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the weekend in pics

homemade flat bread with kashk badenjun

assorted indian snacks

recycled old clothes into window barrier

easy n tasty brocolli soup



From the realm of 1001 nights:


Strength devotional


We are Stronger than we think, mentally and physically, generation after generation survivors of famine, war, earthquake, loss. Sometimes we get difficulties that we have to overcome that help us to become stronger, but even without them we have to listen to our inner voice and take the right decision about the direction of our life. If we are not happy with something in our life we have to change it. How many of you have failed at something? When we fail we need to get up, get better and succeed.
Sometimes we are even wary to let others know what we want. We should not. We should always know who we are, what we want and the things that we should not compromise on.
I want that at the end of the evening everyone goes home pondering on their life and how they can make it better by being stronger.
The easy way is not the best one. Is not the most rewarding. It takes strength to make a decision to change the routine of your lifestyle but are we living our life at the fullest potential?
To be strong doesn't always mean to do everything on your own, sometimes we need help and advice. Our own vision can be impaired and we might need advice. It takes strength to ask for help.
To be united makes us stronger as a community and as individuals.

We will start with some Bahai writings, then quotes, small movie, sharing our strength, and finally a game.


O my God! O my God! Unite the hearts of Thy servants, and reveal unto them Thy great purpose. May they follow Thy commandments and abide in Thy law. Help them, O God, in their endeavour, and grant them strength to serve Thee. O God, leave them not to themselves, but guide their steps by the light of Thy knowledge and cheer their hearts by Thy love. Verily, Thou art their Helper and their Lord.

In this world we are influenced by two sentiments, Joy and Pain.
Joy gives us wings! In times of joy our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded. We seem better able to cope with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness. But when sadness visits us we become weak, our strength leaves us, our comprehension is dim and our intelligence veiled. The actualities of life seem to elude our grasp, the eyes of our spirits fail to discover the sacred mysteries, and we become even as dead beings.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
– Arnold Schwarzenegger

Fall down seven times, get up eight.”
– Japanese Proverb

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
– Audrey Hepburn

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”
– James Dean

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
– Bruce Lee

Share example that people are really strong, it can be yourself, a friend, family, even someone from history. If you know a quote it will be really nice.

Food for thought
Write down 5 things that are really important to you that would make your life better if you implement them.

After writing them down we found partners to encourage and make us stick to our goals that we achieved for ourselves.

Dashenka 's Xmas letter

Dear Santa,
This year I have been quite good. I love you more, Santa Claus. I like your hat. Thank you for getting some presents for me. I like your jacket and your reindeers. Love from Dashenka.

Cold party food

Happy holiday!

Today it's a big holyday for Bahais all around of the world. It's the birthday of the man who said “Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.”
― Bahá'u'lláh

I wish you all Happy Holiday and meet only people who go by these words, no matter what their religion.

Almost weekend

Viktoria Kutukova

Yejin Jun

Alice Lin

Daniela Fernandez

Sandhi Schimmel Gold

Paula Vrinceanu

Rebecca Nie

Lily Adamczyk

Lily Adamczyk

Lioba Bruckner

Teesin Lem

Norhani Abdul Rahman

Neeraj Parswal

Joyce Lee

Joyce Lee

Xiao Ting Chan

Which one is your favourite?


Mamaliga, more known to the world as its Italian version polenta, is the most beloved side dish in Romania. Here's 4 ways to enjoy it that are mouthwatering:

- Baked with Sausage and Cheese,
- with Sarmale (meat and rice wrapped in pickled cabbage leaves), sour cream, chilli pepper
- Tochitura, mixed meats cooked in wine, egg and cheese
- with fried fish and garlic paste


Party food

the first time I ate this salad was at a party. What a delight! I love all the ingredients: mushroom, frankfurter, pickled cucumbers with a dash of mayonnaise such an unexpected yet tasty combination.


Pepper soup with prawns

Oriental salad

Frappe & jam and toast breakfast

Indian cabbage curry

this is Cyprus

fashion crave

Special movies

All About My Mother (1999)
Talk to Her (2002)
Bad Education (2004)
Volver (2006)

Emir Kusturica
Black Cat, White Cat

Til Schweiger

Nae Caranfil

Cristian Mungiu

Majid Majidi

Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano

Tom Tykwer
Run Lola Run

Aamir Khan
Taare zamin par


Kindness devotional

So happy to host a kindness devotional at my house tomorrow. Thought to share the idea with you, the invisible readers of my blog.

Kindness - to other human beings, to oneself, to animals, to trees, flowers, environment.

First we'll have some readings:

O ye beloved of the Lord! The Kingdom of God is founded upon equity and justice, and also upon mercy, compassion, and kindness to every living soul. Strive ye then with all your heart to treat compassionately all humankind—except for those who have some selfish, private motive, or some disease of the soul. Kindness cannot be shown the tyrant, the deceiver, or the thief, because, far from awakening them to the error of their ways, it maketh them to continue in their perversity as before. No matter how much kindliness ye may expend upon the liar, he will but lie the more, for he believeth you to be deceived, while ye understand him but too well, and only remain silent out of your extreme compassion.

O thou daughter of the Kingdom! Thy letter dated 5 December 1918 was received. It contained the good news that the friends of God and the maidservants of the Merciful have gathered in summer at Green Acre, have been engaged day and night in the commemoration of God, have served the oneness of the world of humanity, have shown love to all religions, have remained aloof from every religious prejudice and have been kind to all people. The divine religions must be the cause of oneness among men, and the means of unity and love; they must promulgate universal peace, free man from every prejudice, bestow joy and gladness, exercise kindness to all men and do away with every difference and distinction. Just as Bahá’u’lláh addressing the world of humanity saith: ‘O people! Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch.’ At most it is this, that some souls are ignorant, they must be educated; some are sick, they must be healed; some are still of tender age, they must be helped to attain maturity, and the utmost kindness must be shown to them. This is the conduct of the people of Bahá.

Then some quotes:

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”

“You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want in life.”

“Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others.”

“When we treat people merely as they are, they will remain as they are. When we treat them as if they were what they should be, they will become what they should be.”

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.”

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindness there is at last one which makes the heart run over. ”

Small movie

Friendship tree
Prepare some papers with everybody's name. Have them choose a
heart with another’s name. Have them say the name and a one kind thing about that person, and hang the
heart on a tree branch.

Share a moment when someone has been especially kind to you.

Homework See some ideas at Random acts of kindness and apply them.


Bagels 3 ways & omelette 2 ways

Bagels with coconut butter and blueberry jam

Pumpkin seeds omelette

Bagels French toasted with garlic and chorizo/ tuna

Tomato omelette


Lindsay's fireside

I have the honour of knowing Lindsay John Moffat, a very talented artist and great person. Yesterday I went to one of his fire-sides and the subject was the Lotus temple. I was very impressed with the discussion and if you are in India, near New Delhi make sure to visit it.

Lindsay was nice enough to allow me to take pictures of his beautiful home, decorated with his own works of art

How Lotus temple was built

Lotus Temple on wikiarquitectura


Ela pou fovamai

one of my favourite Greek songs


Fishermen paintings that I like

Boris Prozakov

Charles Napier Hemy

Claude Joseph Vernet

Anton Dorph

Faruk Koksal

Thomas Kinkade - seems more like a naive painting

Knut Ekvall


Release Thursday

love my newest possesions

Dashenka dictionary

Eat - Geat
Veverita - Gagarita
Tom and Jerry - Cheshin Jeric
Disney land - Disney lawn
hug & cuddle - huggle

Rice with salmon and dill, Persian style


2 cups rice, you can use basmati
1 cup smoked rice
300 g salmon, peel the skin
1 cup dried dill, or a bunch of fresh one
6 cups water

1. Chop the salmon into cubes.
2. Put the water in a pot and allow it to boil.
3. Add all the rest of ingredients and allow to boil for 20 mins on slow flame.


Lemon rice

300g left over rice
1/2 onion
2tbsp mustard seeds
1tsp fennel seeds
1tbsp turmeric
1tbsp tandoori mix
1tbsp curry mix
1/2 cup split yellow lentils
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 lemon

1. In a pan fry in the oil: spices, salt, finely chopped onion& ginger, lentils, peanuts for 5 minutes.
2. Add 2 cups of water and let it boil until the lentils are cooked.
3. Pour over the rice and cover. Allow the flavours to mix for 10 minutes.
4. Pour over the lemon juice and mix.

Serve with Indian mango pickle, your favourite salad vegetables. Perfect for times when you have leftover rice.

Lemon rice


Food porn

Banana Loaf With Pumpkin Seeds

Musk Mellon Cake With Strawberries

Homemade Falafel - Best That I Ever Ate

Husband Made Pizza

Pumpkin Smoothie

Mirza Ghasemi Aubergine Paste With Egg, Garlic & Tomato

French Toast Baked With Camembert & Garlic


Chorizo paella

1 onion chopped
2 tbsp oil
100 g chorizo diced
2 red peppers cut into small squares
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tbsp paprika
pinch saffron
1 1/2 cup paella rice ( I used Jasmine Thai rice it became excelent, I tried with basmati too it didn't turn up so great)
1/2 cup green olives
3 cups boiling water

1. In a large frying pan fry the onion then gradually add the garlic, peppers, rice, chorizo, paprika, saffron, olives.
2. Add the boiling water and cover. Once the rice is cooked, paella is ready!

I always thought paella is very complicated to cook, then I found a recipe in ASDA magazine. It seemed very easy and rewarding and it actually was!


Simplified carbonara pasta

400 g pasta
2 cups mushroom
200 g bacon or pancetta
3 cloves garlic
250 g sour cream
1 tbsp oil

1. Boil pasta as per instructions.
2. Chop and fry the garlic. Add mushrooms and bacon.
3. When the mushtrooms are cooked add the sour cream. Season it. Add cooked pasta. Allow 10 mins for all the tastes to blend.


Bacchus Glasgow

Bacchus, the best beef stroganof that I ever ate.



tea cosie
From old blue jeans to new tea cosie

doll"s dress
And doll's dress


Oslo village museum

If in Oslo allow yourself 1 - 2 hours to explore through the Village museum. Lovely collection of old houses, saunas, farms and a 12th century old church, it incites one's imagination on how Norwegian viking were living hundreds of years ago.


10 small potatoes
1 orange pepper
250g green beans
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
400g minced meat
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 cups water
mixed spice
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp oil
cheddar cheese

1. Wash and slice the potatoes.
2. Spinkle oil on a large baking tray. Lay all the potato slices to cover the bottom of the tray. Sprinkle salt and spice on top.
3. Chop onion, garlic and pepper and distribute evenly on top. Spread the minced meat on top as well. Sprinkle with salt and spice.
4. In a separate deep bowl mix tomato paste, water, oregano. Spread evenly on top of the other ingredients.
5. Bake at 250 Celcius degrees.
6. When almost done sprinkle grated cheddar cheese and bake for more 10 minutes.

The original Greek recipe has aubergine, but I did not use it this time. Also instead of using Bechamel sauce I decided to simplify the recipe and just use a bit of Cheddar cheese. It make it taste just a bit cheesy without being too heavy.

Enjoy with some tasty bread. I had it with lettuce, green onion salad sprinkled with some salt, olive oil and lemon.


Ash reshteh

4 medium onions
2 garlic heads
1 cup each: chickpeas, kidney beans, green lentils
1 bunch or each: green onion, chives, coriander, dill, parsley, spinach
300g wheat noodles (Reshteh)
8 balls Kashk (Whey) (can substitute with yogurt)
2 tbsp oil

1. Soak overnight chickpeas and kidney beans.
2. Soak 20 mins green lentils.
3. Boil all above until soften.
4. Chop and fry 1 onion and 3 garlic cloves in oil and turmeric.
5. Add 1 liter water, boiled chickpeas, beans and lentils, water, finelly chopped herbs and grated Kashk (in case it's in form of balls). Let it boil for 45 minutes.
6. Add the noodles and salt and let boil for 12 more minutes.
7. Caramelise the last 3 onions and the rest of garlic. Use it as a topping.

The noodles are traditional Iranian noodles can be found in any Iranian store, but can be substituted with noodles or spaghetti. Kashk can be replaced with yogurt, to be added at the end and mixed, or served separately.
Ash reshteh is served on its own. The meaning of Ash is soup, but the texture of the food does not resemble soup, I think. If you want to taste something totally different than anything that you've ever tasted this is your food.


Khoresht karafs - Persian celery stew

2 celery bunches
2 parsley bunches
1 mint bunch
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 lamb pieces with bone
2 dried limes
salt and pepper

1. Chop and fry the onion and garlic with turmeric.
2. Add the lamb and sear it.
3. Add 1 liter water, bring it to boil then reduce heat. Allow it to boil 2 hours until lamb is very soft and ready.
4. Add the celery chopped into 2 cms pieces and finely chopped parsley and mint (I used the blender instead - much faster). Pierce the dried limes with a knife and add them too.
5. Allow to boil for 45 more minutes . Add salt and pepper.

Serve with some rice. I served it with some avocado salted and filled with vinegar and olive oil...
Khoresht karafs - Persian celery stew


Simplified carrot cake without raisins

6 carrots
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 spoons oil

1. Grate the carrots.
2. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
3. Pour in a large tray.
4. Bake at 180 Celcius degrees until the house smells lovely of carrot cake. Take a toothick and if you stick it and when you take it out, it is clean it means the cake is ready.
5. Let it rest 10 minutes and slice it.

I made this cake because I had too many carrots and my family does not eat soup. I changed the traditional recipe to increase the quantity of carrots. I also left out raisins because I don't like them so much in carrot cake. Enjoy this simple yet tasty recipe!

Carrot cake


Mommy's little helper and more lovely food

Chappati made by Dashenka, curry and raita
Chappati made by Dashenka, curry and raita

Scrumptious dinner
Scrumptious dinner: Baghali polow ba gusht, yorkshire pudding with brown sauce, salad, Bandari pickle and Blueberry cake with Camembert cheese

Strawberry jelly
Strawberry jelly


1 kilo lamb pieces with bone
1 liter water
1/2 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 cup dried whitebeans
3 garlic cloves
1 large onion
3 dried limes
5 small potatoes
2 small tomatoes
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp mixed spice which has cinnamon (I used Tesco's)

1. Soak chickpeas and beans overnight. Boil until tender. Set aside. (alternatively use canned beans)
2. Boil the lamb with lemon, garlic and turmeric on low heat until soft - 2 hours. Keep the pot covered.
3. Wash well and add the small unpeeled potatoes and allow it to boil until potatoes are boiled - 20 minutes.
4. Poke holes into the dried limes and add the to the boiling pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and allow to boil for 45 more minutes.

Traditionally the sauce of abgoosht or the soup is consumed with spoon, but the remaining ingredients are mashed with a meat masher and eaten with traditional breads such as Sangak or Taftoon, with a side of onion, basil and radish.
I prefer to eat it as a stew with some nice quality bread.
Abgoosht - chickpea, whitebeans and potato lamb stew


Blueberry cake topped with Camembert cheese

125 g butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 and 3/4 cups rising flour
1/2 cup milk
200 g blueberries
50 g Camembert cheese

1. Mix butter and sugar until fluffy.
2. Add everything else except the bluberries and the cheese.
3. Mix half of the blueberries with 2 tsp flour.
4. Gently integrate the bluberries above into the mixture.
5. Top with the rest of the blueberries and the cheese too.
6. Pour into a baking pan and into the oven for 1 hour at 180 Celcius degrees.

This cake has turned out very well, moist and delicious, subtely sweet and not fatty at all. The cheese on the top gave it a slightly salty twist.
Blueberry cake topped with Camembert cheese


Trip to Norway

Ever since I read Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, I was fascinated with Norwegian culture, traditions and wanted to visit Norway. Many years later on and I've finally done it.

Norway is a very beautiful (and expensive country). We landed in Oslo and had to go to our rented flat airbnb. We took a bus&train from Oslo Rygge to Oslo S. On the way we saw a lot of beautiful Norwegian houses. Made out of wood with large windows and rooms, they have a lot of personality and sometime even legs ;). Some of the window frames are sculptured with pretty Norwegian patterns. The houses close to Oslo have more subdued colours, white, light green, beige, but the houses in Bergen are very colourful. The traditional Norwegian houses have a roof with mud and grass on top. I've even saw a house with 3 trees on top of it.
Norwegian houses

Oslo is a very modern city and its architecture reflects that. Being fond of old architecture, I found this a bit disappointing.
Oslo modern architecture

Fjords are amazingly beautiful and I think I did not see the best ones. Luckily we had a sunny day to admire them! We rented a car to keep costs under control as a train trip would have been very expensive. We traveled on E16 to make it to Flam and take a cruise from there, but unfortunately we were late. But we still had a lot of views of the amazing fjords that will be remembered and treasured always. Although Google says it's 4 and a half hours by car from Oslo to Flam it took us 7 and half hours to get there. Another reason why we were late was that we couldn't find cars to rent in 2 agencies were we went. On the way we passed thru the longest tunnels that I've ever seen 25 km.
Fjords from Oslo to Flam

As we went up the mountain we saw some perennial ice and frozen fjords. It was magnificent.

We finally reached Flam but even if we caught the last cruise, there was no bus back. Flam itself was like a post card!

One thing that I liked in Oslo were the minimalistic and elegant way the town is decorated with purple flowers! In a mostly grey whitish heavy city those purple flowers looked like jewelry...
Oslo purple flowers

Oslo flowers harbour

Norwegian richness is reflected on the massive number of statues you see everywhere on the street. I liked most of the statues are representing family life.
family statue Oslo

Tho we visited very beautiful places, time constraints did not allow us to see the most acclaimed fjords, the Northern lights, Statue Park. Something to look forward on the next visit.
fjords and northern lights

Be very careful when purchasing souvenirs, especially if they are globes, we almost lost this little guy cause luggage control did not find a label stating the liquid volume!
viking snow globe Norway




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