Plant your Spring bulbs in Autumn!

Spring bulb – Tulip

To make your patio look colourful during spring, start planting your spring bulbs now during fall!  It could be crocus, tulips, hyacinth, daffodils…


Last Autumn I tried with tulip bulbs and it was lovely to watch them grow.

I planted different colour tulip bulbs in different height of containers for clear visibility of all the flowers.

You can also mix different types of bulbs which blooms weeks apart to have a colourful bloom throughout the spring. Note that the depth of placing the bulbs vary from plant to plant. Daffodils should be placed 4-5 inches deeper, tulips 3-4 inch and crocus 1-2 inch into the soil.



  1. in a container add potting mix till the height suitable for placing the bulbs.
  2. place tulip bulbs 4 inch below the top end of the soil keeping the tapered bulb end facing upwards
  3. cover the bulbs with remaining soil
  4. keep the soil moist during the fall
  5. in winter (where the winter is severe/snows) move the containers to a cool place. I placed mine in the cellar away from heaters
  6. keep the containers out beginning spring.


Budding in March
Full Bloom in April

Once the flowering was over and the plants dried out i removed the bulbs dried them throughly and stored in a cool and dark place for next year.

Isn’t it beautiful? Then what are you waiting for! Rush to the nearest garden nursery and plant the bulbs immediately …

Happy Gardening!





Kai Tomato Chutney

Raw Tomato Chutney

I am sure you will all agree with this. When you see any vegetable or any picture of a dish on tv, magazine.. and you suddenly remember your favourite dish that your mom used to make for you and start craving for it. I had the same craving when I saw raw tomatoes and remembered one of my favourite dish Raw tomato chutney that my mom used to make. Unfortunately she doesn’t live with me so I had to make it myself. Again, it’s easy to make!


This dish goes very well with akki rotti, chapathi and even dosas.



SeRves – 4    DuRation – 30 min


8 medium sized - raw tomatoes
8 cloves - garlic
4 - green chillies
4 tbsp - fresh grated coconut
1/2 small bunch - fresh coriander
1 tsp - cumin seeds
2 tbsp - oil
3 tbsp - crushed roasted peanuts
1 tsp - sugar


1. chop tomatoes, garlic, chillies, roughly
2. keep the pan on heat add oil, once the oil heats up add cumin seeds
3. when the cumin seeds turns brown add chillies & garlic 
4. once the chillies and garlic turn light brown, add tomatoes and roast
5. just before you turn off the heat, add salt, sugar,coconut and roughly chopped coriander. Fry for a minute

fried1-16. allow it to cool & grind coarsely 
7. mix in peanuts and serve




Sweetlime and Strawberry juice

Healthy and refreshing fresh fruit juice

Wow! Can’t believe that my blog likealavendeR is already a year old🙂. So I thought of giving my blog a new look and add a new category “Drink” to my blog’s menu.

In this DRINK category I will be adding more of fresh healthy drinks prepared from my Philips Juicer, along with other drinks like smoothes, milkshakes etc..

Fresh  juices are a guilt free way to start our day!

I like my Philips Juicer that I bought recently. Just throw in whole fruits and veggies of your choice and the juice is ready. Its easy to clean too.



I keep trying different combinations and hence cameup with Sweetlime and Strawberry.

Duration: 5min  SeRves: 1


2 - sweet lime 
2 - strawberry
1/2 - lemon
pinch - salt optional
pepper optional



1. peel the skin of sweetlime and lemon
2. put lime, lemon and strawberries into the juicer
3. add salt, pepper and stir
3. Serve immediately
  • you can keep the skin of the lemon if you like. I partially keep the skin so that it doesn’t  get too bitter and also I get the goodness of the lemon oils from the peel
  • Use organic fruits when you use with the peel
  • I used frozen strawberries. Just make sure you thaw a bit before using
  • you can also use your blender if you don’t have a juicer


After coming to India my blogging interest was slowly fading away, but a huge Thank You to all my readers who liked my blog through Facebook and WordPress which encouraged me to keep going😀.

Stay healthy..




South Indian Sweet Deep Fried Jackfruits

Love those childhood memories where me and all my cousins would meet up during holidays at our grandparent’s house and have fun. We were also looking forward to the heavenly food our grandma used to cook for us. One of the dishes that I remember of hers is Mulka or I call it as Appa. It used to be our evening snack. All the cousins (lots of them) used to sit in a row and enjoy this dish. I just love it!  Treasure those beautiful memories. Wish I could go back to my childhood..




DuRation : 40 minutes + 3hrs soaking

Makes around 30 – 35 small Mulkas


1 cup - jackfruit puree
1/2 cup - soaked rice for atleast 3hrs
1/2 cup - fresh grated coconut
2 tbsp - jaggery (or 1 depending on your taste)
2 - crushed cardamon
1 1/2 tbsp - sesame seeds
Oil for deep frying


1. make a puree of jackfruits to yield 1 cup of puree
2. drain the water completely from rice and grind coarsely with jaggery a-nd cardamons 
3. add it to the puree
4. then in the same jar grind coconut
5. add it to the puree and mix adding sesame seeds
6. heat oil for deep frying
7. once it reaches the right temperature drop a little amount of batter i-n oil using spoon or fingers. 
8. fry till dark brown and drain it on a tissue
9. ready to eat
* the batter consistency should be thick. do not add water to the batter
* if you feel the batter is bit runny due to the ripeness of the jackfrui-t add semolina depending on the consistency. 
* for me shape doesn't matter its only the taste that matters!
* keep low to medium heat so that Mulka cooks well on the inside
* you can keep the Mulkas for two days outside, it will not be warm but s-till be tasty.


I enjoyed my Mulka on a rainy day,  hope you all will enjoy it too!

Thanks mom for this lovely recipe :*

Excuse me for not so good photos this time :p

With Luv,



Fig and Honey Milkshake

A Healthy dRink

Hello my dear friends,

I am back home and still settling. Before moving I was a bit nervous but now, I am getting accustomed to the lifestyle here. Well, it’s not that hard with family and friends around but, I still miss Germany! I used to travel often, was involved in lot of activities and had lot of friends which kept me occupied there. Yet to start here.

I have a list of things to post but it will take time for me to compile meanwhile, I have this simple post on Fig and Honey milkshake.



I never liked fresh figs before. It looks so gross inside and I never felt like trying it:D. Only after knowing its health benefits, I started developing the taste for it. Figs are loaded with vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, sodium… So what are you waiting for? Get some figs and try this healthy milkshake.

DuRation: 5 minutes     SeRves : one


2 - figs
250ml - milk
1tbsp - honey or as per your sweetness
4 - almonds soaked atleast for 4 hours or overnight (optional)



1. wash the figs and remove the skin
2. add all the ingredients into the blender


3. Blend till smooth
4. Serve immediately



Fresh figs don’t stay good for long, as I had quite a few I washed, peeled, sliced and stored in the freezer for later use.

Eat & drink healthy, Stay healthy!

Happy to be back blogging!





Bee Hoon

Guest post by Megha from Me in Blogland.

Singaporean Stir fried rice vermicelli noodles

Hello again to the readers of ‘Like a lavendeR’!
I’m back! If you are not familiar with who I am and why I have invaded this space, I suggest you quickly take a peek at the previous post on this blog so we can get acquainted (or reacquainted in case you have forgotten!) before I proceed ☺
Please bear with me one more time while I give your regular hostess a breather while she gets her bearings straight after the big move. I assure you, she will be back with plenty of interesting posts regarding food, travel, decor and much more in no time at all!
After giving you a taste of something sweet, this time round, I have for you a savoury local (Singaporean dish) to tickle your tastebuds. Like last time, I had a blast doing this post and would like to express my gratitude to Reshma again for making me feel like a welcome guest on this lovely space ☺
Cover photo
Fried bee hoon (stir-fried rice vermicelli noodles) is a typical breakfast dish in Singapore and Malaysia. It is commonly available at hawker centres (open-air cooked food centres) and usually termed “economic fried bee hoon”. The name may not sound very appealing but this is a humble local one-pot dish that is simple, tasty and satisfying.
My first try with bee hoon was way back in January of 2008. I had just been offered a scholarship for a graduate research program at the local university. During the first week of my graduate student days, me and my fellow labmates were informed of a welcome lunch that was being organized in the conference room. Up until that point, my experience with local cuisine despite having lived in Singapore for two years was next to zero and I had no idea what to expect. I entered the conference room hesitantly and was immediately struck by a range of unfamiliar sights and smells. Everyone seemed to be excited and swarming around a special duck preparation that had been ordered just for the occasion. I spotted a few fried items that I could not fathom. There was a platter of some strange looking unnaturally colored squares (which turned out to be kueh and they were quite nice) which befuddled me. Ignoring my rumbling tummy, I looked around frantically trying to see if there was anything that was suitable for me to eat. There was an affable Malay aunty whom I had befriended on the first day and who was usually in charge of these lunches. She must have sensed my apprehension because she approached me, gently patted my hand and said – “I didn’t forget about you. See, I have made bee hoon for you. Try it and tell me if you like it”. She led me to a large casserole dish and opened the lid. Inside there were thin noodles tossed with vegetables, greens, egg and bean sprouts. I heaved a huge sigh of relief! The noodles were very different from the Indian style of rice noodle preparation that I was used to but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
I make bee hoon occasionally at home to give a local spin to my cooking. I cannot claim this recipe to be authentic because it came together after a few trials but I have stuck to the basics and believe me when I say it is a trustworthy recipe. This dish is versatile and can be easily customized to suit your dietary preferences. It is naturally gluten-free. Omit the egg and it becomes vegan-friendly. Many recipes incorporate chicken or prawns in them which caters to the non-vegetarians. There is considerable prep work involved, but once you have everything in place, the cooking is pretty much smooth sailing. Many of my local friends balk at the sight of bean sprouts (called ‘taugeh’) but I love the crunchy texture so I include them. And before I forget to mention, one condiment I absolutely must have on the side with this dish is pickled green chillies. You can either buy it from the store but don’t worry if it isn’t available because preparing it at home is a cinch! I have provided the recipe in case you would like to give it a go like I did🙂
Scroll down to the notes section where I have given a list of suggestions regarding variations to this dish.
Happy cooking!

Vegetarian Fried Bee Hoon

Preparation time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 50 mins
Recipe category: Main Course (Southeast Asian)
Recipe difficulty level: Easy
Serves: 4-6
400 g rice vermicelli/beehoon
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 fresh bird’s eye red chilli, finely chopped
1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 head of a small round cabbage, thinly sliced
4-5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, discard the stems and slice the caps
1 large bunch choy sum, roughly chopped
200 g bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
2 eggs, beaten and lightly seasoned, Optional
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
600 ml vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
3 tbsp vegetable or sesame oil for frying
To serve:
Pickled green chillies
1. Soften vermicelli in warm water for 30 minutes till soft. Drain and set aside. While the vermicelli is soaking, prep all your ingredients.
Step 1
2. Heat a 2 tsp oil in wok over medium heat (I used a non-stick wok). Add the beaten egg mixture and cook on both sides like an an omelette. Remove the omelette , cut into strips and keep aside.

Step 2

3. Heat the remaining oil in the same wok on high heat and fry the onions for 2 minutes and then the garlic and fresh red chillies until fragrant.
Step 3
4. Add julienned carrots and sliced cabbage, fry for 2 minutes and add in the mushrooms and stir-fry for a minute.
5. Add the choy sum, bean sprouts, soy sauce, brown sugar and vegetable stock. Stir evenly then braise over low heat for 5 minutes.
6. Add vermicelli and salt to taste. Cook until all the water is absorbed (this may take a while). Season with freshly cracked black pepper if desired. Add in the omelette strips. Stir continuously to coat all the noodles and incorporate all the vegetables.
7. Use tong or a large pair of chopsticks to toss the vermicelli, so as not to risk breaking it up and making it mushy.
8. Serve hot alongside pickled green chillies.
Method to make pickled green chillies:
Placed 5 thinly sliced finger length green chillies in a bowl, pour hot water over it and let stand for about 20 seconds. Drain the chillies, then add it to a glass bottle. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the following to a simmer: 1/2 cup white rice vinegar, 3 level tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp salt, until the sugar dissolves. When the vinegar solution has cooled down, pour it into the glass bottle with the cut chillies. Store in a covered glass bottle and refrigerate. The pickled chilli will be ready as soon as they turn a lighter shade of green, about one to two hours, and can be stored in the fridge for weeks.
  • To make this dish healthier, you can substitute organic brown rice vermicelli instead of the regular white variety
  • You can use shallots instead of onions and slightly reduce the quantity of garlic
  • If you don’t have choy sum, you can substitute with bok choy. If both are not available, you can use spinach
  • If you don’t have vegetable stock on hand, you can crumble one vegetable stock cube into 600ml of water and then use as described
  • You can use fried/grilled cubes of firm tofu in this recipe
  • Be careful while adding the salt because soya sauce is salty and so could the stock be
  • You can add in scallion/spring onion greens for garnish if desired
  • If you would like additional tartness, you could squeeze some lime juice (calamansi lime) or you could use some of the pickling liquid from the pickled green chillies
  • You can also serve the bee hoon with sambal chilli


Pineapple Tart

Guest post by Megha from Me in Blogland.

My husband once got some sweets from China which was packed beautifully in a box. It had a filling inside and tasted very yummy and different from the other sweets. I was wondering what the filling could be and how it is made until Megha from Me in Blogland sent me this post about Pineapple tart. The moment I saw her pictures I realized it was the same sweet that my husband got.

As I will be moving to India soon I will be bit away from blogging. So I asked Megha to do a guest post and she immediately agreed for not one but two posts. I was so happy and also appreciate the time she gave for writing the two posts between her busy life. Thank you Megha for doing a guest post and sharing this yummy tart with me and my readers. Megha has been blogging for quite some years now and I enjoy reading all her post. So my readers visit her blog Me in Blogland, I am sure you will like it. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

A big hello to the readers of ‘Like a lavendeR’!
 My name is Megha and I blog from sunny Singapore. Originally from the charming heritage city of Mysore in South India, I’ve been in Singapore since 2006 and consider it my second home. I am a dentist turned biomedical researcher by profession (that’s a long story!) but have currently taken a temporary break from my career to be a stay-at-home-mum to my twin daughters.
Writing has always been a hobby of mine so blogging naturally came as an extension of that. I blog about the four biggest passions in my life – food, travel, movies and books. And after becoming a mother in 2014, I also blog about my two munchkins who obviously are a big part of my life!
I knew that Reshma would ask me to write a guest post for her blog. She did a lovely piece on ‘German Christmas Markets‘ for blog back in December while I was vacationing in India (and too busy to post any content of my own). I knew she would be relocating to India during the middle of this year and it would be the best time to return the favour. It felt a teeny bit intimidating doing this post because Reshma is regarded as a great cook, creative artist and a bundle of talent among our close circles so I didn’t want to let her down. Her blog although new has all the trappings of being a grand success in the long run and I consider it an honor to be a small part of it through this collaboration. My guest post will be a two-part series featuring one sweet and one savoury local (Singaporean) dish. I sincerely hope it will appeal to all of you!
I’d like to extend my appreciation to Reshma for welcoming me into her virtual home. As we would say in this part of the world – xièxie (thank you). I had a lot of fun doing this guest post ☺

Pineapple tarts (or cookies) refers to small, bite-sized pastries filled with or topped with pineapple jam found in different parts of Asia. Pineapple tarts are one of the most popular Chinese New Year (CNY) delicacies of which almost every household that celebrates this festival considers a must-have. Just like the turkey is to Thanksgiving, no CNY is complete without pineapple tarts.

 In Hokkien and Cantonese families, pineapple translates to “Ong Lai” which means “Prosperity Come” and to add, pineapple is golden in its rawest form, therefore giving these tarts to your loved ones signify the Gift of Gold and wishes of prosperity. Be it in the form of balls, rolls or open-faced pastries, everyone looks forward to these dainty little treats.
The filling is from fresh and juicy pineapple, which is cooked and reduced to a golden-color pineapple jam. The pastry is made of four basic ingredients: flour, butter, egg yolk, and condensed milk which results in a perfect melt-in-your mouth pastry.
This is the first time I have made pineapple tarts from scratch at home. Having lived in Singapore for more than a decade now, I have always resorted to the easy way out by buying store-bought pineapple tarts during CNY (I love them by the way). As a guest post, I thought it would be nice to feature a local speciality. And I was confident of doing so assuming the audience reading this post would be mostly non-Chinese (so I don’t get lynched for any mistakes I may have inadvertently made!). I thought the pineapple tarts turned out great but I needed a more credible source to validate my effort. My husband passed a tart to his Indonesian colleague whose mother makes thousands of incredible pineapple tarts every year for CNY and he said they were “a little sweet but amazing”. Hey, considering I’m a pineapple tart noob, that works for me!
Although the ingredients are basic and the recipe easy to follow, the procedure is labour intensive. But don’t be intimidated because it is totally worth the time and effort. If you live with a large family and/or have kids who are eager to help, this could actually be a fun project. These lovely looking fragrant, buttery, crumbly pastries with sweet pineapple filling will blow you away! Promise!

Pineapple Tarts

Filling closeup photo
Preparation time: 90 minutes; Baking time: 20 minutes
Total time: ~2 hours
Recipe category: Dessert (Southeast Asian)
Recipe level: Moderate
Yield: 20 pineapple tarts
Adapted from: Rasa Malaysia
For the pineapple jam filling:
600gm pineapple flesh
3-4 cloves
75 gm coarse-grain sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
For the pastry dough:
90gm unsalted butter, at room temperature
1.5 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1 egg yolk
130gm all-purpose flour or plain flour
For the egg wash:
1 egg yolk
a dash of condensed milk
a dash of oil
For the pineapple jam filling:
1. Cut the stalk off the pineapple and cut away the skin. Make sure all divits are removed. I took a shortcut and bought already de-skinned and cored fresh pineapple chunks. Slice the pineapple flesh into pieces and blend in a blender until it becomes a smooth puree (do not add water).
2. Add the pineapple puree and cloves to a non-stick pot and cook on medium heat, stirring every now and then to avoid burning.
3. When the pineapple is almost dry, add the sugar and lemon juice, stir to combine well. Lower the heat to simmer and continue to stir until the pineapple filling turns golden in color and becomes very sticky.
4. Transfer the pineapple jam filling out, remove the cloves and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes (I made it the previous day and kept it overnight in the fridge).
Pineapple jam filling
For the pastry dough: (you can do this manually or with a stand mixer)
1. Cream the butter and condensed milk until light and fluffy.
2. Add in the egg yolk one at a time, and beat until well combined.
3. Mix in the flour slowly to form the pastry dough. The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to your hands.
Prepare the egg wash by whisking all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Pastry dough
To assemble and bake the pineapple tarts:
1. Divide the pineapple jam filling and dough into 20 portions each. Roll them both into balls. With the palms of your hand, flatten the pastry dough.
2. Add a pineapple jam ball in the middle and fold the edges of the dough up to cover the filling.
3. Finish it off by rolling it into a round ball.
4. Place the pineapple cookie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Using the back of a paring knife, cut the criss-cross shape on the cookie, and brush the top of the cookie with the egg wash.
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 330F (165C) for about 20-22 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
7. Transfer them out and cool on a wire crack before storing in an airtight container.
Assembling and baking
Tart closeup photo1
  • Use ripe fresh pineapples for best results
  • You can make these pineapple tarts with canned pineapple (in case fresh pineapple is not available). Drain out all the liquid before blending. Also, canned pineapple maybe sweeter than the fresh counterpart so you may need to add less sugar than what is stated in the recipe.Taste and adjust accordingly
  • If available, you can use readymade pineapple paste in this recipe
  • You can store the pineapple jam filling in the fridge for upto 2 weeks
  • You can cling wrap the pastry dough and stash it in the fridge overnight
  • It is much easier to shape the tarts when both the filling and the pastry dough are cold
  • You can make the size of the tarts smaller (and increase them in number) by making the pineapple filling and pastry dough balls smaller
  • You can make the shape of the tarts round or like a roll
  • This recipe easily doubles or even triples to yield more tarts
  • Store the pineapple tarts in an airtight container. Refrigeration is not required (they’ll disappear before you know it!)