Tarator – Chilled Cucumber Soup

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days.

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days. Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners. It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes… Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners.  It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes…

Personally I was avoiding this dish for quite some time now, the idea of a yogurt soup simply didn’t appeal to me very much, but then came that moment when visiting friends and I was cornered with no escape, the dish sat before me on the table coaxing me to try and surrounded by expectant faces waiting to see my reaction to eating it. To everyone’s joy, there was no screwed up face just wide eyes and that feeling of hmmm… more… now I’ve tried it, there is just no going back… it is definitely staying on the regular “go to” menu in our household.

One thing to have in mind, the longer you leave it in the fridge, the more intense the flavours…

The recipe below is for quite a large portion but we usually keep it in the fridge for up to a week, as the intensifying of the flavours works for us rather well, and it’s wonderful to be able to just open the fridge and grab a bowlful when you want a snack or a starter. If you think it’s going to make way too much for you or you just want to try and see if it’s for you simply halve the ingredients and prepare a smaller serving.

Ingredients:

  • 800ml Greek yogurt
  • 400ml filtered chilled water
  • 4 large garlic cloves; minced
  • 1kg cucumbers
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill; finely chopped
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp black pepper (optional)
  • Ice cubes – for serving (optional)

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days. Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners. It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes…

Method:

Wash the cucumbers (do not peel) then grate half of them; the remaining half chop into cubes. Place them in a large bowl and add the salt – let them rest like this for at least 5 minutes so they can start to absorb some of the salt.

In the meantime, mince the garlic and finely chop the dill and add to the cucumber mix.

Add the yogurt and water to your cucumbers, season with fresh cracked pepper and mix well.

Serve well chilled or even better over some ice and enjoy the cool sensation.

See, told you it was easy, now go and enjoy!

Super tasty and extremely refreshing, this cold cucumber soup is the perfect dish to cool you down during those hot summer days. Tarator is a traditional Bulgarian summer soup, which can be found on the menu of many restaurants and diners. It’s actually a chilled soup, though some people prefer to call it a liquid salad, which really does work well on the pallet. The soup is very easy to prepare and it can be on the table within minutes…

Berry Morning Breakfast Smoothie

There is nothing better than a glass of freshly prepared smoothie to start your day. Fresh berries, ripe peaches, crisp apples plus a few more yummy ingredients can work wonders as a morning pick me up, especially if you add to it some “magic” ingredients.

There is nothing better than a glass of freshly prepared smoothie to start your day. Fresh berries, ripe peaches, crisp apples plus a few more yummy ingredients can work wonders as a morning pick me up, especially if you add to it some “magic” ingredients.The recipe came to be as an experiment, which actually wasn’t my doing. My brother in law (almost) decided to treat us to one of his creations for a change… rummaging through the freezer in search of some frozen pure fruit juice ice cubes, which I’d just run out of evidently… he came across something else hiding in the bottom shelf… a Bountry ice-cream… well it was an unexpected choice but it worked so well. Since then we have replicated the smoothie many times and each time it offers the same wonderful experience.

Berry Morning Breakfast SmoothieThe smoothie will surprise you with its flavour depth. The Bounty totally takes it to the next level. When you think about it there isn’t really so much chocolate in it but its flavour comes through as a final note. First you get hit with the sharp berries mixed with a hint of coconut sweetness, then you should be able to taste the peaches followed by a distinctly chocolate finish… very complex and very unusual. I would really love to know your thoughts if you decide to try it.

Berry Morning Breakfast SmoothieI make it as a smoothie but if you wish you can always reduce the amount of coconut water or even skip it entirely and use it as your morning smoothie bowl… just add some cereal, nuts or top up with more whole fruits.

Anyways how to make this divine breakfast…

Ingredients:

  • 250g organic blackberries
  • 3 large ripe organic peaches
  • 1 large organic apple
  • Handful of organic raspberries
  • Handful of organic blueberries
  • 250ml organic chilled low fat blueberry yogurt
  • 150ml organic chilled coconut water
  • 1 Bounty ice-cream

Method:

Wash all fruit. De-stone peaches and pop everything into your blender. I personally do not peel or remove apple core but you can do it if you wish.

Add yogurt, coconut water and blend until semi-smooth.

Pop the lid open and add frozen Bounty ice-cream, shut the lid and blend until smooth.

Simple.

Serve and enjoy!

There is nothing better than a glass of freshly prepared smoothie to start your day. Fresh berries, ripe peaches, crisp apples plus a few more yummy ingredients can work wonders as a morning pick me up, especially if you add to it some “magic” ingredients.

Alfresco Living – Prepare Your Deck For The Perfect Summer

With the summer months nearly upon us, a lot of you may be looking forward to spending a lot more time outside. Specifically, if you happen to have a back deck or porch, you may be anticipating evening cocktails, cookouts with friends or family, or simply morning tea or coffee with the rising sun. If you’re like me, you’re pretty convinced that nothing beats time on your deck during the warmest months of the year.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make that deck better!

Alfresco Living – Prepare Your Deck For The Perfect SummerHaving said that I have a few recommendations coming for how to set your deck up for the perfect summer season. So here we go…

Give It A Thorough Cleaning

First things first! Unless you have an outdoor heater or two in place, odds are you’ve spent most of the winter and spring more or less avoiding your deck area. Naturally, that means some tidying up will be in order. Cobwebs, debris, dust, and more will have accumulated, likely in a way that requires more than a quick sweeping. This list of tips for a summer ready deck or porch recommends power washing right off the bat, and I’d have to agree this is the right way to start. You can always get down on your hands and knees and scrub, but now may be a good time to think about adding a power washer to your garden shed or home tool arsenal. It gets the job done quicker, and it’s actually a pretty affordable piece of equipment.

Sand Down The Floors

Speaking of adding to a home tool arsenal, a power sander might actually be a more useful tool than you’ve realised before. Case in point, this site has a wide selection of different power sanders right alongside some far more basic pieces that are commonly found in garden sheds or toolkits so you can find just the right tool for the job. That’s because a lot of people have come around to the idea that a power sander can speed up an otherwise stressful task! Once you scrub or power wash your deck you’ll likely find the floor a little bit coarse, and sanding it down keeps it looking nice and primes it for your own barefoot lounging in the warm weather.

Fill The Space With Plants

The same list referenced previously recommends planting annuals and a variety of flowers in outdoor areas, and this may truly be the best way to make your deck beautiful and cozy during the summer. Whether it’s hanging ferns, planted flowers, or even lines of bushes or hedges around the border of the deck, plant life just feels right during the summer. It’ll help you and any guests you may have to feel like you’re truly embracing the outdoors every time you step out on the deck.

Set Up Exposed Flame

I realise this doesn’t sound like the safest or most necessary option, particularly when we’ve just discussed wooden floors, but I’m only suggesting open flames to add a little bit of light in the evenings. You might find an endless selection of attractive candle fixtures made for outdoor areas, or if you really want to cultivate a striking atmosphere you could consider something like a tiki torch in the right place. There’s something undeniably pleasant about a summer night lit up by natural flames. As long as you’re safe about it this can make for a wonderful addition to your deck in the months ahead.

Invest In Comfortable Outdoor Furniture

A lot of outdoor furniture is, frankly, crude and uncomfortable. In many cases it basically amounts to splintery wooden chairs, or canvas seating stretched over bland iron frames. These can certainly get the job done but if you haven’t visited a home and gardening shop in a while you may not have noticed that more comfortable outdoor furniture is always becoming more affordable. You can find whole sets of cushioned chairs and sturdy tables for very reasonable prices and easily make your deck more appealing as a place to lounge. And as a bonus, try to pick a uniform colour scheme for cushions that suits the atmosphere you want to create. I’d suggest a cool blue or green to fit in with nature but not compete with the vibrant colours of flowers or other plants you may have.

Prepare To Maintain

As a final point, I’d like to echo this article’s closing statement on summer deck preparation: maintain, maintain, maintain. An outdoor deck is constantly exposed to the elements, even if it happens to have its own roof or overhang to shield it from rain. Every few days at least you’ll want to sweep away dirt and dust and do any other basic upkeep that might seem necessary, or else the deck will quickly revert back to its winter condition.

Aside from these tips, it all pretty much comes down to personal taste! You’ll find all kinds of fun ways to set up your deck the way you envision it. But these ideas should serve as a foundation that can help most anyone who wants to spend the summer outside.

How To Care For Your Pet in The Summer Months

Most of us look forward to the summer months, when the weather brightens and we get to spend more time outdoors. Warmer weather can be extremely pleasant; however, there are times when it can get very hot and when you may need a little extra protection for yourself and family members, especially children and your pets. Here are a few important things to bear in mind when you’re gearing up for summer fun with your four-legged friend.

Most of us look forward to the summer months, when the weather brightens and we get to spend more time outdoors. Warmer weather can be extremely pleasant; however, there are times when it can get very hot and when you may need a little extra protection for yourself and family members, especially children and your pets. Here are a few important things to bear in mind when you’re gearing up for summer fun with your four-legged friend.Pest control

Just as you may use a combined sunscreen and insect repellent to stay safe, so summer is the time when fleas and ticks breed quickly, and you need to make sure you protect your dog in a similar way. Your pets may well carry pests into the house, so ensure you use reliable treatments for fleas, mites and ticks, and keep your pet healthy by administering dog worming tablets. There are different products available depending on the size of your dog or puppy, and vets generally recommend a dose every three to six months.

Overheating

During a warm spell, keep a close eye on your dog when out walking, and take along a doggy water bottle in case of overheating. Watch out for indoor temperatures as well, as rooms with a lot of windows may become hot and uncomfortable for pets. It you are travelling or transporting your dog by car, make sure you have a suitable carrier with which the dog is familiar, and plenty of food and drink if the journey is a long one. Never leave your dog alone in a car on a hot day, even if a window is partially open.

Comfort

It is common sense not to take dogs for a walk or energetic exercise during the hottest part of the day, and always make sure your pet has access to some shade. You might like to try placing a small, shallow paddling pool in a shady corner and encouraging your pet to make the most of it. While it’s tempting to relieve longer-haired dogs of some of the weight from their coats, do proceed with caution as many dogs are protected from sunburn by their thick coats. Generally, dogs shed a lot of hair in summer anyway, leaving them with a lighter coat. It’s more important to make sure your dog is groomed regularly – bathing and brushing help air to circulate and will keep your pet cooler.

You may find that it’s worth investing in a small fan to help keep your rooms cool during the hotter summer months. Dogs will often gravitate towards cooling air if they are overly warm, so a strategic position near where they eat or sleep is a useful idea.

Finally, be sure to provide some summer treats with a cooling effect – you can even get doggy ice cream that is dairy free and safe, usually made from vegetable and fruit puree. Your dog will really enjoy the treats, and they’ll help it keep cool.