Monday, February 7, 2011


Hi again! Apologies for not having been around for a while. I have just been taken up with work and not had much time to focus on this blog. I came here today to respond to a reader's comment couple of days back.

To my last post "Sterilizing ..", a reader commented "I could have Googled this and would have got millions of ways to do this". This absolutely true and these days it is also true for almost anything you wished to search for. 

My whole point was to impart tried and tested processes and give my readers a quick choice instead of combing through the million ways one would find in a Google search. 

Anyway, I also posted the Sterilizing process as a predecessor for my next post, which I will post as soon as I have a breather from work. I hope this will be soon. Until then... :)

Friday, January 14, 2011


Today I have been busy making base tomato sauce and bottling them. This is something I often do, usually once in every few months or when one batch is finished. Usually one batch of sauce gives me about 6 x 1 liter bottles of sauce.

Now you may think this is such a waste of time and so much sauce! Well trust me this is such a life saver and so convenient to have it around. I will go into the details of the sauce on my next post as this one is one is the one leading the next one! :)

If you want to make very cool, delicious and fresh home-made tomato sauce (and many other cool things like that), and keep them preserved for a while, you need some jars or bottles and sterilize them first. This is the most important step in bottling of food for preservation. It is so crucial to follow these steps to ensure you have clean germ free jars for your preserved sauces, and other foods!

So start saving all those empty jam/jelly/honey/pickle jars! Also those bottles of supermarket-bought sauces and any good glass jars or bottles with tightly fitting lids. Avoid plastic lids as these are difficult and not so suitable to re-use.  Most important is that the jars/bottles have to be airtight once food is in and kept for long.

Jars and bottles which are required for storage of preserved food such as jams, jellies, chutneys, relishes, etc., need to be sterilized properly to prevent the growth of mold, bacteria or even to prevent fermentation process. Use the following guide and be ensured of clean sterilized jars.
If you have a dish washer:
  1. Put the cleaned jars through the hot cycle of the dishwasher and boil the lids in water for 10minutes.
  2. Let cool and dry inside the dish washer before taking out the jars.
  3. Ensure the jars and lids are totally free from moisture.

If you do not have a dishwasher:
  1. Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, rinse and let drip dry for few minutes.
  2. Put the jars in roasting tin and heat at 140°C (gas mark 3) for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile wash the lids with soapy water and boil them in water for about 10-12 minutes.
  4. Do not put the lids in the oven with the jars. The oven will melt the inside lining of the lids and prevent proper sealing of the jars.
  5. Ensure the jars and lids are totally free from moisture.

  • Only use glass jars ideally with metal lids.
  • Please do NOT blow, put your nose inside to smell or put your fingers inside once the jars are sterilized and ready for cooked food to go in.
  • Pot the hot cooked preserved food while the jars are still hot unless the recipe calls for cool jars.
  • Before sealing the jars make sure they are dry and clean from any drippings of food on the mouth of the jars.
  • Avoid using fingers to clean up drippings.
  • Use clean and fresh kitchen paper and wipe clean before sealing the jars with the lids.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Hi all! I was reading about service standards on my friend’s blog and he is right, there is so much wrong with the food scene here in the capital Male. We seem to always complain what is wrong with the food scene and service here in Male’ and yes often it is bad and in some cases really appalling!
If I was to comment on the service quality, I actually do not know where to start! Well to be honest what really bugs me is the common grumpy and rude service we get and yes often I do get really annoyed and frustrated with this!

Well I have recently discovered a really handy solution to avoid these rude and unnecessary encounters at the restaurants and cafés in Male. As much as I detest at large the quality of the food plated in these places, there are days I do not feel like cooking and want something prepared for me as a change!

So came the perfect solution: (for those readers who do not understand Dhivehi language, Badhige means kitchen). Basically is an online food ordering and delivery service. Badhige has been around now for a couple of years but only in the last year or so it has taken a good stride and featured a good handful of restaurants and cafés into its collection. 
To be honest I never used it until a friend of mine pushed me to order food through Badhige and ever since I am quite convinced that this is the way forward in getting food without brainless waiters spitting at your face!
The coolest thing is that you can select and order online without ever having to speak to anyone one, make multiple food selections from various restaurants in the same order. Which means you can order starters from one restaurant, main course from another, desert from elsewhere, or just everything from one restaurant or café. Once you have finished ordering you get an order confirmation send to your email and updates when your delivery is being prepared and everything is delivered in one go. In short you decide what you want, put them all in the online shopping basket, click few buttons and voilà soon everything is at your doorstep!

If you have selected to pay by cash on delivery, you get a phone call from Badhige asking you if you have exact change or if the delivery staff should bring the balance change for the amount you have. Now I thought was really great idea as I don’t have to find the exact change.

The standard delivery time is 30 minutes. Ok when I say 30mins, I can hear some kill joys saying last time I ordered it took more than 30mins, etc. Yes it is true that this may happen from time to time, but how many times do waiters in a restaurant come up to you and tells you that the order will be delayed for another 15min, and often food is brought to you more than 30mins even when you are at the restaurant yourself! At least, if there is a delay, Badhige will call you and inform there will be a delay and apologize, and give you a new estimated delivery time! This almost never happens in restaurants!

Once the food is let the restaurants and is in the hands of the delivery staff, Badhige also send you an email saying the order is on the way to you. One more thing is that food is delivered hot (as they are transported in special thermal bags) and the delivery guys are really friendly and welcoming.

So my friends, now there is a service here in Male which actually can deliver food whilst allowing us to avoid frustrating poor quality service.  Enjoy! :)
The link is:

Saturday, January 8, 2011


We have just finished a wonderfully wholesome and really enjoyable dinner at home. Now to some of friends out there this may not seem a great deal and say to me "so what's new at your place!". The fact is that I was not at all involved in preparing this feast!

Yes this is absolutely true! One of my Russian friends and her mother pre-prepared almost everything at theirs and brought them to my home for the final finish. As it was the Russian Christmas today, they decided to bring this amazing culinary feast to my table! Of course I did a small part in the dinner by providing a leftover steamed plum-pudding for the grand-finale! :)

With some twinkly lights and few dozen candles, the dinner started with a loud pop and zillions of bubbles accompanying a star-shaped starter. Covered with melting cheese it was piping hot and smelled gorgeous. As I dug into the melted Edam on the top, what revealed was a really delicious dish made with fresh mushrooms and chicken. Although I have no clue how it was made, I know for one thing for sure, it was called “Julienne”. So if you are ever in a Russian restaurant look out for this starter!

Following the Julienne, came the main dish, which strangely does not have any specific name to it except when translated it means stuffed peppers. (Apparently if you put this same stuffing into a cabbage leaf and made a closed roll, then you have a special name: Golubtsi, not exactly how it is pronounced, but something close to it).

Yes peppers stuffed with minced beef rice, carrots, onions and few different herbs, simmered in meat broth served with sour cream. Accompanying this main dish there were:
  • Boiled potatoes tossed in butter and chopped fresh dill,
  • Grated steamed beetroot with walnuts, garlic and mayonnaise,
  • Home-made sauerkraut (the other contribution from my home),
  • Home-made pickled cherry tomatoes, and last not the least,
  • Aubergine cooked with tomatoes, garlic and onions.
This entire Russian feast was just really delicious, filling and greatly satisfying food. Now this is what I call great simple home-cooked food. So simple and easy to make yet so gratifying because you know everything is made from fresh ingredients,  and above all cooked with love, passion and care! In my opinion, there is nothing more you can add in preparing really great food. Of course it will all be a waste without wonderful company to enjoy it all, which we did! :)

Oh I almost forgot the pudding! It was a traditional mixed fruit pudding and was served with vanilla and citron butter. Afterward, we all sat down on the couch, sipping peppermint tea and laughing our heads off talking about strange and unusual airline experiences we have all had at one time or another! :)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Hi All!

Welcome to the new year and wish you all a fantastic year 2011.

I hope you all had a wonderful time celeberating the New Year! I did have a fabulous time as planned the dinner went extremey well!

This is just a quick hello to say I am back after the New Year's break and I will soon start blogging away! So my dear readers, please come back and keep following the blog.

Take care for now and see you soon! :)

Friday, December 31, 2010


Hello everyone! Wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Well this is going to be my last post for 2010! Sounds strange, but it is indeed the last day of 2010!

Anyway, here I am wondering what we are going to do on this evening. Well it seems that most of my friends have managed to escape somewhere into the oblivion and disappeared from Male!

It is very nice for those who managed to escape and I wish them all a fantastic time wherever they are. In my case I had the opportunity to run away somewhere out of Male and probably would have been nice.

One other hand I like to think that these special occasions, especially the New Year is a time to be with close friends, family and love ones. To celebrate together, to hold hands and mark the beginning of a New Year with new found hopes and make wows to be even closer to each other and build everlasting bonds.

So here I am at home and decided to cook and bake some nice simple food and although some of those dearest to me are far away, I will be with those who are not so far way and we shall celebrate the New Year together.

One might think why would I do this on a New Year, I should stop all this cooking madness and go out and celebrate! I thought of this several times and came to this big dilemma I have with the majority of restaurants here in Male: Over-priced poor quality, often tasteless food topped up with really poor service carried out by bio-smelling, un-shaved and greasy looking waiters!

I took a deep look into the entire picture and said to myself it would be really sad if I took those closest to me to a restaurant and put them through the so likely aforementioned facts of food scene here in Male.

Hence, decided to cook at home and I am quite certain that I will not be depriving any of my friends or family from restaurant food! Much more to the point, I shall be cooking with passion and love as one must always do in these occasions and I am positive that we will all have a wonderful New Year’s feast! :)

For the menu I have selected few dishes from across my favourite parts of the gastronomic world and the menu looks like this:

Freshly made Italian Ciabatta bread
Hummus Dip (chick peas and sesame paste)
Baba-Ganoush Dip (baked aubergine with garlic and love oil)
Beetroot with orange wedges tossed in sweet and sour vinegar
Warm black eyed bean salad with olives, onions, basil leaves, oregano and olive oil and lemon dressing.
Steamed carrots with pine nuts in honey and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Chicken, walnuts, eggs and mushroom salad with fried onion with homemade mayonnaise.
Seared sirloin of beef served with roast rosemary potatoes, steamed broccoli and Yorkshire pudding.
Fresh fruits and a selection of cheese.
Lime and fresh vanilla crème caramel
Poached pears with pomegranate in vanilla and red grape juice
Tea or coffee with homemade Italian Panettone

For those who are interested, I will upload the recipes of the above menu over the course of the coming weeks. So my friends take care, and once again wish you all a very happy New Year 2011. :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Thought I should bring you all another recipe! :)

Shortcrust pastry is a type of pastry often called for as the base of tarts and pies. ("Pâte Brisée " in French ). Shortcrust pastry can be used to make both sweet and savory pies such as apple pie, quiche, lemon meringue or chicken pie.

Preparation Time:       15-20 mins plus 30 minutes resting.
Makes:                      650 grams


450g    Plain white flour
200g    Butter, chilled and diced
1tsp     Salt (level teaspoon)
60ml    Water (about 4 tablespoons)

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl.
  2. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in the salt.
  4. Add the water and mix to a firm dough.
  5. Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface.
  6. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling to use.
  • A good tip to remember the proportions - half fat to flour - and don't add too much water or the pastry will be hard.
  • For best results, make sure the butter is cold.
  • If other dry ingredients are included in the recipe, such as cinnamon or raisins for example, add them at the same time as the salt.
  • Don’t knead the dough too much as this will make the dough chewy, as opposed to 'short', or light and crumbly.
  • Pastry should be rolled out at room temperature.
  • You can make Shortcrust pastry in advance, refrigerate for 30 minutes and then freeze it. It will keep frozen up to 6 months.


I had some insightful comments today and in particular I thought I would share this comment with you all:

“I have had Indian and Thai curries and other Asian food in Europe that tastes nothing like the original dishes....When I asked about it I was told it was adjusted to the local taste...could this be the case in Male''.....Surely it would be nice to have authentic dishes available but like everything maybe what most people want might be what is available"

I agree in Europe and many other countries, to an extent this is true. Especially, in the UK where in particular Indian food is Anglified. This started long before the UK opened any Indian restaurants. It all began when the British were based in India and they wanted to eat "what was available", and within a blink of an eye, Anglified Indian food was born!

As for Thai food, it has been only a recent introduction to Europe and yes to a large extent; the spices are played around with, especially with the chili component to suit the sensitive and delicate palates! ;)

I also am inclined to agree to the above statement about people having to deal with what is available. My dilemma is when restaurateurs develop menus with dishes requiring ingredients which cannot be sourced or found locally! This is where the problem and my whole argument lie.

Of course some dishes can be made with substitutes as in the case of Pizza. It is almost impossible to source real mozzarella; hence we use a “so called imitation of mozzarella”. This is fine as long as we are trying to bring the patrons the closest possible to the real deal.  So far so good, but then we go on to name the pizzas with authentic Italian pizza creations and have no idea what they are doing. As a point in case, one fairly popular restaurants in Male have a “Pizza Margherita” on their Pizza menu. A pizza with mince beef, some kind of sweetish tomato sauce, cheese, peppers and chilies. This is nowhere close to an authentic Margherita!

This is not a lack of ingredients or a matter of availability! It is pure ignorance and failing to do any research on the subject. Also they believe that their patrons have no clue or more to the point don’t really care about these things, which in most cases is sadly true!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


So here we are again! Just thought I will write some thoughts about food and restaurants in Male (since I am in Maldives at the moment). I guess you are thinking I will be pointing out where to eat or where not to eat. Oh how I would love to do that, but I guess I will get myself in to a very sour and dirty pickle with the so called restaurant restaurateurs. So my dear friends, as much as I would love to, I will do all I can to refrain myself from doing so!

But what I can do is to write about the local food scene and share some hilarious encounters that I had over the years and trust me dear readers they are very interesting.

About 15 years ago, one particular local chef (actually now a lot more chefs are in this band wagon!) tried to convince me that in all good Spaghetti Bolognaise, tomato ketchup is the most important ingredient! I just wanted to grab him by the collar and tell him that tomato ketchup was not found in Italy but in Asia and NO, Italians never made Bolognaise sauce with ketchup! Well I didn’t and I quietly disagreed within myself and let him be! So this journey of strange encounters began.

Where do I start? This is difficult as so many of these incidences have passed by over the years and to pick one particular occasion is difficult. So I will just jump in and pick whatever comes to my mind and it will take many of these posts to cover them all.

On this post my main point to bring forward is that why do restaurateurs in Maldives sell us gimmick food! Why would they call a pizza if it does not resemble anything to the true meaning of a pizza. Call it something else! Why fool and misguide the public!

Unfortunately, they are not totally on the blame here. We as the clients are as much to blame as them. We are victims of our own ignorance. We refuse to acknowledge food as a source of pleasure and indulge ourselves on feasting only to fill our bellies. This poor attitude towards food and its importance as a part of our emotional well-being keeps us in that ignorant bliss. Keeping us safely away from ever knowing or wanting to know more about what we eat.

Of course truly knowing about food and learning about food is an in-depth faculty of its own and one cannot expect and entire nation to engage in this learning process.  However, my point is, why not we as paying customers (over-paying in my opinion), demand food which is at least prepared true to its origin using the closest possible ingredients in the market if the original ingredients are not available.  In addition for the love of food, why don’t we demand that food is cooked properly to the methods required by its origin so that at least we can be assured that the restaurateurs have in the least tried, before demanding the prices we pay for crappy over-rated food.

So there you go, as they say, that’s food for thought! I guess this will be all for now as the subject has much to be revealed in due time of course!

Monday, December 27, 2010


Hi there this is my 1st Recipe I am posting here. This is a simple and easy to make hearty tomato soup. This is one of the most delicious soups which can be made quickly and enjoyed with a crusty piece of fresh bread. 

Preparation Time:   10 mins
Cooking Time:        15 mins
Servings:                2 portions


450ml   Peeled Tomatoes (whole tinned tomatoes)
1          Onion (medium size, peeled and chopped finely)
2          Garlic Cloves (peeled and chopped finely)
1          Medium Carrot (peeled and chopped finely)
3tbsp    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1tsp     Sugar
200ml   Water
100ml   Orange Juice (juice from a packet with 100% fresh juice will be fine)
   Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in a cooking pot in medium heat.
  2. Add Onions, Garlic and Carrots.
  3. Cook until onions look transparent and lightly brown.
  4. Add the peeled tomatoes, lightly crushed with your hands.
  5. Add the water and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Without the lid, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and add the orange juice.
  8. Put the soup into a juice mixer or using a hand blender, puree into a smooth soup.
  9. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream.

  • You can double this recipe and keep half of it frozen in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To freeze, wait until completely cooled and put inside freezer bags or freezer containers and seal properly before freezing.
  • To defrost you can either use defrost settings on a microwave oven or keep the container or freezer bag in the refrigerator overnight. 
  • Heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes before serving.


Hello everyone!

Just a quick hello and to introduce myself. Well my friends call me Nasi and I am passionate about many things in life as most people are. One of them is cooking. Cooking has been in and around my life for a very long time and entertaining with food has become a great love of my life.

Over the last few years many of my friends have asked for recipes or sometimes for just simple and clear instructions on cooking or preparing food.

So here I am finally answering those long awaited replies! My first ever blog and hopefully this will allow me to share some of my cooking experiences and allow those interested in food to learn few tricks or even teach me back some tricks of theirs.

Last but not least, I am new to blogging so bear with me while I slowly pick pace and hopefully start making sense of all this! My friend and colleague William helped me in creating this blog and if all goes horribly wrong, I will certainly hold him responsible! :))

Take care and wish you all a very happy New Year 2011.