- I’ve learnt to speak all three languages with better accents, especially French;
- have nearly nailed the ‘guttural R’ sound in French; and the ‘trilled R’ in Spanish!
- have realised how easy German is. Not to mention how similar to English (Anglo-Saxon is the earliest form of English that existed)
- have realised that I have an amazing memory for vocabulary;
- have learnt quite a lot about the 3 unique cultures, the good and quirky stuff and more importantly for me, about their different regional cusines!
I employed a number of methods in helping me achieve results, and even took a leaf out of Tim Doner’s own experience by using popular French/Spanish/German TV programmes and music to help me get a better understanding of the languages.
- Michel Thomas CDs – Borrowed from my local library and then downloaded on to my ipod for easy listening. I really liked Michel’s clear and clever style of teaching and am hoping to learn Arabic and Chinese someday through his branded CDs.
- Books – Mostly bought after rummaging through charity shops. Stuff like dictionaries, phrase books etc
- Youtube/TV – Watching cartoons such as Cailou in Spanish, Petit ours Brun in French, Heidi in German and listening to a tonne of french rap and pop music. My current favourites being ‘Elle me dit’ by Mika and Danse by Indila)
- Duolingo – A free app that helps with building vocab, grammer and sentence formation in manageable chunks. (I’d highly recommend this app if you have any interest in languages)
I bought an old clunker of a sewing machine off Gumtree for £20 and have been putting it to good use ever since. I recently finished work on a pair of bags for my son and I and posted about it on the blog a few weeks ago. Click here to see how I made a pair of cute bags from an old pair of jeans!
My Go to Chicken Marinade
All through this past summer I made and used this marinade on numerous occasions because it is totally lip smacking! If like me, you ever get hit with a hankering for a Nandos Style Peri Peri chicken, then this is a recipe you need to try out for yourself. It tastes amazingly like the restaurant version only with sharper flavours hitting yours taste buds like bam bam BAM!!! I have used this while stir frying, grilling and baking chicken and it tastes equally good in all methods. Here’s the recipe for it. I took inspiration from here and made a few changes to it.
Peri Peri Marinade
For about a Kilo of chicken (on the bone or without)
- Three tablespoons of oregano
- Paprika or red chilli to taste (I’d add about a teaspoon)
- 1 whole red pepper (You could use shop bought roasted red pepper as well)
- Lemon juice, 2 tablespoon
- Soy Sauce, 1 tablespoon
- Brown sugar or Honey, 1 Tablespoon
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste (I’d add about a teaspoon)
- Oil, half a cup
- Garlic cloves, 6 to 8
- green or red chillies, a few (Optional)
- A splash of vinegar
Just blitz it all in the mixer and marinate the chicken in it for a few hours or overnight before baking, grilling or stir frying. Easy, inexpensive, restaurant-style Peri Peri chicken made right at home! Now how about that?
Microwave Idli cooker
I get a tonne of searches redirected from Google for this – MIcrowave Idli Cooker! About a few years ago I received a Tupperware Idli Cooker as a present and duly posted on the blog about my first experience of using it. You can read the older post here. Sadly that was also the last time I used it ’cause I like my idlis steamed rather than microwaved. Idli, for those who are not Indian, is a famous South Indian breakfast food that is made of a ground rice and lentil batter and then steamed in special moulds to get a soft, springy type dumpling. I have since bought myself a good old-fashioned steel idli stand from India have been using it to this day. However I still receive a number of emails and queries about microwaving idlis and so I decided to post again properly on the topic.
First things first, you must understand that microwaving does not produce the same result as steaming. But if it’s the only option you have (ie you’re a student in a dorm or a lodger with little kitchen space etc) it produces results that are almost the same as steamed idlis. However it takes a bit of time to experiment and find the best batter consistency and microwave timing to yield the soft spongy texture. Here are few things that I have personally observed.
- The batter has to be relatively thick or it will start dripping through the holes in the idli plate.
- Depending on your microwave, cooking times will vary. However food cooked in a microwave needs to be left alone for a few minutes before you open the lid as it will still be cooking in the residual heat. So factor ‘standing time’ into your cooking time. Roughly it should take about 4 to 5 minutes depending on the voltage.
- The topside of the idli will be flat; there’s nothing you can do about it sadly! Just turn it over for a neater presentation. You can see in the photographs how different a steamed idli looks from a microwaved one. As time goes by the microwaved idli will harden and you’ll have to reheat it get it soft. So try to make it as and when you are about to eat.
That is it for now I guess. I’ll save the rest for another post. I hope your summer was just as lovely and pleasant as mine. If you have a minute, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you did through the summer and it will make me keep at this whole blogging thing for as long as I can! xx