My Essential

My Essential

If someone asked you to describe an essential aspect of your life, what would it be? You know that absolutely necessary thing that you must have. That you need. That’s so intrinsic to the essence of making or breaking your day. Sure the average person would say health, family, love or perhaps food. And most days I’d say that too. But you see, some days I’m just not the ‘average’ person. Some days, my response would unquestionably be coffee. Yep, coffee. How could it not be. On those days it’s the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning. The taste. The smell. The feeling. My coffee lover friends would understand that pleasure of the first sip as it rolls over your tongue and gives your insides a big, warm hug. Today was one of those days. I finally got all kids back at school after days of sneezing and coughing all over the place. Naturally, I can feel it’s now my turn. A heavy head is coming on, there’s that tickle in the back of my throat and I haven’t had a good nights sleep in about a week. I needed a great caffeine boost so bad. As I sat that morning at a table at Don Campos, where the coffee is consistently superb (and my current fave cafe) I wonder how I became so obsessed? Fixed in my mind,  I can vividly recall the perfume of coffee parading around my childhood home all day long. But not just any coffee, I’m talking about the heavy-duty Lebanese type. Over the years I watched my Mother make it for every person who popped by, which was A LOT of people! We had a very...
All things Kafta

All things Kafta

Kafta is a minced lamb and/or beef mixture with a combination of herbs and spices, that many could deservedly title as Lebanon’s national dish. Those who follow me on Instagram would know how much I love Kafta. It’s one of those go to ingredients for me and something I always have in the freezer. It tastes great and it is so versatile. Here I will be sharing my favourite kafta recipes with you. Some are from my childhood and others I have developed and adapted over the years. This first recipe here is a Baked Kafta & Veg Stew. This is a great family recipe using a few staple ingredients. It’s as quick and easy as placing all ingredients in a roasting pan and baking. What you’ll need: 500g Kafta 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 clove garlic (crushed) 1 medium onion (chopped) 2 medium carrots 1/2 cup frozen peas 1/2 cup corn kernels 3 medium potatoes (peeled, cubed) 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes 1/2 cup chopped basil 1/2 cup chopped parsley 1 cup of stock (chicken or veg) Salt & pepper Step 1 Preheat oven to 180ºC. Use kafta to create balls or small patties. I usually use a tablespoon to measure out kafta so they are approximately the same size. This way they cook evenly & at the same time. Step 2 In a saucepan, add oil, onions and garlic and sauté until onions soften. Add tomato paste and cook out for 2 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and stock. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes until sauce starts to thicken. Step 3 Take sauce off heat. Stir through basil...
Bike Riding through life

Bike Riding through life

“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flown. How did it get so late so soon?” (Dr Seuss) In a couple of months my eldest daughter will celebrate her 14th birthday. Wow, 14! When I think about it, it just seems crazy! Hang on, how did we even get here? I can remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. And in the same way I imagine tomorrow, knowing within the blink of an eye, she’ll be an adult moving on to start an independent life of her own with her siblings not far behind. Oh how bittersweet that thought is! I’m the first to say that this whole parenting thing hasn’t been the easiest gig. And from my years as a high school teacher, I know (my goodness, I know too well) that the teenage years are only going to bring on more ‘interesting bumps’ along this road. People always tell you to stop and re-focus every now and then. I admit, it’s one of my ‘work-in progress’ goals. To remember, although the worst of days seem like an eternity, the years really do fly by. I need to set a persistent mental reminder to not get bogged down by it all. How do I want to remember this time in our lives? How do I want my kids to remember this time? What I don’t want is to look back with regret or disappointment. Instead I want to be (and hope to be) providing my kids with...
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