Its been absolutely ages since we had uploaded a YouTube video so please do bear with us as we get back to Video Editing basics! For now, we have uploaded Short Clips of Guangzhou, China
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Firstly, huge apologies for the lack of activity but I now plan to post more topics and recipes very soon! And what better way then to show you all pictures from our backpacking trip in China & Malaysia back in May 2014. Since it was a long journey, I thought to put up one post a day of each leg of our backpacking trip.
LONDON – GUAGZHOU, CHINA
Our trip started off from London Heathrow to Gaugzhou, China via China Southern Airlines (which have to say was a superb Airline for such a cheap flight it had all the necessities and luxuries of a mid class flight! – ticket price was approx £400 each return via holidaygenie.com).
The stopover in China was approx 23 hours long where the airline had also given us a free hotel for the night -another surprise! The hotel was very clean and the staff knew some sort of English which was perfect for asking questions regarding the shuttle bus and what’s for breakfast.
Since we had a long stopover, we decided the next morning to explore more of China especially the old architecture and mosques. We first rang for a taxi from the hotel so we can get to the city which is a 40 minute to 1 hour drive depending on traffic.
(Quick note, to get around China, make sure you have the place you want to go screenshot on your phone in Chinese chatters – NOT English. Oh and go for the green coloured taxis!)
We had wanted to explore the old mosque of Saad Ibn Waqas (companion of the Prophet, peace be upon him). When we had entered the city, it was bustling with loads of people and it now hit us that we were in a different country with the Chinese women riding their bicycles on the main road with straw hats and their weekly groceries shopping hanging onto their baskets. The air was so humid and sticky also as you hear the sounds of the Chinese language wherever you walked past…I loved it!!
We tried finding the mosque after walking around the main park while getting used to a few locals raising their heads twice seeing us walk past them – I guess you don’t get much tourist in Guagzhou, but yet I still loved it, they had a friendly nature to them and it was the help of a Muslim China man that lead us in the end to the mosque.
And what an amazing mosque it was!! Built in the traditional Chinese style but with elements to symbolise it was a place of worship, the mosque was nestled in a backstreet entering via a garden footpath that was completely cutoff to the hustle and bustle of the city. The atmosphere suddenly became so serene and beautiful with the constant song of the exotic birds in the garden – at this point I was mesmerised with its serenity even though still being in the heart of Guagzhou.
After praying in the mosque we then kept walking along the footpath to find the tomb of the person the mosque was dedicated to – Saad Ibn Waqas.
(While bumping into a few locals and cats!) #catfans
After we stayed there for an hour or so absorbing the surroundings and beauty of the area. We decided we had to quickly make it to the hotel as after all this was just the stopover and we didn’t want to miss our flight to Malaysia where our journey really began!
First things first, we had to figure out is how do we get a taxi? It was easy for us at the hotel as they simply called them to pick us up, being in a completely different country and not knowing the language I might add, we had to ask the locals – in our attempt with sign language and English!
This local told us how – just to simply wave your hand and flag one down! He was a very humble person and a local Muslim that lived in the area, after he kindly told us how to get a taxi he then went back to baking bread for his stall. Which I had to quickly take a photo of!
After a few minutes we managed to flag a taxi down thankfully and then using our hotel business card as the directions on where we wanted to go – we were on our way back to the hotel!
We then quickly boarded our shuttle bus and was on the way to the airport to continue our backpacking trip in Malaysia – next stop Kuala Lumpur!!
A quick snap of our airport food. It was noodle broth in a mix of seafood with omelette on top. This wasn’t bad at all and wouldn’t mind recreating this dish -minus the octopus though- the broth was the best part with it looking weak it actually had a lot of flavour! This was accompanied by cute cherry tomatoes and freshly squeezed apple juice (we had to share one because of the high costs of airport food as we were on a budget backpacking trip).
Next post will be up this week of our trip in Malaysia!
Friday 11th January – 7.30pm Cyprus time – Larnaca Airport, Southern Cyprus
After a calm 4 hour trip from London Gatwick to Larnaca, Southern Cyprus, our journey had started within our group of four, our next mission was to find our pre-booked taxi to head to Lefke, Northern Cyprus. After collecting our luggage we headed towards the Taxi’s department outside only to find after half hour of waiting that our taxi man hadn’t arrived yet. Our first test on this journey!! This holiday to Cyprus wasn’t just going to be for the ‘holiday experience’ (or for the yummy food that awaited ahead of us) but also to treat it as a Spiritual Retreat, since we will be living fully in the Sufi/Islamic lifestyle with our routines and learning about ourselves and the blessings of sharing food.
So after waiting in the cold night and ringing the taxi man, turned out he completely forgotten about picking us up! And to get to Northern Cyprus in Lefke took an hour and a half, now you understand why we called this our first test on our spiritual journey in Cyprus. So we decided to get something to eat as we waited for the taxi man called Hajji Omer to arrive, which I might add, was an extra hour late then stated but we simply laughed it off, whether it was the jetlag of our system still being 2 hours behind then the Cyprus time or just the thrill of finally being on this beautiful Mediterranean Island.
Lefke, Northern Cyprus – 11pm
We had arrived! Albeit more of a delay then we expected but it started to sink in more. My sisterinlaw and I stayed at the free sister’s guesthouse, a place where ladies are welcomed to stay and enjoy the beautiful atmosphere as you meet other ladies from different parts of the world. While our husband’s stayed in the dergah (sufi centre/mosque).
We were kindly welcomed by two sisters (in Islam, all women are considered your sisters and men called your brothers, like a family – a very comforting feeling which I find in other cultures shared the same concept). One sister was from Manchester and the other all the way from Russia! After greeting each other with hugs and smiles, they showed us the shared rooms we can pick where there’s blankets, mattresses and pillows to choose from.
After settling in, the most quietly as we could as their were other’s sleeping in the same room, we reflected on how one moment you are in the busy life of the UK to the peaceful and beautiful Island of Cyprus and how thankful we were and contemplated on what was to come in these next 10 days!
Saturday 12th January – 10am – Lefke, Sister’s Guesthouse
Waking up to the beautiful sunshine of Lefke overlooking the sister’s guesthouse, a truly tranquil place. Meeting so many different sister’s at breakfast time, some flown in from Italy, Serbia, Germany, Russia, even Indonesia, it didn’t feel like we were in Cyprus at all, meeting so many wonderful people from different continents of the world sharing the same intention of spirituality and love.
Now onto the breakfast!! There is one lovely lady who run’s the free guesthouse, aunty Samia and her food is amazing!
Today’s breakfast consisting of yogurt soup (on the topic of soup, soup is always served every morning before any meal – something which I will be taking into account when back home!) a yummy vegetarian oven bake dish (in the middle) consisting of potatoes, leeks, carrots and tomatoes topped with bay leaves. And a healthy porridge and fruit dish made by some other sister’s from Serbia (who had an amazing inspirational story – they CYCLED it to Cyprus!) Not forgetting one of my favorite dishes that got served nearly each day, red cabbage and beetroot salad (middle left) – a dish I will definitely be making myself – and of course sharing the recipe to my wonderful fans of TWC786.
Did you know??
When eating bread with your meal it helps absorb nutrients from the food into your nerves!
With the breakfast meals, always accompanies the olives, the home-made range of jams which are made from the fruits in Cyprus, and a tahini and molasses mix (very yummy and molasses known to help the blood!). Also served every day with tea and toasted Turkish bread.
Now that’s not what was only served during breakfast/brunch, the most delicious omelette made also with fresh leeks. I only had a quick chance to take a picture!
Another meal I intend to try out myself and share the recipe!
Each breakfast, before it being served we all make a prayer on giving thanks to God for the meal and to bless Sheikh Nazim, he is a spiritual master that lives in Lefke, the one that owns the guesthouse and has opened it to people, the one that has brought everyone from around the world to unity and Divine Love.
And at the end of each meal, another prayer is added again to say thanks after eating the delicious food, I found it very beautiful to finish and start a meal with thanks…it makes you appreciate the food that has been given to you.
Tour of the guesthouse…
Midday – Lefke
After helping out with cleaning up after the yummy breakfast we went for a walk around Lefke – which then became a regular routine, a walk after midday – and in Lefke particularly they are well known for their orange trees and January was the season that they are ready to use! So we had to try one of THESE…..
Freshly squeezed Lefke Orange Juice!!!
No exaggeration intended, but by far it was the best orange juice I had tasted and only for 4 Turkish Lira – which comes to about £1.40 – I don’t think I paid that much for juice before, but it was definitely worth it and being so fresh, I would consider it a bargain! So that’s CAFE NATURAL you would want to look out for if your in Lefke!
Day 3 will be up tomorrow with MORE yummy breakfast from the sister’s guesthouse, fresh bread made directly from an outside mud oven, and Lahmacun!! Can’t come all the way to Cyprus and not have a traditional Turkish Pizza which I have tried many times in making myself!
Don’t forget I will posting each day’s experience up to Day 10 of our travels to Cyprus! Including videos!
(click the logo below to take you straight to my twitter, facebook or youtube account!)
As some of you might know, I’ll be off to Cyprus next week so this week I will be trying my best to uploaded as many recipes including requested ‘Turkish Chickpea Rice’ which hopefully will be up soon also.
For this post, I wanted to show you all an easy way to make chocolate pudding with simple ingredients from your cupboard and no eggs needed!
I came across this recipe when I had family staying over for the week and we all craved something chocolatey! And since I had no eggs in the fridge and the nearest supermarket is 5miles away from me, I had to research hard on what to make. Till I came across the most yummiest and delicious chocolate dessert that any chocolate-craving fanatic would love and satisfy their craving!
I have made this countless times and easy time it comes out a bit different but still with the same rich taste. I have also tweaked it a bit but you don’t have to be too fussy with the measurements.
Cooking time: 35mins
- 100grams butter (doesn’t have to be unsalted, I use salted as that’s what was in my fridge!)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsps. cocoa powder
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup milk
For the last stage of the method, ingredients needed:
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 tbsps. cocoa powder
- 2 cups. boiling water
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (Gas mark 4/350 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Do not overmelt.
- Once butter is melted, place into large bowl.
- Next add your sugar and cocoa powder and mix well.
- Next add in your flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until just combined.
- Then mix in your milk.
- Place into a baking dish. Make sure the baking dish isn’t too large otherwise the chocolate pudding will just be a thin layer. Not too small either as the step where you add 2 cups of boiling water will boil over the dish, we need this water for the mixture to soak it up and turn into chocolate sauce at the base of the pudding!
- I used a oval Pyrex baking dish measuring: 10 inches wide (not including the handles) x 3 inches deep.
- Now with your extra ingredients that you have set aside, cover the mixture with the 4bsps. cocoa powder and 2/3 cup of sugar.
- Now it might seem weird, but now add 2 cups of boiling water! Use a ladle to gentle add the water on top.
- Now add into the hot oven for 35minutes.
- You’ll notice that the water at the top will now be at the base as chocolate sauce and the mixture would be cooked and on the top.
- Serve warm and enjoy! Tip: always nice with a generous pour of double cream. Mmmmm…
Whereas you can find The Wandering Cook786
Facebook, where I always give a sneak peek of whats to come before posting on my blog:
YouTube, where you can find video tutorials of my recipes
Twitter, where you can tweet me your versions of Chocolate Pudding or any other recipe on here!
xxx Mea xxx
After hours spent last night on taking pictures, learning in’s and out’s of Picasa 3 software to create my header, spending ages on choosing a theme to suit my blog, then another hour or so fiddling around with it.
Finally my blog has been updated and has a new organized and professional approach especially with a new header image depicting the recipes I have created so far.
Let’s have a quick look on how it looked before…
Even though I loved the background to this old theme, I felt I needed something to show exactly what my blog was about. The reason I like the previous background was due to the fact that the colours always reminded me of warm Mediterranean cuisine and culture. So using that incentive, I decided to create a colourful image header with my main aim to show that my recipes are inspired from around the world and even via my back packing travels. As for the background, I wanted a food image but a bright ingredient, so I chose orange lentils from my Turkish lentil soup.
I hope you all like it as much as I do! Let me know what you think, you might find there will be a few more tweaking as I go along!
Do you prefer the old layout or the new?
Please comment below your views as it will be MUCH appreciated!
Tweet me your answers also on @thewanderincook
P.S As well as the lovely new layout, more lovely new recipes will be on it’s way………