#DubaiFoto2014 (Turn on your highest HD setting)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Timing in this life is everything



Timing in this life is everything!

Yesterday I had a meeting with Yael at Baker & Spice  and the kitchen decided to showcase the new autumn-winter menu :) so I was lucky to have a sneak preview and boy was that menu delicious!

You know, I love baker and spice because they really do what they say: Seasonal, organic, good food. Real Food, Good Food is really what they do not just what they say or promote. And they always deliver ah the flavours!...

Not saying more, except, really must have this autumn-winter.
The autumn-winter menu will be on starting next week at Baker & Spice Souk Al Bahar.
Here is an appetiser













Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Foodies' MUST DO this October

I know you like to feast your eyes first, 
so here you go:









Curious?




I know you are!
Ok then here are the details :)



Celebrity Chef Nobu Matsuhisa to Launch Inaugural
World of Nobu Food Festival at Atlantis (The Palm), this October (16-17), where over 21 Nobu Chefs from 10 countries around the world will gather to deliver the ultimate culinary experience.

Programme -
Thursday 16th October (9 pm - 3 am): World of Nobu will kick off with a not to be missed cocktail party, featuring the finest in food and entertainment from a surprise DJ. Guests will enjoy unlimited tapas from the Nobu Chefs while enjoying music from the top of the charts. Taking the experience to even greater heights, the maker of Hokusetsu Sake (the preferred sake of Nobu restaurants globally) will be present doing pourings and giving special insights into the premium beverage.
Tickets for the party start at 450 AED ($122.5 USD) p/p.

Friday 17th October:
(12 pm - 4 pm): The famous Nobu Brunch, where guests will enjoy the Global Tasting Festival with over 80 dishes from the various Nobu locations will be served on a special menu designed to showcase each restaurant’s unique style and palate while listening to the Deep House background tunes of resident DJ Vinyl Dave.
Brunch, including unlimited food and spirits, will be 595 AED ($162 USD) p/p.

(8 pm): Ending on a glamorous high, World of Nobu will conclude with a high fashion 6-course gala dinner, complete with entertainment from Salha and The Million Dollar Band and live cooking demonstrations. True fans of the culinary mastermind will get a once in a lifetime experience from Chef Nobu, learning the technique that has made him world famous.
The 6-course dinner, with matched beverages per course, will be available at 995 AED ($270 USD) p/p.

***

In honour of the World of Nobu, Atlantis has introduced the Nobu Getaway package. Starting from 2,845 AED (750 USD) ++, the package includes a one night stay in a deluxe room, entry to the Nobu Cocktail party for two and international breakfast for two. All guest staying at Atlantis, The Palm can enjoy the added benefit of unlimited entry into the Lost Chambers Aquarium and Aquaventure Waterpark.

For more information about reservations and tickets for the World of Nobu, visit World of Nobu
 or call 04 4262626.


;)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Interesting, Interactive, Fun & Sweet. Isn't that what entertaining is all about?



#TrySomethingNew 

Interesting eating experiences will be carved in memory. So why choose to be forgotten?
Experiment and serve unique eating experiences and you shall never be bored preparing... and everyone will have fun eating ;)

That night at Bushman's I also tried kangaroo meat for the first time and have to say it was delicious. Do try the Kangaroo loin, definitely different!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Concluding Ramadan Special 2014 With A Spotlight On Sustainability



So here we go, another Ramadan Special behind us and a whole lot of topics, people, brands, causes and things to consider. While each guest comes from a different background, and each demonstrated and explored their area of interest, there was one consistent message that I have focused on this Ramadan Special and wanted to bring to your attention, and that is....

let's make responsible choices, regardless of what we do, let's always ensure we are aware and mindful in all our choices.

From the children, to the future, to our relationships and daily dealings, to earth and our practices, food choices, business ethics, to even our personal lives... every single thing we do has an effect and every single tiny change makes a huge difference on all levels, personally, socially, globally and to what we leave behind and what we are eventually remembered by. This world is in our hands, and the future these children are inheriting is what we leave them with. That future starts now and we must pause and consider how

To Appreciate, Love and Give back a little to the world we share and live in. 



Watch the last episode of Ramadan Special 2014 and do take the time when possible to revisit these posts and listen to what's been said and shared. I have put for you all the links below so you can easily check out the whole of #RamadanSpecial2014 once you have the time.

I really hope that you have enjoyed this Ramadan Special and these posts and videos. I hope that you have found inspiration, useful information and of course fun bits and pieces. As mentioned in the beginning, the videos are not perfect, not over processed and yes at times with technical issues, after all they were filmed using a mobile phone and a stills camera, no mics, no studios and intentionally 100% home-made. These videos are not meant for the oscars, in fact they could not get more organic. They are 100% real and most importantly made with love by myself in collaboration with my featured guests (not a professional filming crew).

Watch the last video and enjoy, do drop by again and let me hear from you, really I love nothing more. Also do revisit these videos and I would love to hear your thoughts about this year's Ramadan Special so do let me know what you think now that it is concluded :))






Ramadan Special 2014 Posts



Sustainable Food Words






Thursday, 24 July 2014

Traditional Maamool by The Book Munch Family



Children love the kitchen, they love to feel involved to dig in to make a delicious mess and proudly present us with their creations. Let's let them. Let's let them in on all the deliciousness of kitchen activities, lets talk to them about food, lets allow them to make their childish mess and lets help them create long lasting memories of us together, cooking, baking, messing around laughing and having an absolutely great time, together.

In today's episode I go into Dareen Charafeddin's family kitchen, building on what she was telling us in yesterday's video, we must make up for lost time with our kids and find an activity that we all enjoy and have that fun together. Dareen and her sweet family are demonstrating the traditional Maamool recipe in 3 different ways. Amer, shows us his grandmother's traditional Palestinian way of making Maamool, and Dareen shows us her family's Lebanese way while their daughter Lama creates her own take with the flavours she loves and the fusions she's grown to know. We had such good fun making the maamool and filming this video, the children were having a great time and the outcome was delicious maamool (semolina cookies) as well as a home that smells like Amer's memory of his grandmother's home. Watch and perhaps you too will be reminded of the smell of grandma's home right before Eid :)


Find the detailed recipe below the video and I have included for you 17 links for 17 Traditional Arabic Dessert recipes for you to try at home, all of which you can recreate with your kids.




To Make 
The BookMunch Family's Maamoul recipe
You NeedFor the maamoul dough
3 cups of Semolina
3 cups of flour
2 cups of butter
1/3 cup of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of mahlab
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
Splash of milk (about 2 tablespoons)

Splash of rose water (about 1 teaspoon)
Splash of orange blossom water (about 1 teaspoon)

For the date paste
2 cups of pitted dates
1 tablespoon of butter
2 table spoons of water
One of a combination of the spices below- I would use all three
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of cardamom

For Lama’s variation
Nutella Maamoul- use Nutella instead of the date paste and add some crushed pistachios “to give it an Arabic twist”

Follow the instructions and the method as shown in the video above.




Come back tomorrow for the final episode of Ramadan Special 2014 where I conclude this #RamadanSpecial2014




Dareen Charafeddine 

Dareen Charafeddine’s background is the perfect marriage of both the literary and culinary worlds. Her literary experience comes from a prestigious career in education and publishing, and her culinary know-how comes from a specialization in the bakery and catering business, a business that gave her professional understanding and a passionate appreciation of high quality food.

Dareen’s educational and publishing career has been impressive. With a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Columbia University (New York), an M.A. in Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Dareen was the perfect choice for Publisher and Manager at Kalimat for the first five years of its inception. Her commitment to the creation, promotion, and sale of previously unavailable quality Arabic literature for young people was a vital next step towards increasing the popularity of Arabic books for children, reading for pleasure, and the love for Arabic language, in general.

Dareen’s food adventure started through her family’s respected and very successful regional bakery and catering business. Working with and tasting quality food from a young age created a solid food foundation from which she developed her own style of cooking, a style that embraced innovative yet simple cuisine. With a commitment to high-quality ingredients, the combination of style and substance has produced superb results, and as part of Dareen’s latest venture, BookMunch, Dubai food lovers can now experience wonderfully simple dishes in all their glory.

BookMunch

Dareen has travelled extensively, and having lived overseas periodically since 1999, she brings a world of experience to the multi-cultural crossroads that is Dubai. Having dreamed of a café/bookstore where her joint passions of food and books could comfortably merge, she took inspiration from the world’s leading literary cafes, and with an in-depth understanding of the business and psychology of food and publishing, it was only a matter of time before the perfect space could be created.
And so BookMunch Café was born. Dubai’s most innovative literary café now offers a friendly environment for book lovers and foodies, families and friends, all of which can gather comfortably to enjoy the very special combination of Dareen’s two professional and life passions. BookMunch Café is only one year old today and has already won the award for Best Family Restaurant by Timeout Dubai, as well as has been nominated for several other awards.

website: www.bookmunchcafe.com
Twitter: @bookmunchdxb
Facebook: Book Munch
Instagram: @Bookmunch



"In this digital age, I really believe that printed books remain an integral part of our life. Nothing beats curling up with a good book while enjoying a perfect cup of tea and a perfectly baked cookie with just the right amount of chocolate." 

Dareen Charafeddine



Ramadan Mubarak,
Appreciate, Love & Giveback a little this Ramadan :)



Relative Links

Traditional Arabic Desserts


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Grow as a mother but also grow as an individual - Women in Business & Balancing A Career and Raising Kids




"Do what you do and do it with love and get the support of those around you" Book Munch Cafe owner Dareen Charafeddin's first words as we sat to chat about women in business and the secret to success.

A very focused secret-to-success statement that covers it all really, from the passion, to actually doing the work and finding the support system to ensure success. My chat with Dareen was really interesting and great because for once a woman comes to the table really addressing the challenges that face women with very demanding careers and in all honesty. In most such conversations, we tend to always try and sugar coat the situation, make it sound less challenging, less sacrificial or having the least and most solvable impact on our lives especially that of our family's. However, in reality there are lots of challenges that face women in business, especially when it comes to mothers who have to balance running a successful business and raising kids. There are many compromises that have to take place when both parents work, a lot of adaptation and change to the 'mainstream' lifestyle that we all know, and something always has to give. Yes there is no perfect scenario, where family is 100% covered with all of our undivided attention, as well as work in the same effect. These challenges and adaptations can put families under tremendous pressure, and in most cases some one has to give up their dream, their ambitions to focus on raising the kids and home making, and in most cases it is the woman who ends up giving it all up.

But Dareen has found a formula that works for her and her family, she has found the type of support required for this and has managed to keep her family happy and her business thriving. How does she do that? What is her secret? Will it work for you too? Watch and find out as Dareen shares with us what works for her when it comes to running a business and raising kids all at the same time.





Work & Family, the reality of the matter
Before starting a family every woman is an individual too, with aspirations and ambitions. Most women are educated and quite some pursue higher education too. Unlike back in the day, most women these days will start working before focusing on marriage, and most will tell you they don't want to get married yet, that they are still young... "we want to work, live, travel, before we get stuck at home" is a statement that most young women say and believe in these days. Furthermore, many older women, who have had a taster of work life and professional growth, would tell you they are scared of marriage, because marriage would lead to a life stuck at home, only raising kids and pleasing the family, that there would be no more life for them. While to some women home-making, family life and a dedicated life to raising children is their dream come true, and they won't have it any other way, for many others this scenario is the definition of a nightmare, where the woman feels trapped and stuck.

Perhaps the key here is having a choice to begin with and then understanding that whichever choice we end up making is ours to live with. We must understand the lifestyles that come with our choices, the demands that come with it and the inevitable limitations that accompany these choices. We must stop, and stop now, the whole act of "we can do 100% well on all fronts". We also must stop sprinkling the glitter of "perfecting it all" and "superwoman" statements that the media along with a lot of working women keep pushing out there. We must stop all the judgements and the supermom competitions and instead we must be realistic and accept the fact that a very demanding career will mean a lot of juggling, very difficult time management where you will always have to choose priorities on top of a whole lot of limitations in both engagement at home and advancement in one's career. Yes this is the reality of working women and you and I both know that this is true.

With that said, does that mean we must throw our professional dreams and ambitions out and give all that up? Does that mean we cannot work? Or if we choose to work, we cannot start a family and have children? I don't think I have the answer for that, however, one thing I know is that we must be realistic in our expectations, those that we expect from ourselves, our time and our lifestyle. In the end, balance is just that: Balance. It is not perfection. The very fact that you need to balance goes to show that there will be compromises, the whole idea is balancing what to compromise and when, and that in itself is not an easy task.



On this link, watch Dareen and her family whip up one of the most traditional Arabic desserts together. They are showing us how to make Maamool in 3 different ways: Dareen's way, Amer's way and Lama's way! We are making sure that you have enough time to make your own in prep for Eid!



Dareen Charafeddine 

Dareen Charafeddine’s background is the perfect marriage of both the literary and culinary worlds. Her literary experience comes from a prestigious career in education and publishing, and her culinary know-how comes from a specialization in the bakery and catering business, a business that gave her professional understanding and a passionate appreciation of high quality food.

Dareen’s educational and publishing career has been impressive. With a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Columbia University (New York), an M.A. in Education, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Dareen was the perfect choice for Publisher and Manager at Kalimat for the first five years of its inception. Her commitment to the creation, promotion, and sale of previously unavailable quality Arabic literature for young people was a vital next step towards increasing the popularity of Arabic books for children, reading for pleasure, and the love for Arabic language, in general.

Dareen’s food adventure started through her family’s respected and very successful regional bakery and catering business. Working with and tasting quality food from a young age created a solid food foundation from which she developed her own style of cooking, a style that embraced innovative yet simple cuisine. With a commitment to high-quality ingredients, the combination of style and substance has produced superb results, and as part of Dareen’s latest venture, BookMunch, Dubai food lovers can now experience wonderfully simple dishes in all their glory.

BookMunch

Dareen has travelled extensively, and having lived overseas periodically since 1999, she brings a world of experience to the multi-cultural crossroads that is Dubai. Having dreamed of a café/bookstore where her joint passions of food and books could comfortably merge, she took inspiration from the world’s leading literary cafes, and with an in-depth understanding of the business and psychology of food and publishing, it was only a matter of time before the perfect space could be created.
And so BookMunch Café was born. Dubai’s most innovative literary café now offers a friendly environment for book lovers and foodies, families and friends, all of which can gather comfortably to enjoy the very special combination of Dareen’s two professional and life passions. BookMunch Café is only one year old today and has already won the award for Best Family Restaurant by Timeout Dubai, as well as has been nominated for several other awards.

website: www.bookmunchcafe.com
Twitter: @bookmunchdxb
Facebook: Book Munch
Instagram: @Bookmunch



"In this digital age, I really believe that printed books remain an integral part of our life. Nothing beats curling up with a good book while enjoying a perfect cup of tea and a perfectly baked cookie with just the right amount of chocolate." 

Dareen Charafeddine



Ramadan Mubarak,
Appreciate, Love & Giveback a little this Ramadan :)



Relative Links



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

How to Prepare Artichokes for Stuffing




Are you like me? I love artichokes whichever way they are prepared. But they have to be fresh artichokes, because I really do not like the watered down, brined, canned ones. It is unfortunate that we don't always get fresh artichokes here, because I love this vegetable, love preparing it and then really enjoy eating it too. Well if you do get your hands on fresh artichokes, don't be intimidated by the look of it, it is not hard to prepare at all. However, using fresh ones will make all the difference to the flavour and texture of your food.

Watch Michelin Chef Oliver Glowig, prepare his artichokes creating little cups for stuffing. These prepared artichokes can then be filled with any of your desired fillings and served as an appetiser, or as part of a salad. Bigger ones can be prepared the same way, and they can be filled and cooked, served as a side dish or the main meal. There is really no limit to what you can do with artichokes and no limit to how much every one will love them, once made using fresh ones.




You can fill artichokes with almost anything. For a cold appetiser try cheese and nuts (fetta and pistacchios, cream cheese and almonds, blue cheese and pecans...), also try filling them with labneh and zaatar or a mixture of labneh, grated parmesan and basil... You can use artichokes as cups to fill with salad. Think dressed corn salad, chopped palmitos and mushrooms, even a tomato salsa will work.
For main course filled artichokes, go for the bigger artichokes and fill them with a basic rice and minced meat stuffing and cook them in tomato sauce, or a classic minced meat and pine nuts stuffing. you can stuff them with minced meat, top them with grated mozzarella and a layer of bread crumbs then bake them along with tomato sauce... really the sky is the limit!

You can also follow Chef Oliver's recipe on this link for stuffing the artichokes: Lobster Carppaccio Over Stuffed Artichokes


On this link, "Foodie Focus" episode with Dareen Charafeddin, the Founder of Book Munch Cafe, who shares with us how she balances a demanding career and raising kids. Her approach had helped her achieve balance between work and home, and will hopefully help you too. 



Oliver Glowig


Chef Oliver is a 2 star Michelin Chef, who started his journey alongside his father in Germany. Those early days were marked by his food curiosity and took on an adventurous style. This journey soon took on a passion for artistic experimentations. 

The art of Chef Oliver is embodied in a journey of flavors and emotions that guide his path. He left Germany in 2001, a year after he earned his first Michelin star restaurant "Watercolor" in Monaco of Bavaria. Headed to the Amalfi Coast, in Italy, where he is the Executive Chef of the restaurant "L'Olivo". In 2004, he confirmed the star he'd earned in Germany, and in 2006, he was recognised with a second Michelin star and 17/20 L'Espresso. 

"With two Michelin stars, preceded by a score of 17/20 on the Guide de L'Espresso, the restaurant of Oliver Glowing ranks among the top Italian restaurants." 




Ramadan Mubarak
Appreciate, Love & Giveback a little this Ramadan :)


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