Flying Experience – Saudi Arabian Airlines

So many reasons I can put forward to explain my blogging hiatus. Don’t know about YOU but it would definitely bore me doing so. ( Don’t want to come off as a Whiner 😛 )

To be quick, here is a peek at one of the things I had done during this unforgivable long looong gap: Traveling!

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Good Ol’ Saudi Arabian Airlines hardly disappoints. Nothing is too lavish, neither unpleasant or uncomfortable. To be honest, I’m not the person who loves flying. Yes, I do love visiting places but certainly NOT being in a confined space in air, be it even for an hour. It could get worse if the person seated in front or behind or anywhere nearby does not mind their ‘stinky business’. And not to forget some noisy passengers like kids!

Luckily, I’m one of those few who have this gift of falling asleep in awkward positions (neck tilted, no head-rest) so I get to pass those crawling hours somehow.

Saudi Airlines has nice seating even in the economy class, footrest is a plus! Flight-attendants are nice, polite and certainly are helpful unlike the ones I encountered in other flight. There was this time I was traveling alone in an airline I don’t want to mention here, I had to load my hand-luggage in the overhead locker but I just could not because of course my luggage wasn’t that light for me to carry up that high. It was twice that despite of explaining the reason it wasn’t physically possible for me to load, that rude airhostess kept on pressurizing me to do it myself because “we are just too cool to help you”. Anyway, it was nice of one passenger to help me with that.

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So yea, I have never had an unpleasant experience with SA. However, last time I got this great opportunity to travel in the business class which was obviously an even better experience. For me, one of the few perks of flying apart from games and entertainment is anticipating the in-flight meals and snacks! I like how SA always provides hot towels to sanitize our hands before meals. I really dig that as I’m a hygiene freak!

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In business class, before the plane took off we were first refreshed with dates and Saudi kahva (coffee) with refills. Then when it was meal time we were furnished with the business class in-flight gourmet menu. It was a three-course with delicious options. And when the meal was served, my little table was a sight of delight!

And oh yes, I got my hands on the free issue of the fantastic “Sayidaty” in English – a Dubai based women’s magazine which normally costs SR 10 in KSA. 😀

Spanakorizo – Spinach Rice

Spinach.
Many of us might have childhood memories of scowling at the name in response to our anticipating question: “What’s in for dinner?”.
Watching Popeye The Sailor Man did us no better and the term ‘rich in iron’ spelled nonsense to us – we would still look at the green glop disapprovingly. Luckily, for me it became different as I grew up and let my tastebuds discover how yummy spinach can be.

Frozen spinach is abundantly available in Saudi Arabia all year round. And frozen form makes cooking easier and quicker as you don’t have to go through the process of cleaning, chopping, washing and blanching, etc.
I recently tried this recipe which is inspired from traditional Greek cuisine, called Spanakorizo. Typically, has ingredients like onions, dill, pepper and lemon, besides spinach and rice.

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I went with a little desi (indo-paki) approach since we like our food a bit spiced up.  Here are the ingredients:

    • 2½ cup Basmati Rice
    • 400g Frozen Spinach – thawed
    • ¼ cup fresh Dill- chopped
    • 2 Onions – chopped
    • 2 tbsp Garlic Ginger – crushed
    • 3 sticks of Green Chillies – chopped
    • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
    • Salt
    • Olive Oil
    • Water

Spices

  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 2 pc Star Anise
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 3 Green Cardamoms
  • 5-6 Black Peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Fennel seeds

 

Method:

  1. Boil rice with some salt until half-cooked. Drain. Set Aside.
  2. Heat oil slightly. Add all the spices except cumin and fennel seeds. Fry for few seconds.
  3. Add onions, ginger and garlic. Sauté lightly at medium heat.
  4. Now add cumin and fennel seeds and fry for few more seconds.
  5. Add spinach and mix well. Cook for 5 mins. Keep stirring. Pour in lemon juice and some salt.
  6. Add dill. Mix.
  7. Stir in the half-cooked rice. Mix well. Now cover and let it sit on steam for 5 mins at very low heat.

Spinach and rice make awesome combo! The addition of spices makes the dish even more aromatic. I served it with yogurt dip which went great with it. But I have even seen Feta cheese being served with it in traditional recipes.

 

“Connecting Global Minds” – My Expat Experience on InterNations

Hello Bloomers! 
We are thrilled to announce that with the Grace of Almighty, we have been featured on the online expat community site InterNations.org!
This is a great month for Groom&Bloom – after all, Spring is the season for Blooming =)

It is rare to find an online social network that caters to emigrants worldwide and offers unique perks to its members; such is the blessing “InterNations.org” to which I stumbled across during my forlorn pursuit of ‘familiarity’ in the digital world while my stay at the foreign land.

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InterNations
, with its diverse team of savvy members, comprehensively guides and makes the expats living abroad ‘feel at home’. Truth be told, I did join few expat online communities which did their job fairly well, but what makes InterNations stand out from the rest is the exclusivity it provides in terms of organizing and offering to join the most happening recreational activities in one’s locality and giving expats like us a chance to interact and socialize in person with a sense of security.

I’m also impressed by their venture in presenting individuals’ perspective regarding expat-life experiences, which is also essential to reassure nervous ‘newbies’. For the same reason, InterNations reached out to me and gave me this wonderful opportunity to have my blog “groomandbloom.co.nr featured in their ‘Recommended Expat Blog in Saudi Arabia’ section.

There’s still a lot for me to explore about this dynamic, versatile and ever-expanding expat community and I’m honored to be a part of it!

Click  here to read how we get up-close about Saudi Arabian life in my point-of-view as an expat! 

LIPTON Russian Earl Grey Tea – A Bittersweet Symphony

If you are a tea-lover and now want to familiarize your tastebuds with the boldness of Earl Grey tea then LIPTON Russian Earl Grey could be your first pick. It has pleasant citrus overtones and a mild smokey hint of the bergamot fruit, which makes it less strong than the other brands and variants of Earl Grey, but more empowering than your cup of regular black tea.

Typically, Russian Earl Grey is an infusion of dried orange peel, lemongrass, black tea, bergamot oil and sometimes cornflower petals. But what I read on the package, the ingredients of LIPTON Russian Earl Grey contains:

Black tea, nature identical bergamot flavor.

So it’s a bit vague what other herbs they used in enhancing the sweet tarty flavor of their version of Russian Earl Grey. The box has 20 enveloped tea bags. I have noticed LIPTON Russian Earl Grey packaging in other countries slightly differs from this one available in Middle East so maybe the ingredients on those might also be more elaborate.

My cup of LIPTON Russian Earl Grey

My cup of LIPTON Russian Earl Grey

How I drink it

After dipping the tea bag into hot water for no more than 2 mins, I add half teaspoon of honey to enhance its sweet undertones and sometimes a couple of mint leaves. This is usually my evening tea for a quick refreshment and some caffeine dose.

You can enjoy it your way with other condiments like sugar, lemon or even milk. It goes perfectly with sugary baked goodies like donuts, cakes, cookies or anything sweet.

Like my review? Don’t like it? Comment below. Would be happy to hear from you either way 🙂