been an added yum - but what the hey.

I've been thinking of ways to "sexy"-up vegetables... it seems that chicken has been a staple for us and you tend to eat so much of it in many forms - like fresh chicken/ meatballs/ sausages/ kieves etc. So I've been trying to stop the Hub's liking for it. I personally think its the most unhealthy meat (if you must eat meat) anyone can have - only because broiler chicken is just so unnatural and full of hormones and things. Oh check out my internet-learned Pothola-dhaal curry I made for tomorrow's lunch.



Anyway, its a quiet Sunday evening with Hub at an office seminar. Snack done - off to do some work!

Ta!