Flambé time

Just to take a little twist on things for a bit, I decided to write about a dish we tried at home, towards the end of last year. Its one by the legendary Julia Child called Crepes Suzette…definitely worth trying. In the kitchen was me, my boyfriend and Mrs Whiskers.IMG_20171125_155357

 ‘What are we making today?’


‘I’ll just make myself comfy over here’

You’ll need the following ingredients for 12 crepes:

For the batter:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs

For the orange butter:

  • The zest of two oranges
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons orange liqueur (we used Grand Marnier)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

For the Flambé:

  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur
  • 1/4 cup cognac (we used Courvoisier)


‘Well this looks rather interesting!’

Whilst the butter is melting, mix the flour, water and milk with a whisk. Once melted, add the butter to the mixture, followed by a pinch of salt and three whole large eggs. Mix well.

It should look a little something like this. Allow this to rest so the flour absorbs the moisture. We kept it in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.


Brush a thin layer of sunflower oil onto your non stick pan.

Then begin making your crepes! It’s really up to you how thick or thin you want them to be, but it helps to swirl the pan to keep the crepes even throughout. Wait for about a minute until the bottom is just brown and then flip it over, to brown the other side for roughly 30 seconds.

Once you’ve made the crepes keep them to one side. Its now time to make the orange butter…


Add the zest of two oranges to 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Blitz for one minute. Once done, add 1/2 pound of unsalted butter and continue blitzing.

I like fancy bottles 🙂 Add three tablespoons of the orange liqueur followed by 1/2 cup of orange juice to the mixture. And yes…just keep blitzing.

And that’s your orange butter done! Now we’re coming onto the final stage…The Flambé!

Add your orange butter to a hot pan and allow it to boil down, almost caramalising it into a syrup. This should take about 5 minutes.


Next, bathe and baste your crepes in the orange butter. You should be able to fit about 12 in the same pan by folding them into triangles (i.e. half then half again). JC calls them ‘wedges’. Sprinkle on one tablespoon of sugar, followed by a 1/4 cup of more orange liqueur…followed by a 1/4 cup of cognac!

We’re up to the final cooking stage now! Be very careful to light the cognac…I clearly wasn’t brave enough to do this.


Almost done I promise! I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that no dessert would be complete without its cocktail.  This is called ‘Midnight in Paris’.

Add 25ml of the cognac (I wasn’t kidding when I said I liked fancy bottles) to ginger beer (however much you want really).  Add an orange piece and that’s it!


A refreshing assortment of drinks 🙂


Et voila! As always, I hope you enjoy making this delicious dish, as much as you will enjoy eating it 🙂


The World Ain’t All Sunshine and Rainbows

This is quite a hard post for me to write. But I figured that if I did, I could overcome what has been an awful past few days- and just maybe put things into perspective.

The reason why I hadn’t blogged for quite some time was that I was hitting the books hard with a membership exam coming up. Books, study, practice and the like… Unfortunately it hadn’t paid off this time, and I failed.

Utterly gutted by a few marks off I was devastated and still am. The results came out on the Monday evening and once I found out,  I was terrified to go into work the next day. I wondered what people thought of me. Word had got around but everybody was very supportive. Having said that, as soon as someone came up to me to give me a rub in the back, arm around the shoulder or a holding of the hand, I’d wait until they left the room, only to burst into tears. I’d let down everybody’s expectations and in the one few times I tried to believe in myself, my faith was shattered.

Yes this may sound like an overexaggeration of things, but it’s just how I’ve felt and I know it’ll hopefully pass. I know I’ve done harder exams during medical school under much different circumstances-I was 18, I was in another country and I was at the risk of being kicked out (there were 90 medical students in the first year, 23 of us graduated). My family needed to remind me of this, and that it really isn’t the end of the world.

My boyfriend mentioned ‘We said that one day we’ll look back at medical school and laugh about it. One day we’ll look back at this exam and also laugh about this’. Are there times when I don’t do anything and my mind wonders back to this failure? Sure. But maybe everybody does that.

The thought of what others think about me runs in my mind still (so says the person who’s blogging about her failure). Helpful quotes have however, tried to keep me going.

Do your best, forget the rest –Tony Horton

Don’t care what the others (trainees) think, just give the world the finger-My trainer

This is a skill I still need to work on, not giving a da** of what the others think.

I don’t know why else I decided to share this really. It was probably just to put it all down in writing, and one day be a distant memory. Plus, I’m kinda used to blogging about the not so great side of life too…remember the burglary?

Every morning this week I’ve woken up with the thought-‘I failed’. Now that I’ll have to get back to it again, when my heart sinks (which I’m sure it will do many a time)…I will try and remember this:

I love Rocky 🙂

Song Of The Month

I thought long and hard about my song of the month, especially as it was the first one of the year 🙂

I found myself reflecting from the events of this week, both at home and at work. Coming back into the work environment did expose my vulnerability quite early on. However, having confided in the right people, I was reminded that it was ok.

I have also been following clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, based at the University of Toronto. Having recently watched some of his YouTube videos, I came across this quotation from him which I wanted to share. I think it’s one which can apply to anybody, if they choose accept it.

“To love someone is to simultaneously accept their vulnerability, as a valid part of their being. Without this, there is no possibility of individual existence.”

Though I am not a Slipknot fan nor a total Stone Sour fan, this song by Corey Taylor has to be my favourite song right now. It’s touching and beautiful- and as always, I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do 🙂

Ocean Of Dreams

One of the reasons why I love to come back home is to relive some of my childhood memories. As I spend this week back home with my family, I have been reintroduced into the world of nature documentaries. I am reminded of the years when my dad and I would watch The Natural World every Sunday, with a cup of tea in our hands. Earlier today I was introduced by my dad into the new TV series- The Blue Planet II, narrated by the one and only David Attenborough. This programme blue my mind away.

This episode involved a team of scientists going deep into the Antarctic ocean, to find any forms of life. It was the first time anyone had made it to 1000 metres into the harshest ocean in the world, and I found it amazing to watch. All the footage they managed to capture was incredible…and some will stick with you forever. It brought back so many memories of what I used to think ‘discovering something’ would feel like. That thrill you get of finding something new, things which haven’t been unravelled yet.  A part of me will always want to be a scientist, that explorer. It saddens me that I haven’t dedicated enough time to this side of me. I need to try harder.

I had to remind myself of what Robert Greene mentioned before, always worth sharing again…

“First know what it is you really love doing, know what you are meant to do with your life.  As a child you would have been passionate about something, but because of the others around you, your parents etc. you found a career in something else.  You had passions at such a young age but you don’t remember them, or don’t think they are relevant. Figure out what you loved as a kid, and then decide how to incorporate this into your life’s work”.

Imagine your greatest dream, but listen to this soundtrack as you do (as if I couldn’t pick up more magnificent things from this programme)…

Now you tell me you still don’t want to do it.

The Apple Of My Eye

One of the skills I would like to accomplish is becoming a pastry chef. Maybe it was after watching the movie ‘Julie and Julia’ , that I was further inspired to take up this hobby. We even have Julia Child’s two volumes of ‘Mastering The Art Of French Cooking’, the classic literature considered a must read for the serious chefs. The art of the patisserie is certainly something different from the medical world and one I find incredibly interesting…and tasty! For all you pastry-chef wannabes out there, this might be of some interest to you.

After watching many a YouTube video for cooking ideas, we came across The French Cooking Academy channel and stumbled upon the chef’s take on Raymond Blanc’s Michelin-starred dish: baked apples with caramel sauce. We decided to make this.

These are the list of ingredients we used, which you’ll recognise from Raymond Blanc’s website. You’ll see here however that the amounts are doubled, as we assumed those on his website were for one person. It appeared to be enough!

For the apples
120g Unsalted butter, melted
120g Caster sugar
For the caramel sauce
2 tbsp Water
100g Caster sugar
160ml Apple juice
1tsp Arrowroot, mixed with a little cold water
2 tbsp Calvados or cider (we used cider)
For the garnish
30g Pistachio nuts
20g Almond flakes
30g Bread, diced
30g Icing sugar


Ingredients at the ready in their individual plates (an attempt to be like the greats!), a glass of cider and we’re rearing to go!

We started off with the garnish


Mix together the pistachios, almond flakes and cut up bread cubes in icing sugar. We did add a couple of teaspoons of water in the mixture for some texture, though this isn’t mentioned in Mr Blanc’s recipe. Then spread the mixture across a baking tray and toast these for 10 minutes in the oven at 170 degrees until lightly brown…and with a good crunch!


Put aside to cool and that’s your garnish done!

Then comes the star of the dish…the apples


Keeping the oven on, wash three ‘cox’s’ apples (did an extra apple just incase!), trim off the top of the apples and remove their cores. You do this by making a small incision through one side of each apple, just above and beyond the core. Then push the potato peeler (or an apple corer, we didn’t have this) through the top of the apple as far as the incision. Twist to remove the core!



Brush the apples with melted butter



Roll the apples in caster sugar and place in a casserole dish or equivalent, which is brushed with butter and sprinkled with caster sugar. For extra kicks we poured a small amount of melted butter onto each apple. Then bake these for 35–40 minutes, but be quite tentative in the last few minutes…you want the apples to be soft but still hold their shape. It’s literally make or break for these fruities!

Now for the last phase of the dish, the caramel sauce.

IMG_20171108_171709Make this while your apples are baking. Put the water into a saucepan and spoon the sugar evenly over it until it absorbs the water, for no more than a couple of minutes. Bring this to the boil and cook it to a dark golden brown colour, by almost rotating the saucepan in a circular motion. Just make sure it doesn’t burn!


Add the apple juice but expect this to be very noisy!! Then bring back to the boil and add in the arrowroot. No I didn’t have a clue what this was either, but I’ve been told it acts as a thickener. Finally add in the cider to the rest of the sauce.

You’re almost there! Now comes the best bit…the plating! Place the garnish in a circle around the edge of the plate and a baked apple in the centre. The plate should be warmed…we just ran it under hot water and dabbed down. Pour the caramel sauce on the apple and allow it surround the apple in all it’s beauty, and top it off with some vanilla ice cream.


Et Voila! What do you think?

So there you have it. My first time cooking like a pastry chef and making a Michelin-starred dish. And an added bonus, you can make this at home! YAY!


Uganda Healthcare Expedition Part V

I’ve been spending this weekend back home in London. Unfortunately, it didn’t start off quite so smoothly…

I developed a bout of conjunctivitis towards the end of the week, and was slowly recovering from that. It was also on the Friday when I headed to London, that I heard about the terrorist incident at Parsons Green earlier that morning. People were naturally more cautious about their travels and that included me. What made things more difficult, was telling my family that I was going to the Uganda-UK convention in central London the next day. They were NOT happy.

While I was brainstorming on the train, and trying to think of what I would like to achieve from the convention, I received a certain-toned phone call from the family, asking about the sort of convention I was attending.

Then that classic saying came along:

“We’ll talk about this when you get home”.

No, not an unfamiliar saying. But if anything, it probably fired up my drive more so. Listening to some of my favourite movie themes (yes, this includes How To Train Your Dragon), I was even more focused in my planning for the convention!

I tried to think why it is that parents don’t want us to do certain things. Do they think differently from us? Do they feel like they are losing us? Are they worried that we could fail? Maybe all those things. Or maybe, we’re supposed to be “settling”.

I don’t think such a thing as “settling” exists. To settle and accept things as they are, almost means giving up on life. I actually think that’s somewhat disrespectful to life itself. To strive, however and whatever you decide to pursue, means to live life to the fullest. If you choose to be of service to others, why shouldn’t you? Anything which increases your options is a good decision. If you do the same actions, you’ll get that same results. If you do different actions, you’ll have a different life.

So I went.

After an early morning wake up (6.45am on a Saturday morning is early for me!), I got ready and headed out. The convention itself was quite easy to get to, only a few stops on the underground and just a couple on the railway. Once I got there I signed in, was given my pass and waited around…unfortunately for a long time! It turned out that not only I had gotten there ridiculously early (I thought 9am was quite decent!), but they were running very late. The hall where the convention was being held at was divided into two parts. The front consisted of the stage, the tables at the front and the stand alone seats at the back. Behind were all the exhibition stands. The people who attended were spread across the two parts, though the exhibition area was naturally much louder! Before you realise people approach you, and you can’t help but network as well-exchanging contact details and dishing out calling cards (I was probably one of the few who DIDN’T have one, I don’t think your NHS smart card quite qualifies!).

Sneaky photo before the crowds came

Before the rest of the people arrived 

The chairman opened up the convention with a saying I thought was clever, in the context of us being allowed to use our phones to take pictures!

“Life worth living is one worth recording”.

The convention commenced with the singing of the Ugandan National Anthem. This was soon followed by various speeches given by many distinguished invited guests-such as the Ugandan High commissioner to the UK, and the Vice President of Uganda, Edward Ssekandi.

Vice President of Uganda Edward Ssekandi giving his speech 

One of the presentations which interested me more so, was delivered to us by Dr Ian Clarke-a physician, philanthropist, entrepreneur and the chairman of the International Medical Group. I found his work inspiring, particularly how he used agriculture from his roots to keep his medical work sustainable. I adored his motto:

“Sustainable Development with Social Impact”

I was very fortunate to have a face to face meeting with him, which was just as well as I missed a part of his presentation (because it was during his presentation that we had to register to meet with a specific speaker…funny that!).

The meeting itself was a delight! I had my notebook with my questions written and my pen at the ready, to write haste his answers and advice. However I soon as I sat down, I didn’t even look at my notebook properly. It didn’t seem all that appropriate. I asked just one question, and the rest of the time we just chatted away, completely informal and relaxed. He was taken aback that I was a doctor, as I think he thought like many others, I was seeking for an investment! It was almost like we were uni friends, getting to know each other and comparing notes about medicine and life. I felt absolutely honoured that we spent the length of time we had talking. To me he was like a celebrity, and it was probably my highlight of the convention!

After leaving the meeting room, I walked through a very crowded hallway where out of nowhere, a calling card flung across, hit my face by accident and landed on the floor. I picked it up and didn’t think much of it when a gentleman said:

“I’m really sorry, did that hit your eye?!”

“No no it didn’t, not to worry”

“Oh then you can have it!”

Suddenly there was a loud uproar of laughter and I couldn’t help but join in. But it wasn’t until I left the hallway, that I realised who the card belonged to-the Ugandan High Commissioner!

After a cup of tea and a croissant for lunch (the queue for lunch was incredibly long and I didn’t have the stomach to wait), I managed to speak with some other people in the crowds, before taking my seat at the table. The lecture after lunch was provided by a Ugandan Physician, which captivated me yet again. She first talked about the Diaspora in Uganda. Ignorant as I am at things, I had to look this up. She then spoke about how the healthcare system there is “corrupt and broken down”, and that a lot of work still needed doing. This was followed with a story, one which almost brought me to tears…

A senior physician at her hospital became unwell and needed a ventilator. Unfortunately the ventilator broke down and he was deteriorating. “Hospital X” where he was staying would not let him go to “Hospital Y” to receive treatment via their working ventilator, until he and his family paid the fees. This was in the hundred thousand region and despite appealing to the administration, they would not let him go. “The fees were coming in but his health was getting worse”.

Once the payment was made to Hospital X, Hospital Y refused to take him in. This was because he now needed to pay for the ambulance, and this was even more expensive (in the millions region). SOMEHOW they managed to get this payment sorted and thankfully, he was transferred across. Maybe it was the way she told us this story (which is far better than how I am saying it here), but this sorry horrified me and I was heartbroken.

After a couple more speeches I decided to call it a day. I had taken more than enough knowledge and insight than I could have hoped for and decided to head back, to spend the rest of the day with the family.

My trinkets from the day 🙂 You could only speak with the guest speakers if you applied for a VIP pass-so worth it! 

Attending this convention only reinforced what I want to do with my life. There are many messages which I took home with me, but one of my favourites still is this one, which was mentioned by the Ugandan physician. It couldn’t be put more simply:

“It was just something different and that’s what I chose to do”

Keep the Faith

I’d very much like to share my thoughts with you, about a certain book I read over the summer. It’s become one of my favourites, and I personally think it’s up there on those ‘top books to read before you die’ lists. It’s an autobiography called ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, written by the neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl.

It changed my outlook on everything.

The book is a ‘timeless formula for survival’, accounting his 3 year experience at Aushwitz and various other concentration camps. I don’t think there is any point in me describing these here. How he does it is so accurately chilling and terrifying, I wouldn’t even come close. However, I wanted to touch base on just a handful of his insights. I found his book to be incredibly eye-opening and very heart breaking. I’ve cried watching movies, but never by reading.

Dr Frankl talks about how to suffer (if unavoidable) in life is a way to experience the meaning of life, and therefore the meaning of your life. It’s meaning is unconditional, ‘paralleled by the unconditional value of every person in this world’, and their responsibility to humanity. Dr Frankl states that it was the simplest things which helped him persevere. Things such as images of loved ones, humour (what he calls the ‘soul’s weapon in the fight for self preservation’) and glimpses of nature such as a sunset, despite knowing that he may not survive.

One of the reasons why Dr Frankl wrote this book was to demonstrate to us that life can hold potential meaning, under any circumstances, even in a concentration camp. You can’t choose the suffering or change your fate. But you can choose your attitude, your personal values, your inner freedom-things nobody can take away from you.

If there is a meaning to life, then there is a meaning to suffering. The suffering should be undertaken as a task. So if you’re going to suffer, do so with courage and dignity.

‘Tears bore witness that a man had the greatest courage. The courage to suffer’.

Other things Dr Frankl talks about include the importance of documenting events, particularly those you’re happy to reflect on with pride and joy. Everybody has the potential to ‘actualise opportunities’ and therefore realise the value of creative work, fulfilling their meaning of life. These actions are never lost, but are stored and treasured. Again, they can never be taken away from you.

The last thing I wanted to quote here is directly taken from the book. One of the many things which altered my outlook on life…

‘Don’t aim at success-the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensure, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s dedication, to a cause greater than oneself’.