The Book Launch

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.



Disclaimer 
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

Appreciate

         




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 

Monday, 21 March 2016

We are in Spring! Here are some Seasonal Cooking Tips for you

Stuffed Turnip In Tamarind Sauce (Recipe in my cookbook Plated Heirlooms)
Find the book launch picture album on this link

Before I go into the tips, let me just tell you that there are amazing local organic turnips at The Farmers' Market On The Terrace,  for making pickles,  for stuffing,  for roasting and making turnip sauce, the quality of turnips I find there is unmatched! It is the height of the season and the varieties of produce and leaves there is just fantastic! If you have not been shopping there yet, really don't miss out on this amazing opportunity to bring good quality organic ingredients, the freshest possible and all these fantastic flavours back to your kitchens. Every Friday from 8-1 and I am there too, selling my mooneh, which am telling you sells out fast, so do come early.

         Where I come from spring is all about leaves. The kitchen gets dressed with green and our plates undoubtedly look like spring. It is after all the season where the brown earth, the empty tree branches are back in their greenest, freshest and most delicately delicious state. Green symbolises life - new life, young life - and in the kitchen it could not be more true. Because it is the season where this colour comes in, giving new life and new energy to our menus and our varieties, making up for the more limited, noticeably heavier, deeper, and more mature flavours and tones of winter. The kitchen is never as vibrant and alive as in Spring and it is a real waste not to make the best of this season and all its produce. A total miss if we don't stop to appreciate not just the greenness of it all but also the delicateness of the flavours of spring. Because everything is brand new, and even a thorny plant as the Gundelia Thistle, which we know as Akub (fully explained in my book "Plated Heirlooms") is easy to clean and lenient to being a food as opposed to the ones that make it to summer, hardened by the heat, or perhaps the age, definitely more stubborn, more prickly, more demanding and therefore less desired! Spring is the season of the most generous forms of giving: that of the earth.
My mum always told me, as am sure yours did too, "when given a gift, you must show appreciation" and the only way to do that is to 'cook in celebration of spring'.

         Seasonal Cooking, is to me the best form of cooking. Not only because the produce is at its best, its most abundant, most delicious... although that definitely rests the case. But because seasonal eating allows us to miss produce when it goes out of season. To miss munching and crunching on a cold watermelon during the cold, sunless days, and miss dipping our bread in stir-fried Wild Mallows (Khubbeizeh) with that sprinkling of lime or dipping into the Hedge Mustard Leaves (Hweirneh) mixed with yogurt on that sunny morning with a cool breeze carrying away the cold of winter bringing in the early rays of summer that are yet too weak to completely warm the morning. And when we don't miss the produce, when it is always available we just tend to forget how good it is. We forget how much we love it, and we can easily waste it. Seasonal eating is perhaps that way the deepest form of appreciation.

            In Palestinian Cuisine, There is a huge section dedicated to "the foods of Spring" and is even named as such. A very big part of that is all about the green leaves. And because these leaves are young, fresh and so delicately flavoured, which also applies to spring vegetables, you really do not want to mask their delicate flavours. You really do not want to interfere too much and ruin a good thing and as such I thought to share with you my "Spring Cooking Secrets" or let's call them tips and hopefully you will try them and see how tremendously this improves your spring collection of recipes bringing out the flavour of each vegetable, leaf or even spring meat that you end up cooking!

  1. Do not over cook. Overcooking changes the textures of food. Spring is young, crunchy and very fresh, keep those adjectives in mind when cooking. Undercook and keep the characteristic of your vegetables, leaves and even meats. Serve the meat pink, the vegetables crunchy and the leaves with a bite. Do not wilt them to death, nor cook them to a mash or roast them to melt. Spring foods are young, light and shallow in flavours. Keep them as such and you will taste each and every component. 
  2. Keep it Simple, resist the urge to interfere. The easiest, fastest and most delicious way to cook spring leaves is by sauteing chopped onions in olive oil, seasoned with salt and black pepper until translucent but not browned. Once done cooking add the leaves and stir for exactly 2 minutes then serve. For extra flavour, if you must, try: sumac, finely chopped fresh coriander, rosemary, stir fried garlic or caramelised onions. 
  3. Eat Raw whenever possible. There is no better time for raw food lovers than in spring. The produce is delicate, flavourfull and really hardly needs any cooking. A simple dressing can cook it enough. Not only is raw food delicious, but it is also good for you and helps you cleanse. You do carry out a spring cleaning of your house, don't you? Well your body could use one too! 
  4. Think Green. Add as much green to your food as you can. Use the fresh herbs for flavour, use the just starting to settle new season olive oil, go for spring onions instead of the other varieties and go for fresh garlic instead of the aged ones. Add those to leaves, add the leaves to salads, mix them with seeds and/or your favourite grains and have these super foods, which will supply you with the much missed Chlorophyll for the whole year! Green is also iron, think baby spinach add it to even your sandwiches and see how a simple smoked salmon sandwich transforms over a bed of baby spinach! While you are at it, aim for local, less travelled, and go for the source, this way you add green to your food sourcing which helps keep our earth good to give us another spring. 
  5. Follow the season's offerings. Eat only fresh at the beginning of the season and preserve towards the end. The freshness gives you an unmatched flavour the preservation ensures a treat out of season. It really is a win win situation. 

Here are some of the season's offerings to follow (of course according to where you live). Most of the below produce become available at the beginning of the season and last throughout the whole season but are at their best in the indicated months.


March


Cabbages, Cauliflower, Green Almonds, Thyme, Zaatar, Green Plums, Akub, Romain Lettuce, Wild Mallows (Kubbeizeh), Hedge Mustard Leaves (Hweirneh), Dandeloin Leaves (Hindbeh), Arugula, Green Beans, Corriander, Parsley, Bay Leaves, Baby Spinach, Kale, Celery, Kusa, Tomatoes, Fresh garlic, Fresh Onion, Spring Onion, most edible flowers...

April 


Orange Blossoms (for making Jam and blossom water for desserts), Peas, rosemary, strawberries, Spring Lamb, Spring Goats, All kinds of dairy products (the season for making cheeses and labnehs, kishek and Jameed), Honey, most edible flowers...

May


Artichokes, apples, garlic, green walnuts, freekeh (green wheat), Damascus Rose (for making Rosewater and for use in desserts and other foods)

Get my book Plated Heirlooms and explore the wide variety of spring foods and varied recipes for the different seasons. The book is available at Kinokuniya bookstore (Dubai Mall), The change Initiative. You can also order it online from the Kinokuniya website or Gulf News Online Store on this link.



We are in Spring!
Make sure you actually enjoy it and do celebrate it by cooking seasonal :)

Monday, 7 March 2016

Invite your friends


I am hearing some good news this morning :) I am hearing that we have over 60 RSVP's for my demonstration @homecentrestores at Mall of the Emirates. You guys are simply the best!! 

Do you think we can get to 100? I think we can, so let's do this together, share the invite (the previous post) with your friends and family, tell them to join us tomorrow at Home Centre MOE at 10 am and learn how to revamp some of the oldest and most traditional recipes into beautiful and delicious canapés that will impress their guests and get them tuns of compliments. Then if they like, they can also get a signed copy of my newly released book Plated Heirlooms.

See you tomorrow :-)

#DimaSharif #PlatedHeirlooms #backToLandAndHome #Womensday #WomensTuesday with #HomeCentre celebrating #InternationalWomensDay #thisislove 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Dima Sharif teams up with the Middle East's largest home retailer to celebrate International Women's Day




Dima Sharif News Update


I have teamed up with Home Centre, the largest home retailer in the Middle East, to kick-off its inaugural ‘Women’s Tuesday’ initiative starting on International Women’s Day (Tuesday, March 8th) with a culinary journey that I will host first at their Mall of the Emirates store.

Drawing from my just-launched book Plated Heirlooms, I will be getting together with you and will demonstrate the preparation of traditional Palestinian dishes with a modern twist. I will be showing you how to transform a traditional, old recipe into a beautiful canape, that you can elegantly serve at your receptions, pass around cocktails parties or place on a cocktail bites buffet to impress your family and friends. And you will learn how to make 3 different types of canapes on the day with at least 2 varieties to each type. Not just that, but you will also be shown how to apply the same on your own cuisine's traditional recipes!

On the day, I will also be having a signing sessions for my book Plated Heirlooms, which features over 250 Palestinian cuisine recipes that have been carefully perfected to be easily replicated at home. So it is a good chance for you to grab your signed copy of this amazing book that will definitely change the way you look at food.

To save a seat at this culinary workshop, please register by sending an email to akadom@apcoworldwide.com or if easier through Whatsapp: +971 55 954 8663.
Home Centre’s ‘Women’s Tuesday’ initiative that kicks off this Tuesday, March 8th, will run for the entire year. Visitors to Home Centre stores across the region are invited to indulge in wholesome retail therapy week after week. In addition to exclusive discounts, women shoppers can enjoy a host of dedicated privileges, including personalised shopping assistance, free home delivery, complimentary trolley assistance and an exclusive billing counter. 


This is an open invitation. 
We will chat, prepare food together, eat, and enjoy one another's company as women have done forever! 
Join us :)

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Somewhere between the arts and food - Plated Heirlooms



Big day today!
The Plated Heirlooms official press launch is taking place this evening at The Mojo Art Gallery, located at Al Serkal Avenue, where I am hosting a communal table and serving an 8 course meal after a reception during which guests will walk through the gallery on a journey through my Plated Heirlooms. Included are some of my family heirlooms from historic cooking utensils, to cross-stitched dresses, scarfs and head dress, calligraphy dresses, old cooking pots, from clay to copper pots and even showcasing +150 year old olive trees and more...

This evening I am offering a full rounded Palestinian experience, everything that I explore in the book. Including the communal table. We will gather, chat, eat together, break bread together and just enjoy one another's company. 

Wish I could have you all join us, but what I can do is to keep sharing this journey of mine with you and hope that you enjoy it!

 #DimaSharif #PlatedHeirlooms and #organicmoonehessentials #backtolandandhome #Falasteen #thisislove 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Cultural Food Photography - "Plated Heirlooms"

              


Picture from my book "Plated Heirlooms" for the recipe "Yakhnet Qulqas" (Stew of colocasia p. 265) in the 4th chapter of the book which is dedicated for soups & stews "Shorabat O Yakhani". As you read through Plated Heirlooms you will see that the pictures in the book are made to reflect the book's narrative, descriptions and cultural context.

On this link (http://youtu.be/nbC9PYl7jR4) you will find a preview video of "Plated Heirlooms" including many of the book's photographs that have become so loved and discussed by many food photography experts and enthusiasts and are said to be "setting a new trend in food photography: Cultural Food Photography" which of course is music to my ears :)

Watch the full video on my #YouTube channel (Dima Al Sharif) and take a look at the pictures then do let me know what you think.

#PlatedHeirlooms #cookbook by #DimaSharif #PalestinianCuisine #Falasteen #Food #Photography #FoodPhotography #CulturalFoodPhotography #FoodStyling #Cuisine in its #CulturalContext  with my friend food photographer Meeta K Wolff, who helped me make this possible.

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