Monday, May 28, 2007


Originally uploaded by Adventuress Heart
My latest collection of photos are from Saturday's picnic. I had a wonderful time preparing everything, even though my mom was very discouraged at the idea of grilling, the previous day we had gone out shopping for everything including a charcoal BBQ and grocery shopping a few times (every store seems to carry different things around here so that's a bit of a headache)

This was the first time I've ever done grilling on my own, while I've always been invited to BBQs and helped out my grand-dad but never had any real idea how it works.
Last time I was invited to a picnic was around Feb last year back in Yemen, but I can't say I have many fond memories of that.
It was at Wadi Bani Matar (the valley of the people of rain or "tribe of rain") and while the place and setting were absolutely breathtaking I couldn't identify with the way things were done, a little disorganized to enjoy.

I don't believe entertaining should be stressful, if done properly it can be a great experience as I've discovered.
A notebook helped me a lot, planning and writing lists of everything, especially when it comes to foods that need 24 hours or so to be prepared.

Let's not forget the weather though, everything else was running wonderfully yet as soon as my sister and I carried the first batch of things down an unexpected shower started, we couldn't help but burst out laughing instead of getting stressed out. Quickly we went back up and thought of changing the plan to the park near by where there is a shelter, mother however would have to drive us there, and we'd have to take all the supplies at once. In ten minutes - alhamdulillah - the rain stopped.

My sister was a great help and those match light instant charcoals saved us a lot of trouble. Glad mom decided not to join us because I'm sure she'd start worrying the moment the flame erupted, we waited patiently for 10 mins as the instructions pointed out and sure enough everything went smoothly after that.

The setting was perfect, right on the grounds of the condo building, I've never seen this picnic area before!! Here are some lovely shots my sister captured. You may be able to see the stream and bride that run from the golf course down into the lake.


Back yard :)

Grilling seafood



Meat tikka  لحم تكة

Chicken Tikka دجاج تكة

Peppers on grill


Shrimp جمبري

Meanwhile my sister and I were downstairs my other two sisters and mom did some cleaning up on the balcony, and they prepared this lovely surprise for me...

Sufra wa mafarish - Arab Style

Basically they quickly put together this decorated "arab" mafarish, surfa style decor out there. I was truly speechless at how "middle eastern" it felt stepping out there. Loved it!!


Tafadhalu ..    تفضلوا الغداء جاهز

Peppers, tomatoes and onions..

While it was a wonderful day, I'd like to dedicate a portion of this entry to Remy. Sadly on Saturday the 26th of May, and as soon as we got down there and prepared the coals I spotted this little mouse that appeared to have died recently, he was so cute *sniffles*
I had named him Remy after the Rat character in Disney's new movie "Ratatouille" ..

My sister took these shots of the sweet little guy. Even though we never knew him we miss him and he'll always be remembered.

Rest in Peace little Remy. Below is a shot of the grave we've buried him in and decorated it with flowers.



Thursday, May 24, 2007


Haven't been up to much lately, just taking it easy, enjoying the weather whenever possible and doing some cooking.

My mother recently purchased a deep fryer, while I'm not a huge fan of "fried" foods she says the thing is pretty convenient - I say at least the parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning convenience. Other than that its not that bad, though a bread maker sounds a lot more interesting, will have to borrow my grandparents' bread-maker and see what I can do with it. That should be fun since I'm a huge bread lover!
I've got a few new recipes in mind to try out as well, will keep updating on how that goes.

Today I learned about this yummy way to make broccoli, usually I'll just boil it, make salad, put it in veggie soup, mac & cheese, casseroles, or it goes into my "famous" "broccoli puffs" as my sisters call them, which is just a broccoli cheese mixture rolled up into a bread dough kind of like a savory cinnabon thing.

Anyway, this is so amazingly easy and incredibly good, just wash the broccoli, slice it down the stalk (or make a few slits in the stalk again) then coat with some olive oil and salt. Bake at 400 or so until they look like in the photo below! (the bottoms may get crispy and coloured, since the ones in the photo were after I had turned and removed them from the oven ;) )
I like cooking sweet potatoes and turnips that way also, cutting them up into equally sized cubes then just coating with oil, a bit of salt and even a dash of cinnamon then baking until they're tender.

It's almost summer, yay, my favourite season! Time sees to fly so quickly, we're already in the end of May (how'd that happen?) :O That means it's picnic season!! Well that's pretty much what summer means to me, and I love picnics!
As odd as it sounds, what I love most about them is not so much the whole gathering, fun, games, eating and all that, rather just the planning and preparation, cooking..etc. is what I really enjoy about it.
Hoping to get some good shots this year, now that I have a camera :)


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Salmon Shawarma


Salmon Shawarma

One of my all time favourite recipes, and I found that salmon is also very versatile to cook with, I'm sure even non fish lovers will love this recipe, there is no "fishiness" to it at all and it's absolutely wonderful!


- 8 pieces of thawed salmon fillets (drained well and cut into strips)
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 onion, 4 cloves of garlic finely minced in food processor
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp white vinegar

- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp dry ginger or fresh paste
- 1/2 tsp dried mint
- Smoke powder or liquid smoke
- black pepper


In a large bowl mix together all the above ingredients and let them marinade well, could go in the fridge overnight. Do NOT add salt to the mixture just yet, as that will cause more water to come out.
When it's time to cook, heat oven to 400 F and pour mixture into a baking dish/lasagne pan, spread it all out nicely until it's about 1 inch thickness in the pan. Bake for 45 or so, every now and then checking on it, taking it out and stirring until it's all dried and coated well (as in the photo)
Once the mixture comes together well sprinkle it generously with salt and bake until it's dried up well, taste and add more salt if needed.

Let it cool completely for spices to settle and flavours to come out.

Meanwhile prepare pita bread, chop veggies (tomato, lettuce, pickles, cucumbers.. etc) for sandwhiches and make the dip by mixing:

- 1/2 cup tahini
- salt
- sumaq (can be found in middle eastern shops, leave out if not available)
- pickle juice or water
- fresh lemon juice or citric acid crystals
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise

Whisk together the tahini with the spices and add the water/pickle juice mixture gradually until it thickens, it may seperate at first but keep whisking and the mixture should come together and form a creamy dressing like consistency.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Outdoor shots

Originally uploaded by Adventuress Heart.
Lately I've been experimenting a lot more with the outdoors instead of the general macros, food shots and my favourites like capturing ethnic and tribal shots.

Here are some of my favourites from the parks around the GTA which include Marie Curtis (etobicoke, mississauga), Promenade boat lake park (mississauga) as well as High Park and downtown Toronto.


Blossoms ..

Interesting bird (fowl)

gosslings pecking away

High Park



Pretty tree

Beautiful swan!

Swan lake II

Preening Swan


Swan Lake

Boat park

Shades of nature


Friday, May 11, 2007

Pasta Salad

Feta, black bean & penne pasta salad..

Black Bean, Feta & Penne pasta Salad

Summer black bean, feta and penne pasta salad


1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 stalks of celery cleaned and finely chopped/diced
1 large tomato diced (or cherry tomatoes cut into quarters or halves)
3 large pickles diced
1 cup cubed or crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup olives, black, green or both!
thawed frozen corn kernels, fresh corn or canned (optional)

Mix all the above in a large salad bowl and add:

Salt (to taste and depends on the saltiness of the cheese)
black pepper
juice of half a lemon/lime or a pinch of lemon crystals (citric acid)
2 tbsp pickle juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried mint (or fresh)
1/4 cup olive oil (or less)
Sumaq (optional)
crushed red chilis or cayenne pepper (optional and to taste)
1/2 tbsp minced onion (optional)
1/8 tsp minced garlic (optional)
Chopped cilantro (optional)

Let the above marinate well, boil Penne pasta or any preferred type, drain well and mix with salad mixture.

Serve room temperature.