17 April 2014

Bon Voyage: India - Another Dream Comes True

In May 2012, I wrote "Bon Voyage: African Safari in Kenya & Tanzania - A Dream Comes True". Nearly two years later, another of my dream is about to realise: I'm off to India! Bring on the Taj Mahal, spicy curries and sacred cows.



Where we are going 
Our tour departs from Delhi and our first destination is Jaipur. The city is known for reflecting the beautiful fusion of the yesteryears and modernity. Jaipur is known as the Pink City because of the extensive use of the locally abundant pink plastered stone, painted so in honour of the visit of the royal consort of Queen Victoria. Jaipur thrills the soul with its massive forts, magnificent palaces, exquisite temples and lush gardens. We will attend the AARTI Ceremony, which involves oil lamps being lit and waved, in order to awake and invoke the deity. Indeed we will visit the Amber Fort and its palace and will even ascent the fort by an elephant back ride. 



Our second stop is Agra and of course the Taj Mahal. Built by Shah Jahan, Taj Mahal is a white marble memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. We will also visit the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, Agra Fort is predominantly of red sandstone. 

Back in Delhi we will have more time to visit the old town including Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the Red Fort, and the Jama Masjid. Our tour will finish with New Delhi Qutub Minar, India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President’s residence.

I can't wait to share with you the photos from my trip. I'm very much in need for a break, and an overseas holiday, so this pre-wedding trip is very exciting! See you in 10 days and happy Easter to all. 


Is India a destination of interest to you?
Have you been?


Photo credit: Ar-ka

09 April 2014

Harira: Moroccan Lentil & Chickpea Soup

I love Morocco, I love its food. Moroccan food is incredibly diverse, thanks to the country's interaction with other cultures and nations over the centuries, including Berber, Moorish, Arab and French


Today I'm sharing my own adapted version of the famous Harira soup. This vegetarian recipe calls only for a few ingredients, is low in calories, high in protein and a wonderful winter warmer! 


I have been making this recipe for a couple of years, and can't get enough of it! Using my pressure cooker I whip it up in a few minutes. Mr Slim loves it too and to be fair we have it all year round.

Ingredients

  • 200 g dried lentils - [Soaked in water for 24 hours]
  • 50 g of dried chickpeas - [Soaked in water for 24 hours]
  • 2 litres of chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoon ground coriander


Method
  1. In a large saucepan (or even better in a pressure cooker) combine all ingredients. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and chickpeas are soft.
  2. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 5-7 minutes. With a normal saucepan, cook for about 45 minutes.
  3. Serve with a slice of multi-grain bread with butter.

Do you make your own soup?
What is your favourite soup recipe?

03 April 2014

Fashion and Me: I'm no Fashionista

I'm not a fashionista. Keeping up to date with the latest fashion trends, styles and celebrities gossip is something I've never found the time to do. Or the money. What I dislike most about fashion is that it is ephemeral. Even Karl Langerfield says it: "Fashion is ephemeral, dangerous and unfair"


It may all come down to childhood trauma. Growing up in rural France, as a (slightly overweight) kid my goal was to blend in. The problem is in France, we do not wear uniforms to school. Damn, I wish we had! Mum lived in Paris for many years before we moved to Carcassonne. When we relocated to the south of France, she somehow thought dressing her kids 'like in the big city' was still appropriate. Wrong! When I was about 9 I begged mum to not make me wear leopard print leggings with boots and a velvet black top to school. She believed I looked fantastic. I never ever wore animal prints again. That wasn't a good start for my entry into the world of fashion. 

While I'm far from being a fashion victim, I have to confess, Fashionistas fascinate me - I kind of admire them - devoting their life to their wardrobe - or perhaps am I simply envying their natural sense of style?

I know I am no fashionista but don't get me wrong I do like clothes, and the way I dress and look is very important to me. But like with my cooking I like it simple. I don't over do it. I play the card of authenticity. I want it comfortable yet classy. Bottom line: there is no right or wrong, the key is to wear clothes that reflect best our individual identity. 

Are you a fashion victim?
What is your best fashion tip?

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