Grateful

I’m currently sat in a coffee shop writing this post. I’m sat in the same spot I was in nearly 10 years ago. I remember because I was struggling with a lot of things back then. It got too much and I decided to write a note on my iPhone about all the things I wanted to do but couldn’t.

I now sit in the same spot, drinking my coffee and writing my to-do list. I’m a changed person from that 21 year old who felt she was at a bit of a crossroads. I didn’t know what I wanted. I’d just graduated with a degree but I wasn’t sure if that was my calling. I wanted to be a doctor but I didn’t know if I could do it or afford it. I had the wrong people in my life which made things more difficult.

I’m now 31 and I wish I could tell 21 year old me not to worry! We made it even though we fell down a 100 times. You got the career you wanted, you got the life you dreamed of. Nothing is easy and life is rarely perfect but perfection is not how many things you can tick off from your to-do/bucket list but it’s the little things in life like spending time with your family and friends. Trying to maintain and build those relationships whom without you wouldn’t have been in the place you are right now.

You see, it doesn’t take just YOU to reach your goals, it’s takes a TEAM. A whole team of human beings who support you – financially, emotionally and mentally! Sometimes your team members aren’t here for the full ride and that’s okay as it’s your story and you’re the boss so you can take people off and bring in others who you know will take you to the finish line!

So believe in yourself and let others help you achieve your full potential .

It all works out in the end. Promise!

Happy International Women’s Day

Strong, brave and fearless. These are the words my husband used to describe me yesterday when I asked him. At first I was like hmm okay as all 3 of these words are pretty similar. Am I not kind? Am I not Caring?

‘why do you want to be described as kind and caring only? You can be that and more’. He said

It made me happy to think that he looks at me as the strong one, the one who is brave enough to take risks and someone who never fears to try new things.

And you know what…

I agree with him. Yes, I’m bloody strong, brave and fearless. I’ve been through hell and back. I’ve pulled myself up from the bottom. I became fearless. I had a goal and I achieved it regardless of everything going on around me. I didn’t stop. I don’t want to be described as only kind or caring. I am all of those things but I am also strong, brave and fearless.

So Happy International Women’s Day to all those strong, brave and fearless queens! Live your lives to the full and never let anyone tell you otherwise. Life is hard so lets support the amazing women in our lives.

Difficulties With Death

Hello, how are you? Good I hope. How has your week been? My week has been a bit of an emotional one this week as I’ve had to deal with death.

Death. A difficult word that can mean so many different things to one person. The death of a loved one, a pet or even a relationship.

I lost my beloved Uncle this week and my pet chicken Brick. Both were unexpected and brought about so many different emotions. I’d not seen my Uncle for nearly 3 years as he lived abroad so we never got to see each other, partly due to the pandemic.

I say because of the pandemic but the truth is that I never actually did call or text him. Not once did I ask my Father how he was. I just got on with my life and assumed he was okay. I forgot that he was my Dads brother, his sibling and that they both had memories together, they all had a life before we came along. His death made me realise how selfish we can be. Yes life is busy, it’s fast and we are always on the go but sometimes we should take 5 minutes and just think about whether we can help anyone or even just ask them about their day. I don’t know how my Dad has felt these past few days. He must be broken. So far away from his family, so far away from those memories. So brave.

Now let’s talk about Brick. Feisty Brick. Brave Brick. My first ever pet.

Growing up I never understood how someone could get so attached to an animal but now I get it. It’s like there’s something/ someone always present. Loves you unconditionally and whom you can care for. Brick really helped my husband and I at a time where we were both struggling with so many things. She became our child in a way.

Weetabix loving, toast munching, rice loving Brick. We will miss you. Your time was up and that’s okay.

Death is the only thing that is guaranteed so if we all know we are going to go one day then why are we so stubborn and angry all the time? If we know that our time in this world is limited then why do we hold onto grudges. Be happy, be kind, help others as we never know when it’s going to be the last time we will see someone. Let things go.

As a doctor I see death nearly every day and I see families talking about their loved ones who died in the best way. I always wish they would have done the same whilst they were alive. Imagine how happy that would have made them. Maybe people do that because it helps them feel better and reduces the regrets that they have.

Let’s pray for those who have passed but let’s also pray for those who are here, present. Let’s hope we can change our ways so we’re not regretful of what we’ve done.

X

Thoughts on blogging

Hi all. Once again I’ve been pretty terrible at posting. Sorry! Since the start of 2022 I’ve been thinking about changing my approach towards blogging.

I feel the reason I struggle to post so frequently is because of the way I have focused my blog page. I always over think about what I’m going to write about, will it be interesting, whether it’s current or does it even fit my theme.

So I’ve thought and thought and have decided that from now on this blog is going to be about my day, what I’ve learnt from it and my reflections. Obviously some days may be better then others and I guess I won’t be able to write daily (most likely weekly) but when I feel like I need to rant, reflect and focus, I will come here. I guess you can call it an online journal.

I will however still write the odd travel post and recipe because I cannot completely move away from that as I love baking, cooking and traveling as well as writing and just want others to read about all the things that are important to me.

So I hope you continue reading as I try to blog my way through life.

x

Newquay, Cornwall

It’s been pretty quiet on here but we are back with a brand new blog post. FINALLY.

We’ve had a crazy few months with work, family and life in general. We’ve travelled, worked through a pandemic, built a Koi pond and a new home for our chickens AND we’ve started our own YouTube channel. Exciting times.

We recently went away to Cornwall for the first time for my husbands birthday. It was meant to be a surprise but unfortunately I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and gave it away a week before the trip. Oh well.

I chose Newquay because I was looking for a relaxing, easy going holiday with no crazy itinerary and that’s exactly what we got.

We chose to stay at an Airbnb and were hosted by a wonderful couple called Jen and Nick at the Gwills Countryside Retreat. The room was amazing with our own private hot tub and a lovely field view. We had a delicious homemade cream tea on arrival and breakfast was freshly made each morning and brought up to the room. We could not complain! As well as the above, Gwillls was away from the hustle and bustle of Newquay but near enough to some of the best beaches we have been to in the UK.

Newquay, a small seaside town on the north coast of Cornwall was not what I expected it to be. Yes it was scenic, relaxing, quiet but it was so hard to find a restaurant that wasn’t booked up. Most places served food only till 9.30pm. However the beaches were amazing and once we did manage to get into a restaurant the food was pretty great.

Now my husband and I aren’t too big on UK seaside holidays. We usually head over to places like Edinburgh, London or most of the time abroad so this was new to me. I organised a small, easy going itinerary that allowed us to just go with the flow and do whatever we felt like.

Have a read and use it for your next trip to Newquay. We suggest going to Newquay for a nice, relaxed, long lie ins, late breakfasts kind of weekend. A trip that will help you rejuvenate. Enjoy!

Day 1:

Get an early start! It took us nearly 6 hours on the motorway to get to Newquay. It was a Friday, we used the notorious M5 and we did stop twice.

So we arrived at our AirBnb at 6pm and were welcomed by our hosts with a lovely cream tea. Usually on the first day of our holidays we don’t tend to have anything booked that we need to be dressed and ready for. We tend to take it easy, explore our surroundings, check out the restaurants and can get a gist of the vibe around us. That is exactly what we did on our first day in Newquay.

Cream Tea at Gwills Countryside Retreat

Here is a list of the places we saw and visited on our first day:

Newquay Harbour

Cute, fun little place with lots of little sea food restaurants, cafes and ice-cream carts. Unfortunately we did arrive too late but it was nice to see what there was and obviously being a harbour it did smell like the sea.

The Fish Bar Newquay: Restaurant

This place was amazing but it did take forever to get a table. Firstly most restaurants STOP serving food at 9.30pm. Yes. Even on a Friday night. Considering we hadn’t booked anything and we really didn’t want a dominoes or MCD we waited and by chance got a table but only on the tapas side so we couldn’t order anything from the actual restaurant menu. Would still give it a 9/10 as lots of tasty seafood (obviously), good veggie options and decent dessert. Tip: BOOK IN ADVANCE!

Newquay Town Centre (near the The Fish Bar)

Okay so Newquay was pretty dead for a Friday. Not much to do except go to a bar and drink and as that’s not really our thing we we were kind of stuck. We decided to go for a walk around the town and headed to an arcade. Neither of us had been to one in nearly 15 years and so we played a few games until closing time. Felt like we were 16 again.

Day 2:

Our day started very slowly with a late breakfast prepared by our lovely hosts. We then headed out to the harbour to start our day at midday in preparation for our fishing trip. On our way we decided to stop over for some fish and chips at a local chippy. What I really liked about Newquay was the amazing variety of vegan/vegetarian options. The fish and chip shops we visited fried the fish in a completely different oil to the meat which we usually struggle to find in the Midlands and up North.

Fishing Trip

My husband is into his fish and has a Koi Pond, Marine Fish tank and a Tropical Fish tank at home so considering it was his birthday I booked us onto a fishing trip from Newquay Harbour. We did this in the Maldives and I think I was expecting the same kind of experience. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case but for an English fishing boat trip it was pretty cool. We booked with a company call Bootlegger Boat Trips. The trip cost us £35 per person, which included all the equipment. I wouldn’t recommend it if you get sea sick as it can get quite choppy. I didn’t catch anything (I’m usually pretty good at fishing) but my husband did however it wasn’t something we wanted to take back and eat.

Bootleggers Fishing Trip

Little Italy Newquay: Restaurant

Dinner was all planned as I had booked this restaurant a day before. We chose this place because I wanted a nice Italian style pizza and the reviews were great on this place. Its interior was cosy and very small but don’t be confused by this as the food was very tasty. We ordered 2 pizza’s; a goats cheese and caramelised onion one and a seafood pizza, a houmous starter with olives and warm bread and my husband also order a very cheesy pasta. All in all the food was great and we actually ended up ordering too much so took it back with us. Just to make you aware we weren’t allowed in without masks (which is fine as we are pro mask) but it’s a bit silly because as soon as we sat down we removed them to have our drinks and food. Again book early to avoid disappointment because they were turning away people from 9.30 as they stop serving at that time (why Newquay?!), which is a shame as I am sure they turned away 3 couples or more over the 2 hour period we were there. Probably not the best pizza I’ve had but very good for Newquay. 7/10 from me.

Little Italy

Day 3:

You can’t come to Cornwall and not try a Cornish Pasty and Cornish ice-cream so that was our aim for today! We also managed to book ourselves into a Circus performance by Paulos.

Jamies Pasty Shop

There are so many options for Cornish pasties and you are pretty spoilt for choice. We did a quick google search and found the one with the best reviews. We ended up at Jamies Pasty Shop as they lots of different vegan options and opted for a broccoli and cheese and a standard cheese and onion pasty. Very tasty but filling. We couldn’t finish them and they did get slightly sickening towards the end. Regardless, it’s something you have to eat if you’re in Cornwall and because of its large variety of options, I would recommend Jamies. 6/10.

Google also recommends Morris Pasties Gover but it was closed so we didn’t get a chance to try it.

As with Cornish pasties, there are many options for Cornish ice-cream. We tried a few different ones and unfortunately I don’t remember all the names apart from Kelly’s ice cream which I’ve had many times before. Sorry!

Newquay, Cornwall

Paulos Circus

Sunday evenings entertainment was Paulos Circus which is well known in Newquay. We decided to go for the Hell Circus show, firstly because it was for over 18’s therefore no kids and secondly because I am a BIG horror fan, so this was right up my street. Now I don’t know what I was expecting but I thought it would something scary, frightening and full of blood, ghosts etc but this was more of a adult based humour show, not that many scares and more jokes and laughs. I’ve never been to a circus before so I guess I may have hyped it up more in my head but in my opinion the suspenseful music playing and scares whilst waiting for the show to begin were more frightful then the actual show. Nonetheless, the acts were very talented and I did laugh at some of the jokes!

Day 4:

As we had a long drive ahead and it was back to work the very next day, we decided to leave Newquay before lunch time.

Before heading out towards the motorway we stopped at the local farm shop and brought some of the local produce. This is something I always do, especially when abroad. I brought some cheese, fresh vegetables, baked goods and flowers.

Overall, I would give Newquay a 6/10. Lovely place, calm and relaxed but not our cup of tea.

What COVID-19 taught us

It’s really hard to believe that it’s nearly October and autumn is here.

This obviously means big woolly jumpers, warm snuggly socks, pumpkin lattes and the crisp autumn air. Literally ALL of our (more so mine) favourite things.

This year has been crazy to say the least. We went from January, February straight to quarantine and somehow ended up in September.

It’s been a long hard road and from the looks of it, it isn’t over.

I don’t know about you but we learnt many lessons from this year and I thought it would be worthwhile to share a few things I have focused on during lockdown that have helped me change the way I deal with many things.

Gratitude.

Always be grateful. There are so many people who are in worse situations then you. We learnt the importance of gratitude more than ever as frontline doctors. Being on the frontline taught us that life is not guaranteed and that being healthy, having a meal, travelling or being able to help is a gift in itself. I brought a gratitude diary and started writing about the 3 things I was grateful for every day. It’s a great way to remind yourself of all your blessings if you are having a bad day.

I have linked the Gratitude Journal I mentioned below.

Gratitude Journal

Appreciation.

The feeling of thankfulness. Appreciate your partner, your mother, your father, your siblings, your friends, your colleagues. Life’s short so make the most of having all your loved ones around you. Appreciate where you at this very moment in time. It may be hard and it may feel like it’s never going to get better but trust me, appreciate the trials as they will shape you and make you thankful for everything you have in your life.

Kindness.

It goes a long way and can change someone’s day. It can be a smile, a hello or even a quick phone call to a friend to ask if they’re okay, or if they need anything. Baking for your neighbour or flowers for your mum. It’s sometimes difficult to be kind with your words. Your tone and facial expressions rely heavily on how you come across so mean what you say and don’t be kind for the sake of reward. Finally don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself, allow yourself the time to relax and recuperate. Give yourself the same kindness you have for others.

Balance.

Oh I used to be so bad at this one a couple of months ago. I felt like I had to do everything in a certain amount of time so I used to rush. I would want EVERYTHING to be perfect – the house, my work, my cooking, my baking and the list goes on. I was sleeping less, was always tired, eating junk, not exercising enough and then there was the lockdown. In my head having a balance meant the scales had to be ‘perfectly’ even but that’s not the case. I now understand that having a balance means I will spread my housework over the week, I will bake on my days off only, I will meal prep, I will exercise and sleep on time as they are both important to me. Balance means making time for the things that make you happy without compromising. Be organised, slow down, enjoy and make time for the things you love.

Self-care.

This is so important. Take yourself out for the day, eat well, treat yourself to a massage or stay at home and watch films all day. You care for everyone else so why not care for yourself. The better version you are of yourself, the more able you are to help others. Self-care also means looking after your mental health. Everyone feels low in mood from time to time and that is absolutely normal. Things can get too much and if that happens then you are allowed to take time off work. Only because it cannot be seen, does not mean it isn’t a valid health problem. Don’t forget that your GP is always available to talk to you about how you feel and if needed you can also contact Healthy Minds to have a chat to someone (all confidential).

Belief.

Even though I have mentioned this last, this is perhaps one of the most important things I have held onto from a very young age. Trust, faith and confidence that something bigger or better will happen. My belief stems from my religion of Islam and prayer has shaped me to always believe that whatever is happening is happening for the best. In Arabic we call this ‘Tawakkul’. We all navigate and make sense of this complex world in many different ways but whatever way we do this, there is always a belief that everything will get better. And it will get better. COVID -19 will disappear, our lives will be back to normal but we will always remember what we went through and the experiences will shape us to become better version of ourselves.

We really hope our little post helps you.

Stay safe and save lives. ❤️

Creamy Butter Chicken

We were thinking about blogging the perfect BBQ but considering the weathers a bit miserable at the moment we thought we’d go all traditional and write about the tasty punjabi delicacy that is Creamy Butter Chicken.

Spicy, warm and oozing with butter, this rainy day delight goes perfect with homemade chapatti or naan bread. It is slightly calorific but we assure you that you will have no regrets once you taste this dish!

Give it a try and let us know how it goes.

You won’t be disappointed!

You will need to follow our tandoori chicken recipe for this dish. Press on the link below.

The Perfect Tandoori Chicken

Creamy Tomato Gravy

Ingredients:

1 tbsp oil

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp cardamom, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp ginger and garlic paste

1/2 tsp garam masala powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp chilli powder (optional)

1 tsp salt (to taste)

2 tbsp tomato puree

284ml single cream

1 tbsp milk

3/4 tbsp sugar

Coriander to garnish

Recipe:

1. Follow The perfect Tandoori Chicken recipe. See the link above. This can be done a few hours in advance. Once the chicken is cooked, set aside and proceed to make the spicy tomato sauce below

2. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, add the oil, butter, cardamom and cinnamon stick and fry for 20 seconds then add the onions, ginger/garlic paste and salt. Sauté for 5-7 mins on a medium heat until they take on a light brown colour.

3. Add the chilli powder (optional), garam masala powder and coriander powder along with the tomato puree. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes.

4. Gradually add the single cream stirring continuously to mix all the spices with the cream. Add the milk and sugar then allow to simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add the roasted chicken and stir to coat each piece.

6. Garnish with coriander and serve with fresh naan bread or chapati.

The Perfect Tandoori Chicken

THIS is a dinner party and BBQ essential. It’s super easy to make and can be made in advance. Healthy, spicy and amazingly good, this is perfect with a salad, naan bread or great when added to a spicy tomato gravy.

Ingredients:

500 grams skinless chicken breast or thigh- any size

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp greek yoghurt

2 tbsp chickpea flour/gram flour

2 tsp ginger and garlic paste

2 cloves of garlic chopped or 1 tsp dry garlic granules

1 green chilli chopped

1 tsp mild paprika

1 tsp salt (to taste)

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp cumin powder

½ tsp chilli powder optional (to taste)

1 tsp garam masala powder

1 tsp coriander powder

2 tbsp chaat masala

Pinch cinnamon powder

Pinch of saffron crushed

Fresh coriander

Butter mixed with olive oil, lemon and pinch of paprika for basting

Recipe:

1. Add all of the above ingredients to form a thick paste like consistency.

2. Slice the pieces of chicken with small shallow cuts. This will allow the marinade to reach every part of the chicken. Stir well and tip in the chicken pieces and mix well making sure to coat them in the thick marinade.

Thick paste like marinade

3. Leave to marinate for a few hours or even overnight if you prefer.

4. When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 180C/fan/160C/gas 4 and lightly oil a baking tray. Place the marinated chicken on the tray and roast for 40 minutes. At 15 minutes baste with the melted butter mix and continue to roast in the oven for another 15 minutes. Baste again and then return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

5. If you are preparing the chicken for a BBQ then thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers (or depending on the size of your chicken pieces you can skip the skewers) and place them on a wire rack. Grill on the BBQ for 15-20 minutes. Turn the skewers/chicken pieces every 5 minutes & baste with melted butter.

6. Mix until the juices run clear and they are cooked through and charred around the edges.

Tip: Rub a piece of raw potato over the wire rack to avoid the chicken sticking to the grill.

7. Serve with fresh salad, mint sauce or naan.

The Mighty Meaty Lasagne

Get ready to be amazed by this meaty, spicy, fresh lasagne.

Layered with cheesy white sauce, a hot meat filled tomato gravy AND yes, made with fresh homemade pasta!

Of course you can always swap the fresh pasta with the prepacked supermarket sheets but considering we all now have some spare time on our hands. it seems a waste not to be learning a new skill.

I mean, who doesn’t want to learn how to make super, smooth, homemade pasta. Right?

So give this a try and let me know how it goes!

Ingredients:

Fresh pasta sheets:

Makes lasagne for 6-8 portions

275g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

3 large eggs

1 pinch salt

Method:

1. Place the flour on a work surface. Make a well in the centre and add in the eggs and salt.

2. Gently beat the eggs and mix in the surrounding flour. This will create a runny batter.

3. Take the remaining flour and bring towards the centre, incorporating it into the runny mixture. You may use a spoon or fork to prevent your hands from getting sticky. If the dough is too stiff, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.

4. Form a ball and start kneading with your hands. Flatten the ball, stretch and then fold from the top towards the centre; turn 45 degrees and repeat. You should. knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it becomes smooth and soft.

5. Shape into a ball, place in a bowl and cover with cling film.

6. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

7. Roll out the dough with a pasta machine or with a rolling pin.

I used a good old rolling pin to make my pasta. I’m sure a pasta machine makes the process a lot more easier so if you have one then go ahead and use it. As I don’t have experience with one, I will only be focusing on the rolling pin technique! Trust me, a bit of elbow grease goes a long way.

8. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions.

9. Flatten one of the dough portions and roll 5 to 6 times. Turn the dough 45 degrees and roll again, 5 to 6 times.

10. Keep rolling and turning, until the dough reaches a consistent 1mm thickness.

11. Cut out rectangular sheets according to the shape and size of your baking dish.

12. Transfer to a floured cloth and air dry for about 30 minutes.

Tomato Sauce:

Head over to our ‘The super Cheesy Shepherds Pie’ recipe to learn how to make the perfect meaty, tomato gravy.

You can swap the meat for Quorn or even make a vegetable lasagne by swapping the meat for your fave veg. See the link below!

Meaty Tomato Sauce Recipe

White sauce:

Ingredients:

50g plain flour

50g butter

500ml whole milk

50g cheese of your choice

Salt and pepper optional

Method:

1. In a saucepan melt 50g butter and add 50g plain flour. Stir continuously until a paste forms. This is what we call a roux.

2. Add 500ml milk to the roux, gradually stirring as you go.

3. Add 50g cheese and stir until you get a smooth sauce. Cook for 5-10 mins, stirring continuously, until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste.

Putting it all together:

100g-200g of your favourite cheese

Dried or fresh basil to garnish

1. Heat oven to 180C/fan/160C/gas 4 and lightly oil an ovenproof dish (about 30 x 20cm).

2. Spoon one third of the meat sauce into the dish, then cover with some fresh lasagne sheets

3. Sprinkle over some of the cheese

4. Spoon one third of the white sauce.

5. Repeat until you have 3 layers of pasta

6. Pour over any left over white sauce and scatter the rest of the cheese on top.

7. Bake for 40-45 mins until the top is bubbling and golden brown. Tip: Half way through cooking, take the lasagne out and make some holes in the lasagne with a fork. This ensures even cooking throughout and allows the white sauce and meat juices to flow.

8. Garnish with fresh or dried basil

Chocolate Rice Crispy Cakes

Ramadan Mubarak everyone. We hope you and your families are keeping well.

Ramadan is very different for us all this year. It’s usually a time for family gatherings, sharing food and praying together but COVID-19 has got us all hibernating at home. Oh no!

Needless to say, there’s one thing that never changes and that is the variety of dishes, cakes, breads on the table every evening to break or start our fast with.

I will be sharing quick and easy recipes here and there for you all to try. I know there are PLENTY of recipes going round at the moment. You’re all at home and baking away but I hope some of you will try some of my simple and tasty recipes .

So, stay at home, stay safe and save lives.

Let’s get started!

These crispy cakes are gooey, crunchy, marshmallow, chocolate pieces of heaven. They’re simple, easy and quick to make. These bite size nibbles are the delicious sweet treat you need right after breaking your fast.

Ingredients:

150g rice crispies

100g unsalted butter

100g marshmallows ( I use the vegetarian/halal ones)

100g milk chocolate, chopped into small pieces

250g of your favourite chocolate that can be melted

Method:

1. Grease and line a 21cm square tin with nonstick baking paper. (A larger tin can be used, they will just be smaller in size)

2. In a large pan, melt the butter, marshmallows and 100g of milk chocolate over a low heat, until the mixture is fully melted and combined. Stir in the rice crispies and mix until they are all coated

3. Turn out into the the lined tin and using the back of a spoon, smooth the top to make it flat. Melt the remainder chocolate (I used Cadbury’s Whole Nut) in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring, until completely melted and smooth

4. Pour the melted chocolate over the rice crispies and spread evenly. I sprinkled some chopped walnuts and whole pieces of chocolate on top to give it some extra crunch but that is completely optional. Leave to set. Once set, cut into even squares and serve.