Dima's Video Recipes

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Registration for "Food Styling & Photography Workshop Dubai" is now open ( #FotoDubai16 ) Join Us

You know...

Life changes, and our roles and paths change as we grow. Over the past couple of years I had to drop so many things that I previously could accommodate into my schedule, and no longer seem able to find the time for. So many projects and activities that I used to enjoy tremendously had to drop to make way for the demanding and very tight schedule I seem to be running these days. But one activity that I have constantly worked on since 2013 and always book at the beginning of the year, to ensure that time slot is reserved... is the Food Styling & Photography Workshop I organise here in Dubai and hold with my very dear friend Meeta K Wolff. This is the one project that I consistently keep space for every year, because it is a time when I get together with my friend Meeta, in a very fun and creative activity that we both love and enjoy so much.

This Food Styling & Photography Workshop is part of a series of workshops that Meeta K Wolff holds in many areas. She, with the help of different local organisers, organises and conducts different food styling and photography workshops in different cities. Her workshops are always so much fun, and her experience with photography, as well as her very beautiful and artistic eye always ensure that her images truly stand out. Many people do food photography and food styling, many have amazing style. Meeta still sticks out, there is something very artistic, and very timeless about her photography and moods, I find her talent to be very unique. And she so passionately shares this knowledge, skill, talent and vision with participants which makes her workshops always a great success.
As such, she was my choice for the photography of my cookbook, Plated Heirlooms, as I felt she was able to understand the look, feel and content of the images I was after. I felt no one can better bring my vision to life than she could and eventually she did produce amazing images for me (see the video at the end of the post).

Every year in October, Meeta flies in to Dubai from Germany, and we get together with the registered participants for a two-day intensive workshop where Meeta explores with them photography, composition technicalities as well as styling methods and techniques (both in theory and hands-on practice), and I explore with them food and content, from concept creation, to the cooking for
photography and the accompanying written content (both in theory and hands-on practice).

You see when participants join this workshop, Meeta and I make sure that they actually benefit and make something out of this participation. Not just have a good time and learn a few things, but in fact in a very short period of time, the participants feel (as they usually describe in their feedback, see this link) that they have come in with a set of skill and understanding only to go out with a completely different set of skill and understanding of this topic that is on a much higher level. We work on the technicalities, on the know-how's, the tips and tricks, but we also work on the creativity and unleashing that energy that each one of us has. This energy, these exercises and the content that eventually becomes the workshop is what sustains what these participants learn and sets them off with a completely different point of view, one that they will use to hone and further excel in what they go on to do. (watch participants' testimonials on this link)

This year promises one of our best workshops so far, because this year we are broadening our horizons and going for the theme 'Globally Influenced'. We are thinking bigger, better and more openness to all kinds of influences, impressions, experiences, locations and even trends...

 So this year we are again teaming up with our amazing partners.

Our venue again this year will be hosted at The School of Culinary and Finishing Arts - SCAFA situated at the Jumeirah Lake Towers. We will have exclusive access of the professionally equipped kitchens where there will not only be the several cooking demos but also SCAFA's labs provide the ideal space for our photography and styling sessions with lots of natural light, individual workstations and presentation room. We will also enjoy relaxed meals and chill-out at their own restaurant Scafé.

Russell Impiazzi of Lafayette Gourmet has been part of this workshop since the very first one. He continues to support us each year by providing all the ingredients required for all the sessions, creating an amazing Welcome Brunch, and his signature Finale Dinner. Not only that but he also provides valuable input and ideas for our food adventures.

This year, and under our "Globally Influenced" motto, Russell will create a special brunch menu bringing fashion and food together. Our participants will be pushed to think out of the box and integrate both aspects into their photography.

Also this year, and having chosen, this very open theme, "Globally Influenced",  I am pushing the lunch menu and that lunch session beyond just the eating of a fantastic lunch, but to also offer a full body/mind/soul lunch experience, which I have designed to encourage the creativity process and to exercise being open to all types of influences, and incorporating all that into your creative thought process.

There really is very few outlets for me to explore such concepts that I often find myself thinking about, and this workshop is usually that space where I get to excercise that side, which is why this workshop is to me kind of like a retreat, where for two days, I am just excercising the creativity part of things and I fully appreciate FotoDubai for this reason.

Hope I could tempt you to join us! Here are the details ...



  • Celebrating The Fashion Capitals of The World
    Meet & Greet Brunch - Getting to know you
  • Photography Fundamentals & Techniques by Meeta Wolff
    Capturing the perfect shot: Mastering the camera, harnessing and understanding natural light, finding your focus, the angles etc. 
  • Styling Techniques by Meeta Wolff
    How to style your shot: composition and placement, creating a mood/atmosphere, the importance of props, color, texture etc.
  • Styling demo & the secrets of a food stylist by Meeta Wolff
  • Fashion meets food
    Free-Style Photography Exercises - Group Work

  • From Concept to Completion by Dima Sharif
    Working and publishing a cookbook: the idea, the writing, the photography and publishing
  • Dinner Delight - a feasting menu of a different kind.



  • Enhancing your Images with Lightroom by Meeta Wolff
  • Cooking demo and cooking techniques by Dima Sharif
  • "Globally Influenced" Menu by Dima Sharif
    A menu from around the Globe with a focus on healthy food, health requirements and new  age food trends from vegan to superfoods
  • Intensive work on assignment - Group work
  • Evaluation, discussion & critique on assignment
    Constructive feedback, discussion and critique on exercises
  • Industrial - Urban inspired by Dubai 
    Surprise Finale Dinner prepared by Russell Impiazzi
Event Price: AED 2800 (ca. €665) Includes:
  • 2 day food styling, photography and cooking demo sessions with Meeta & Dima
  • Saturday: Meet & Greet Brunch, coffee break and Dinner;
  • Sunday: Lunch & Cooking Demo, Finale Dinner
  • Snacks and beverages during the workshop
  • Transport to and from the off-site assignment
  • All material/equipment is provided for the shooting /styling sessions
Location: SCAFA School of Culinary and Finishing Arts, Jumairah Lakes Tower, Dubai, UAE Website:http://scafa.ae/ Limited to 10 participants Payment Full payment upon registration, no refundsTickets available here!

Register now for the Dubai 2016 Workshop as it promises to be an exciting and an invigorating two days! We look forward to welcoming you to Dubai!
Read: Priority registrations have been open for my subscribers on my mailing list for the past week. There are now only four free slots available on this workshop.
Please Note: The organizers reserve the rights to modify the programme should the need arise. Presentations and main workshop language will be in English (instructors speak German, Arabic and Hindi and is aimed towards beginners, novice and advanced level participants).

Watch videos of our previous FotoDubai workshops as well as testimonials on this link
Watch the video below where Meeta describes our experience together working on my cookbook photography.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Idreh Khaliliyeh (rice, chickpeas & meat) - A glorious recipe for entertaining a large crowd this Ramadan

This post is brought to you by OBE Organic Beef, Australia

This image and recipe are from my book Plated Heirlooms,
however the recipe had been modified to serve 12 instead of 4

cooking in claypot is fully covered in my book
you can order my book Plated Heirlooms online on this link

It is only a matter of days and the holy month of Ramadan will start. It is a very special time of year, which to me, as to many, is the month of connection. It is customary to connect with family members and friends on a more regular basis during Ramadan. Perhaps due to the shorter working hours, or maybe more of making that conscious effort to make the time to get together with immediate and extended family members as well as get together with friends. Of course this is done in the portion of the day when people can eat, because what is a gathering if food is not involved?

These gatherings are usually not your routine small gatherings, usually a host/ess will have to cook for a large crowd. And since everyone is fasting and craving all kinds of food, the cooks usually also have to prepare many varieties of food, which can be very time consuming and tiring for the fasting host/ess. For such occasions I truly appreciate the concoctions that are originally created to feed many. As in our cuisine there are recipes that are designed for special occasions and days when you are meant to feed large crowds. One such recipe in the Palestinian cuisine is Idreh, which is the popular and very dearly loved specialty of the Palestinian city Hebron, where my family is from. This is a very special recipe (that I completely describe and tell you the full story of in my book Plated Heirlooms, along with the theatricals of serving it) because this recipe is one that can be cooked to feed as little as four to as many as a hundred and more. Really it is just a matter of doubling quantities to fit the number of people you wish to feed. The best thing about Idreh though is that it so decadent yet is so easy to prepare that you can and will have time to prepare other varieties of food next to it without over exerting yourself that day.

Idreh (recipe below) is basically a concoction of rice, chickpeas, and meat all of which will be cooked in meat broth. Traditionally done in special claypots or special copper pots, or if not available can be cooked in the regular cookpot.

With any such food that relies on a few basic ingredients, the outcome is completely reliant on the quality of the ingredients used. Therefore, it is really essential that you choose good quality rice ( I prefer to use the medium grain Egyptian rice for making this), chickpeas (I always use dried organic chickpeas that I soak overnight and boil to soften the next day. I prefer them to the chemically preserved canned ones.) and most importantly the quality of the meat. After all the whole flavour of Idreh comes from the meat, as not only will the meat be one of the main ingredients, but its broth is what cooks all these ingredients and binds them together giving them their overall flavour.

Cattle Grazing freely in open environment
A natural process that I prefer to mass production facilities

Therefore, opt for good quality meat, and as I always advise you, do go for organic meats, this is very crucial for your and your family's health. I personally only eat organic meat because of the hormones and antibiotics used with non-organic meat (see my articles about this on this link). Also when it comes to meat, the living conditions of mass production facilities and farms are just outrageous. Not only are they so unfair to the cattle living there but those conditions are also very harmful to earth and the environment and therefore have an all round very negative effect on our overall wellbeing. Therefore, when I choose to eat meat, I want to know where my meat comes from, and want to know the living conditions of the cattle, what they feed on, how they graze and so on. I do that because I like to be mindful and make healthier, better and more humane choices wherever possible.

A few years ago I got to know about OBE Organic Halal beef, which I love and truly appreciate (watch the video at the top of the blog and see how they care for their cattle). I find their process to be very natural, the meat is 100% organic, Halal and also the quality and flavour of their beef is just outstanding. I do recommend you try their different cuts of beef, they really are fabulous.
OBE Organic’s halal, grass-fed and organic beef from Australia can be purchased in the UAE at:
  • Carrefour UAE – Mall of the Emirates, Mirdiff City Centre, and Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi
  • Prime Gourmet Butchery at Town Centre Jumeirah
  • Le Marché Hypermarket at Arabian Ranches
  • Geant at Ibn Battuta Mall
  • Biorganic Store 
See their ‘Where to Buy’ section on the website: http://www.obeorganic.com/where-to-buy-obe-products/

Idreh Khaliliyeh
The Recipe

Serves 12

meat and broth of 2.5 kg OBE Organic Beef cubes
1.5 Kg medium grain rice, washed and drained
500g cooked chickpeas, preferably peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large onions, halved and sliced
1.5 garlic head, cloves separated and peeled
1 tbsp qidreh spice mix (can be found at spice markets and shops. Recipe on how to make your own is in the book Plated Heirlooms)
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground allspice
salt and black pepper, to taste
50g samneh baladieh (local clarified butter) or home-made clarified butter
½ cup toasted pine nuts and almonds, for garnish
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, for garnish

Cook the OBE Organic meat cubes to make the broth. Separate the meat and broth reserving both.

In a large bowl, combine the washed and drained rice with the spices and seasoning. Set aside.

Sauté the sliced onions and whole garlic cloves in heated olive oil until translucent and slightly browned. Pour the sautéed onions, garlic and oil over the rice mixture and mix to combine. Add the cooked and peeled chickpeas and mix again to combine.

In a large cooking pot, place the cooked lamb pieces and top with the rice mixture. Crumble the butter on top of the rice and pour the meat broth over to submerge the rice. Cover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil, continue to cook until the liquid is reduced and the rice is showing on the surface.

Reduce the heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

Transfer to a large serving dish, top the rice with the meat pieces and garnish with toasted nuts and parsley. Serve hot with plain yoghurt, yoghurt and cucumber salad, or spiced salad on the side.

Wishing you all a blessed Ramadan 
and heartwarming gatherings with your family and friends. 
Ramadan Mubarak

Relative links:

Organic Beef Recipe Links:

OBE Organic Social Networks:
Do follow them and show them some love, they are after all looking after YOU.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Experiences from my journey with Plated Heirlooms and a review by Sally Prosser

Picture by Sally Prosser (www.mycustardpie.com)

When you write a book, you do so hoping that readers enjoy it. You normally want to take them on a journey and one way or another offer them a perspective hopefully a full learning experience. 
I think that what any author of any written materials eventually appreciates the most is the feedback one gets from the readers. Perhaps, because this feedback makes all the hard work of producing a book all that much more worth it, but more so because it becomes the growth journey of the authors themselves completing the cycle of any book into its wholesome journey of learning. This to me is what I have learnt and appreciate the most about taking up the journey of writing a book. 

I am feeling so blessed truly and receiving so much love, from many of you guys a lot of which I am sharing on my Instagram account (@1dimasharif) and facebook page (Dima Sharif) and some I will also be sharing here Sally's review below.

I simply cannot say to all of you enough thank yous to express my gratitude! I can simply say I am experiencing a deep sense of appreciation and feel grateful for everyone of you. Truly we meet, and we even part, we might see one another occasionally, and we might do only once, while other times we are a regular part of one another's' life... Regardless, I am really grateful for all of you guys. Thank you!

My friend, food blogger, and author of the food blog mycustardpie, the well known and loved Sally Prosser sent me the following as her review of Plated Heirlooms: (in her own words): 

"I've lived in the Middle East for over 20 years and over that time I've tried to gain a greater understanding of the region. This has been through a variety of books primarily non-fiction, some fiction (The rock of Tanios by Amin Malouf is highly recommended). 
My other source has been through books about food and cookery to make sense of this multilayered feast that stretches from the olive groves of the Levant to the fish based diets of the Gulf.
Some dishes have a similar expression across many countries, some totally unique and understanding the reasons behind this (climate, economics, tradition, ritual) is key to a deeper knowledge of the region and why it's pretty vague to say Middle Eastern food (as general and unhelpful as the term European food).
Dima's book (to me) has not yet reached my kitchen. It's been beside my bed telling tales of food, cooking and life, giving a very different and human perspective from a displaced nation, and a foil to the images conjured up in most people's minds, from the West particularly, when they hear the word Palestine.
Claudia Roden's book came with me to Saudi Arabia in 1995 and I've recommended it to everyone who comes to the Middle East. Plated Heirlooms is now its partner in recommended reading. Even though I haven't tested the recipes I have tasted Dima's food so have confidence that these will deliver... in spades."

Thank you Sally for such understanding and for sharing this with me. Really appreciated.

Plated Heirlooms is available at Kinokuniya, Book Munch Cafe, The Change Initiative, and the Gulf News Online Store. (See the tab Plated Heirlooms at the top of the blog for links for home delivery).

Grab your copy and let me hear your feedback!
Dima x

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Never short on choice or recipes this Ramadan

Ramadan is just around the corner and my book Plated Heirlooms has all the recipes you need to throw delicious feasts throughout the month. With over 280 recipes you will never run out of options and especially all the best loved Ramadan recipes. This here is the picture of Atayef Asafiri from my book where Atayef recipes include the batter, the making of the pancakes, a variety of fillings, the traditional Atayef, the Asafiri Atayef and Atayef with a twist, including an Atayef cake!! Go on and grab your copy you will be really happy you did, I guarantee it myself 🤓 as not only will you be cooking amazing food but will also enjoy a very nice read this Ramadan because my book is a collection of stories, some personal, some collective and all telling the story of Palestinian Cuisine. Plated Heirlooms is available @kinokuniya.uae in @the_dubaimall @bookmunch cafe @thechangeinitiative and also available on @gulfnews online store for home deliveries 😉 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Hear Hear... You are gonna love this!

I am so excited about getting together with you Next Tuesday May 10th at the Home Centre store at Mirdif City Centre where I will demonstrate 2 Ramadan desserts that I have developed especially for you guys this Ramadan. The desserts are all about slow-releasing sustainable energy to last you throughout the full day of fasting! Yes you will actually learn how to make desserts that are just super good for you and will help you fast better!!! What more can any sweet treat do really?!
Well if that sweet also works for #diabeticPatients and can be packaged for gifting during Ramadan and also (yes there is more!!) is whipped up in less that 15 minutes!!!!

I will also be arranging a Ramadan Table, plating some food so you can reacreate the experience at home. You will get all the recipes, will taste all the food and I will also be signing my book if you wish to purchase a copy :) I am telling you, it's just not be missed!

Join me next Tuesday, pass this on to your friends and do come in groups, I love nothing more... We will cook, eat, share, chat and just have a good morning together! Oh, and please do RSVP.

So looking forward to this ;)

#DimaSharif #HCRamadan
#PlatedHeirlooms #Eatforenergy #GoodRealNaturalNonProcessedFood

These recipes of mine are dedicated to your and your family's health...

Friday, 8 April 2016

Why this restaurant is a winner!


Hummus & Hazelnut Starter (a complete new take on the use of hummus)

It is tucked in at the DIFC village. It is definitely a destination. You walk in and unlike most DIFC restaurants, this one straight away invites you in and casts a midday hideaway spell on you. You feel at home but not quite, you feel out for lunch but not just, you feel you want to hang out, then more, some more and what the heck! You've already spent the whole afternoon there, ate everything on the menu and every cell in your body is satisfied, relaxed and happy! 

Yes! I know Chef Tom very well, and know his kitchen genius very well too. And yes I went into Intersect by Lexus knowing it was going to be fantastic, but I was blown away still and found myself at awe with the chef's food's flavors, textures and not to overlook the overall ambience he and his team were able to create at Intersect that makes it a tad more than just a place to lunch but more like a perfect day lounge, a hangout!

My usually very fussy-eater daughter loved the food so much she wanted to go to the kitchen to say thank you to Chef!

I went with my two kids, my husband and sister and we all had a fantastic lunch. No one had any complaints, we all loved the food and were tasting each other's choices it was that good. And every time a dish came out we were smiling, the mixtures are that interesting! 

The kids asked me to be in the pictures so they can tell other kids how much they loved the food!

When you have kids you know, fussy eating and moody preferences are always on the menu. You also know that they are a tad less than keen to try new combinations and what you purée to squeeze into a plate at home or what you normally disguise in their food is stirring them right in the face when eating out! So when children reach a point that they are looking forward for the next dish. They are trying every single ingredient on the dish. They are bragging their feasting and are making sure you know they loved the Kale which they normally look down to at home!!! And when all this food is seasoned and mixed in totally new combinations to their usual palates you know that chef, that restaurant and that lunch is a winner!!

My kids loved it so much that my son actually videoed his first review (see the video at the end of this post), my daughter wanted to go inside the kitchen to say thank you to Chef and they asked to be in the pictures this time to show everyone how much they enjoyed it.

It is also worth mentioning that Chef Tom is a regular at the farmers' market. He sources his ingredients straight from the farmers' whenever possible and he is definitely a seasonal chef. All the more to like his food! Also all the more to let your kids eat that food instead of the standard junk served to kids elsewhere!

You know I do not do restaurant reviews. But this experience was really spectacular and worth every calorie, penny and word. You guys I am straight out recommending that you go to Intersect by Lexus and taste Chef Tom Reger's genius. Take your kids and open up the world of flavors for them, allow them to learn why food is fantastic and this place is it. Go and see for yourselves.

Thank you Tom for a fantastic lunch! We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Please note that I was not invited to Intersect by Lexus and was not there to review and am not promoting or being compensated in anyway for this. I simply went with my family for lunch and honestly love it and think you will too. So I am personally recommending it.

Find the pictures from this lunch on my facebook page Dima Sharif and will also be posting the video shortly :)

Thursday, 31 March 2016



They had to do this everyday! 
They went to the water wells and collected their family's share of water in these large clay jugs, that kept the water cool even on the hottest days. They made the clay containers from their earth's mud and collected that earth's reserved water. 

They did this everyday, mastering the Art of body balance, as they carried those jugs over their heads walking back to the city. 

They did this everyday, talked, walked, provided. Everyday, never once complaining, never once feeling the need to! 

These are Women from the Palestinian city "Al Nasrah", also known as Nazareth in 1910. Like all the other women in all the other Palestinian cities and villages, they did this everyday! 

And now that we have the very accessible, always available, right at our finger tips, environment non-friendly plastic bottles of mineral, and vitamin fortified water to stay fit and healthy... we simply forget to hydrate! 

#forgranted we forget what we had to do to get what we abundantly have now. #Stayhydrated #DrinkWater and every time you do remember it was not always that accessible and we are blessed to have all the things we do readily available #apriciate