Ramadan torture

15 09 2009

This is one of my best soups, Q loves it! It is also mega healthy and non-fattening.
Sóóóóó Yummmmieeeeee!!!!!!


  • oliveoil
  • one small onion
  • two cloves of garlic
  • one slice of ginger
  • mushrooms
  • one chicken fillet, cut in small pieces
  • chicken stock
  • springonion
  • one egg
  • beansprouts
  • baby-spinach
  • soy sauce
  • sherry (optional, but it is my secret inredient)

Fry one small onion cut in small pieces, two finely chopped garlic cloves, and a finely chopped slice of (real) ginger, for about one minute, add mushrooms and spring onion, take out, add another spoon of olive oil, and lightly fry the chicken.
Meanwhile you will have heated a pan of chicken-stock, add the vegetables and chicken, and let simmer, add one egg, beaten with two spoonfulls of Soy sauce, and one of sherry, slowly pour in the soup and  beat in the egg.
Add two handfulls of beansprouts and two handfulls of baby spinach: Serve and enjoy!

You can reheat this soup the next day, but in that case you should not add the spinach, as you cannot re-heat spinach, you put it in the bowls and pour the soup over it.

Make your own abaya! part1

12 02 2009

As the muttawa have been confiscating abayas with colour in Riyad, I would like to support my friends over there by posting some very simple abaya designs. Any idiot can make these 😉
Besides, I’m getting a lot of search-engine terms on ”how to make abaya” and I don’t want to disappoint. For those visitors; don’t look too much at my other posts, you might be shocked…

So, three dead-easy abaya designs, very suitable for your own decorations, which will be in the next part. When everybody is happy and confident (and feeling like  wanting to wear something more fitnah-ish) we can try the more complicated design of the fitted abaya. That is the one I use for my wintercoats.

One big advantage of making your own clothes is that you can use better and more healthy materials as the synthetic ones so often used for abayas nowadays. If your surroundings are not very hot, you can get away with a good cotton, or even better, a nice linen. Linen is ideal, it can retain far more moisture as cotton, therefore it will be feeling cool. In a really hot environment a light silk would be the best choice. Silk is usually very expensive, but that is a market mechanism. To buy in bulk, a decent silk doesn’t cost much more as a good cotton. So do shop around! Because of it’s luxury reputation, the shops put a much larger margin on it, making it more expensive. It might also be a good idea to buy a cheaper undyed material, and dye it in the color of your choice. With delicate materials it is best to try a small piece first. Dupioni silk is usually fairly cheap, but it looks a bit stiff. I do like the rough texture though, and you can get it in all sorts of colors, and in pretty changeant weaves too.


You can use snaps, hooks, zippers, buttons or velcro, it is your own choice. Velcro may sound easy, but has spelled doom for many a pretty delicate shayla. I think the easiest option is buttons, and, instead of making the quite complicated buttonholes, make a loop, use a bit of nice ribbon, or cord. If you use a different color it will be a decorative feature.

Measurements of the patterns:
I can’t give exact measurements on these designs, you have to find out your own measurements. The measurements you need are in the drawing underneath. Instead of experimenting on some beautiful material, I suggest you buy some very cheap cloth, like an unbleached cotton, and stitch it loosely, or even just pin it together, try it on and make changes as you like. Once your try-out is to your liking, you unpin or pick out the stitching, and you can then use the pieces of material for your own perfectly fitting pattern.

If your pattern is precisely cut on your finished dress/abaya, make sure you allow an extra 1,5 cm for stitching and edging the material. I would not line an abaya, because you use it over your clothes in mostly hot countries, so to add even extra material would be even more suffocating. If you add a lining for effect you could choose to only line the bottom of your abaya or sleeves.


Above you see an example on how you could lay out the pattern on your material. lay out your pieces, and move them around until you have them placed as economically as possible. Note down how much material you need, handy to know, especially if you plan on buying an expensive material next time. Most cloth comes at a width of 1.50 meter. Some more exclusive materials are only 1,20 wide. In that case you can’t slip in the sleeves at the sides, and you need 2× your length, #5. And 1× your sleeve length, #2.


These are the measurements you need, work them out for yourself, and make a trial-abaya which you can unpick, or cut up, and use as your personal pattern. Draw the pattern on your real material with special tailor chalk. The sleeve on pattern #1 is a wide sleeve, but if you draw the line to the seam you get a fitted sleeve. This also shows how you can make variations, once you have a good pattern. I only use basic patterns myself, and chance them when drawing them with chalk on the material for the design of a specific garment I’m making.

Pattern #1 and #2 have an overlapping front. You can easily adapt #1 so it won’t overlap. If you use an overlapping front, you nee to put in at least two extra buttons or snaps on the inside, to keep the bottom layer of cloth from sagging down. On pattern #1 you can see three light doth which are sugestions for the inside buttons or snaps.

This second pattern is really a Japanese kimono. This is a véry simple pattern and should be well in reach of everybody who would like to try and make something. Simple forms are also a nice canvas for your own decorations.


With the kimono pattern, you don’t have to be careful with the shoulder seam, it’s supposed to slip from the shoulder a bit. You can make a much wider kimono, by cutting the front and back-panels for a much wider shoulder, and then create three folds which you stitch for about 25cm.


Pattern #3 is a very simple basic traditional butterfly design. Not handy in daily life, but very pretty. You can decorate the sleeve cuffs, or even make them of a different material. Like a Chinese brocade.
Once you have tried making one of these, experiment with different cuts, or try your hand at adding some nice decorations. In part 2 I will give some ideas for decorating your abaya. (or anything else)


Natural organic conditioner for beautiful hair.

25 01 2009

This does wonders for my hair! It is a very basic natural conditioner which nourishes your hair, and leaves a lovely, but discreet, scent. It is excellent for dry or damaged hair, leaving it soft and silky smooth! Pamper your hair with this treat once or twice a month!

I have long thick hair, so I make a fairly large amount. this mixture should not be kept in storage, mix it as required. It is fun, and takes only 5 minutes to prepare.

You need:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (extra virgin, unrefined)
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 15 drops basil essential oil
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil

Warm the coconut oil until it becomes fluid by placing your mixing bowl in a slightly larger bowl with hot water.
Add the extra virgin olive oil, add the essential oils. Both basil and rosemary will promote healthy hair growth. Massage you scalp, and tie up your hair in a plastic wrap, or bag, and wrap a hot towel around. As the towel gets cold replace it or reheat it.
Leave for 20 or thirty minutes. Follow with mild shampoo and your usual conditioner.



2 07 2008

My last post was my one-hundredth, so to celebrate:
The recipe for a very simple cake, which however has made my reputation as a super baking queen.
Easy to whip up in a moment for unsuspected visitors.

You need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 250 gram baking flour
  • 250 gram butter
  • 200gram sugar
  • a nice dash of lemon peel

warm butter so it’s very smooth (for those nót living in a scorching hot country), add the sugar and stir well! Add the eggs, stir well again! Slowly in small batches add the flower. If you want to do it really well you can sift it in the mixture using a sieve. (I am far to lazy for such finesse) (I don’t even use measurements; I just throw everything together until it looks right)
Add the lemon peel.
put your mixture into a nice pastry-mould, place it into the pre-heated oven (160 degrees Celsius) and don’t forget to place a dish of water in the bottom of the oven: this will keep the cake moist and succulent.
Bake for about 40 minutes. (That always very much depends on the quirkieness of your own oven)


More Incense

30 03 2008

As so many people enjoy talking about incense and other smelly stuff, I will share some more favorite recipes.

Frankincense, Myrrh, Benzoin, Copal, are literally tree-resins, which you can burn in small granules on charcoal blocks. basically any kind of container can be used, they have to be capable of holding very hot coals. It helps a lot if you fill the container with sand.

Here are two small incense burners; the one on the left is Chinese; filled with sand, the one on the right has a metal mesh on which the coal rests.


The plant on the right is the mint I had to buy after American-Bedu gave us the recipe for Saudi-Champagne. I now use a lot of mint.

You can easily blend your own incenses, remember that once burnt many herbs and stuff smell very differently. According to aroma-therapy smell has a great influence on us. If that is so it makes sense to have different incenses for different purposes. With incense it’s the same as with cooking: as soon as you get used to the idea you start changing the recipes, or make up your own. Usually you want to keep the proportions of dried stuff much smaller than the resins. However, the second recipe turns that rule around, and is yet a very nice one.

The recipes usually use essential oils. Here are some of my ingredients. From right to left: Dragons-blood-resin, Copal, Frankincense, Camphor, (empty, that stuff has just completely disappeared!!!) Sandalwood, more Frankincense, Bezoïn, Myrrh and Storax.


It is best to grind the ingredients as fine as possible, and dragonsblood for example comes in large chunks, But I usually leave the resins as granules. Here are my two pestles, a course, and a fine one. I am here making the violet dusting powder. (without the violets, but I’m using extra lavender ground very fine)


As I cannot give the recipes other than tea-spoons and drops and dashes, I’ve photographed the ingredients to give an idea of the proportions.

Sweet Incense


  • three teaspoons of Frankincense
  • one teaspoon of Myrrh
  • one teaspoon of dried rose-petals
  • three drops of amber essential oil

This is a very simple and sweet smelling incense, crush the dried rose-petals into small bits, mix everything together, and add the drops of amber. Store in a tight lidded box.

Incense for Romance


From the top, clockwise

  • Three teaspoons of sandalwood
  • one teaspoon cinnamon
  • one teaspoon galangal
  • two teaspoons rosepetals
  • three drops neroli essential oil
  • one teaspoon dragonsblood resin

Crush the rose petals and dragonsblood resin, mix everything together, and add three drops of neroli. It’s such a small vial because it’s so bloody expensive!

This is a very unusual scent, it’s herby, spicy and sweet. Defenitely for the evening. It should get you and your mate’s blood running. Please inform me if it is so!

The proof of the incense is in the smelling! I’ve just tried them, and; lovely! But I think a little goes a long way, so for me these two will last me quite a long time.


Romantic body-oil

With all these essential oils you can also make yourself some lovely smelling body-oil for after your bath. This one is for women, it makes you even more attractive, and is supposed to work as a magnet for men, so you might want to be careful when to use it!!! As a base you can use either Jojoba or almond oil. You can make it on friday (venus’s day) But then I just made it on a Sunday, and it still smells lovely. 🙂 With recipes for scents, I think you should look at the recipe, but blend until it seems right to you! For use as a perfume, use just a tiny bit of base-oil, and then add the essential oils.

Blending fragances is an aquired art, and takes a keen sense of smell, but it gets easier with practise.


  • Jasmine
  • Red rose
  • one drop of lavender (not more)
  • drop of musk
  • and Ylang-ylang. be very careful with the Ylang-ylang, while it is lovely in a blend, too much smells (strangely) like cheap soap.

For men!

Very earthy and passionate, be prepared for anything! And according to my book it also works as an aphrodisiac with amazing results! Hum, if anybody actually is going to make this, and gets these amazing results, I would love to get a report of it!!!

Start with a base of Musk, and Patchouli. Add cinnamon, carnation and vanilla. Blend and add until the scent is right for you.


Next time I will post a list of what different scents are supposed to do, and share some more recipes.


25 03 2008

I love incense. As everybody seems to be posting on oud or incense these days, I’m not going to be left behind! 🙂 I hate smoking, but, And this is a secret! Some very few people are allowed to smoke a cigarette in my house, and the best way to get rid of the smell is to whip out my incense burner. I also like to wave my hair above it, after washing it. I like the smell of incense better than that of my hair products. It is also much better than the smell of damp dog!

So: for Marahm: this is my incense burner!


And here are a few of my incenses and ingredients, There is sandalwood, myrrh, francincense, dragonsblood resin, an incense from a south american tree which is lovely, and some mixtures.


Recipe for incense

  • 3 parts myrrh
  • 1 part crushed dried rosepetals or saffron. (or less, never do to much dried stuff)
  • a few drops of pine oil
  • a few drops of cedar oil

I also like the oldfashioned ”sachette”, linnen bags filled with lavender and rosemary, and then stuff them in between your clothes and sheets.

You can bring your favorite scent into the workplace by putting a few drops of your favorite oil on a ribbon and tie it around for example a bunch of pencils. or place a small pot pourri jar on your desk.


Recipe for Pot Pourri

  • 1 cup dried lavender
  • a handful of scented rosepetals or buds
  • dried verbena
  • 2 tablespoons of dried orrisroot
  • 2 drops each of rose, jasmine and lavender essential oils

Violet dusting powder

This is lovely to dust your skin with after a bath. It has a very subtle smell, and makes your skin silky-smooth.

  • 1tablespoon cornflour, or arrowrootpowder
  • 1 teaspoon ground orrisroot
  • 1 teaspoon ground lavender
  • a few fresh violets (officinalis) or fragrant roses

Place all the ingredients in a small tightly lidded cardboard box for a few days until the smells steep together. Then pack them carefully inro a small powder compact with a little swansdown puff. Dust your upper torso after bathing. You can also apply this at the office; to help keep you cool.


Sorry male visitors: this is all girl’s stuff.

Rose flavoured Ice-cream!

21 01 2008

How to make the most delicious rose flavoured ice-cream! (for Aliyah)


Plant rosebushes: you’ll need them!

This recipe uses real roses, and while you can use roses from a shop, you won’t know if they haven’t been sprayed with something nasty. They have to be fragrant! Many modern roses don’t really smell. If you use roses in cooking they will taste as they smell! These are David Austen roses; very fragrant!

Recipe for the rose-petal syrup you’ll need:

  • 100 gram rose petals
  • 1/2 lemon
  • a few pieces of orange-peel, or lemon-peel
  • 150 gram sugar
  • a dash of rosewater, or essential rose oil
  • 1,5 liter water

Any good smelling roses can be used, the darker red the colour of the rose, the more colour the syrup will give. You might need about 50 (!) roses, many more if they are single roses. It should come up to about 100 gram of rose petals. Boil them just for a very short time, in 1,5 liters of water, the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, a few pieces of orange/lemon-peel, and 150 grams of sugar. You can strengthen the aroma by adding a dash of rosewater, or a few drops of essential rose-oil. Now put the syrup in an jam-jar, with a tight lid. Keep it in the fridge. If you want to keep it for a long period of time, freeze it. In that case the jar shouldn’t be filled completely.

(I never did this with so many rose petals: I just took what I had, and added a lot of rosewater and essential oil. Besides: you need only three tablespoons for the ice-cream, so you don’t need a whole jam-pot full of the stuff anyway)


Now for the Rose-flavoured Ice-cream!

Update: My book didn’t mention cream, but I do make it with cream to make a real ice-cream. Suit yourselves, if cream is desired: just add 0,2/ 0,25 liters of cream to the mixture!

  • 0,2 liters of water
  • 200 gram sugar
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons of rose-petal syrup
  • 2 egg-whites
  • 0.2 liters cream

Make a syrup by boiling 0,2 liters of water and 200 grams of sugar. Mix this with the juice of three lemons, and three tablespoons of the Rose-petal syrup.

  • Ice-maker: put it in the ice machine for 10 minutes, add two egg-whites, half beaten stiff, and let it do whatever it does, for another 10 minutes.
  • Freezer: make sure the egg-whites are beaten as stiff as possible mix it carefully through the mixture, and let it freeze. The more air you get into the mixture the better. The more often you take it out and stir, the finer the texture will become.

This is a very delicately flavoured ice-cream. Serve with a sugared rose on top!