Friday, 31 August 2012

Artichoke Asiago Squares

A recipe I found on Food Network Canada.  Great appetizer.

2 cups jarred marinated artichokes, drained
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
1/2  cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
4 large eggs
1/4  cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 lb grated Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and line an 8" pan with parchment paper.
In food processor, pulse artichokes, spinach, onion, garlic and oregano
just till finely chopped.  Pulse in eggs, then breadcrumbs, then Asiago.
Scrape mixture into prepared pan and spread out.  Bake 20-25 minutes
until set.  Cool to room temperature before slicing.  Serve at room
temperature or warm slightly at 325F for 10 minutes.

If you do not have a food processor, no worries.  You just have to
finely chop the artichokes, spinach, onion, garlic and oregano by hand.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Konya, Turkey

Konya is considered the home of Celaleddin Rumi or Mevlana who established the Mevlani Dervish Sect (Whirling Dervishes). Rumi had developed a philosophy of spiritual union and universal love and is regarded as one of the greatest mystics in the Islamic world. The Melvana Museum is small but houses his tomb and is a point of pilgrimage for his followers. After our tour of the museum, Sis and I spent time walking the main street of Konya observing the varied forms of dress of all the visitors that day. Most of the group went to a carpet factory but we were content to check out the smaller vendors on the street. It was amazing to see many of them sold bags and bags of candy. I guess sweets are a travel staple no matter where you are in the world.

We had the privilege to watch a 45 minute presentation of four Mevlani (Whirling) Dervishes. The presentation started with three musicians setting mood with a hymn. Four Dervishes then came out to the stage and performed their whirling. The "dance" is simple as they basically whirl in formations taking turns on who will lead the circle. The whirling is very difficult. Each dervish spins on one foot while the other foot is used as a pedal to make the turns. Head and arms are held in a specific postition and do not change. I found it very moving that these men were willing to share their discipline with an audience. This was not a nightclub act. This group volunteers to perform in front of small groups in the banquet hall of one of Konya's largest restaurants.

Anyone can become a Dervish. All you need to do is commit to practice for 1001 days.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Pyramid Pose - Parsvottanasana

One of my favourite poses.  Many of my classmates would not agree.
This pose works the hips.  it is very important to keep your hips square.
I can now get my hands to the floor but we all started with hands to a
chair seat.

YouTube video attached is a demonstration by Geeta Iyengar at one of her
seminars.  This one is in Italy.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Cherry Pecan Torte

Super easy and versatile
It need not be cherry.  Try blueberry or lemon curd.

6 eggs whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups saltine cracker crumbs
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
1 can cherry pie filling

Beat egg whites until foamy.  Add cream of tartar.
Keep beating egg whites and gradually add sugar till there are stiff peaks.
Fold in saltine crumbs and pecans.
Spread into greased 9" x 13" pan.
Bake at 305F for about 25 minutes.
Cool completely (can make ahead).
Spread whipped cream over base and spoon cherry filling over cream.
Chill for at least 1 hour.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Iyengar Yoga Quote

"He who has conquered his mind is a Raja Yogi. . . . .It is generally believed that Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga are entirely distinct, different and opposed to each other, that the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali deal with Spiritual discipline and that the Hatha Yoga Pradipika of Swatmarama deals solely with physical discipline. It is not so, for Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga complement each other and form a single approach towards Liberation.
* B.K.S. Iyengar

Monday, 20 August 2012

Camel Pose - Ustrasana

Another back bend without lying face down.  You are on your knees so, if
required, use blankets or towels for extra padding to kneel on.

You are on your knees with body upright.  If this is very new to you, place
your hands on your hips and gently lean back, slowly back and then slowly
upright.  Chest up and easy on your neck. Gradually try to bend back further.
When you are ready, take your hands down to a height such as a chair (use
the legs to hold onto), wood blocks, or a bolster.  Hold 30 seconds and come
upright slowly.  Repeat again.

Eventually, hopefully, you will get your hands down to your feet.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Fudge Oatmeal Cake

A standby recipe from one of my step-sisters.
Great for birthday cakes and dessert anytime.

1 cup rolled oats
1  1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1  1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Combine oats with boiling water and let cool.
Add remaining ingredients to make batter.
Pour into greased 9" x 13" pan.
Bake at 350F for about 35 minutes or until done in centre.
Cool and eat as is with ice cream or ice with cream cheese icing.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A Really Good Read

I am very fond of mysteries especially a series with colourful characters
and interesting locations. One such series I've just discovered is
Tarquin Hall's "Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator".

Three books have been written in this series so far. "The Case Of The
Missing Servant" is the first. Vish Puri is called to help a public litigator
clear his name of murdering a household servant girl. The second book,
"The Case Of The Man Who Died Laughing", a celebrated Indian scientist
and skeptic is murdered in a public park by the Hindu goddess Kali.  The
third book, "The Case Of The Deadly Butter Chicken" when the father of
a star Pakistani cricketer dies at a celebrity banquet from a poisoned plate
of chicken.

Set in Dehli, Puri and his team of undercover operatives (Handbrake,
Facecream, Tubelight, Elizabeth Rani, Flush) take on baffling cases with
the utmost confidence. They know how to maneuver with and around the
local police and shady characters alike.  Holding down the home front are
his devoted wife, Rumpi, and Mummy-ji, who often have their own
mysteries to solve.  The stories are filled with the sights and sounds,
the crush of people, the smells and flavours of modern India.

Check these books out using the handy boxes in the right column for and

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Rope Wall - Yoga Kurunta

A rope wall is common in an Iyengar Yoga studio.  The ropes are used when
support is required for a back bend, forward bend, or inversion.  Below is
YouTube video with Geeta Iyengar explaining the use and value of a rope wall.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Double Berry Cake

This cake is easy to make and not too sweet.
You can use fresh or frozen berries.
From an old issue of Canadian Living

3 cups blueberries
2 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup milk

Toss together berries and 1 tbsp flour.
Cream butter and sugar.  Add vanilla and eggs.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt.
Stir in dry ingredients into butter one third at a time alternating with milk.
Stir in berries.  Pour batter into greased 9" x 13" pan.
Sprinkle top with some extra granulated sugar.
Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes till done.
Cool and enjoy.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Iyengar Yoga Quote

“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”

Monday, 6 August 2012

Fish Pose - Uttana Padasana

Back bends are not my favourite but I am getting use to them.  My major
difficulty is I carry my weight on my belly so laying face down can be
uncomfortable.  One of the first back bends I relied on was Fish Pose
because it is done from laying on your back.

So, from reclined Mountain Pose (lay on your back but pretend you are
standing), place your hands palm down by your hips.  Press you hands
into the floor and lift your torso up propping yourself on your elbows.
Lift your chest up. Curve your back and let the top of your head touch
the floor.

Hold 30 seconds and release.  Repeat again.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Delicious Tomato Bread

A favourite recipe of my cousin-in-law, Dianne.
I've have made this recipe by substituting the biscuit mix with a from scratch biscuit recipe.

1 cup buttermilk biscuit mix
1/3 cup milk
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded aged cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground oregano
dash each of ground sage, paprika, pepper

Combine biscuit mix and milk.  Mix to form dough.
Pat into an 8" or 9" square pan pressing dough up the sides to form
a shallow rim.  Place tomato slices onto of dough.

Melt butter in fry pan and add onion and garlic.  Saute until translucent.
Add remaining ingredients and spoon over tomato slices.  Sprinkle with
a little extra paprika if you like.

Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes.  Let stand 10-20 minutes so it will cut easier.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Touch Wood

Forget this is a commercial and just enjoy the creativity of this little musical interlude.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Cool Blue Waters

I guess we are into mid-summer now.  It's too hot for my liking.
I wish I were at the beach. Normandy, Northumberland,
Mediterranean coast of Turkey, Aegean coast of Turkey.