Thursday, 28 August 2008

My Thursday Buddy

I am currently assisting Silvia with her kinder music class every Thursday for a few hours and one of the things I look forward too is meeting Victor. Victor is a dog, a huge black dog and is super friendly and playful. He would, without fail wag its tail whenever he spots me, even from our first meeting and I guess Silvia noticed him warming up to me and had assigned me to divert his attention whenever the kids arrive/leave for classes.

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But of course, him being playful will not stop at just that but will instead go fetch his favourite toy and ask me play with him.

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He´s one handsome fella, isn´t he?

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I love Silvia´s place. She lives in a huge 3 storey house with a large garden and a range. There is a huge trampolin to hop on too and whenever Leandra spots me, she would call out in her deutsch asking me to hopfen with her. Komme, kommeeeee she would beg and I have to dissappoint her again and again coz I have to assist Silvia in her class. During my first day there, I obliged with a good half hour hopping but good grief! My heart nearly KO on me hence ...

Speaking of trampolin, Juergen ordered us a trampolin for us to hop on at home! Haha!

Lately, I am breathing better and eating plums and apples straight from the trees. Jonathan showed me how to recognise a ripe one, plucked one from the tree for me to test. He´s such a handsome little fella and resembles Juergen so much when he was a kid. On a few occassion, I can´t help noticing Jonathan munching on some food non-stop, just like how Juergen does when he was a kid, was always caught on camera doing that and I had the privilege to see those pics. Funny.

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I wanna learn how to ride but afraid ...
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A bit of update.

My German Integration course will be starting October, while Basic Deutsch is pending registration still. Juergen and I had just picked up a bicycle from Ralf last night and all I need to do is test it tonight to see if I like how it feels. Is the height suitable and can I manage the bike well. Its a fairly huge bike with 7 speeds and 3 absorber function. Bicycle in this area is the most popular mode of transport for short journey destination and for me, I guess I will use it within 2 km radius from the house coz the land her is super flat and easy to ride. Parking the bike is easy and no hassle at all and I can enter every zone without worrying for the police coming after me. If I don´t feel comfortable with the bicycle, I would have to resort to driving our car - which is nerve wreaking to me coz it is big and new and I don´t want to get any scratch on it, really. The drivers here too seems to obey every rule there is here where else you know how Malaysians drive yeah. Alternatively, he would get me a small car for me to commute around, but that would have to come later after getting some driving licence conversion done. Bah.

Next Friday, Juergen will be going to Opatija for his yearly vacation with his guy friends - The other Juergen, Ralf, Klaus, Frank, Frank, Franzis, Gregor and Rainer. All 9 of them and I can feel their excitement!

How I envy really, coz I have heard so much about this place. Than Juergen asked if we would like to hope over to Rome in October coz there is a National´s Day off then. I was thinking of Geneva to visit Lillian too, and now there is another temptation of Rome! How to decide!

This November, we will be back in KL, and December, we will be having a Christmas holiday with the group near a ski resort. Than, Juergen mention claiming our Miles point for Valencia early next year and from the looks of it, there is a trip every month and I´m overwhelmed!

Pssstttt ... I also suspect that he is bringing me and his parents to Rhine River Cruise this Sunday with German buffet spread. Not sure if it is true but saw some links he visited in our PC and some printouts he accidently left on the table. Haha.

Exciting!

P.S : My mum is well at home now and is in her jolly mood again. I´m glad that there wasn´t any serious implication to her vomitting. Phewwww.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Wish them well ...

My sis drop me an email yesterday informing me that mum was hospitalised after vomitting for past days. Both my dad and sis had been taking time off work to care for her and getting her tested for all kinds of possible infection etc and in her mail, I can´t help sensing that they are both exhausted by the whol affair. One is old after all and the other is heavily pregnant. My mum is better now and is back home recuperating.

At times like these, I wish I am around.

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At times like these, I wish my brother would be a bit more responsible. But sometimes things don´t change huh.

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Juergen is such a sweetie. Took me to go watch Mamma Mia and I felt better soon after.

But that does not change the fact that I miss my family back home. My dad, mum, sis and Ashleen the most.

Drebbers

Way back in April, Juergen´s gang presented me a gift basket with all kinds of wonderful goodies to welcome me to Ahaus. Remember that occassion? We claimed the dining voucher the following week, I took some photo and forgot everything about it until a while ago when I was searching through archives. Getting old, getting oldddd ...

Back to the restaurant ... Drebber is a well known restaurant located near Ahaus Theatre compleks. Sort of like in West End London where you find all kinds of restaurant offering threats just before one go watch their show. But of course, the restaurant list here is much shorter and menu not as extensive but it is known to serve authentic German food, and sounds good to me.

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We started the dinner with a glass of Reisling Rivana each (Euro3.60 for two glasses), which we find a bit on sour side. It was not as smooth as the one we stock at home. But nice to have with our meal though.

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Had some breads with yoghurt dip. Yoghurt seems to be the IN thing here in Ahaus.
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We ordered the main first Schlemmerrpanne (Euro25.60 for two plates) which came with pasta underneath in cream cheese sauce, and top with a hugeee slab of pork schnitzel. Both of us decided to try the same dish. The portion were sooo huge and filling and like what the waitress had earlier mention, one portion is good for two person! But we though we can manage and still squeeze in a dessert ... how wrong.

I though this dish were a bit too heavy on the cream side but overall, its taste were homely and freshly prepared. The pork schnitzel were tender and flavourful and I managed to finish everythingggg ...
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BURPPPP ... we were so full after that and could hardly move. Something about the cheese and pasta and the meat combination ...

We stayed on for a while before settling down the bill. It came down to a total of less than 30E voucher value, inclusive of wine. Well, I don´t think we can dine in KL for RM30.00, can we?

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After our dinner, we walked back home. The restaurant were 10 minutes away from home and we sure were glad that we did not drive here coz we needed the walk badly.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Tobit´s Night Clubbing mitt Jamiraquai

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Ralf was kind to invite both of us over to Tobit´s Night Clubbing Event. Its an annual event where the computer gianthouse throws a few stages of concert for the folks living around the North-Westphalia area. I thought it was a small affair with not more than 3,000 people attending but was told that they draw a crowd of not less than 10,000 every year! That´s more than 1/3 of Ahaus population!

The place were quite empty still when we arrive. Ralf and Klaus greeted us shortly and first thing first ... get a drink.
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We had LOTS, of course.
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Manage to get ourself a nice table, about 200 feet away from stage of course. Since we are not young cikus with high tolerance of noise level for long period, I guess this is the best alternative.
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There´s more than 15 appearances in 3 large stage thru the whole event, of which I only knew one ... This group here is good though, kinda remind me of Sade during her days ...
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We grabbed dinner from the many stalls lining the entrance of the company. No tables were provided at all, and whatever you buy, you just have to figure out a way to eat them. There´s italian pizza, chinese noodles, kebab, sausage (of course), burger, sandwiches and the likes.

My Pork Kebab is SO DARN GOOD! Pork skin were crunchy, and seasoning were perfekt. The buns ... well, German´s are known for good bread, no? It was densed but yet chewy and flavourful. Fabulous combination that works magically!

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Only at 11pm, Jamiraquai came to stage. The place was JAMPACKED and everyone was super excited! They rendered two new songs from the upcoming album (how typical!) which left everyone dissappointed. Then came all the hits like Cosmic Girl, Canned Heat, Love Foolosophy, Space Cowboy, Virtual Insanity and the Seven something, something song ... a slow number.

IT WAS GREAT!

I initially thought that Jay Kay lip-sync during the first two songs coz he sang everything perfectly! He could reach low and high note without difficulties and he was simultaneously prancing on stage like a little monkey too. It is during some songs when he interacted with the crowd that I realise he was indeed singing!

Wow!

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He´s good ... he´s good and we had so much fun dancing to his tunes. The night ended around 3pm but we leaved earlier coz my feet almost killed me!

Great concert there!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Tarte Flambe Dinner

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Prosciutto and Serrano cost only 2.50E per pack here. It is nothing compared to the premium price paid in restaurants back home isn´t it? And with such good quality ham, I reckon I do not have to do much with it except enjoy it as it is but you know me, I like to complicate things sometimes *grin*

We made Tarte Flambe one night, with a pre-prepared pizza based I made earlier that afternoon. With recipe at hand, the crust did not turn out as much as I like. It was the thick kind, or perhaps, I have not flatten it enough. Oh well.

Anyway, I had earlier gotten a tube of Creme Fraiche (which again in Malaysia, cost a bomb!). Am so happy to know that most of the major stuff I fancy here cost only cents and such, and so, I can put this Tarte Flambe recipe to try after getting this tip from an old friend from Munich. According to him, it requires only Creme Fraiche at the base, afterwhich you layer them with with lots of onions and bacon. Well, Prociutto is definately extravagant for this dish, but isn´t it nice to eat well and live well?

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While we smeared the other half with creme fraiche, we decided to try making a pizza with the other half. J made something something tomato paste out of some ready made sauces from the fridge and I assembled the salami, mozzarella, basil leave, tomato and pepper.

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Both tasted heavenly (except the thick crust), and would definately give this a try again! We particularly favour the Tarte Flambe more, for its clean cut and fresh taste flavour. Its a combination that works well, but that being said, credit has to be given to J for concocting up a pizza base sauce without an actual tomato sauce.

And to compliment our dinner, a semi dry and smooth bottle of Yugoslavian wine from our cooking department did the job marvelously!

Mama Else´s Beautiful Garden

Every morning, when the weather´s clear and sunny, I would walk towards the edge of our balcony and peep down towards Mama´s garden. This is what greets me. What a beautiful day.

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I would tip toe down the staircase to this beautiful eden ...

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And surround myself with
blooms in every shades and sizes,
delectable and aromatic fruits tantalising me to pluck them before its ripe,
fresh, edible flowers which I have only heard off but not tried,
and seasonal, pesticide free vegetables waiting to be cooked and savour ...

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The airs fresher ...

And I vow to life longer to enjoy them all ...

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There´s even grapes for celebration ...

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It takes a lot of hardwork, determination and passion to upkeep such a beautiful garden.

Mama Else, my inspiration.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Project 101 - Herb Pot

Last weekend, we started a small project. Since we eat in often, cook a lot and are trying to eat as healthily as possible, we though it would be a great idea to start seasoning our dishes with fresh herbs. I have also brought along seeds of chinese parsley and chinese chives, and we decided to start get our act together before the seed runs out of its expiry date.

We live on the top floor, and had a little balcony and Juergen suggested us to have a pot secured at the railing for easy reach versus having them at the kitchen window, coz it will be easier to access. But first, we had to get some seeds. We made a list of what´s needed, and also in reference to my herb pot requirement sketch which I´d made a week earlier. We drove to 1 DIY store and another Garden Mart to get these back ...

- A pot of Basil
- A pot of Chives
- A pot of Thyme
- Seeds for Dill, Basil and Parsley

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We also got a pot with a water level indicator. It stores a good 5 litre water at the base of the pot, which means that we don´t have to water them everyday but instead feed based on demand of the indicator. When the water level is high up till the first level, means enough. But when it is at standing point as shown means, needs more. Good invention coz we have about 20 pots around the house and can you imagine the work needed everyday to water them? Now, we only water them once a week. Wee!

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While I´m away, Mama Else gave us a pot of chilli plant from Mexico. Lethal stuff I tell ya. Some sort of like our chilli padi but more kencang. Other´s which we already have are lemon mint, sage, rosemary, and 2 pots of local german herb which I´m still learning how to cook with.

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The first half of the pot looks like this ... with 7 varieties in for now.

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While 5 more is awaiting for growth in the seed pot. This will take about a week for it to start sprouting. I hope the chinese chives and parsley grows!

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And when that´s done ... little mouse will make way for the transfer :-)

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Separately, Mama Else gave us a pack of Cressa during Coffee session for us to plant them around our Cherry Blossom Tree. Cressa is a kind of herb that can be eaten like a salad it seems and takes only 3-4 days to grow. All we did were scatter the seeds all over, and water them as usual. Easy peasy. Can´t wait to taste how its like!

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Oh btw Ivy, this is our mini water pot with the said Seerose plant. The seerose is at lower, middle and right hand corner and no Seerose were spotted yet. Hopefully soon!

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It was a lovely day around 20C with some sun so we decided to have lunch at the balcony. My J made us some Limonade, and Toasted Sandwiches of Salmon & Creme Fraiche, Salami & Goada and Tomato & Goada.

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Fun weekend!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Non Alcoholic Mojito

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I love the drink culture here.

Sometimes when I feel like a little something minus the alcohol, I would go make myself a glass of yummy mojito. My version is slightly different. Instead of mint, I have with it lemon mint, another kind of herb which gives out a lovely lemon flavour. A present from Mama Else from April, its plant is getting balder by the day hence I really ought to get the herb pot done up so that I can give them more TLC with better soil, and bigger space to breathe and grow.

If you wish to try this, just crush some lemon mint leave with lemon slices, add a dash of sweetener or sugar syrup, and lastly, H20. Plain or carbonised kind.

I love mine with gas, hence I´m using carbonated kind. BTW, isn´t it amayzing that one can choose their carbonated water from mild, medium to hard? And it cost a mere 2-3e for a dozen, minus a refundable deposit of 15cents each bottle, I think. Can´t remember the actual price but really, who cares for Perrier if there´s a better alternative.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Mini Pies and Grenadine Beer Dinner

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When I was in Ahaus back in April, we stayed in most of the time and cooked most of our meals from breakfast to supper. It is very different lifestyle compared to my routine in KL and at times, I do miss it and would nudge Juergen to bring me to a cafe for a little adventure. We have dine in one of Ahaus finest restaurant and I was ordinary. We tried the local cafe, and also found it ordinary. Oh man, we can do better than them! To add wound to the matter, the readymade sauces and seasoning taste just as good and fresh as those in restaurant and cafe. Groceries are affordable too, so no wonder dining scene here is just not so happening. Even the two chinese restaurants are doing so-so only. Or perhaps, the Germans or Ahausians are not so into food. I don´t know. Perhaps, I will find out a little bit more.

So here is to another home cook session last Tuesday before the guys arrival to discuss on their trip to Croatia in September. We had little time, so we did something quick. First ...

We made a simple salad of Cocktail Tomatoes from Haluco, Holland. Sautee some mushroom and drizzle them with a bit of Truffle Oil.
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We finished off a pack of Gourmet Four Flavour Mini Pies consisting of Cream Cheese, Herb, Tomato and Spicy.
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And finished them off with Grenadine Beer. Super good which taste very little of beer and heavier on Grenadine syrup.
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Alrghto ... I´m off to Aldi for pizza and cake ingredient shopping!

Bis Spater! (See you later!)

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Ham, Cheese and Mushroom Crepe Lunch

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Tadaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! My new crepe pan all the way from Malaysia! You know, this is such a fabulous grab and we are thoroughly happy with it during our few crepe session making. He makes a better crepe than me fortunately and all I had to do is sit at our breakfast table, la-ti-da .... bait my eye lid a bit and wait for my food *smile* What´s a girl without doing what´s natural eh ...

But not that I just sat there and do just that ... my eyes did some work too - of course. Observe and learn. Juergen´s such a good cook and he does it with such ease. Though I´ve cooked a fair bit back in Malaysia, it is mostly oven or work based, and technique ... ahhhh technique. I´ve never really learned the proper technique until arriving here.

I tried making these crepes two days ago, and it was sooo yummy. Technique to get it right? Beat the batter with a hand mixer versus my fork-in-bowl method. IT DOES make a difference. And the other technique ... cold water, which made the batter smoother and lighter and oil the crepe pan with kitchen towel, smeared lightly with some oil.

I never knew that all you need for a crepe batter are flour and water only. Really.
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Another colourful lunch. I heart my crepe of Gouda Cheese, Turkey Ham and Swiss Mushroom Filling. Lecker, leckerrrrrr!!! (yummy, yummy!)
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Slurpppppppppppppppppppppp ....
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UPDATE, UPDATE!

My smart ticket is here for Tobit´s Night Clubbing in Ahaus, 16th August 2008! There´s a host of appearances from artist from in and out of Germany ...

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BUT what makes me more excited is THIS!

JAMIROQUAI IN DA HOUSE!!!

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oh MAN, I´m soooo gonna do the Jamie Oliver move!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Bratwurst, Curry Wurst and Such ...

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It was far, far away from home that I am face to face with a Malaysan flag. There is no other way to make me feel more welcome than this, a surprise that Juergen had planned and got it raised up for over more than a week before my arrival.

What a nice, homely welcome!

From my window seat looking down Praha (Prague).
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I touched down Frankfurt at exactly 6.06am. Lufthansa had served me well. Her Recaro seat had been comfortable, with lots of leg room to boot. Lots of choices when it came to onboard entertainment and meals. The air hostess were gracious and professional. With a quick transit in Bangkok airport, my 14 hour 40 minutes flight felt lighter after an announcement on board to switch off the lights. Almost everyone hit on the snooze button immediately.

With the exception of meal time ... of course.

My snack box from KL to BKK. Very soft bun with ham filling, dried mangoes and a slice of sponge cake with shreaded coconut topping. Surprisingly good snack box.
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Main meal, serve onboard Lufthansa from BKK´s ground team. Really good stew chicken, mushroom, vegetables and potato puree at the base. I stayed away from a glass of red wine after my last scare of purging and vomitting onboard the last time.
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Breakfast was nothing to shout about combintion of sausage, soft texture roasted potato and plain fruit.
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I am adapting really well. I do miss home of course, and my departure in KLIA with my dearest family member is still vivid in my memory. I tell myself that 3 months is not that faraway and its also a good thing that there is IM. Last night´s chat with Ashleen had been exhilirating.

We stopped by Marche for breakfast to avoid the Autobahn morning traffic crawl. My love welcome me with a lovely bouquet of flowers *grin*
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The juice were fresh, and pure, and sandwich were soft inside, while outside were crusty and nice.
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On my new home front, me and Juergen had been cooking non-stop! I have lost count on how many and what we ate, but did manage to capture what we ate last night. As usual, our meal´s are pretty extravagant by my standard because Germans love to have their meal with some lovely bubbles, wine or something. Although its a nice touch, I reckon that my Malaysianised stomach is not use to all the bubbly yet. Its lovely anyway.

Our dinner at 9pm (yup! still bright as ever). We had leftover Cava from Mama´s lunch on the first day and oh, oh, she made us a lovely lunch of flaky baby chicken pie with brown vegetable gravy, served with flower salad as appetiser AND meatball pasta. Wicked cook.

Seen here, our dinner in the kitchen´s breakfast table.
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J did the grilling.
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And boy, they were all good! There´s Curry Wurst, Normal Bratwurst, and Herb type in two shapes and sizes. I hope it does not rain today so that we can do a BBQ this evening for dinner.
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My japanese potato salad with zucchini from Mama´s garden. The mayo were homemade too, with yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, white wine vinegar and olive oil.
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Bubblyyyy ...
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Homemade flatbread with rosemary and olive oil. Am happy that Juergen loved it.
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You can refer to imbinitchy for flatbread and potato salad´s recipe if you wish to try it out.

There´s more coming up but wait lahhh ... me gotta do some shopping and harvesting from the garden first. And oh ... can´t wait to have our herb pot up! There´s chinese parsley, chinese chives, chilli plant from mexico (i think), basil, rosemary, lemon mint, mint, dill, chives and many more!

woooOOTTT!