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! :)