Pomegranate Colored Lips…

One of my favourite genres of food is Persian. If you’ve never tried this heavenly scented and delicately spiced fare, you are missing out on a bouquet of flavours that you will experience in no other type of cuisine. It is the Persians who elevated their cooking with Saffron and Rose Water. While other cuisines employ ingredients akin to the Persians, no one does it more gracefully.

Food is so engrained and such an integral part of Persian culture that it was often used as a metaphor in it’s poetry and literature. The following quote describing the alluring beauty of Persian women never fails to make me smile…

Moon-faced beauties have almond-shaped eyes, peachy complexions, pistachio-like mouths, pomegranate colored lips, hazelnut-like noses, red apple cheeks, and lemon-like breasts.

One of the leading advocates of Persian cooking is Najmieh Batmanglij. I am fortunate enough to own her ‘Food of Life‘ cookbook and I assure you, it’s a fascinating masterpiece composed of recipes; modern and ancient, poetry and folktales.

N.B. I do not benefit by sharing Najmieh’s links, I simply love her writing and recipes.

An Apple A Day …

The way I like it  😆 😀 !

Blog Bulmers
One of my favourite tipples on a hot sweltering day would have to be cider. If I’m fortunate enough to be chilling outdoors on a terrace baking in the hot sun, there are few things more thirst-quenching than a cider.

Unfortunately imported ciders aren’t popular in Switzerland. The Swiss German version is something called Suure Moscht. It’s sufferable when nothing else is available, but it’s exceedingly carbonated and lacks depth. The brand I come across often is Möhl. Thus, whenever I’m at an international bar or at a pub in der Schweiz, it’s either Bulmers, Magners or Strongbow. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am thankful to be able to get at least one of these, but I’d be far happier with a greater selection of craft ciders.

Since several of the commercial ciders are a touch sweet, i.e. not dry, there’s only so many one can drink before they become cloying, sickly sweet. Still, in Summer a couple of ciders always go down a treat before I revert to my beloved beers.

Whenever I’m in the UK I make sure to try out a wide variety of ciders at all the pubs I frequent. Some I like, some I don’t. Just as with certain champagnes, I find some ciders too yeasty and not too my liking. It comes as no surprise since I’ve heard that the most common yeast used in cider production is champagne yeast.  I’m not a cider connoisseur, just a drinker, so I won’t even attempt to give detailed reviews.

The final argument when it comes to cider is: with or without ice? In my point of view, people ought to drink whatever and however they enjoy drinking. If it’s on tap, be aware that you’ll get less nectar as ice will have occupied volume. If bottled, go ahead, but drink it quick since ice will dilute the aroma as it melts. Not rocket science is it?! Ignore the hoity-toity snobs, the defining factor is whether you like it or not.

Always Look On The Bright Cider Life !!!

Give a Man a Fish …

I spent the first 18 years of my existence by the ocean, the Indian Ocean to be precise. They were the happiest times of my life, and I don’t mean only in terms of food & drink.

Hospitality is a massive part of every Mombasite’s culture. We love hosting guests, sharing our food and drink, and enjoying the simple social pleasures that emanate from gatherings.  I suppose this is the main reason why I became a hotelier, it’s not only a profession, it’s part of my psyche, my personality, my culture, my life.


Loup de Mer à la Chermoula ~ Greek Lavraki.

I could talk about my upbringing for ages but let me get back to the point of this post; the Ocean. I am a BIG LOVER of salt water fish, fresh of course. Grilled, sautéed, stir-fried, poached, ceviche or sashimi, I love it all. I recall with fondness the fantastic sea bream fish and chips my mother used to prepare for us on Fridays, with home made tartar sauce of course! Many a time we would be blessed with the heavenly kingfish masala she used to conjure up, served with hot chapatis and kachumbari salad.

Now let me tell you why I am one of the stupidest people on this planet; I moved to a landlocked country! There is absolutely no ocean anywhere near Switzerland. The only fish I can get is either overrated muddy Swiss lake fish or frozen sea fish. I’m sure we would all love to wake up at 3am and head to our local fish market to get our fresh daily catch, unfortunately that’s not an option for me so I have to settle for frozen fish. Let me get one thing straight, while frozen is nowhere as good as it’s fresh counterpart, when well prepared it is the only other decent option. I grill some fantastic Tsipoura and make some delicious fish masala from frozen sea fish. And yes my fish masala is better than Rick Stein’s fish curry. I do love him though, he is my favourite celebrity chef.


Gilt-head Bream

In the first photo I have European Seabass prepared 2 ways: Moroccan with Chermoula and Greek with lemon, olive oil and wild oregano. They both tasted fantastic and I can tell you that my guests thought they were dining at a taverna by the Mediterranean basking in the sunshine enjoying wonderful hospitality and fine food. And let me remind you, they were in my garden on the outskirts of Zürich without a sea in sight.

Broiled Bream

Oven broiled Tsipoura

My favourite way to feast on Tsipoura is the Greek way; simply grilled and seasoned with lemon, olive oil, salt and wild oregano. And yes it has to be wild oregano. The delicate sweet flesh of the flaky fish accentuated by the zesty lemon, peppery olive oil and sublime wild oregano.  It’s almost lunchtime here and writing this has got me HUNGRY! Regrettably the weather sucks so I will not be grilling, I am stuck in Switzerland and there is no chance of flying to a Greek Island :'(.

Tsipoura 2

Here’s hoping that I get to move back to the ocean some day soon. It’s my dream to set up my own beach bar & grill serving chilled beers, cool cocktails and mesmerizing international snacks, or as we call them ‘bitings’. The only thing standing in my way is investment but I am working on it. Nothing will stop me from achieving my goal.

Soon come…

The Divine Swine

Well,  the photo says it all.

Be it crispy crackling around an extremely juicy Porchetta roast or the enticing unctuous fat cushioning a moist rib chop, I love everything about this sensational meat.

If you asked me what my most cherished pork dish was, I would have a myriad of questions that would need answering before I could respond. What meal or time of day? What course? What are the accompaniments? Am I cooking it? How much time do I have to prepare it? Grilled, roasted, pan-fried, baked or stewed? Who am I dining with? A cold dish or a hot one? Spicy or Sweet & Sour?   As you can see, it’s complicated.

I have had the very good fortune of feasting on world-renowned Jamón Ibérico de Bellota in Madrid, perfect Porchetta in Italy, superb ‘Mbuzi Ulaya Choma’ in Mombasa and phenomenal Alpine Pork Chops in Switzerland. What I can assure you is that there are few experiences better than drawing in the heavenly aromas wafting through the air as a whole hog slowly roasts over an open fire.

Hog Roast

These little piggies were my lunch at a market in my local town a while back. I’ll let you in on a greedy little secret; I ate this 3 days in a row! The market was only in town for 3 days, what else did you expect me to do ?! The pork was incredibly juicy, lightly seasoned, and served with crispy crackling and a fresh cabbage salad. As always, I had my own chili relish with me and it went perfectly well with the dish. Nirvana…

I can’t wait until the next time they’re in town!

Pili Pili … my love of chillies

If there is one thing that I simply cannot live without; it would be chillies. Regardless of the dish I am feasting on, there has to be an accompanying hot sauce. If I don’t have anything fiery with me, I sulk, and I am not joking; I brood, I mope like a spoilt child!

Blog Pili Pili 3

I have a vast and varied collection of chilli sauces, relishes, chutneys and pastes in my larder and the assortment continues to grow. I have tangy vinegar based sauces, pungent garlic chilli pastes, blazing bhut jolokia chutneys and more importantly; my very own home made chilli relish. The recipe is a closely guarded secret, as are many that are created by my wonderfully talented mother, but I am more than happy to prepare a jar for you to savour, to relish and cherish and to totally fall in love with.

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The ingredients are pickled for varying lengths of time after which they are gently steeped in oil. I experiment with an array of chillies and supporting aromatics. My relishes contain only natural ingredients and are free from any and all preservatives.

Some people make jams and jellies to give out as gifts, I make chilli relishes. And you know what’s great about that, apart from sharing my love through my homemade creations, whoever’s home I am invited to there will always be a jar of my own chilli relish to enjoy with the food!

Simba Spice, coming to a dinner table near you …

The Perfect Start…

The perfect start ...

Greek nectar…

One of my favourite places on earth is a lovely Greek island called Zakynthos. It is here where I fell in love with the national iced coffee of Greece, it’s islands and Cyprus, the Frappé.

Wherever you go in Greece, you’ll see young and old alike going about their daily business with a transparent coffee cup in hand. The difference from the rest of the world is that there is very little milk or water, it consists almost entirely of foam. Whether they’re on a bike, a skateboard, a vespa or in a car, they will almost always have a Frappé in hand.

You haven’t heard the best bit yet; the drink lasts HOURS! Well it’s supposed to. A Frappé can take an entire morning or afternoon to drink. It is a godly nectar to be savoured, to be sipped, to be cherished. 

It’s really easy to make, follow this link and learn how to make yours. I enjoyed mine in my garden while dreaming of my summers in Greece…

p.s. I like mine black, no sugar.