Monday, 27 April 2009

Eat More Vege During Pig Flu Season ...

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It was such coincidence that Precious Pea featured a blog about vegetable farming this week when I was about to release mine from my draft folder. Unlike Precious Pea whom had a whole lot more going in her backyard (oh gosh, check our her kangkung, potato leaves and those hugeeeee japanese cucumber), mine is ... ahem, just tip of the iceberg. Seeded, planted and perhaps have to wait a month or two more to go before we can harvest them.

Nonetheless, I would like to share with you what we´ve planted downstairs with the plot of land Mama gave us few weeks ago. And I guess its also appropriate to say that eat more vege now, now that the pigs flu is making its round claiming its next victim.

Behold ... at the bottom right picture above is our tiny weeny Tomato plant with the 4 supporter. Heirloom it is not, but off cocktail tomato variety. Actually, I wasn´t so keen on tomato planting and this was hubby´s idea as I´m not such a tomato fan. But to think of it, I can make tomato sauce with it???! Ahh. Our Spinach (bottom left) from last Autumn. Growing pretty well and sturdy too! This is actually a variety I´m not familiar with, but since Mama gave me the seeds to try, why not huh. And here I am, thinking .. how to eat this??? Any idea?

When I first arrive, I would stinge a little by buying seeds for gardening and hope for the best. But nowadays, and after so many failure, we resort to infantly ready plants for replanting. Its much easier, not so expensive either and have better chance of surviving. Seen here are our Kohlrabi, a row of them which I have to look up on recipes to cook them with, more Salads .. and ahhhhhhhh, this reminds me of a packet of Meslun Salad which I had still and yet to be seeded! But that´s not all. I was in Garden Centre two days ago, and check out what I grabbed? Red Peperoni aka Red Chillies and Brocolli!

I have lots of idea still, but space is suddenly an issue after hubby decided to use 70% of the landspace for flowers instead. I wanted sooo much to plant Zucchini for its flower, a lemon tree, figs, Brussels Sprout, Leeks and more, but guess have to wait next year than.

But Mama´s got some bunch of interesting fruits and vegetables in her plot, and THAT, I shall wait for the right time to feature them here.

Prosecco in Bed & A Surprise ...

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# 1 Hubby and I loveeeeee having breakfast in bed when weekend comes. But boyyyy, was I surprise to see two glasses of bubbly on the tray!

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#2 I came home today from school to find the most amazing bunch of Flieders greeting me at the balcony!

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What can I say, mother and son ... both SAME, SAME.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Mama´s Spring Garden 2009

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Mama´s garden as usual are FULL of treasures during spring, summer and autumm. I took pictures of these about two weeks ago when they were all in full bloom, but sadly, most of them are gone by now due to the hot weather (around 20-30C) everyday, without rain.

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The only one that´s growing exceptionally well are the Forget Me Nots. See how wild they´ve grown from the pictures below as compared to two weeks ago (see the Red Tulips picture above with Forget Me Not in between). Boyyy ... have they grown tremendously well, isn´t it? For the past week, Mama had been asking me to cut as much Forget Me Nots for decoration as possible coz it won´t be long more before all will be gone again.

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And sooo after a week of procrastination, I headed downstairs with a pair of scissors, grabbed the Forget Me Nots by a bunched and ZZZZZZZAAAPPPP AWAY. I am happy to report that it is now sitting prettily in our kitchen next to hubby´s 1000 fleuzuge book I got him yesterday. Haaaaaaaa ...

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Mama also asked me to cut some Flieders up for home decoration and I rightly did so without hesitation. Unlike most flowers that grows from the ground, these are from a tree! All this while, I though this tree´s an apple tree. Hehe. Apart from loving the flower shape (sort of remind me of Hyacinth), what I love best is it smells. It smells of subtle Jasmine flower.

The big bunch were for the living room table.

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I love how real flowers fragant up our bedroom, hence I try to grab some from time to time. Its even better now coz it comes straight from the garden hence fresh and last longer. I can anytime go pluck it and the best part is, its FREE!

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Today is gardening day. Hubby not only planted our plot of land with seeds of assorted bloom today, he went shopping in a local garden centre and came back with these! The red and white ones are for our balcony, all 50 plants of them while the 6 pots of lavendar are for our bedroom´s balcony. Replanting them, coz the old batch did not grow well as expected.

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These Lavendars are called Blue Smell. And boy, flowers are not cheap really. These lavendars are about 2 Euros per pot, and hubby grabbed 3 pots each for both our bedroom´s window balcony. But really, in times of recession I really do wonder if its worth spending 100 euro or more a year just decorating our home´s balcony. Not too mention the amount of water we have to give them.

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But if they grow well, guess its worth every cent? Imagine opening your window every morning and letting the lavendar scent your room instead of using an air freshener. In the long run, I guess cheaper, right?

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Slow Food at its Best

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This sums up what I think of this special Morrocanish dish called Tagine. Its not our first invitation over to Sanae´s house to enjoy a yummy homecooked meal, but this by far was the most wicked version I´ve ever tasted. When I say slow food, it means that you better go grab something to line your stomach before the actual meal coz a traditional Tagine meal takes up a few hours to cook. They simmer all the ingredient in this Tagine pot until the meat falls off its bone, and more. So imagine the goodies! The gravy´s good enough to be enjoyed on your own, and one does not leave the Tagine pot unfinished no matter how big the portion was. Speaking from experience ... ahem.

One can have all sorts of meat and vegetable combination to be placed in the Tagine pot to cook but chicken, capsicum, potato and spices marries really well. If you enjoy flavourful broth like us, have some bread with it. Apparently Morracanish´s diet are pretty close to the Germans so in most cases, you will be served bread with a Tagine meal. Sanae surprised us that day with additional appetiser dish. A simple cucumber and tomato salad were served fresh with drizzle of morrocanish olive oil and seasoning. It was refresing. The other appetiser was even better. Made of cauliflower and spices, were were caught by surprise how this style of cooking works wonder with a humble cauliflower vege. The spices here again, flavoured this appetiser marvelously. It sort of remind me a bit of Dhal curry, the thick version of it but not quite cut it as its denser, a bit starchy in texture and more flavourful.

We ended our meal close to 4pm. Is it normal for Morrocanish to eat till this late? I am not sure, and have never asked her but I guess when one is so engrossed with eating, all is forgotten eh.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Random Tag with L

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Rules: Copy to your own note, erase my answers, enter yours, and tag twenty people. Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real...nothing made up! If the person before you had the same first initial, you must use different answers. You cannot use any word twice and you can't use your name for the boy/girl name question.

1. What is your name: Lianne
2. A four Letter Word: Live
3. A boy's Name: Leon
4. A girl's Name: Leona
5. An occupation: Light Electrician
6. A color: Lime
7. Something you'll wear: Lovely Dress!
8. A food: Lala
9. Something found in the bathroom: Listerine
10. A place: London
11. A reason for being late: Lick my breakfast clean
12. Something you'd shout: LOVEEE, COME HERE!
13. A movie title: Les Miserables
14. Something you drink: Lingonberry Juice
15. A musical group: Lighthouse Family
16. An animal: Lion!
17. A street name: Lindenstraße! (its where I live!)
18. A type of car: Limousine
19. The title of a song: La Bamba

Monday, 20 April 2009

Herb de Provence Barbecue!!!

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Although the supermarket here are going full swing with all sort of BBQ cuts and marinades on sale, I wanted to give this gorgeous piece of Putenschnitzel (Turkey Schnitzel) a good rub with my precious Herb de Provence. It was another lovely Friday after school when homework can wait a day or two more, and hubby´s busy putting up the drawers to my dressing table (finally!). Since hubby is soo hard at work, I decided to single handedly make us a barbecue and when I say single handedly means, carrying the pit from our guest room to the balcony, setting up our balcony table and chair, moving our bar table to another edge of our balcony, marinade the meat, prepare the appetisers, dessert and more.

Its more work as compared to cooking our regular meal but its sooooo much fun!

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We fired up two pieces of Nuremberg Wurst, which coincidently were herb based sausage and went perfectly well with the french flavoured Putenschnitzel and two pieces of Pork Wurst Wrapped with Schinken (German Ham). Both were soooo juicy. Knowing me, I did not stop at just preparing the main. Out came our 4 assorted appetiser which we ate with a basket of baguette, Mozarella (one of my favourite cheese!), Chanterelle Mushroom Stew, Garlic Prawn and Kraut Salad.

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With two scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream left in our fridge, I pathetically scrapped them off carefully and got them arranged on our Martini glasses, complete with a delicious homecooked berry sauce I cooked the day before.

I find the whole BBQ meal not too bad. A good mix of everything is there, and most importantly is, we did not overstuffed ourselves with too huge a portion of something.

BTW, my hubby prepared us each a mean Caipirinha with Rum in it! This is by far, the yummiest!

THANKS LOU KUNGGGG ...

p/s : Don´t you just loveeee this song by Alizee? Is it just me that I´m so into frenchy stuff! Hehe

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Apple Flowers

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The weather here sort off fast forward from spring to summer past week. As such, the plants and trees had growned in such tremendous speed that at times it overwhelmes us as we need to water the plants more often than usual, and harvest whatever there´s needed to be harvest quicker. The lifespan of the bloom´s are also shorter as compared for example our beautiful tulips in the garden. They are now mostly gone. Kaput. Dried up coz it feels like summer now.

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But the one I notice staying intact and strong are the wild flowers aka weed. Although its ONLY weed, I was intrigue nonetheless as it sure does brighten up the streets or whatever green patch it can squeeze itself too.

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Mama says these yellow babies are edible sans salad, but on the bitter side. All I remember about them is, be very careful when plucking them for their stems have lots of torn. Its weed.

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This weekend had been another blissful weekend. Yesterday morning were spent SHOPPING!!! Majorrr shopping which had me scooping up lots of stuff from ZARA and H&M! I LOVEEEE THEIR STUFFFFF! Than, walked around their weekend market and DAMN, NOOO CAMERA WITH ME and their market is better than Enschede! Spargel (White Asparagus) IS IN SEASON TOO! Upon returning, we attended Digmar´s birthday at his place, of which its my turn to get a card and present for him. Hope he likes the Black EDT from Kenneth Cole I got him!

Although am suffering from hangover after last nights birthday drinking session with the group till 3am, what´s not a bliss when hubby prepared breakfast for us in bed this morning :-)

If only my life will continue like this for longggg! Haha ... nahhhh, would not trade it for a chance to enter the workforce again, and BIGGG newwwww ... an offer in advertising firm is already waiting for me in JUNE!

wooOT!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Thessaloniki, Enschede

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It was only two weeks ago that I finally plucked up the courage to walk into this little greek restaurant in Enschede during one of my shopping visit. First problem. What language should I speak to him with? Netherlander? This restaurant is in Netherland after all BUT I don´t know a single word! Hmm ... I do but not when it comes to ordering food and asking for more!

Greek? Sure they understand but me???!!!... arggggg.

German? This I can but will they understand me?

But guess what, they can all speak English! Hahaha! I should have walked in here longgggg time ago!

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Anyway, second problem ... what should a first timer like me order?

For a start, I ordered a glass of Cassis, which I initially thought were a specialty of Greek since it sounded Greekish ... but later realise that its of french origin! Not surprising, this blackcurrant, carbonated drink is easy to drink and nice.

The Souvlaki came hot from the skewer, and tasted tender and well marinated with greek species. It reminded me a bit of middle eastern style marinate with heavy spice mix. In the platter were chunks of Gyros, roasted meat which they served with Tzatziki sauce and garnish with slices of onions. If that´s not enough to make you full, it came with Pita bread and a large portion of french fries.

The fries were forgettable but everything elese on the platter were delicious and fresh tasting.

Not bad overall and I guess I´m game for more next time.

Fire Up Babyyyy ...

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We had our first barbecue this year with Klaus and Ralf last Saturday. Its a great change from cooking in the kitchen, and what more when you are allowed to burn your food and yet, taste great! I was please when hubby told me that he picked up our BBQ meat from the local butcher instead of the planned local supermarket here as they provide extensive meat cuts and marinade options. It seems that the whole world were out shopping that day in preparation for Easter Sunday in the Supermarket and hubby decided to detour to butcher shop instead.

Well ... no complain there!

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While hubby shopped away, I harvested some greens from our little garden for a Pear Salad which I dressed up with Herb Mustard Dressing. I wanted to make a dressing from Edmond Fallet Mustard, which hubby´s supplier gave to us for Christmas last year.

The Mustard were really good. It was woody, a bit sweet akin to Bavarian Mustard and not too hot. And when combined with Basil, Parsley, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Brown Sugar and a bit of salt .. it was a real killer dressing.

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Since hubby picked up two loafes of French Baguette, I decided to bring out this Normandie Camembert to go with. Although it was low fat camembert, it was really creamy like how its suppose to be. Great stuff.

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This is how I enjoyed them. Slab them on some baquette, get them toasted for a couple of minutes until the camembert melt a little and voila! Gorgeous stuff!

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Hubby picked up a few assortment of meat for our barbecue but are mainly porky stuff. There´s Corden Bleu with Cheese and Onion Stuffing, Herb Marinated Pork Loin, Paprika Marinated Pork Belly, Wurst and Chicken Satay with Cherry Marinate.

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I chopped some Capsicum and skewered them in place to add a little balance to our grill feast. Unfortunately, it was not very popular with the guys. What´s with guys and vege???!!! Anyway, my hubby made THEM eat up their vege! Haha ..

I should have taken a photo of their expression. Soooo kesian.

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Our BBQ session started off a little slow as our machine started playing tricks on us. It worked a while and then stopped! All I had in my mind than was ... WORKKKKK damn it! Coz I don´t want to cook all these gorgeous meat in the kitchen!

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Luckily, it fired away soon after when hubby discovered that the culprit was the powerpoint. He got them connected to another plug point and phewwwwwwwww ... problem was solved.

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The barbecue ended around 10pm, but not the drinking session amongst the guys.

As for me ... I prefer spending time reading blogs! Haha.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

White Eggs, Pastel Eggs ...

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*rubbing my tummy* and letting out a big burpppp ....

1 Pink and 1 Lilac Coloured Egg for breakfast sure is a heavyweight for early morning breakfast. What to do ... we´ve enough supply to last us for a week but since its sitting prettily within reach on our breakfast table, just can´t help peeling those dainty shells off to uncover the white salty, creamy, yolky beauty within.

We spent sometime yesterday soaking up some eggs. I was amused with the variety of egg colouring kit available in the market here, hence did what I did best ... batted my eyelid, put on my most sweetest, unnatural voice I can manage and ask him helplessly "can I, pleaseeeee???"

It worked. Haha.

Hubby of course were not surprise with his child-like wife whom had missed out on lots of traditional kids experience while growing up and proceed to pick up 3 years and above Pastel Easter Egg Colourng Kit, paid, head home, clean up the balcony and set up our little balcony for the day.

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While I prepared for our lil barbecue session later, hubby put the white eggs to our little egg machine. The colouring kit advise us to use Vinegar as a base on top of the colouring liquid. No prob as we´ve got lots of vinegar to spare.

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After pouring the coloring liquid to the vinegar, just add water and DIP it in. In less than 3 minutes ... Voila! This is what you get. Although the kit came with 5 colours namely the Red, Yellow, Purple, Green and Blue ones, we used only the first 3 and experimented further with mixing the colours together. The orange coloured one turned out really lovely isn´t it? So does the dark purple ones which we ´rojaked` towards the end.

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Here are our coloured eggs after half and hour´s DIY session. Pretty isn´t it?

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After the colouring session, I did a little gardening on a little herb pot hubby herited from his grandma. I have been saving this Italian Herb Packet Seed for seeding for sometime and since spring is here to stay, its time!

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It was really easy. Just get some soil, place the pads strategically (tall herb behind), and cover them with more soil. Lastly, give them some love by watering them.

I hope this works, and if it does ... this baby will be with me in the kitchen in no time!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Good Friday with 11 Cocktails

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It is Easter break here over in Germany.

While companies in general closes today (Good Friday) and next Monday (Easter), a lot of people here took extra days off to go for a holiday. For school children, its even better as they get a full 2 weeks break from school. As for me, we´re not so lucky as our exams in early May and we´ve still tones to cover hence the short break till next Wednesday only.

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Me and Juergen spent the day at home doing basically nothing much except basking ourself on our balcony, played some board games, snacked and got ourselves creative with cocktails and mocktails.

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And look what we churned out from our little kitchen!

I started the ball rolling. Our first cocktail session consist of Apple Martini (apple juice and martini), Caipirinha (lime, sparkling water, brown sugar), Palm Sunday (strawberry juice, munsterland aperitif, cointreu), Bloody Red Orange (orange juice, blood orange vodka) and Black Russian (bailey, milk, vodka). Most of them turned out surprisingly well, except for the Black Russian which were a bit too strong for broad daylights drinking.

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Hubby´s turn next upon my request, and he being super competitive made one more extra. He made Black Caipirinha (Coke, Brown Sugar, Lime), Orange Bitter (Orange Juice, Campari), Choc Hot (Cacao Drink, Coffee Sambuca), Orange Colada (Orange Juice, Malibu), Rasberry Sweetie (Fresh Rasberries, Grenadine) and Passionfruit X (tasted weird and our least favourite). Hubby´s a natural when it comes to mixing cocktail hence, we finished all his mixture within 15 minutes.

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Needless to say we got ourself a bit high soon after, but thankfully we´re in the comfort of our home. We continued taning away till hubby turned red :-)

This was how we spent our Good Friday. How was yours?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Bloomed ...

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Ain´t it pretty guys?

My heart am melting by just starring at these - over and over again.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ....

Monday, 6 April 2009

Caipirinha & Moqueca Dinner

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Elisa invited us over to her place last Saturday for dinner and I gladly accepted. Since she´s Brazillian, she´s making us the famous Brazilian Seafood Stew and Cocktail called Moqueca and Caipirinha respectively!

When I arrive. the kitchen were bursting with smell of her cooking and Banda Calypso - a Brazilian music band!

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Our dinner´s ready :-) Two hugeeeee pan of Moqueca and a pot of Chinese Rice for the 5 of us!

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Moqueca is a Seafood or Fish Stew cooked with lots of onions, capsicum, cilantro, red hot chillies, tomatoes, garlic paste, lemon juice and lastly, finished with coconut milk for thickening.

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A 300 years old dish, no less needs some getting us too for first timer like me ... for I´m never a fan of fish and coconut milk. But in the end, I had a good 5-6 chunks of the fish with my rice.

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Debora delivered me this special Caipirinha with XXX amount more alcohol as compared to the rest and nearly choked me to ecstasy. Since there´s no Cachaça, Brazillian´s most famous distilled alcoholic beverage, Tequila was used instead. Its not too bad but sooo darn strong!

Hic ... hic ... hic ...

Another yummy evening with the Southy girls.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Blooming Cherry Tree

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A little garden update as Spring is here.

This is a photo of our little Cherry Tree. I am thrilled that it has finally bloomed its bud two weeks ago. But I do hope that they will bear some cherries this year though.

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Hey Look! I found these Super Fast and Easy Herb Growing Pads and could not resist picking on up! They come in many varieties and these are classified under Italian Herbs where Basil, Parsley, Rocket, Dill and Spring Onions in it. They are waiting to be seeded and I will probably start the project once May sets in. Neat stuff here coz it comes in pad, which means that you don´t need E=M2 to grow herbs. Contrary to what I´ve earlier post on growing herbs, its not as easy as it seems as one still need to grow them in a green house before transfering them to actual pot. Hence, this is a real savour.

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Planted Paprika aka Chillies last week! Wooho!

And the rest of the seeds will see its day tomorrow. My hubby will seed them while me and Mama´s gonna have a fab Spring Shopping time in Enschede!

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And here´s some photos taken in Mama´s Garden. Right next to our Balcony staircase were a bunch of striking Yellow and Orange Tulips.

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Mama had been busy arranging the spring blooms at our garden since two weeks ago. Its pretty normal to buy growing bloom instead of seeding them from scratch as it takes up too much time, and finally might not even make it. Moreover, its not expensive to buy plants here.

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Narcissus seems to be very popular in most garden this Spring hence you will notice lots of yellow spot outside the homes here. As such, Mama picked up quite a bit from the Garden Centre here and got them replanted.

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But the one that excites me the most till date is this little humble plant call Wild Garlic aka Baerlauch. Just sprinkle them over any dish and it gets as fragrant as can be.

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