Thursday, 16 August 2018


For its beautiful song, 
its looks, 
its friendliness, 
and its peaceful behaviour, 
this Black-capped chickadee 

just won 
the 'Bird of the Backyard' award

Here are all the other contestants 

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Cooking Duck Dopiaza

Found some really fresh duck at the Chinese store,
And decided to cook something different this time.
I remember eating a Chicken Dopiaza that Anna made years ago.
Dopiaza in Persian means "two onions"
This is originally an Afghan dish. 

Here is my version. 
Let's call it Duck Dopiaza!

We need 4 large onions,
grind 1 of them into a paste (in the white dish below)
cut 2 into quarters,
and chop 1 finely.
Fry these 3 and keep them aside.
Also chop 2 tomatoes, 
and 8 small potatoes

Grind whole fresh spices - 
8 green cardamoms, 3 tablespoons of black pepper, 
4 dried red chillies, 10 cloves,
1 inch cinnamon

Stir-fry the onion paste, 
when brown, 
add fresh ground ginger and garlic,
when brown, 
add the ground spices,
keep stirring to prevent sticking,
add the tomatoes

Add the duck 
already cut, washed and drained. 
(I buy the duck whole and prefer to do the cutting myself)

Keep stirring,
add salt, a teaspoon of sugar,
butter, and a cup of yogurt (see below)

Keep shut, and cook till the duck is cooked,
then add the potatoes, 
and cook till the potatoes are cooked!

Add the fried onions, and mix well, cook for 2 minutes, 
turn off the heat and leave shut.
Serve after 20 minutes with naan or rice, 
or whatever you like!

Friday, 3 August 2018

Breaking open a coconut

Don't even try this method, unless you know your knives very well.

We use sliced coconut in some of our cooking,
And today I found some very fresh coconut 

**(Once again, don't try this method of breaking the coconut, 
unless you know what you are doing)

Each knife has a specific purpose,
one to break the coconut,
the other to take the coconut out of its shell
and the third to slice the coconut

Now we have enough sliced coconut to use 
and store away

... And fresh coconut water 
to make a summer cocktail with Russian Vodka 


Tuesday, 31 July 2018

'Ohana! Raccoon Rescue

A mother and three babies purposefully heading towards the ash tree.

A fourth baby raccoon (maybe the youngest) was stuck, 
way up in the ash tree, 
and unable to get down by itself 

So the whole family decided to help with the rescue operation

This is how parents carry their little ones in the raccoon kingdom!

The mother with the rescued baby 
turning back towards the tree 
signalling to the other three babies,
to get down and get out

That's not the last of the raccoons,
They still visit us!
This is their backyard.