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How to make food, desserts, soaps, candles and much more!
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A tribute to my mentor!

Written by Nazarina on April 23rd, 2012

I do not have a recipe today, as I am mourning the passing of my second Mother! I felt the need to come here today, to grieve, and just to talk.

Farewell Tietie, as you embark on the most important journey of your life! May the Almighty God forever bless your soul!

…..It was on the morning of 4/14/12, when I received an e-mail from my aunt Mona, from sunny South Africa, stating that my beloved Aunt (Tietie) was gravely ill in hospital! Her words were, “Tietie gravely ill in hospital, things do not look good; I am at her side! Please say a little prayer for her!”

My heart skipped a beat and I immediately felt an uncontrollable pang of apprehension! Oh no, I started to sob, this is like losing my Mom all over again! The cessation of a loved-one’s life, once more, felt so surreally palpable and there was nothing anyone could do!  Please God, I said, do not make her leave us, make her whole again…. but deep down I knew that Tietie was ready to obey the call of the Almighty!

….And so my tribute begins:

To Tietie, our second mother, the hospital cook, the day-care teacher, and mentor of my love for food and who has also taught my siblings, my cousins, even her siblings and all her friends,  the fundamentals of some really flavorful cuisine. Her motto was never to skimp, but only to splurge on the very best of ingredients. Her fastidious nature commanded that every aspect of dining reflect that of a traditionalist and that every meal, be delicious, yet unforgettable. She lovingly prepared meals from scratch and to even dare open up a can, was taboo. In fact,  all my elders displayed these anal dining antics and the one thing they all agreed upon was, whatever the numbers, giving your guests a good time was by far the most important thing to do.

As you can denote from this blog, I always try to put into practice, the food lessons learned from her . I must confess though, that sometimes,  I do tend to seek an easier way out of her classic recipes, but the one thing I would never do is to sacrifice, flavor! She insisted upon it and I would never dream of disgracing her!

To all that has had the honor of her teachings in food, let us all try just a little bit harder to keep her atavistic legacy in food alive.

____________________________________________________________

Sigh! I have tried to separate my  stanzas in this and the next poem and also tried to achieve the soft line breaks, but cannot get it to work, “WordPress” will just not budge. I do not want to mess with the “Html” code just yet! I shall have to acquaint myself with, WordPress, “writing poetry” rules…sigh!  So read my poems  here!

********************************

For Tietie

This is a poem I wrote, mainly for me and “to let her go” with dignity and grace!

“Sabr” is thy virtue……..By Nazarina A

Do not ridicule her passing,

do not ponder upon her death

instead, let her take her place -

amongst the pious and the pardoned,

enjoy the bounty of God’s garden.

All praises be to our Creator

for choosing her, the patient and the pure,

where suffering could no longer lure,

an innocent and tolerant child

to an underworld gone wild.

___________________________________________________________

I thought it only prudent to include this poem as well, as it is a poem about the Prophet,  (S.A.W),   (Peace be upon Him).  I wrote it while still in college.

The Prophet and the Spider……….by NazarinaA

Spider, spider on the wall,

jointed legs and very tall,

protected by your magical web

free from harm and free from dread.

Spider, spider on the wall,

widowed, black and very bold,

king of the animals of  the underworld

protected the Prophet, while on the road

evading hatred and the sword.

Spider, spider on the wall,

creeping, stalking, on the crawl -

we dare not ignore those watchful eyes

It was you who heard the Prophet’s cries,

gave him sanctuary, when no one else could,

instilling solace on a broken feud.

Spider, spider on the wall

always proud, you never fall,

gave the Prophet a second chance,

to live, to love and just to dance

to smell the emerald sea and ruby night,

He soon forgot this teary song

and urgent plight!

_______________________________________________________

“I love you Tietie,” were my last words to her and to this she murmured, “I love you too!”  Thank you, Sister Michaels, ( And Victoria Hospital, Wynberg, South Africa) for giving me the opportunity to find closure and what may have been her final farewell to me!

Thank you Oegtie and Beit-Ul-Aman, (Home for the Aged in Wynberg, South Africa) for being her home away from home. Words cannot even begin to convey my eternal gratitude for loving her so!

Thank you to my brother A, for being there to endure her “sweet scolding” on behalf of us all!

Thank you to my family here and most importantly, in South Africa,  for being there for her, Shukran from the bottom of my heart, for you there really is no bottom!

Nazarina.

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Cranberries: Sweet and savory recipes

Written by Nazarina on March 27th, 2012

Cranberries

How to make food soar, how to make desserts fun

On the agenda, Indelibly rich,  “Crangipane bars” (brown sugar shortbread layer, frangipane layer & a cranberry custard over top), also my version of a Persian Pilau and South African Rooibos tea steeped with cranberries

**********************************************************

I “warmed up” or rather I should say, “wised up” to cranberries, a few years ago when I finally got my head out of the bog and learned that these berries had more than one novel use to offer.  I was put off mostly by the sharp pucker and the bitter after taste, yet,  was always inclined to keep an open mind and garner enough willpower to dispel this frivolous distaste of such a precious fruit.  Not only is the cranberry high in antioxidants and has a rich source of vitamin C, but the juice of this berry has a profound and a positive impact on fighting bladder, kidney and urinary tract infections.

I was also reluctant to mask the nutritional value of this berry with a boat load of sweeteners, but after enjoying its subtle tartness by adding just a little raw and unfiltered wildflower honey, and the fact that it once helped heal my bladder woes, I not only respected its claim to medicinal efficacy, but I began to fall head over heels in love with its culinary magic! So while, this crimson marvel was enjoyed and utilized by the American Indian as mediums for medicinal poultices or dyeing cloth for that matter, for me,  it was the special glory that revealed itself in the sweets! I am darn sure that this goes for a lot of you, skeptics, out there as well. Decades have passed since this beloved crimson jewel with its dynamic versatility was introduced by the American Indian to the Pilgrims;  indeed a gift never to be forgotten and might I add,  a gift more worthy than a shiny, precious stone!

Let the infinite recipe applications begin!!!!! Cranberries will no longer “wane” in the shadow of that “feathered monstrosity” that demands all of our “bloody attention” and praise,  (said in a rather visceral South African accent).

___________________________________________________________

Desserts

Crazy good, “Crangipane bars,” (I made these for Valentine’s Day)

These are really bar shaped cookies which have three distinct layers; a brown-sugar, soft crumb, creamy shortbread-like base, a frangipane, (almond cream), middle layer and a cranberry custard layer over top. I cut them into heart-shaped cookies for Valentine’s Day. I struggled a bit with the baking science for the three layers,  especially since “the spontaneity of tweaking” was not an option and all the layers had to be cooked evenly, but after two attempts, “the crumb” of this cookie surpassed even my humblest of expectations!

As I bit into the cookie, the crumbly shortbread layer, with its soft crunch, slowly melted away, the almost meringue-like, nutty frangipane layer was rich and slightly crispy, while the delicate cranberry custard layer rendered just the right amount of pucker……sinfully delicious yet virtuously enjoyed!

crangipa634 p6

Top layer of the cookie

This swirling mass of deliciousness is cranberry custard slightly sweetened with raw & unfiltered wildflower Colorado honey, made into custard with eggs and goes over top etc…. I could see this layer just bubble away, while it was still in the oven.

cranberry-custard568

I adapted this recipe from a rather distinguished pastry chef, Ms. Amernick,  but in the interim totally revamped 99.9% of its make-up just because I had other plans for this cookie, laying in the wake of this equally delicious recipe! Perseverance and patience bring delicious things to life! But as you can see, I also had some divine intervention of a little “Angel,” given to me by Jo, of “Literally in the Moment”! Thanks Jo for such a beautiful little keepsake, also the fuzzy bear from “Make a Wish Foundation” for the munchkin and also the scented oil lamp. Jo, who is an avid and knowledgeable gardener in her own right, grows  garlic and religiously mails me bushels of it. I roast the garlic immediately in the oven with olive oil and use it in all of my dishes! I love all of your treasures!

Please take one, on your way out!

crangipane634-frangipane p7

____________________________________________________________

Savory

Persian Pilau, (Basmati rice with saffron and honeyed cranberries).

I “Americanized” the recipe by adding the honeyed cranberries…..Oh crap, I am almost hesitant to anticipate, how some people are going to give me a freakin thrashing for doing this! Chill out, I say, “don’t get your darn knickers all wadded up! It was a good thing, adding the honeyed cranberries!  This is my party and I’ll do what I want to! He! He!” Anyway,   I also made South African, “Bobotie” (pictures in a future post), as an accompaniment to this Persian Pilau. Sometimes,  I make my roasted turkey dinner as an accompaniment to this luscious rice dish as well!

Let me tell ya, governments should acquire my services for any type of “peace talks” between nations. With this dish alone, I have the Americans, South Africans and Iranians eating out of one “pot.” What can I say,  food is the common thread that holds everybody together!

My Mom and my aunt, Tietie, made a very similar sweetened yellow rice dish called “Geel rys” ( yellow rice) which they always served with “Frikadel” in South Africa, ( by the way the “Geel Rys” and the “Frikadel,”  ( kicked up ground beef casserole),  were wayyy better than this Persian Pilau; I am going to let you into a family secret, my Mom’s eldest sister made the most flavorful food, and now when I ask my husband to taste some of my variations on her classic dishes, he always says, “I do not know your Tietie, so I shall just say what you were going to say anyway, ” It still is a bit shy of  that flavorful stamp of Tietie approval!”You know what,  I am soooo okay with that!!!

Anyway,  I decided to keep the rice savory and used some of my “honeyed cranberries left over from my “Crangipane bars” as part of the sweetened element for this dish. Normally, this rice dish will be even more caramelized on top, with lots of crunchy bits on top. I prefer it a little less crunchy with lots of aromatics, (no disrespect to any cuisine of course). My family will even eat this savory rice all by itself!

Persian-rice-600

_____________________________________________________________

Drinks

South African, Rooibos herbal tea steeped in sentiment and a little cranberries and Minneola Tangelos for good measure!

Indigenous to South Africa, and harvested in the Cedarberg Mountains,  since time immemorial by the Khoisans, this deep-red orange hue of this wonder tea leaf “foretells” nutritional good fortunes and pure satisfaction. It is naturally caffeine- free, mineral-rich and has an antioxidant property – the taste is so unique, there is no other! Look for it at Vitamin Cottage, Sunflower Farmers market or Whole foods

I can still recollect, the times when my mom prepared this tea, the Cape Malaysian way, for my grandfather, (Boeya), and how he would savor it for hours! BTW, Thanks Auntie Mona, for naming me the International Woman of the Year! This means a lot coming from a well-traveled, gourmet cooking expert!

For the South Africans:

” Dit is soos ek hom nou kan hoor, ( my oupa),  “maak my n’ regte koppie tee man,  moenie vir my hierdie “Amerikaanse gemors injaag nie man!” he! he!

rooibos-600-78perc

Recipes

Please use organic ingredients when possible!

Rooibos tea (I make a warm version and also a “Sparkling, iced Rooibos” version!)

  • Rooibos Herbal tea
  • Some of the honeyed, vanilla bean cranberries, left over from the cookies
  • Minneola tangelos or lemons
  • Stick cinnamon
  • Raw, unfiltered wildflower honey (Clarks of Colorado)

Method:

Simmer 3 tea bags in three cups of boiling water with some cinnamon sticks for about 2 mins. Add the honeyed cranberries & simmer for 1 more minute. Take off the heat and steep further in a pretty porcelain tea kettle. Serve in pretty tea cups with slices of Tangelos & some of the juice. Sweeten with the unfiltered honey if you wish.

You can also make a sparkling iced Rooibos tea version, by adding a little ice and sparkling water or ginger & lemon for a sore throat but this is another post!

Persian Pilau

Please use organic ingredients when possible

  • 2 cups fragrant Basmati rice ( the kind that is grown in the Himalayas)
  • 2 big shallots
  • 2 T ghee plus another tablespoon
  • 1 t saffron
  • 2 T pounded garlic, (in the mortar & pestle), about 5 cloves, or more
  • 2 -3 curry leaves
  • 2 green plus 1 black cardamom ( has a smoky aroma)
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ c sultanas
  • Half of a red bell pepper chopped
  • Red chili chopped, seeds removed
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted in a small pan with a little unsalted butter and a special spice mix, you can use paprika.
  • ½ c of the honeyed cranberries, I had some left over from my cookie recipe
  • Garnish with spiced pistachios ( same way as the almonds)

Method:

Boil a kettle of water, and soak the saffron in 1 cup of this hot water, set aside. Keep the kettle on low. Finely slice the shallots and sauté in the 2T ghee until translucent, on medium heat. While the shallots are sautéing, wash the rice in a bowl under running water, ( rub the rice between the hands), until almost all starch is gone, drain and set aside. Add the garlic, curry leaves, cardamoms, cinnamon, red bells and the chili, to the shallots, stir and sauté for another 3 minutes. Now add the drained rice, some kosher salt, the sultanas,  and stir around to incorporate all the aromatics and also to “toast” the rice kernels in a way (about 2 mins.). Now add the cup with the soaked saffron,  hot water and all,  plus another cup of boiling water and turn stove on high, cover the saucepan, and cook until all the water has evaporated. Remove lid and then add enough boiling water again to cover about ½ inch above rice, plus the other tablespoon of ghee & cook until all the water has evaporated, turn stove on low and let the rice simmer for about 15 mins. In an oven safe domed dish, layer the honeyed cranberries on the bottom and then spoon the cooked rice on top, place in a 350 degree oven and let this bake for about 15- 30minutes, maybe a little longer for the crispy and more caramelized bits of rice & cranberries on the top. Unmold on a rice platter, sprinkle with the spicy almonds & further garnish with a little bit of the spicy pistachios

____________________________________________________________

The munchkin, now  2 yrs old, always jumping, playing and loves good noshes! He cracks me up when he talks on his imaginary cell phone, complete with all of your hand gestures and hilarious expressions. Yep, this little guy knows his way around a computer as well!  Mmmm! I wonder whom he imitates? he! he! When I tell him to pick up his toys, he says that he is tired and just wants to relax, um! didn’t I just say those exact words?. He! he! Kids say the darndest things! I swear he has a personality as big as the Rocky mountains!

A-.J.don't-stop,-keep-it-mo

I love these versions !

Grammy award performance of Chris Brown- Beautiful people.……love, love this version

Grammy award performance of Rihanna- We found love

Grammy award performance of Adele- Rolling in the deep……..adore this song!

Lady Antebellum-Just a kiss..…….love, love this song

__________________________________________________________

Thanks for visiting!

Love,
Nazarina

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Scones, Red Rocks, Colorado & Usher’s new song!

Written by Nazarina on October 30th, 2011

How to make food, How to make desserts soar— vanilla scones

All scrumptious fare affords pleasure! This is particularly true of a  scone with clotted cream, which has been heralded as one of the many time- honored traditions of our friends from across the pond. This delicate confection relies on cold butter for its flakiness whereas most recipes of the American biscuit relies more on vegetable shortening for a crumbly texture. I do not bake with vegetable shortening, however,  I do love crumbly textures and achieve this by adding cream cheese, whenever a recipe calls for vegetable shortening. Whatever, the origin or paradigm of this convivial fare, it is also enjoyed by many all over the world, including my Malaysian elders in South Africa. My mother almost always reverted to preparing it for unexpected company, so without further ado, here is my spin on her recipe.

“French vanilla”  scones

These scones were delicate, flaky & even crumbly, accompanied by a mascarpone mousse, ( tasted almost like French vanilla ice cream).  I also made my strawberry & raspberry preserves from scratch with vanilla beans etc…. These all went to my chiropractor & all the lovely ladies who work at the wellness center at “Arne Chiropractic.” Their remarks….ridiculously decadent!

Tahitian vanilla powder & a little of the white vanilla powder, sifted with the flours, is my little spin on this airy scone! Some of the vanilla powder will be left in the sieve, just dump into the bowl with the rest of the flours

scones-&-homem.-preserves-1 p10

As you can see, lavish amounts of whole sun ripened strawberries & raspberries, not sweet at all, no pectin or sugar needed in my preserves, it’s all about the fruit,  & some surprising ingredients !

preserves-573-auto

I ask this frivolous & not in the least condescending question with the utmost respect of all the ladies out there……Is a woman’s worth really measured by her ability of making a good biscuit? The reason for my question is that I have recently discovered the “Little house on the Prairie” series & now receiving all the episodes from Netflix. Anyway,  there is one episode whereby Carolyn Ingalls is put to the test by making biscuits for a possible position as a cook in a hotel, & ultimately she does land the job for making the best biscuits ever! The former cook who was just lousy at cooking was kicked out!  Hey, during the late 1800′s, if a woman could make a good biscuit and a good pot of stew with potatoes, she was pretty much spoken for! I am transfixed by this era portrayed so beautifully by Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, & the rest of the cast, an American Western drama, I just cannot wait to watch nightly with my husband!

I wonder whether my scones would have landed me an amorous encounter with Mr. Charles Ingalls himself, that is only if my husband was not yet in my life LOL! I hope he does not read this!

scones-preserve573 p12-auto

_____________________________________________________________

Publication

This fruit fondant Madeira cake, that I developed here,  is featured in this British magazine below, the Fall issue #114 on page 114. Originally, I contacted them to thank them for the safe arrival of my package with the delectable fruit fondant powders, I purchased from them and much to my delight, they emailed me, asking for a head shot of myself  & the pictures of this cake and publishing my little article in the ” forum” section on pg 114-115. Anyway,  this cake was indescribably delicious, this fruit fondant powder turns into a rich  fruit coolie when mixed with water!

This magazine is sold at Barnes & Noble.

berry-fondant570-nazarina

Sugarcraft-g-560sugarcraft______________________________________________________________

Colorado

Red Rocks Park is a mountain park in Morrison, Colorado & only 10 minutes drive from my home. I often go here,  either to run up & down the many steps,  go and day dream & most importantly, see my favorite rock bands!. I finally decided to take some pictures last week, while there was no scheduled concert, & share them with you!

Red-Rocks-f-595

I am never without my I Pod, & many of you already know that I love vocal trance. I do love rock too! S..t!**!! this is one run where I really need my IPod, because these steps are forever kicking my big b…..!Anything to detract from the pain will keep my booody moving.

Orjan Nielsen ft Arielle Maren–Redemption

Svenstrup & Vendelboe-Nadia malm…….Danish stars, cool euphoric vocal trance

Medina- Gutter—a Svenstrup & Vendelboe remix….I mentioned her before in my last post, but this is also an awesome remix!

David Guetta ft Usher–without you ( okay, this is no vocal trance, but I still like it)

Red Rocks is my escape from this more often than not frenetic world!

Red-Rocks-e-Naz

Red-Rocks-d

Red Rocks Amphitheater, a world famous venue, hosts many concerts, “Film on the Rocks” ( I love watching movies in the open air), & other events during the summer. I think it seats about 10,000, most probably more! I went to see Santana & the rock bands, Godsmack & Nine Inch Nails, over here. Picture this, after the concerts,  confetti cannons shooting blizzards of confetti shapes from above….pure artistry in motion! It turns serious adults into awestruck children & sends children into giddy glee!

Red-Rocks-cTakes us a mere 10 mins drive to Red Rocks mountain park!

Red-Rocks-580-aRed-rocks-b

Recipes

Flaky vanilla scones with mascarpone mousse & preserves

As usual, please use organic ingredients when possible, however, I used the King Arthur flours here.

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup self rising flour
  • 3 t  “Bob’s Red Mill” double acting baking powder( Aluminum free)
  • 1/2  t Tahitian vanilla powder plus 1 t of the white vanilla powder, just because I have both,  ( optional but not for me! he!he!), Or use whatever one you prefer!….  the Tahitian vanilla powder is finely ground vanilla beans, mine was hardly noticeable in my pictures, because they were dispersed throughout the dough. Trust me when I say that it is potent, but oh so darn delicious!
  • 3 – 4  T organic sugar, I used 3!
  • 6 T cold Plugra ( European, unsalted butter), or any other kind you prefer. I love the richer & creamier taste of Plugra!
  • 1/2 cup of currants
  • 2/3 cup organic milk
  • egg yolk beaten lightly for the glaze

Method

Sift all the flours & the Tahitian & the white vanilla powders together, twice. Some of the Tahitian vanilla powder will be left in the sieve, just dump back into the bowl with the flours.  Remove about a quarter cup of this flour mixture & toss with the currants & set aside, (the reason for this step, so that the currants will not sink to the bottom, but will be evenly distributed throughout the dough). Add the sugar to the flour mixture  & mix with a biscuit cutter. Now cut the cold butter into smaller pieces and cut into the flour mixture with the biscuit cutter. Do me a favor, do not over mix here! It is okay if there are bigger pieces of butter showing! Make a well in the center,  add the currants & then  the cold milk and mix just until incorporated, absolutely no over mixing here either! Always let any dough rest, here for 10 mins. Finally roll out the dough to about 3/4 inch on a lightly floured surface,  stamp out 2 inch heart shape designs, ( please just press firmly down on cutter, no twisting), NB…flip the scones over, so that the bottom of the scone is now on top & then place on the cookie sheet,   about an inch apart, (the cold butter specks will now be on the top & they will rise evenly),  brush with the egg yolk & then let rest again for 12 minutes. N.B. do not let the egg yolk glaze drip over the sides of the scone, this will prohibit the scone from rising! Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for about 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. You will really smell the vanilla aroma when these babies are done! Makes about 9 scones.

Mascarpone mousse

Whisk some mascarpone @ rm temp. with cold Horizon, organic whipping cream & some of the white vanilla powder.  Set the bowl over ice when whisking! Serve the scones with a dollop of this mousse & preserves of your liking.

Thanks for your visit, enjoy my version of the scone!

Lots of love,

Nazarina.

P/S…..It is so strange, I make these scones only when we have guests staying over or sometimes for my friend’s B&B, but have never blogged about it before. I did not think that the recipe would be important enough to share until now!

The Plugra & the vanilla powder definitely brought some major mojo to this scone party!

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A trip to Telluride, Ouray & Durango, the south west of Colorado.

Written by Nazarina on October 10th, 2011

October, 2,  2011 travel diary

Telluride, Ouray & Durango

Grab a cup of Java, listen to my playlist or yours & come along for the ride! This is a long post, but I can assure you not in the least bit boring!

This mind blowing trip to the south western part of Colorado, a trip, that was promised to me when we moved to Denver, a number of years ago was everything and more, I imagined it to be. It was freakin awesome! My husband went to work in Durango, when we first moved here & ever since then, could not get this beautiful part of Colorado, out of his mind! It only took us about 6 hrs drive to get there and this was really pushing it, stopping only for one bathroom break. We had everything at hand, from a welcome cooler filled with nourishing fare to a jamming playlist that could make you sing like a canary!

You may wonder, why only undertake this trip now?  Well, everything has its time & place, & boy am I glad that the start of  Fall & the  “changing of the leaves,” marked the beginning of this offbeat escapade!

After three & half hours of driving, we reached Grand Junction, guarded by a  surreal mass of grey, brown and  monochromatic cream hues , a mountain known as Mt. Garfield. It looks like a huge desert sand dune, does it not?

I took this shot from the car, as it was difficult to stop here, so it does appear a little fuzzy.

Cool  music from my playlist  DJ Tiesto & Medina (You and I),

Medina (Gutter),   Inna (Amazing),

Nadia Ali, Starkillers & Alex Kenji-(Pressure) ……more below

Mt-Garfield-,-near-Grand-JuMount-Garfield,-Grand-Junc

Climbing in elevation & now only, (20 miles from Telluride & jamming to the beat of Jennifer Lopez…on the floor),  the dwarf-like scrub vegetation,  suddenly gives way to this colorful Alpine scene. There is just nothing to beat these magical Aspen trees during the Fall! Notice the San Juan mountain range in the background? It is dusted with a light layer of snow!  I kid you not this mountain range shoots up to magnificent heights right before your very eyes! It was not coined,  to- hell-you-ride” for nothing, the journey into these mountains are sometimes scary, yet so exciting! I was indeed sitting on the edge of my seat!

What can I tell you, I am a “nervous Nelly,” constantly telling my adrenaline junkie of a husband to turn back, but do you think he even minds me, hell no!

20-more-miles-&-we-are-in-T

Stream-&-red-mtn-near-Tellu

Welcome to Uncompahgre National Forest! (5 miles from Telluride)

I am really ( he! he!) cracking up here as I type “Uncompahgre,”because “spell check” is telling me it is supposed to be  “uncomprehending”..….stupid a..!!

Uncompahgre-National-570

Welcome to Telluride…(To-hell-you-ride he! he!)

We are here guys!!!!The sign also says, “your civil liberties are safe here”…. this even jives for man’s best friend….see picture of  “puppy parking” below!  He! he! Political correctness lurks everywhere, can it just not be on my trip?

Anyway, as we roll into Telluride, just like the miners way back then, I am utterly & completely overwhelmed by the scenery. I had to constantly scoop up my jaw from the ground & move on.  There was no way that my little camera would do it justice!

welcome-to-Telluride-570

Telluride-photo-fes570-done

The New Sheridan, also home of the infamous Sheridan Opera house situated in the back.  Boy, if these old walls could talk about the early 1900′s , about the greedy gold diggers, gun slingers, honky tonk saloons & not forgetting the ladies of the night, we might just have the makings of yet another cheesy western here!

Sheridan-opera-house-&-restTelluride is a little bit quirky, a little bit playful, a “lotta” liberal & a “lotta” expensive…hey! whatever floats your boat, that’s what I always say!

Needless, to say, the price tags on some of these items call for a whole pay check! So forget it, I am not bringing back mindless gifts! he! he! I am a ge nui ne nature girl, so pictures of nature will just have to suffice!

mannekin-in-window-TelluridOkay! I thought this was rather strange…as we were driving down main street, a bevy of cheery folk suddenly appeared . Apparently, it is customary for the wedding party to parade down Main street, even with all that soft pouring rain!

The bride, actually wanted us to turn up the volume…apparently the real party was in our car! She really liked Pitbull ( Calle Ocho), I know you want me, of all songs! There is just something about Miami music that makes any self respecting person want to misbehave! just kidding I love Miami! Heh! I have been placed on that misbehaved list a long time ago!

I love these songs though, “thumbs” up if you are still listening to it in 2011

Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina Stereo Love

also The Underdog project- Summer jam

The Underdog project- Remember

Telluride-wedding-570

telluridewedding-party-570-

Puppy parking max 30 mins!

puppy-parking,-Telluride-57

A building with no roof, or  back walls.

building-with-no-side-&-bac

tag-house-570

Manitou Lodge (bed & breakfast)……love this cozy home away from home!

The unit we stayed in had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a little sitting room. There is also a main dining room where one could use the stove and other appliances even though one’s unit has all of those things. These places are packed during ski season. So the question is, would we venture here during the winter ski season…..heck ya!

At night, I would be lulled to sleep by this bubbling brook & to be able to revel in this peace & quiet is all that I ask for!

Stayed-at-the-Manitou-B&B-5

Manitou-B&B-600

a-river-runs-through-it-570One morning, very early, I jumped onto the gondola in my PJ’s to go to the market to buy almond milk. The B&B provides everything except milk for the lactose intolerant. On the way I was joined by a guy and his little boy & he very “candidly” remarked that he  thought my fuzzy slippers were “cool” I knew that he was trying to make small talk because really my slippers were not in the least cool!

Later that afternoon,  E & I jumped onto the same gondola to take some pictures, & guess who was on the very gondola, the same guy, this time with his wife… he then remarked Oh! I have already met miss fuzzy slippers very early this morning! Both my husband & his wife looked rather puzzled until I explained!

gondola-stops-at-the-B&Bgondola-to-mountain-villiag

gondola-to-villiage-ce-570

This is Mountain village ski area, the 2nd stop of the gondola ride. My favorite market was at the end of the gondola ride.

Telluride-ski-resort

ski-area-square,-telluride

Pandora

I laughed at the road signs here, they read ” Slow Children here.” I am just being facetious! It is just kind of funny when one is reading it real slowly Lol!

Pandora,-neighborhood-near-

Water remediation project.

Telluride-water-reclamation

Bridal Veil Falls- stunning falls ( 365 ft in length), tallest free falls in Colorado!

Telluride-waterfall-@-end-o

Road-passing-Pandora-570

Ahhh, At last, Trout Lake was my very favorite place, so peaceful I could just get lost here and never emerge! Ain’t she just beautiful?

Trout-LakeTelluride600

This trail was extremely far into the forest, lucky my husband does not heed my cries because we would never be able to “discover” new places! Anyway, a successful trip does mean, hours & hours of driving.

Campground-in-Ilium,-a-scar_____________________________________________________________

Welcome to Ouray!……..Hooray for Ouray!

Welcome-to-Ouray-570

Ouray,-Co-bank-570 This place reminds me somewhat of Cape town, where I was born. This quaint little town is nestled between the 2 mountain ranges.

Ouray,-Co-1-570

ouray-small-tunnel-in-570

Look no rails! Scary is it not? I suddenly felt one of those loose, liquid bowel movements coming on, but dared not tell the “driver.”

Ouray,-no-rails570

I held my breath and closed my eyes going through the Red Mountain Pass. It is just way to steep for my health! he! he! Not that I am not accustomed to high mountains, but they sneak up on you, some of them as high as 14,000Ft.

The mountains are red here due to the deposits of Iron oxide in the rocks.

Ouray,Red-Mountain-Pass-570

Gold & silver mines sprung up in this region, as well as in Telluride, in the 1870′s.

The Idarado mining co. started a water remediation  project here in the 1980′s to improve water quality & to improve the aquatic habitat.

Ouray,-Idarado-mine-570

Ouray,-Co-Red-Mountain-cree

San Juan mountains at its very best! This picture is just unforgettable! You just had to be there to drink in the beauty of these vibrant colors!

San-Juan-shadow-in-lake600

Ouray,-Hayden-Trailhead,-Co

Ouray,-hayden-570

Ouray...water-reclamation-5

Ouray,-Co-water-570_____________________________________________________________

Welcome to Durango!

Durango is known for the “Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. I think it was $100 a ticket if I’m not mistaken, but then again we had just come from Silverton…..let me guess, Silverton was known for its silver?” I came up with that all by my smart self!

Diamond Belle Saloon

Durango,-Strater-hotel-570Durango-Main-str,-French-re My husband hung out here watching his beloved, Miami Dolphins lose!

durango,-El-Rancho-main-str

Heading home!

I was mesmerized by the cloud  cover just above the Rockies. Here is this huge open space & it only covers the mountain! At this point, my husband was just really flying down 285,  everything and I mean everything had to be bolted down, ( including breakfast),  or God forbid, you would lose it all!

Thumbs up yet again, if listening to these in 2011. Sometimes the oldies just stay with you!

The Sunclub- Fiesta

Afrojack ft Eva Simons take over control

We speak no Americano Yolanda be cool

Armin Van Buuren & Dj Shah feat Chris Jones- Going wrong

285-N-POncha-Springs-570Thank you for riding along with me. Hope you enjoyed this trip as much as we did!

Love,

Nazarina.

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Sunflower sprouts, pine nuts, roasted tomatoes, dried fruits & a sour fig dressing.

Written by Nazarina on July 26th, 2011

How to make food soar! How to make soap whimsical!

There is a certain question that almost invariably comes up at my gatherings of friends at the dinner table, “What besides gastronomy and saponification make you tick?” My answer, even though not etched in stone, but almost always is, “Cooking is after all, just an ephemeral art, just as soon as you create a delicious dish, it is consumed within no time & is gone, so I would always  want for my sweetie and I to rather love life deliciously in more ways than one,  ( so to answer the question, Romance!”

I swear,  I could just as easily survive on love alone!),  share life’s pleasures with others and to always laugh at our idiosyncrasies!  There is just no room for disconsolation in our life.

Sunflower sprout salad with a sour fig dressing

Everything I do is always with my Mom in mind, she could take any mundane dish & magically make it so delicious! There was magic in that lady’s hands!

Organic baby sunflower sprouts, roasted yellow & red cherry tomatoes ( from our garden), reconstituted dried fruit & toasted pine nuts with a sour fig dressing, also a bathroom makeover is on the agenda today.

I bought the sunflower greens from Paradise Farms in Redvale, Colorado. The sunflower sprouts are nutty & crispy,  so pairs exceptionally well with the rest of the ingredients in my recipe.

See my garden here!

salad-580-sour-fig

salad-sunfl-sourfig580

I received some dried sour figs from a friend in Cape Town, South Africa, so I thought that a sour fig vinaigrette would be perfect for this crisp salad with all its tasty textures! Sour figs were my Mom’s favorite & her family would always make a sour fig” konfyt” ( I would eat loads of this),  but I decided to be a bit more innovative & make a kick-ass dressing out of them to coat this delicious salad. If you want to know more about these succulent & tart fruits just read HERE & also HERE. These wrinkled brown sour figs are a Cape Malay favorite!

Recipe: Please use organic ingredients when possible!

  • 3 X 5oz Organic baby sunflower sprouts or substitute baby spinach, if you cannot find them!
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts with a little of my home-made spice mix or  smoked paprika in your case & kosher salt, just do this in a hot pan on the stove top, let cool.
  • 1/2 cup reconstituted dried fruit, viz…dried apples, apricots, prunes & pears. Just soak in boiling H2O to make it supple  & then cut into small pieces
  • 1 lb roasted cherry, yellow & red tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in half,  place all on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with olive oil & kosher salt & roast @ 250 degrees for an hour, cool & set aside. Garden grown is by far the superior & our garden is no exception!

Sour Fig dressing:  ( Dit is my wending vir ‘n Suid Afrikaanse suurvye slaai sous)

  • 1 lb sour figs/ I guess you can subst. regular figs here but it will not be the same! Scratch that!…..It will definitely,  not be the same! Simply because the figs are sweet & these sour figs have a tart pulp that makes your taste buds, prematurely salivate while squeezing the pulp into your mouth!
  • wild, unfiltered & raw honey
  • pinch kosher salt/ or sea salt
  • stick cinnamon
  • vanilla bean, scrape using the seeds & the bean too
  • Brown rice vinegar or Aged Balsamic, I cook with both
  • Grape seed oil or safflower oil here, would not do extra virgin o. o. here, too overpowering in this instance!
  • my home-made spice, this toasted mix has elements of sweet & savory in it (optional)

First wash the sour figs. Soak the dry wrinkled or ( even the freshly picked),  sour figs in boiling H2O (about 1 & 1/2 cups of H2o) just to soften. Do not discard this soaking liquid but do strain it! Remove the figs & squeeze out the delicious sour pulp from each  into a small saucepan, (painstaking to say the least), but so freakin worth it! Add 2 or more T of wild organic honey, depending on the amount of sweetness you would like, 1 stick cinnamon & vanilla, a little kosher salt, a little bit of the soaking liquid, ( 1/2 cup),  and cook for about 15-20 mins until this liquid has reduced in volume & is concentrated. Add 1-2 T of the vinegar you could even use  malt v. to the mixture & cook further for 2 mins. I normally add a little bit of my home-made spice to give it that extra kick. Last but not least add the remainder of the cooled, strained soaking liquid & cook for another 5 mins.  Cool this liquid & pour into a jar with  2 T oil, 1 more T of the vinegar, pinch of salt to taste & more cold water if this liquid is too thick, shake like the dickens  & you are done!  Decant into a glass jar with cinnamon & vanilla.

You know what happens next…..just toss all these crisp greens with all the roasted & toasted nuts & fruits & drizzle with the star of this recipe, the SOUR FIG dressing & enjoy! Trust me you will!

“Lekker light” in more ways than one!!

What I did was,  serve the salad in tiny bowls with the dressing on the bottom of the bowl & then just had  everyone toss their own salad, so it was like a tasty surprise.

_____________________________________________________________

Guest Bathroom

This  guest bathroom took 9 months in the making……It was like conceiving & giving birth to a son! Yes, my husband took 9 months to revamp this eye sore & by Jove he is still not done yet!  He does all the renovations on our home by himself with no help. He is truly, the creative genius in our family!!! After you read below, you too will agree!

Before.…the original 70′s style when we bought the house….out dated & so yesterday! It was dislike at first sight!

old-bathroom-2

…….Ta Da! enter the luxurious spa bath…….., be sure to pick up your jaw on the way in! The transformation is stupendous! He actually outlined the pattern on the wall & on the floor first, before laying the tiles…a step that saves you lots of stone tile in the end.

bath7

……….complete with a tub & more jets, your sore  a.. can handle! LOL!

bath3

I requested little hidden nooks for all my nik naks, ask & thou shalt receive, even if it does mean that you will definitely be getting the silent treatment for a day or two or vice versa when the request was met with a reverberating He..  NO! In this instance, a good old pouting helps!

He! he! I always get my way. Anyway, let’s be realistic the little Paris nik nak has to go & make way for shampoos & other bathroom accoutrements. I do have more shelves on the side for the girly crap.

bath5

I love how the light just “spills ” over  the walls! I also requested the river rock  inlay that surrounds the perimeter of the bathroom. I painted this vivid picture in my mind & my husband solely obliged, but not without the added bullsh…..that follows a renovation!

bath1

The faucets & all the other fixtures boast that same bronze hue! My husband struggled a bit with the stone that frames the mirror but in the end with his temper in check, finally achieved this fabulous result. Sweetie, let me put it in writing here now……“I am sorry for giving you all that crap while you were trying to get this project done, but you must admit my nagging or should I say seemingly reasonable requests, kept your creative juices flowing & you magically made them come to life!

When a referred Turkish stone quarrier, now a dear friend, learned  that I shared the same religion & that I was into “decent cookery”, he simply gave us the Limestone (counter-top)  for free in exchange for some computer help from my husband & decent grub from me. Life has all  sorts of perks.

bath2

Yep, the old crapper is gone, who would not want to park their rear here now & enjoy the view!

bath4

This  sweet, little floor register below will keep us, ( or rather our guests), warm during the winter! This bathroom looks better than the other renovated bathrooms in our home! Hence the proverbial saying,” you get better with age.”

bath6

This bathroom is upstairs just off a dark hallway, so now I really want him to install a skylight to bring in some natural light, what do you think?

I love making new soaps for my guests, especially for the kids…I really do not mind when they take them home!

naz-nemo-soap590Hope you are all keeping your cool!

Love,

Nazarina.

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