July 30, 2012

Always in doubt ...

Sometimes it is really hard to know what you want. You're always in doubt about the things you're doing. Somehow everyone is trying to drag you to the left side or to the right side, just keep saying 'No, don't do that!' or 'Yeah, I think this will be better for you. Do this!' And even if no one is saying stuff like that, you feel the pressure society is giving you. You should do very well in school, then study and find a reputable, well-paid job, need to marry, build a house, have some kids & an expensive car, and so on. Of course you should achieve everything before you're 30.

But what if I don't want to …? What if I want to listen to my heart? What about my dreams? What about me just wanting to be happy?

The voices always keep talking … 'Ah come off! You will have no money, no job, no future! You should study hard … what about a job at a consulting concern? Stop dreaming, you should face the hard truth. Life is not easy, life is unkind. Don't you want to have children, get married? You're too old when you're 30. Think about your parents, they'd like too see their grandchildren grow up. The bachelor-degree takes three years, the master-degree two more years. Then you should have finished. It's not advisable to take more time. You will have to explain yourself to your employer. Busy yourself with hobbies? What do you get out of it?”

It is too much … I'm not even 25. The recent weeks or months I catch myself calculating the years of my life. Now I'm 22. With 23 I want to complete my bachelor-degree. Maybe another academic study? In this case, I will be 26, master-degree would take me only 2 years – so 25. In first case, I may need a master-degree – further 2 years, then I am 28. Maybe one year abroad – 29. Nothing really achieved until then. Maybe soon my husband wants children. What if he doesn't want to move to another city? What if he doesn't want me to go abroad for one year? What if he wants to go back to his home county?

Maybe another year abroad – don't think about it – 30! I'm not even 25 and all I see is this big number 30 like a big dark shadow in the back of my mind. 'What you should have achieved when you're 30 … '
It is really tiring me having these thoughts whirring around my head every now and then.
Somehow I'm afraid of never make my dream come true – traveling around the world as backpacker and learning a lot of languages. Just enjoy the feeling to be free, taking my time, visiting the most interesting places in the world, no stress about anything.

What do you think about crowd-funding? Would anyone fund me at all? I could offer interesting blog posts, beautiful pictures, postcards from all over the world and maybe some souvenirs. Would that be enough?

I'm not sure about anything ...

July 20, 2012

The pancake with a thousand holes

Today is the start of Ramadan. Because of that today I made some special moroccan pancakes called Baghrir ( بغرير ). Althought the recipe seems to be very easy you need to get a feeling for the right amount of integredients. Baghrir are eaten throughout the whole year but especially at Ramadan.
Because I didn't really get a recipe of my husbands mother - just a peace of paper saying semolina, yeast & flour in arabic - I created  my very own recipe.
But I must admit, every Moroccan who tried my selfmade Baghrir said that they are very good ^^

And here is how to make them - about 10 Baghrir

Step 1 - you need:
250g flour
250g fine semolina
1/2 peace of yeast - that means yeast for about 250g - 500g flour
a pinch of salt - don't forget the salt, I always forget the salt

At first you put everything in a large bowl and mingle the ingedients. Afterwards you add about 500ml of warm water and mix the ingredients with a mixer. Now the mixture should be very liquid and blister. If the mixture is a bit viscous add some more water and add some yeast if it is not blistering. Let the mixture rest for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile heat a non-sticky frying pan on medium heat. After 5 minutes stir the mixture again and pour some of it in the frying pan. Let the Baghrir fry until it got firm. It now should have got a lot of holes. You do not need to turn the pancake. The Baghrir is ready when it dissolves itself while moving the frying pan.
When the Baghrir are cooled off they become a little sticky. Therefore put them on a semolina sprinkled plate so they won't stick to it. Do the same with the rest of the mixture.

You can keep the Baghrir until the next day. To do so you should cover them with a clean cloth and keep them cool.

Flour, yeast & semolinaMingle everything
Looks good, but add some more
Looks pretty good
Shouldn't look like thisSome fails
Looks pretty goodYou can watch it getting holes
Semolina sprinkeld traditional
moroccan plate
Working in the kitchen :-)

Baghrir are ready

Step 2 - Baghrir are usually eaten with butter & honey

Heat a clean non-sticky frying pan on low heat. Add some butter and honey and heat them some seconds. Put one Baghrir with upside down in the frying pan let it heat and soak the butter & honey for a few seconds. Take them out of the pan and roll them up. For the next one put again some butter & honey in the pan and do the same with all Baghrir.

I guess it's also ok to heat butter & honey and pour them over the Baghrir but I prefer this way because the Baghrir soak more of honey & butter.

Previously prepared Baghrir,
honey & butter
Getting ready for the final step
Put butter in the frying panAdd honey
Put Baghrir upside down in the panTake Baghrir out of the pan after
a few seconds
Roll the Baghrir upReady for eating

Don't worry if your first Baghrirs go wrong. The first time I made them it was horrible. They got cracks, didn't really have holes, they were to dry and they didn't even taste like Baghrir.

Baghrir are best served with moroccan mint tea - very delicious. I hope you'll like them too. Enjoy having a try on them ;-)

July 13, 2012

The magic of Ramadan

Soon the time of Ramadan starts. It's a very special time for the arabian world and those many muslims over the world.

In the western world it is usually said that Ramadan is just a fasting month, but for muslims it is much more than that. Althougt you are not allowed to eat or drink anything the wohle day - from sunrise to sunset - most of the muslims are looking forward to it. Usually every muslim has to fast, but old or ill people, children or pregnant women are allowed to eat and drink.

Like always during the day people are busy doing their everyday business but when the sun starts to set everyone is hurrying to get home for taking the first meal of the day together with the whole family. In morocco I learned that the first meal after sunset is called iftar ( إفطار ) which means fast breaking or futur ( فطور ) which mean s breakfast. Later in the evening a second meal is eaten and sometimes even a third meal that is taken late in the night - but moroccan people are used to it.

If you ever traveled to an arabian country you will know that usually there are always a lot of people out on the street especially in big cities. But in Ramadan on sunset you will hardly find anyone on the streets. Somehow it's macigal ... You're walking along a street so crowded and busy as ever and not even half an hour later ... you are alone, a place you never saw so deserted - as if they had disappeared from the face of the earth - you feel alone but comfortable.

Pic by Marina Oliphant
Especially women are very busy before and during this month sparing no efforts to prepare alle the special moroccan sweets, cakes and things usually eaten in Ramadan. A very special sweet that is normally just eaten during Ramadan in Morocco is called Sellou. The consistency is like sand and it also looks like ordinary sand you can find on a beach but no ... it's not sand. And like all moroccan sweets it's very delicious and very sweet. Sellou is mostly made of flour, roasted almonds and butter. If I make Sellou during Ramadan I will definetly post the recipe.

While Ramadan every evening the whole family comes together, eating a lot of delicious and energy-rich food, meeting friends and going out late.
One day you really should travel to an arabian country while Ramadan. Maybe you get an invitation to eat breakfast with someones family. Belive me, it is so special and wonderful.

I hope you'll enjoy the delicious recipes I will post during this year's Ramadan.