Saturday, November 26, 2011

To Autumn

"The spirits of the air live on the smells
                                            Of fruit; and joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.
"Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load."

-   William Blake, To Autumn

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Expecto Patronum

"A Patronus is a kind of positive force, and for the wizard who can conjure one, it works something like a shield, with the Dementor feeding on it, rather than him. In order for it to work, you need to think of a memory. Not just any memory, a veryhappy memory, a very powerful memory… Allow it to fill you up... lose yourself in it... then speak the incantation "Expecto Patronum"."

Remus Lupin says when he's teaching Harry Potter the Patronus Charm. 

"Make it a powerful memory, the happiest you can remember. Allow it to fill you up… Just remember, your Patronus can only protect you as long as you stay focused… Think of the happiest thing you can."

Harry Potter says while he's teaching the Patronus Charm to Dumbledore's Army.

Personally, I always feel more secure and more powerful when I remember the happiest childhood memories I have. Thank God, there are many,  and likewise I want Princess Milou to possess happy memories to muster in the future whenever she needs them. The happier she is, the more powerful she will become in the end. So, I had the idea of doing some tagging on the walls at home with the Expecto Patronum theme. It was originally Emir's idea to fill an empty perfume bottle with some gouache paint and water and shake it well so that he and Milou could get some home-made spray paint. When I suggested that we tag one of the walls in the corridor, they had already painted the Hogwarts Express on a wall in Milou's room. Anyway, we filled the bottle with different colours of gouache paints and I cut out letters in the charm 'Expecto Patronum' from some scrap paper. The rest was fun and creativity. Princess Milou and I used our both hands to cast the charm while Emir was spraying paint. We all loved it. We tagged those precious moments as a happy memory which would later shield Milou against troubles in life. 

Mushrooms love gloomy November days

It's happening once again. It's almost the end of November in Sarajevo and gloom is already round the corner. It's started to get dark at around 5 o'clock which makes me feel like I'm living in St Petersburg at times and people have been moved into cafés since the Sun began playing hide-and-seek. This means there's been a big change here in the availability of sunlight. We are getting less and less exposed to sunlight which might delay some clocks inside us. Perhaps there are many clocks in us working with solar cells and one of them displays our daily mood. I do not know. The only thing I am sure is getting more light may reset these clocks and make people smile around once again. Anyway, these lovely brown mushrooms just popped up in the garden or I noticed them only now because I've been having the blues lately. Whatever the reason is, they helped me a great deal distract from the lack of sunlight. They didn't need any sunlight to grow in some dark part of the garden and they were still beautiful. For the first time, I found some common brown mushrooms just beautiful. I fetched my camera and took some photos right away. I imagined myself walking through a thick forest of giant brown mushrooms and I felt so tiny that I thought I could survive with a little bit of sunshine until spring arrives.

        by Peggy at 

Picking Mushrooms by Han-Wu Shen   

Monday, November 14, 2011

The first cooking workshop - "We're cooking!"

As members of the The Happy Little Cooks Club we had our first cooking workshop - "We're cooking!" Princess Milou who is only 20 months old and Mehmed who is 5 were the first two members of the club and so they attended this special workshop. What's on the menu? Pizza Margherita and chocolate muffins! It was fantastic! It was such a great experience for us all that we didn't want to end it! It was a tasty, fun and educational evening. Here goes the video I made using some of the photos we took.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cinnamon Tea cakes

It is re
ally rare that I
 stick to a recipe to the letter. Every time I cook, I either add some ingredients to or remove some from the original recipe. Although I agree with those who claim that every ingredient in a recipe has a purpose, I can’t help creating my own recipes. I think this is just because there are some people who need cookbooks and recipes, and there are others who can really cook. You can count me in the latter, I guess. I wouldn't bake and simply leave out flour, though. That goes without saying.

Anyway, here is one of those rare recipes I always stick to. I happened to find it on the U.S. Cake Supply website. Perhaps I've always felt a bit intimated when it comes to baking cookies and that's why I did whatever this recipe directed me to do. Whatever the reason is, the cookies were awesome and I couldn't wait to take some photographs. 

Here goes the recipe: 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon , divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar , divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Makes: About 3 dozen cookies


Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In small bowl, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt. In large bowl, beat butter, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture; mix only until combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets, placing 2 inches apart.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Remove to cooling grid; cool 5 minutes. Combine remaining 3/4 cup sugar with remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Roll warm cookies in sugar mixture; cool completely.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Milou the Chef

Hommade pizza by Milou the Chef 
Princess Milou loves watching Caillou and his adventures - eyes glued to the screen. These days her favourite episode is Caillou the Chef. No surprise: she might have found some resemblance to the things we do at home - the kitchen, the rolling pin, stirring, cooking, baking, decorating, etc.  

Well, after the episode, I felt really hungry and decided to make a pizza, but we didn't have any of the ingredients which are supposed to be a must for any pizza! The twins in the episode were right to insist it is their own pizza and so they should be free to add whatever they like when it comes to the ingredients. The important thing is the fun they have while they are making pizza and that was just we did. The list of the ingredients for a pizza is restricted only to the limits of your imagination after all. So, some whole wheat flour with some yeast, salt and lukewarm water did its job for the dough. Well, for the pizza toppings, we had only some tomato sauce, a little cow cheese from Travnik, Swiss chards from the garden, black olives from Turkey and Bosnian style smoked sausages and they all served well. One egg helped as the final touch. Have a look at our pizza! It turned into one of those pizzas favoured by many top blogs Food Buzz keeps promoting, didn't it? 

Milou didn't want an egg or smoked sausages on her own pizza :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Button Frame for 愛

Duran sent me this handmade 愛 for Princess Milou, just lovely and precious to us. I was wondering all that time how or what to frame it with and finally here it is. Milou and I grouped all the buttons in her grandma's old cookie box (for buttons only) and glued them on a piece of cardboard by a hot glue gun. After collecting enough buttons for the frame and sorting them by colour, it was quite easy to finish: 

  • Insert the picture or photograph in the frame before you start the project. 
  • Lay the frame down flat. Glue buttons onto the frame. 
  • Onto the back of the frame, glue a piece of strong thread on both ends to make a horizontal line and it would serve as some picture-hanging wireThat's it!

How to Beat Homesickness

The Oxford English Dictionary describes homesickness as a feeling one has when missing homeThat's true that I feel homesick at times. I feel homesick for my mother's cooking, for my father's suffocating questions about my hairstyle, for my brother's throwing his dirty socks behind the sofa or my sister's never-ending lectures on child care. I have a dear home here in Sarajevo, that's for sure, but I feel a little bad when I remember I'm away from my family.

When you feel homesick, the wikiHow suggests as the second step to beat it, you find an activity to do when you miss your family. So, whenever I feel homesick, I beat three eggs with 1 cup of sugar and make some chocolate cakes. It really helps me beat homesickness: First, it helps me from focusing on home too much. More importantly the smell of the newly baked chocolate cake usually distracts me from feeling bad and makes me remember old good memories. I always feel better in the end. 

by Joshua Fialkov and Micah Farritor