Shakshouka – A Delicious Middle Eastern Breakfast


SHAKSHOUKA

Why not start your day with a Spicy Middle Eastern breakfast. Shakshouka is a simple, one-pan egg breakfast baked in a tomato sauce spiced with cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper.

 

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
⅛ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
salt & pepper
5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
6 large eggs
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Hot sauce, for serving

METHOD
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne, and cook 1 minute.

3. Pour in tomatoes and season with salt and pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes.

4. Stir in crumbled feta.

5. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes.

6. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes.

7. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce and crusty bread

SIMPLE!

Enjoy x

 

Top 10 things to do in Sri Lanka


We recently embarked on a trip to Sri Lanka after being inspired by a friend who declared the country an absolute must-see. As Sri Lanka has so much to offer we decided from the offset that this needed to be more than a holiday – it would be a mini adventure! So we packed a bag and booked a flight…

Sri Lankan surf beach bar
Sri Lankan surf beach bar

Check out the Alphabet Lifestyle list of top things to do and see in Sri Lanka:

  1. Take the express coast train from Galle to Colombo. 

Riding the train is a great way to get around Sri Lanka as its cheap, safe and an overall great experience. (Alphabet Lifestyle Top Tip: Make sure to book first-class and grab a window seat!)

Express train from Galle to Colombo
Express train from Galle to Colombo

2. Learn to surf.

Surfing is great fun in Sri Lanka with ideal surf conditions for both the novice and the expert surfer. East coast resorts such as Arugam Bay offer some of the world’s best places to surf, whilst the waves at Whisky Point are ideal for beginners.

The South Coast offers plenty of options for beginners and intermediates. Try Mirissa Beach or Unawatuna for chilled surf culture, cheap surf hotels and great beach bars. After a long day, sit and relax in one of the many bars, order the catch of the day and watch Sri Lanka’s idyllic sunset.

Mirissa Beach
Mirissa Beach
Sunset at Unawata
Sunset at Unawatuna

3. Visit a National Park

Yala National Park is the second largest in Sri Lanka and gives some of the best opportunities to witness Sri Lanka’s variety of wildlife, including elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, water buffalo, deer and the star attraction – leopards! Visitors can take a jeep safari across the park which spans 400 sq mile across the heart of the country.

Yala National Park
Yala National Park

4. Take a seaplane

See Sri Lanka from the sky! Cinnamon Air seaplane flights carries routes from Colombo to the coastal town of Koggalla and Kandy, central Sri Lanka. It also makes the arduous 6-hour journey to the beautiful beaches of Trincomalee on the North-east coast much more accessible. We flew from Colombo to Victoria Golf resort landing on Victoria Dam.

 

5. Play a round of golf at Victoria Golf and Country Resort.

The award winning resort, Victoria Golf & Country Resort, is situated just 10km from Kandy, Central Highlands, and offers breathtaking views and picturesque scenery. Golf Digest ranks it in the top 100 Most Beautiful Courses in the World. Not bad!

Sunset at Victoria Golf and Country Resort
Sunset at Victoria Golf and Country Resort

 

Relax in the pool and are in the views
Relax in the pool and take in the views

6. Visit Kandy

Hire a driver and visit the Sacred City of Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage site and Royal City, Kandy is the home of  Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth). The temple is regarded as one of the most important Buddhist religious sites in the country. Take a walk around Kandy lake, the focal point at the centre of the city. Visit the temple if you’re looking for a cultural experience and a serene moment amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. (Alphabet Lifestyle Top Tip: Pay the small fee for a guide to provide an insight into the religion and customs.)

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7. Photograph the stilt fishermen of Koggala

The old Sri Lankan traditional stilt fishermen can be spotted along the coastal road from Koggala to Galle. The fishermen sit on a crossbar called a ‘petta’ tied to a vertical pole driven into the sand. They hope to catch small herrings and mackerels which they store in bags tied to their waist.

Stilt fishermen at Koggala
Stilt fishermen at Koggala

8. Climb Adam’s Peak

Located in central Sri Lanka Adam’s Peak, also know as the holy mountain, is believed to be the first place where Adam set foot on earth after being cast out of heaven. Access to the mountain is possible by several trails linked to major cities. The ascent is done on foot through forested areas up thousands of steps built into the mountainside. Pilgrims and tourists make the climb to the temple at the summit to witness the Sri Pada, “a sacred footprint” rock formation, which in Buddhist tradition is held to be the footprint of Buddha.

9. Climb Lion’s Rock

For those less active (like me!) climb to the top of Lion’s Rock, a huge column of rock jutting out from the tropical forest, the Rock is known locally as Sigiriya and offers amazing 360-degree views.
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10. Visit Pinnawela Elephant Sanctuary

Pinnawela Elephant Sanctuary situated north-west of Kegalla between Colombo and Kandy, was originally founded to provide care and protection to the many orphaned elephants found in the jungles of Sri Lanka. The orphanage is currently home to around 80 elephants. Tourists can visit the orphanage and get involved in the bathing and feeding of the elephants.

Pinnawela Elephant Sanctuary sri lanka
Pinnawela Elephant Sanctuary

Comment below to share your travel tips and let us know your Sri Lankan hot-spots!

Welcome to Doha

Welcome to Doha, Qatar

Welcome To Doha Timelapse from Michael Shainblum on Vimeo.

Check out this great time-lapse video of Qatar by Michael Shainblum. The video captures the evolution of the Middle Eastern state of Qatar’s history from the old to present-day world, and the quintessence of the country’s culture.

It’s fascinating to see how the country has developed since it gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1971 – just over four decades ago!

Doha 1985, Sheraton Hotel
Doha 1985, Sheraton Hotel
Qatar in 1977
Doha’s open-air market in 1977

Nutribullet. 6 nutritional breakfast smoothies for busy people


A friend recently recommended the Nutribullet, mainly because it’s a great piece of design and does exactly what it says on the label, creates nutritional drinks. I already have a blender, a mixer and a juicer, so why would I benefit from a Nutribullet?  Because it’s compact, easy to assemble and cleaning it is hassle free! You literally just need to wash the cup and rinse the blade under the tap. Unlike my juicer, there is no waste! You get the benefit of the whole fruit and veg. It converts everything into a nutritional drink so that you’re also getting the fibre, (the mush that is thrown away when you use a conventional juicer).

It’s this simple…

Fill the provided cup with half veg, half fruit, add an optional healthy supplement ie nuts, seeds, add water or an alternative liquid ( how much depends on the consistency you prefer), and attach the cup to the Nutribullet. Extract for approx 30 seconds.

So, here are my favourite 6 nutritional smoothie drinks to help you kick start your day:

Mango, orange, pineapple and Greek yoghurt
Mango, orange, pineapple and Greek yoghurt

Tropical morning smoothie

Recipe: Fill the cup with 1/2 mango (we prefer frozen mango and pineapple pieces) and fresh orange slices, cut into segments, 1/2 pineapple cubed. Add 1/4 cup of Greek yoghurt and top with water. Process for 30  seconds and enjoy!

Kale, strawberries, low fat Greek yoghurt and ice
Kale, strawberries, low fat Greek yoghurt and ice

Strawberry and Kale diet smoothie

Recipe: Pack the cup with kale, add strawberries, fresh or frozen, add 1/4 cup of Greek yoghurt and ice! Process and drink!

Coconut milk, spinach or chopped kale and apple
Coconut milk, spinach or chopped kale and apple

Spinach with Green apple

Recipe: 1 cup of coconut milk, pack in the kale or spinach. Add an apple and water for preferred consistency. Process for 10 seconds.

Banana, flax seed, Greek yoghurt and oats
Banana, flax seed, Greek yoghurt and oats

A high protein breakfast smoothie

Recipe: 1 ripe banana, Greek yoghurt, tsp of flax seeds, 1/4 cup oats. Add liquid of choice (water, milk or coconut milk). Remember do not exceed the max line indicated on the cup. Blend until smooth.

Pineapple, carrots, ginger and celery
Pineapple, carrots, ginger and celery

Carrot and Pineapple Health juice

Recipe: Fill the cup with carrot and pineapple, add celery and ginger. Add water and blend together. Simple!

Blueberries, spinach, banana, strawberries and Greek yoghurt
Blueberries, spinach, banana, strawberries and Greek yoghurt

Berry Spinach Smoothie

Recipe: 1 banana, 1/4 cup of berries. Add kale and Greek yoghurt.  Top up with liquid, preferably water, as a healthier option. Process for 20 seconds.

Note: As with all the Nutribullet recipes, add water or preferred liquid to reach the desired consistency. Never fill above the max indicator. If I need a thinner consistency I blend the ingredients and then split into 2 more cups, add more water and process a second time. This works for me.

Photo credits: alaskafromscratch; kblog.lunchboxbrunch.com, nutribulletrecipes.org, allnutribullet.com, healthhappylife.com