Thursday, June 18, 2020

Bow to Bao Buns


Bao buns are soft, fluffy and pockets of steamy goodness. They go perfect with any meat or vegetables like mushrooms with pickled vegetables, fresh herbs and your favorite sauces. It can be served as a side or as the main meal itself.... And what I love about this bread is that it doesn’t collapse under the pressure of steaming. These buns just made me swoon and are a family favorite now. These are easy to make with readily available ingredients. Try it out and trust me, you will keep making it!





Yield 14 to 16 buns

INGREDIENts
·         1/3 cup warm water
·         1/2 cup warm milk
·         1 tbsp active dry yeast
·         4 tbsp sugar, divided half
·         2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
·         2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         1/2 tsp baking powder
·         1/4 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS
1.       Combine warm water, milk, active yeast, sugar and oil. Whisk to let yeast and sugar to dissolve then let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast activate.
2.       Meanwhile in a stand mixer and a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. You could make with your hand too if you prefer.
3.       Pour the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Blend on a low speed to slowly incorporate all the ingredients together then on medium speed until it becomes a dough shape. Keep on kneading for 3 to 4 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be elastic and really soft and not stick to your fingers or on the mixing bowl.
4.       Once the dough is ready, shape it into a ball and place it back to the bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it becomes triple size, about 2 hours. Let it sit for longer if needed as it had to rise well. 
5.       Place the raised dough on a working surface and roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle flour only if you need to. Cut the dough 3 1/2-inch circle with a ring mold or glass or a wine glass. This recipe will make 14 o 16 baos.
6.       Lightly brush or spray oil on one surface of the baos and fold in half as a half moon shape. Gently press each bao with a roller and place on a parchment paper or coffee filter lined steamer so that it won’t stick to the bottom. Cover with a lid and let it rest for additional 30 minutes.
7.       Meanwhile get your steamer ready. Carefully place the steamer with the baos on top of boiling water wok/pot. Make sure water is not touching the baos. Cover and steam for 8 to 12 minutes. Please be careful when you open the lid of the steamer. You can serve this bao as a side or serve with a filling like I did!
I hope you all will enjoy making these and do keep me posted if you try. Have a great weekend everyone!










Above pictures are copyright to Tickled by inpirations








Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Artist of the month - Dr.Zakiya Al Busaidi


Today I am honoured to feature a passionate Omani artist who is a doctor by profession and therapist. And her goal is to heal the world through art and medicine and make this world a better place to live in. Dr. Zakiya Al Busaidi strongly believes that other than medicine, art can heal people. She has also acquired her PhD on the relation between mind and body. And she has been a great advocate for mental health awareness in Oman. She started her journey as an artist 6 years back. I was fortunate to see her work in an exhibition here in Oman. The emotional energy of her work is portrayed beautifully in each piece. There is joy and movement in most of her work through the colours and textures she has used.



Let’s have a look at her beautiful work and hear more from her regarding her art journey









Tell us a bit about yourself. How did your journey as an artist begin? Did you have any formal training?

My name is Zakiya Al Busaidi, I am artist and a doctor. The two seem to be inseparable since both are expressions of my soul. I started my journey with art 6 years ago, unplanned but fell in love with art and started attending short courses with Omani artists for 2 years.


How would you describe your art style?
Since I am a big fan of the French Impressionsm art movement, (especially Claude Monet), that was the first style I started with but later I experimented with pop art, calligraphy and currently working on pour and fluid art. 


What's your inspiration for your art work?

My art is inspired by nature where I feel more connected and spirituality.  


Do you commission different projects? And how can people purchase your paintings?

My art is available for sale on my instagram account (@zalbusaidi_art) and whenever I participate in exhibitions in Muscat. 


Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career.

I believe in the role of art in healing and I promote for mindful art. Therefore, I encourage people to do art for self- expression and as a way of meditation. Art teaches us how to be present, appreciate the beauty that we have around us and be less judgmental of ourselves and others. 



Thank you Zakiya for sharing your beautiful work with me and my readers…. and for giving us an insight for your inspiring art journey. We wish you many more successes and looking forward to more creative pieces from you!



If you wish to get updates of her beautiful work, please follow her on instagram @zalbusaidi_art.





All the above pictures are via Zakiya Al Busaidi








Thursday, April 16, 2020

Artist of the month - Elizabeth Davis


Elizabeth Davis, a prominent artist in the Oman art community, reminds herself and everyone around that “Art is not merely a career but a way of life”. I am a huge fan of her art work and witnessed her exhibitions many times. Her commitment to the art scene has gained respect and fans… and what I love about her is her constant zeal for learning more, updating her skills and always challenging herself. 



Most of her artwork is greatly influenced by the scenic beauty of Oman and the hospitality and beauty of Omani Culture and her travels as well. I have also known her for promoting and motivating amateur artists as well which makes her an even more beautiful artist. Her work is an extension of her warmth, her enthusiasm and her passion. Her love for details and creating the mood evokes a sense of peace and wanting to travel, that can be clearly seen in her work, through the colours and textures on her work. 

Have a look at her paintings and let’s hear more from Elizabeth and her inspiring journey as an artist





Tell us a bit about yourself. How did your journey as an artist begin? Did you have any formal training or is it self- taught?


My journey as an artist began in school. I have early memories of colouring the Nutrine bunny. We had a wonderful Art and craft section in school manned by a fantastic art teacher. Academics was taught only in the morning session, the whole afternoon session was dedicated to arts and sports. In our art class we were taught various techniques starting with sketching, crayons, colour pencils, water colours, oil painting, marble painting, mosaic work, tie and dye, batik, block printing, leather craft, etc.


As a family too, we children were art oriented in addition to academics. I remember my grandmother used to always decorate her letters with sketches. She had a brother who used to paint on the walls of his house and was considered quite eccentric. The only one who did not care for drawing was my younger brother who incidentally got a prize at the Shankar’s International art competition. I too remember getting a prize much later for my “Qutub Minar”from the Navarang Chitrakala Niketan, Guntur. Many years later my mom said that since her mother and her kids paint, she too should be having that talent and made a pretty good painting, she painted no further almost as if she had proved her point.


My art took a back stage and came to a grinding halt during my work, marriage, bringing up the children phase. Got a breather after coming to Muscat and would paint on and off. Got back fully into the Art scene about 4 years ago after moving to the Al Mouj community and discovering a lot of talented artists. Started with a bang with my first exhibition at the World Art Dubai. It was a great learning experience. Became a member of the Omani society of Fine arts soon after and took part in various exhibitions. Took a few courses with some great Artists and discovered new worlds in art.


My whole idea of Art went for a toss. I discovered Acrylics paints! Whereas I had always strived for perfection and realism, here were artists telling to paint how I feel and not how I see. They tell me to be creative and not to function like a camera! For me Art was art and craft was Craft … and then I discovered Mixed media! And both my interests could merge.


Has your artwork evolved during the last couple of years? How would you describe your art style?


Currently I would call my art as Contemporary and Impressionist and maybe semi abstract. I cannot classify myself as I am still on a journey of experimentation and discovery. In fact all my paintings look like they are done by different people and I am reveling in the sheer variety. I do not want to fall in a niche, I want to keep getting out of my comfort zone, I want to be constantly challenged. The downside is sleepless nights were my mind is furiously pumping out ideas and techniques. In fact a few times I have jumped out of bed, into the adjacent studio, to attack the canvas in the middle of the night. Many a times I have been sorely disappointed with the outcome, but some of my favourite pieces are done over these disasters.




What's your inspiration for your art work? 


Inspiration for art work is all around us and many a times within us.

Initially as you started as an artist, was your work rejected at any point? If yes, how did you deal with it and overcome?


Our biggest rejection comes from ourselves. We have to keep working till we are happy with our work. It is also equally important to know when to stop. Sometimes there is a sense of depression when the mind cannot connect with the hand. Then there is a sense of exhilaration when we feel the hand of the creator working through us.


There are days when I literally live in the studio, and there are other times when I take long breaks. Sometimes, we just have to overcome the inertia, like the writer’s block.




What is the most challenging aspect about your work?


There are days when I literally live in the studio, and there are other times when I take long breaks. Sometimes, we just have to overcome the inertia, like the writer’s block.


What medium do you use? What is your creative process like? and what keeps you motivated?


My whole idea of Art went for a toss. I discovered Acrylics paints! Whereas I had always strived for perfection and realism, here were artists telling to paint how I feel and not how I see. They tell me to be creative and not to function like a camera! For me Art was art and craft was Craft … and then I discovered Mixed media! And both my interests could merge.




Do you commission different projects? And how can people purchase your paintings?


Oman does not seem to be a buyers market currently and there are very few galleries and platforms for artists. The OSFA is doing a tremendous job of promoting art and artists and we are grateful for that. The National Museum too is doing their bit. Also art material is very expensive and often new material is unavailable in Oman. But the art community here is wonderful and encouraging

I have sold a few of my paintings, done a few commission jobs, but not as much as I would have liked to.

I am planning to hold a solo exhibition sometime this year in Muscat and hopefully one in India.


What is your favorite art piece that you have done till date?


Often my favourite art piece is the one I have just finished. Though some are very dear due to the situation behind the painting or certain memories.




Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career.


My advice to everyone is simple - Enjoy Art … there is an artist in every one of us … it can give immense satisfaction and happiness. Don’t be afraid of disasters. Treat it as an adventure …. “Artventure”.


In fact, I am also hoping to take classes for children as there is no better teacher for creativity than a child and we can learn as we teach. I would also tell parents to encourage children to try out new ideas and not to stereotype their art and thoughts. Using the right side of the brain is as important as the left. Recycling and reusing are also very important to me and I would like to incorporate more of it into my art.

Art is not merely a career, its a way of life.



Thank you so much Elizabeth for sharing your art journey with me and my readers! I am sure there are many who are inspired by your work. And wishing you all the best ahead in your journey!

If you wish to follow Elizabeth’s work please click here and  follow her at eliseasel in instagram handle. And you can email her at eliseasel@gmail.com  




Above pics via Elizabeth Davis











Thursday, April 9, 2020

Positivity in your space


Hey everyone… how is your week going? Since we are all spending a lot of time indoors, at home… do you feel positive enough in your space?

If not, here are some tips for you to create that positive energy in your space and I hope it will work for you…










Natural lighting:

Place your seating close to your window where you can work and read easily. Keep rotating your seating arrangements from one room to another.


Surround yourself with things that make you happy:

If you are sitting at your desk, have pictures of your loved ones close by or a favorite book or something that has sentimental value and brings a smile to your face every time you look at it.


Indoor plants:

Have at least one indoor plant in your space. That pop of green always brings life in your home.


De-clutter:

De-clutter your space as it directly affects your mind and productivity. Throw away papers, bills and things that you don’t need. Donate toys, old books and clothes.


Music:

I always play music in the background when I paint, meditate or read and even when I create recipes… it just sets the tempo for my task.


Aromatic Oils:

To set the mood in your home, burn your favorite aromatic oil or incense. It will uplift your mood as you do your task.


Move things around:

Since we are all home bound, it’s natural for all of us to crave for a change of scenery,  so the best way to tackle this is, move around your wall hangings, pictures and paintings…. Move your furniture around a bit or your décor accents. you can also add a few accents here and there that have a pop of colour.


Favorite Couch:

Always have your favorite couch ready for taking a snooze in between or read or to watch your favorite television show. And keep a throw ready to snuggle in.


Take breaks:

Please don’t forget to stretch and workout in between. If you have a small balcony, you can stretch there and get a bit of sunlight as well. And if you have space outside, try workout or do a spot jogging or skip.




Let me know if these tips are helpful and is working for you… I only wish you all lots of peace and calmness as the lockdown continues. Please stay safe, stay healthy, eat healthy and stay home!



Above pictures are copyrighted by Tickled by Inspirations






Monday, March 30, 2020

Churros Recipe to transport you to Spain and Mexico




Churros will always be my favorite comfort sugary snack. It not complicated to make… pretty straightforward. And it’s best to have it fresh and slightly warm! They are made with simple pantry-staple ingredients and fried to perfection…  And don’t let the deep frying scare you. Unfortunately I couldn’t take a video on how to fry it but do check online on how to do so. As long as you have a piping bag, a metal star tip and the enthusiasm to make a great treat, then you can make churros at home without breaking a sweat. So here is the recipe 


Ingredients

·         1 cup water

·         1 cinnamon stick

·         1/4 cup unsalted butter, diced into small cubes

·         1 Tbsp  granulated sugar

·         1/4 tsp salt

·         1 cup all-purpose flour 

·         1 large egg

·         1 tsp vanilla extract

·         Vegetable oil, for frying

For coating

·         1/3 cup to ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar

·         3/4 tsp ground cinnamon





Method:


1.       For the coating whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish, set aside.


2.       Heat about 1 1/2 inches vegetable oil in a large pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. While oil is heating prepare batter.


3.       Add water, cinnamon, butter, half teaspoon of vanilla extract, sugar and salt to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.


4.       Add flour reduce heat to low and cook and stir constantly with a rubber spatula until mixture comes together and is smooth (a few lumps in it are fine).


5.       Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and let it cool for 5 minutes.


6.       Add the rest of the vanilla extract and egg to flour mixture then blend immediately with an electric mixer. Blend until mixture comes together and is smooth (it will separate at first but keep mixing it will come together).

7.       Transfer to a 16-inch piping bag fitted with a rounded star tip (no bigger than 1/2-inch). 


8.       Carefully pipe mixture into preheated oil, into about 6-inch lengths, cut end with clean scissors.


9.       Let it fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to dry briefly then transfer to cinnamon sugar mixture and roll to coat.


10.   Repeat process with remaining dough (frying no more than 5 at once). Serve warm with chocolate ganache or caramel sauce for dipping if desired.



Above pictures are copyrighted by Ticked by Inspirations











Sunday, March 15, 2020

Creamy Garlic Salmon with Spinach and Sundried Tomatoes

This pan seared Salmon in a creamy garlic sauce with sun dried tomatoes, spinach and parmesan is packed with so much flavour, looks fancy and is quite easy to make! And the best part of it is, it’s all cooked in one pan. This is one of the best salmon recipes I have tried and came out so well. And I can vouch that this dish will be wiped out clean!!




The recipe is adapted from here and I have tweaked it a bit from the original... so here it is and I hope you try it out!


Ingredients


§  3-4 salmon fillets

§  2 teaspoons olive oil

§  2 tablespoons butter

§  5 cloves garlic, chopped finely

§  1 small yellow onion, chopped finely

§  1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable broth

§  4 to 5 ounces (150g) jarred sun-dried tomato in oil, drained of oil

§  1 cup heavy cream or light cream or add more depending on how much sauce you want

§  Salt and pepper, to taste

§  2 cups baby spinach leaves

§  1/2 cup grated Parmesan

§  1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped






Directions


1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon filets on both sides with salt and pepper, and sear in the hot pan, flesh-side down first, for 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your liking. Once the salmon filets are cooked, remove from the pan and set aside.


2. In the same pan, melt the butter in the remaining leftover cooked juices. Add in the garlic and fry until fragrant (about one minute). Add onion and stir fry until translucent. Then add the sun-dried tomatoes and fry for 2 to 3 minutes so they release their flavors. Then pour the vegetable broth, and allow the sauce to reduce down a bit. 


3. Reduce heat to low, add the heavy cream, and bring to a gentle simmer, while stirring occasionally. Season the cream sauce with salt and pepper to your taste.


4. Add the baby spinach and allow it to cook in the sauce. Then add the parmesan cheese (the best part to take the sauce to the next level). Allow cream sauce to simmer for a further minute until cheese melts through. 


5. Add the grilled salmon filets back into the pan; sprinkle with the parsley, and spoon the sauce over each filet. Serve the creamy garlic salmon over steamed veg, brown rice or cauliflower rice or pasta, simple quinoa or just bread. Enjoy!


Notes:

  • You can add a dash of white wine to the sauce for more flavor, instead of or along with the vegetable broth.
  • You can substitute cream with coconut cream or light cream. 
  • And instead of sundried tomatoes you can roast capsicums and add to the cream.





Above pictures are copyrighted Ticked by Inspirations