Chicken Tikka

Here is a simple no-nonsense Chicken Tikka recipe, very easy & straight forward. It tastes so yummy that I forgot to take photos when it got ready:

P1010258

Ingredients:

– Boneless chicken cut into 2 inch cubes (Half Kilogram)
– Lemon juice or white vinegar (1 to 2 tablespoon)
– Salt, black pepper, red chilli powder & a bit of mix spices (if you like, add to your taste)
– Little bit of crushed garlic & ginger (add to your taste)
– Vegetables cut in cubes: tomatoes, onion, pepper, aubergine (or any other you like)
– 1 or 2 tablespoon olive or any other oil
– Skewers or sticks of any kind

Preparation:

– Mix all the ingredients (except oil & vegetables) and leave to marinade for 1 hour (if time permits)
– Add oil, mix and then loosely thread the chicken pieces & vegetables on the skewers.
– Preheat the grill on medium heat
– Cook the skewers for about 5 to 10 mins till chicken is light golden. Turn side to cook the other side
– You can also cook it in a frying pan. Just put a little oil in it and cook on medium heat

Serving:

Serve hot with:
– Pitta or Naan bread
– Green Raita: Yoghurt, pinch of salt, very little green chilli, green coriander & mint gound & mixed together
– Salad: Onions, tomatoes, lattice, cucumber, lemon (& anything else you like).

P1010267

Enjoy!

British Justice System Favours the Criminals, Not Victims

=====================================

An armed robbery occurs in February 2004 near London Heathrow. Robbers get away with £1.75 million. Police arrests four people afterwards and put them on trial. They get conditional bail and roam free in the society, even though they are considered danger to public. Three trials break down one after the other. Last trial breaks because jury is interfered with. With fear of future threats to jury members, judge orders a trial without jury; the first jury-less trail in 400 years. During this fourth trial, one accuser runs away from the court. Next day court continues the trial without even considering of removing bail of the rest three and arresting them.

Six years have passed; no one has been brought to justice. No money has been recovered yet, and a further £20 million have been spent on the trials from the public funds to recover (or not to recover) mere £1.75 million!

Where did this huge amount of £20 million go? Most of this amount went into the pockets of the lawyers. The lawyers in UK charge huge fees which is so high that it is simply out of the reach of majority of the public. The whole legal system is far too complex, lengthy and expensive. God forbid if an innocent person gets involved in any kind of legal concern, his life gets ruined due to this restrictive justice system no matter he is innocent and gets quitted in the end. Criminals do enjoy it because complexity & longer times for justice favour them, and the legal fees they don’t need to pay; it comes from your packet i.e. the tax payer!

Little while ago, a career criminal with an impressive record of 50 previous convictions including firearms possession & robberies, enters a house along with two accomplices having 12 inch long knives in their hands. They tie the hands of all family members and start damaging the household. Soon the husband and two sons enter the house only to find their family in danger. The husband is beaten up. His brother also turns up in a while. The robbers flee now, who are chased up by two brothers. They beat the main robber. He is arrested and taken to hospital with injuries. After few days, court trial begins. The criminal goes free; declared permanently brain damaged, and both bothers are jailed on long sentences. And the criminal?? After just two weeks in hospital, he happily starts his career again and conducts yet another set of crimes.

There are numerous examples of British law favouring the criminals and letting down the victims. Usually this occurs under the pretext of human rights for the criminal. However, rights & responsibilities go hand in hand. As soon as a person neglects his responsibilities & goes on the wrong side of the law, he looses his rights. I am not advocating at all that one should take law in his hands or engage in any kind of violent activities. However once a person does not fulfil responsibilities of being a law abiding citizen, he looses his rights also. Especially if he is a convicted criminal and is violating a person’s private property, his honour or life.

Islam is very clear on the subject of justice. No one is allowed to take law in his hands and justice is swift. During the Umar (RA) time, some state officials heard that few people are drinking alcohol in their home. They jumped over the wall into their house and arrested them. When Umar (RA) came to know of the incident. He sat free these people saying that officials have done wrong by entering the private property without permission. Yet same Umar (RA) punished his own son to death when he was convicted. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) summarised the whole Islamic law in one sentence (loose translation) “even Fatima (his daughter) would be punished if she had broken the law”. On occasions He (SAW) presented himself to the law when accused (though He SAW never committed any wrong doing). Islam has a simple view:

“Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, no matter the person is a Prophet or a president”.

Feb 2010

from Lisbon Portugal

I came to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal (locally called Lisboa) for three days. Portugal is a developed European Union member country with population of 10 million. It shares largest part of border with Spain on north & east, and has Atlantic Ocean on the west.

Portugal is a peaceful & relaxed country which is:

• No 19 for best Quality of Life

• 14th Most Peaceful, and

• 13th Most Globalized country

Sea, sun, sailing, seafood & Spain are deep into their culture. Weather is sunny & moderate. Sea borders on one long side, hence fish food is common, actually very common. Culture has similarities with Spain, language similar to Spanish & a bit Italian also. Food is Mediterranean which includes seafood, olive, cheese and bakery products.

Lisbon
Lisbon

Vas Go Da Gama was one of their famous sailors who discovered the sea route from Europe to India about 500 years ago. Christopher Columbus, originally Italian, first came here and asked for help to sail from here to India. It was believed at the time that if one sails out of Portugal or Spain, he will end up in India. Columbus, the killer of millions of red Indians, was refused from here. He then went to Spain & requested help from Queen Isabella, and was accepted, an event that brought death to millions of red Indians.

Portugal was a global empire during the 15th & 16th centuries that occupied parts of Asia, Europe, Africa & America (including India, Canada, Barbados, Morocco, Malacca, Japan, Brazil etc), & controlled many important world trade sea routes. It was one of the world’s major economic, political and military powers of the time.

Portuguese People are friendly with medium height, normal features & darker hair. You can see many people from old Portuguese colonies living here. Inter-racial marriages have brought about a new mixed breed.

People here behave somewhat like Spanish but probably more relaxed than them. There are similarities with Pakies too, for example, coming to office after 9 (Swedish arrive before 8.30), late lunch after 1 pm (Swedish go for lunch around 11.30), leaving office at least after 6, and going to bed late after mid night. Oh, and arriving late on appointments. There are few more but I better not write them here!

There are very few Muslims in Portugal and just one mosque. It could not manage to visit it.

P1010059

 Lisbon city has well built infrastructure. It is filled with old historical buildings and houses. I visited some of the places. One thing that bothered me and & my trolley bag alike was that all the footpaths are made with stones (see photo) which makes walking very trying and pulling a trolley bag even more difficult. View from our office was stunning. There is Tagus River on one side. It is so vast that it looks like a sea. 17.2 KM long Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest in Europe, connects river’s two shores.

Vasgo Da Gama Bridge & Tagus
Vasgo Da Gama Bridge over River Tagus

There is a famous old cake shop in Lisbon established since 1837. The shop is called “Pasteis de Belem”, meaning Cake shop of Belem. I visited it & and tried Nata (a pie with egg custard filling) with a nice cup of tea. It was just so delicious; crispy & salty outside and sweet & soft inside, real yummy. It was quite expensive at 90 cent a piece. The shop was huge and all full of people, mostly tourists. I brought a dozen cakes back for friends and family too.

Nata Pie & Tea at Pasties de Belem Shop
Nata Pie & Tea at Pasties de Belem Shop

Read my next visit here

 

——-++++++++++++++—————-

Dr Afia

Dr Afia:  Lie can not last for long

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”. Abraham Lincoln 16th president of United States of America.

 

This is very true. I sincerely believe that American people should wakeup and realize who is their real enemy and who has hijacked their opinions.

Below is an article by a famous writer Yvonne Ridley. It provides another point of view with some undeniable facts:

 

The Truth About US Justice

By Yvonne RidleyInformation Clearing House” – -Many of us are still in a state of shock over the guilty verdict returned on Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

February 06, 2010 “

The response from the people of Pakistan was predictable and overwhelming and I salute their spontaneous actions.

From Peshawar to Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and beyond they marched in their thousands demanding the return of Aafia.

Even some of the US media expressed discomfort over the verdict returned by the jurors … there was a general feeling that something was not right.

Everyone had something to say, everyone that is except the usually verbose US Ambassador Anne Patterson who has spent the last two years briefing against Dr Aafia and her supporters.

This is the same woman who claimed I was a fantasist when I gave a press conference with Tehreek e Insaf leader Imran Khan back in July 2008 revealing the plight of a female prisoner in Bagram called the Grey Lady. She said I was talking nonsense and stated categorically that the prisoner I referred to as “650” did not exist.

By the end of the month she changed her story and said there had been a female prisoner but that she was most definitely not Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

By that time Aafia had been gunned down at virtually point blank range in an Afghan prison cell jammed full of more than a dozen US soldiers, FBI agents and Afghan police.

Her Excellency briefed the media that the prisoner had wrested an M4 gun from one soldier and fired off two rounds and had to be subdued. The fact these bullets failed to hit a single person in the cell and simply disappeared did not resonate with the diplomat.

In a letter dripping in untruths on August 16 2008 she decried the “erroneous and irresponsible media reports regarding the arrest of Ms Aafia Siddiqui”. She went on to say: “Unfortunately, there are some who have an interest in simply distorting the facts in an effort to manipulate and inflame public opinion. The truth is never served by sensationalism…”

When Jamaat Islami invited me on a national tour of Pakistan to address people about the continued abuse of Dr Aafia and the truth about her incarceration in Bagram, the US Ambassador continued to issue rebuttals.

She assured us all that Dr Aafia was being treated humanely had been given consular access as set out in international law … hmm. Well I have a challenge for Ms Patterson today. I challenge her to repeat every single word she said back then and swear it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

As Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s trial got underway, the US Ambassador and some of her stooges from the intelligence world laid on a lavish party at the US Embassy in Islamabad for some hand-picked journalists where I’ve no doubt in between the dancing, drinks and music they were carefully briefed about the so-called facts of the case.

Interesting that some of the potentially incriminating pictures taken at the private party managed to find the Ambassador was probably hoping to minimize the impact the trial would have on the streets of Pakistan proving that, for the years she has been holed up and barricaded behind concrete bunkers and barbed wire, she has learned nothing about this great country of Pakistan or its people.

One astute Pakistani columnist wrote about her: “The respected lady seems to have forgotten the words of her own country’s 16th president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865): “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.

And the people of Pakistan proved they are nobody’s fool and responded to the guilty verdict in New York in an appropriate way.

When injustice is the law it is the duty of everyone to rise up and challenge that injustice in any way possible.

The response – so far – has been restrained and measured but it is just the start. A sentence has yet to be delivered by Judge Richard Berman in May.

Of course there has been a great deal of finger pointing and blame towards the jury in New York who found Dr Aafia guilty of attempted murder.

Observers asked how they could ignore the science and the irrefutable facts … there was absolutely no evidence linking Dr Aafia to the gun, no bullets, no residue from firing it.

But I really don’t think we can blame the jurors for the verdict – you see the jury simply could not handle the truth. Had they taken the logical route and gone for the science and the hard, cold, clinical facts it would have meant two things. It would have meant around eight US soldiers took the oath and lied in court to save their own skins and careers or it would have meant that Dr Aafia Siddiqui was telling the truth.

And, as I said before, the jury couldn’t handle the truth. Because that would have meant that the defendant really had been kidnapped, abused, tortured and held in dark, secret prisons by the US before being shot and put on a rendition flight to New York. It would have meant that her three children – two of them US citizens – would also have been kidnapped, abused and tortured by the US.

They say ignorance is bliss and this jury so desperately wanted not to believe that the US could have had a hand in the kidnapping of a five-month -old baby boy, a five-year-old girl and her seven-year-old brother.
They couldn’t handle the truth … it is as simple as that.

Well I, and many others across the world like me, can’t handle any more lies. America’s reputation is lying in the lowest gutters in Pakistan at the moment and it can’t sink any lower.

The trust has gone, there is only a burning hatred and resentment towards a superpower which sends unmanned drones into villages to slaughter innocents.

It is fair to say that America’s goodwill and credibility is all but washed up with most honest, decent citizens of Pakistan.

And I think even Her Excellency Anne Patterson recognizes that fact which is why she is now keeping her mouth shut.

If she has any integrity and any self respect left she should stand before the Pakistan people and ask for their forgiveness for the drone murders, the extra judicial killings, the black operations, the kidnapping, torture and rendition of its citizens, the water-boarding, the bribery, the corruption and, not least of all, the injustice handed out to Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her family.

She should then pick up the phone to the US President and tell him to release Aafia and return Pakistan’s most loved, respected and famous daughter and reunite her with the two children who are still missing.
Then she should re-read her letter of August 16, 2008 and write another … one of resignation.

Yvonne Ridley is a patron of Cageprisoners which first brought the plight of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to the world’s attention shortly after her kidnap in March 2003. The award-winning, investigative journalist also co-produced the documentary In Search of Prisoner 650 with film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani which concluded that the Grey Lady of Bagram was Dr Aafia Siddiqui

Olive Oil

Buying & Choosing Olive Oil

Olive Oil has lots of good in it. It is the best edible oil you can get. Everybody knows but understanding its varieties & label is difficult. Some of its varieties are actually a mix of different grade olive oils, hence understanding its basic varieties is important. Below is a basic guide which can help one to choose:

Varieties of Olive Oil:

Extra-virgin Olive oil comes from the first pressing of the olives, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have superior taste. Extra-virgin olive oil is the purest and the most expensive. Mostly it is used for salad dressing or may be light frying.

Virgin olive oil has acidity less than 2%, and judged to have a good taste. There should be no refined oil in virgin olive oil.

Pure olive oil Oils labeled as ‘Pure olive oil’ or ‘Olive oil’ are usually a blend of refined olive oil and one of the above two categories of Virgin olive oil.

Olive oil is a blend of virgin oil and refined oil, containing no more than 1.5% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.

Olive-Pomace oil is a blend of refined pomace olive oil (explained below) and possibly some virgin oil. It is fit for consumption, but it may not be called olive oil.

The oil is extracted by means of pressure (traditional method) or centrifugation (modern method). After extraction, the remaining solid substance is called Pomace, still contains a small quantity of oil. This is extracted through heat & chemical processes, and termed as olive pomace oil.

Lampante oil is olive oil not used for consumption; lampante comes from olive oil’s ancient use as fuel in oil-burning lamps. Lampante oil is mostly used in the industrial market.

Label Wording

Olive oil vendors choose the wording on their labels very carefully.

  • Imported from Italy” produces an impression that the olives were grown in Italy, although in fact it only means that the oil was bottled there.
  • 100% Pure Olive Oil” is often the lowest quality available in a retail store: better grades would have “virgin” on the label.
  • Made from refined olive oils” suggests that the essence was captured, but in fact means that the taste and acidity were chemically produced.
  • Light olive oil” actually means refined olive oil, not a lower fat content. All olive oil has 120 calories per tablespoon (33 kJ/ml).
  • “From hand-picked olives” may indicate that the oil is of better quality, since producers harvesting olives by mechanical methods are inclined to leave olives to over-ripen in order to increase yield.
  • First cold press” means that the oil in bottles with this label is the first oil that came from the first press of the olives. The word “cold” is important because if heat is used, the olive oil’s chemistry is changed.

Enjoy!