Sunday, 30 November 2014

Shepherd's Pie

I've never make Shepherd's pie before, this is the first time. But i'm so happy that i did try this, as its incredible. Combining two of my most favorite things together, saucy mince and mashed potatoes.
And the best part? Its really quick and easy to make.

This recipe serves 2, you can double or triple the recipe as per your requirement.

Serves : 2
Cooking Time: 40-50 mins

You'll Need:
(For Mince):
300 grams of Mince meat (Beef/Mutton/Chicken. I used chicken)
1 small Onion (chopped)
1 small Carrot (chopped)
1 stick of Cinnamon
1/2 tsp of Red Chili Flakes
1/4 tsp of Cumin
Salt to taste
2 tbsp of Tomato Paste
1 small Tomato (chopped)
1/4 cup of Peas

(For Mashed Potatoes)
1 large Potato
3-4 tbsp Cream (can be skipped)
5-6 tbsp of Mink
Salt to taste
a pinch of Black Pepper
a pinch or Oregano (or any other herb)

Other Ingredients:
Garlic Butter (just mix mashed garlic with softened butter)
Green Onions
Mozzarella cheese

Heat oil, add chopped onion and carrots. Cook till the onions are translucent and the carrots are soft. Add mince tomato paste, chopped tomato, red chili flakes, salt, cumin, cinnamon and a little bit of water. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes (increase cooking time if you are using beef or mutton mince)

Throw in the peas, and leave for 5 minutes.

While that is cooking, make Mashed potatoes

Dice potatoes in 1/2 inch cubes and boil till fork tender.
Drain and mash. Put them on the stove, add black pepper, salt, cream, milk and oregano (any herb will do)

Mix on low flame till creamy and fluffy.

Grease any baking pan. I used ramekins, as I was making only 2 small portions (and because they are super cute) Any baking pan would do.
Add the mince mixture in the bottom.

Top it with mashed potatoes.
Now you can add anything on top you want.
I added only Garlic Butter on top of one. And Garlic butter and Mozzarella cheese on the other. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle green onions of top and serve !

How incredible does that look ?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Roast Chicken with Arabic Rice

I love nice juicy chicken, which i think is hard to do (i've messed up a few times as well). No one is a fan of dry rubbery chicken.
This recipe lets you enjoy super juicy chicken and its really easy to make.
The secret to this is to leave the skin on, it prevents the chicken from drying out in the oven.

(For Marination)
1 whole Chicken (mine was about 1 kg)
3 tbsp of Yogurt
Salt to taste
1/2 a bunch of Coriander
1/2 a bunch on Mint
3-4 Green Chilies
1 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Red Chili Powder (adjust according to taste)
1 tsp Chaat Masala
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
Juice of 2 lemons.

(For Arabic Rice)
2 cups of Rice (soak in water for 30 minutes)
1 chopped Onion
1/2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 chopped Tomato
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
2-3 Cloves
3-4 Black Peppercorns
1 stick Cinnamon
1 Bay Leaf
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
a few drops of Yellow Food Color

Clean the chicken from inside and out. You can remove the skin but i recommend against it. The skin will keep the chicken moist and juicy.

Blend the ingredients for the marinade together.

Marinade chicken for at least 2 hours. (For best results leave overnight)

Fill the cavity of the chicken with the peel of the lemon you juiced and a few cloves of garlic.

Place the chicken on a bed of sliced onions on a baking sheet.

Cover the pan with aluminium foil and bake at 200 degree centigrade for 40 minutes. 
Remove the foil and bake uncovered at 220 degree centigrade for another 25-30 minutes.
Check the thigh portion, take out if the juices run clear.

For The Rice:
Add chopped onion to a tablespoon of oil. When transparent add gingergarlic paste, clove, black peppercorn, bay leaf and cinnamon. When fragrant, add tomatoes...

..tomato puree, salt and red chili powder. Mix and cook for a minute.

Add Rice. Mix. and cook for a minute.

Than add water (double the amount of rice) cook on medium heat till the water evaporates. Than put on dam on very low flame for 10 minutes.

Serve with roast chicken.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Travel Dairies: Wadi Shab

Wadi Shab is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Oman.
Beyond the breathtaking entrance, the wadi takes you to magnificent pools, waterfalls and colorful scenery. You can jump in and swim in these refreshing pools !
Its a number one spot with the tourists.

We went to Wadi Shab on 24th of October. It was a usual Friday here in Muscat, hot and humid.
A friend of ours has already been there once, and he specially instructed us to wear hiking shoes for this and carry as less stuff as we can.
We left home around 9 am (We live in Wadi Kabir), met our friends at Wadi Adai and bought water and drinks from the Shell petrol pump there. 
It took about 1 and a half hour to reach there. 
Its just on the right side of Tiwi Beach.

There's a big car park and public toilets there. We reached there at 10:45 am.
A small boat will take you from the car park to the hiking trail which is just across. The water here is not that deep, I did see a few guys walking across, the water was up till their chest (from what i heard, the water level varies from time to time)

Once you reach the other side, you'll start walking. At first the path is not difficult (As you'll see in the pictures below). There are big black pipes that run side by side to the walking path. After about 30 minutes of walking, you'd see the first pool of water and this is where you'll start walking on uneven rocks on the side of the mountain. 
We saw a few guys jumping off a cliff in the deepest part of the pool on the way, this was where Redbull cliff diving competition took place. There was no other way to go down than to jump, so we walked further. After about 1 hour and 2.8 km (according to husband's phone) of walking, we came across this beautiful pond and decided to stop. 

There is a partially submerged cave if you walk further, but you can only excess the cave by swimming and going through a small space in between 2 huge rocks. We didnt go there, as i was the only swimmer in the group.

We started the walk back at 4 pm, we were at our car by 5:15.

The Specifics:
Distance (from Muscat to Wadi Shab): about 155 km

The Route We Took: From Wadi Kabir, we took a left from Wadi Adai, crossed Amirat and took the road leading to Sur. You will cross the Hawiyat Najam Park (sink hole). After about 1.5 hours of driving, you'd see signs to turn towards Wadi Shab on the right. Follow the signs.

Things to do: Hiking to get to the pools of water. Reward yourself after a long hike by jumping in the water and swimming in these clear, refreshing pools. You can take snacks, food or stuff to barbecue. (We made bbq pit with rocks and made chicken tikkas!)

Pros: Breathtaking views of the wadi. Beautiful and refreshing pools to swim in.

Cons: A long hike up to the pools. Other than that, i didnt find any other negative aspect of the place,

Things to remember: Carry a lot of water, you dont want to be dehydrated during the hike. Avoid going with small children. Wear appropriate shoes and clothing

Keep to the right when you see this sign.

Take an exit after this sign.

Tiwi Beach right across the Wadi.

Mouth of the Wadi

This boat would take you across, to the hiking trail.
He took 1 Rial for round trip.

Walking in. 

Stopping for a break.
I am ashamed to say that we had to stop a lot, and this was on even ground, we are so unfit :(

First pool of water, this is where the difficult hike starts.

On the way.
This is where Redbull Cliffdiving competition took place.

This is where we stopped!

How beautiful is this!

Us swimming in the pool.

So gorgeous !
It is such a serene feeling to be standing under these enormous mountains.

Us :)


If you've been to Wadi Shab, I'd love to hear about your experience. 
Take care.