Thursday, October 16, 2014

Story ~ Seven Graceful Swans


 I loved this story and thought of sharing it ~ enjoy

Once, a young woodsman was out hunting for wild ducks when he heard a sudden whirring of wings and looked up to see not ducks but seven graceful swans alight on the bank, cast aside their guises, and begin to bathe and sport in the water. Enthralled by their beauty, the young man snuck forward and stole one of the discarded garments which, to him, looked like a feathered white cape. Once the maidens had finished their bathing, they gathered together again on the water-bank and retrieved their robes, preparing to leave. However, the youngest was distraught for she could not find hers.

"Alas, dear sister, we cannot stay!" lamented the others and flew away without her, eastward into the dawn.

After a time, the hunter approached the poor weeping maiden, holding the feathered robe tied to her fate. She begged piteously for its return, but the man, already too much in love, refused. “Nay, fair maid, for I would have you for my wife,” said he, covering her with his own woolen cloak and leading her to his home in the forest.


For seven years they lived together as husband and wife, and the maiden who longed for cool waters and to fly on wings of snowy down had gifted her captor with two children, a boy and a girl. Then, one day, while playing hide-and-seek with her brother, the little girl found hidden a strange, sparkling white garment made of soft feathers. Curious, she brought the treasure to her mother sewing by the hearth who instantly dropped her needlework to wrap herself in the familiar folds. For a moment, a joyous sigh escaped her lips and then she was a swan once more, beating her strong wings on the wind of freedom, and flew out the window never to be seen again.
— Scandinavian folktale.


No matter how compliant a swan maiden may appear as a wife, there remains an unspoken anxiety and tension beneath the surface of her marriage. Her husband can never be certain of her affection, for it has been held hostage by her stolen skin. He offers her his cloak, but it is an exchange of unequal goods. Her feathered robe is the sign of her wild nature, of her freedom, and of her power, while his cloak becomes the instrument of her domestication, of her submission in human society. He steals her identity, the very thing that attracted him, and then turns her into his most precious prize, a pale version of the original creature of magic.

Can we love the swan maiden? She seems to offer both an image of feminine power and feminine weakness: a girl who submits to the deceptions of a suitor and a woman who rejects the terms of an unfair marriage. She is at once a doting mother and one who will happily abandon her children in favour of her own needs. Her ambiguous tale can be read as the suppression of women’s rights and women’s creative power through enforced domestication, but it can also show such a woman’s resolve to not only survive a questionable marriage but to remain true to her nature. When given the chance, no amount of suppression can keep the swan maiden down. I feel a terrible tenderness for the youngest swan–girl, abandoned by her sisters to her fate on the ground. I want to shelter her from the routine ordinariness of her human marriage, given over to the demands of others. And I want to cheer, relieved and inspired, when she finds her own true self again, and rises to soar.


Terri Windling.

Artwork: Blue Belle, by Gale Franey.

(Source: faeryhearts)

Friday, October 10, 2014

No Bake Chocolate slices ~ Iraqi Kit Kat

Iraqi Kit Kat Slice

Recipe by Maryam

I loved this and tastes yummy and easy to make,  It can be eaten as is or served with ice~cream or custard.  
I will post next time the same recipe without the Marshmallows,

I have been making this dessert for years but I never knew what its called.
I would name it chocolate slice, or refrigerator cake, or choco-biscuit bars.
Amber, an MCW reader, sent me an email requesting I post a recipe for Iraqi Kit Kat.
I was intrigued as I never heard of this, and asked her to describe it to me.
It turned out to be this, and I've got to say, I love the name!
It's a very forgiving recipe really. Chocolate and marshmallows make the binding foundation of this dessert.
For the filling, you can keep it simple with only tea biscuits, or add a single or variety of nuts, and/or add some dried fruit, like raisins, apricots, or glacé cherries.


200g white marshmallows
1 Tbsp water
7 Tbsp (90g) butter
300g chocolate
125g tea biscuits
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup hazelnuts


Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap.
In a bowl, coarsely break the tea biscuits and add the nuts. Set aside.
In a pot, melt the butter with the tablespoon of water and the marshmallows.
Add 200 grams of broken chocolate to the marshmallow mix and stir until melted.
Add the biscuit and nuts to the chocolate mix and stir to combine the lot.
Topple the mix into the lined loaf tin and press gently to even the surface.
Refrigerate for an hour.
Melt the remaining 100 grams of chocolate and pour over the surface of the "cake" 
to form a thin chocolate layer. Refrigerate for another hour.
To serve, slice the kit kat bar into half centimeter slices.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Monster Mishkaki Kebabs at Ali’s Restaurant, Dar Es Salaam ~ Tanzania

Well here I am back again and after a long PAUSE.  Hope to keep up the blog again......
          My best food when I travel to Dsm. 
One of the greatest things to eat in Tanzania is mishkaki.
It’s the Tanzanian version of the skewered shish kebab. Mishkaki is a creation that contains a little African, a little Middle Eastern, and a little Indian influence to it.
Beef and chicken are the most popular, but fish is also occasionally available.
One evening in Dar Es Salaam, we headed to a downtown restaurant known simply as Ali’s.

Grabbing some Tanzanian mishkaki from the drive-through
As a street food lover, one thing you just got to love is how Ali’s uses the street (this is not a private street, this is a public road, although small and quiet), as their own personal drive through. Cars will roll past, stop in front of Ali’s and yell out their order. If a car who is not purchasing food rolls up behind them, they get honked at a few times and more times, and then have to maneuver their way around.

Garlic naan cooking in just a few secondsAlong with mishkaki, Ali’s serves garlic naan.
No roti, no chapatis, no other kinds of bread, just buttery garlic naan – and it’s stunning!
The tandoori oven is just as it is in India, right along the street so it pours out delicious aromas.

Fried fish and chips
Along with mishkaki and garlic naan, Ali’s also offers a few items like fried fish and chips, and red bbq chicken and chips.
The fish wasn’t my favorite, a little on the dry side.

I ordered mishkaki and naan.
*One thing to remember for Tanzanian food, grilled means griddle fried, and barbecue (or bbq) refers to meat cooked on the grill.

The skewer of beef mishkaki was medium sized, and the meat was tender yet still had some gamey African texture to it.
Plate of beef mishkaki

As opposed to nyama choma, that’s just straight up roasted meat with salt, mishkaki is first marinated in lemon juice, tomato sauce, garlic, and a mess of spices like coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and chili powder, before being grilled.
The beef mishkaki was excellent.
Award winning garlic naan
The buttered garlic naan at Ali’s was excellent.
It was fluffy, not overcooked, and stacked with garlic and a touch of fresh coriander.
Chicken mishkaki at Ali’s in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
The chicken mishkaki was monstrous.
When the chicken chunks were de-skewered onto a plate, they filled it entirely. There may have been a half a chicken on a single stick!
With a glass of fresh Sugarcane Juice I smacked my lips to finish off the delicious meal:)

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Say Alhamdullilah

Whatever happens is by the Will of Allah, whether it be good or bad. Sometimes we forget Allah when it comes to happy moments, but immediately turn to Him for the bad. We should always be thanking Allah (SWT) for His infinite blessings, even in the tough times. He still gives and gives and we don’t even ask. The mercy of our Lord is beyond.. Subhna’Allah. “Its better a calamity that turns you to Allah, than a blessing that makes you forget Allah”
Always say Alhamdulillah for everything….