Oct 30, 2011

Bastakiya, lots of little surprises!

I attended the opening ceremony of the Emirates Literature Festival's new permanent home as a guest of my dear friend Ariana Bundy.  She is planning on launching her Persian cook book next March at the festival.  I was able to really soak in the literature scene of Dubai as well as explore this hidden gem located at the  Dar Al Adeb House  45 Bastakiya Dubai.
There were even some traditional Emirati foods being prepared in a very authentic setting.
These little fried dough balls are called luqeymat , a deep fried ball of pancake batter that is rolled in sesame seeds and then drizzled with date syrup
They are delightful little morsels of yumminess, and are simply irresistible.  No point in counting the calories when you know they are deep fried, most of the good things are!
We also enjoyed some traditional Emirati Bread commonly consumed during breakfast time in the UAE.  We were served ragag, but some of the other options are khameer and chebab, usually served with cheese, date syrup or eggs.  
I was also able to explore some of the other areas in Bastakiya and discovered some cute little cafes and galleries.  I will definitely be back to explore more of the area which is such a contrast to the rest of Dubai.  

Oct 29, 2011

Just a simple three year olds birthday

Faiz's 3rd Birthday party was anything but simple.  You can imagine the excitement and enthusiasm from the kids and parents alike. 
Entertainment that ranged from an interactive photo booth to canvas painting and tattooing plus a live parrot!
With the bar set so high already, their were also certain expectations when it came to the food selection. To start, there was a mango, lemon and mint juice. 
With the help of one of my favorite cafes in town, Baker and Spice,  the catering spread included these delectable date and tahini danish plus scones with clotted cream and jam.
Open face sandwiches including a Roast Beef, Horseradish Cream, and Pickles plus a Sheep's Milk Feta with Fried Oregano on Apricot Bread
 A gorgeous Tomato Caponata with Pomegranate and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture the rest of the buffet by photo but it was a lovely selection of Crab Cakes, Chicken Pies, and a Peach Salad. The children's food included Chicken Milanese, Mac n Cheese Lollipops, and Sweet Potato Fries. 
A birthday party wouldn't be complete without a cake, and this was no ordinary cake.  It was a three tiered chocolate, jungle animal themed cake, topped with a cute and cuddly gorilla.  

This was a birthday party to remember.  Every detail was attended to by the gracious host plus myself.  It took some serious organization to pull it off, but the event was a success and the birthday boy was happier than ever!
Happy Birthday Faiz Amman, with many more to come!!!!!!!!!!

Oct 27, 2011

Sneak Peak of my Dinner Party Photo Shoot for Ahlan! Gourmet

Let's start in the kitchen.....

When you're cooking 6 dishes for 9 guest, it can get pretty hectic.  But thankfully my generous friends lent their helping hands, and it all came together.

Next up is the exquisite table setting. All the table ware and dish ware is courtesy of Galleries Lafayette hand selected by yours truly.  The fine details such as the napkins tied with ribbons with little pearl accents, color coordinated drinking straws for the special mocktails and beautiful floral arrangement were sourced from all over the UAE.

The guests arrive and I warmly great them one by one.  Wonho Chung curiously asks me about the menu, and how I manage to look so fabulous despite cooking all day.  My response, "I'm Amazing"!

And last but not least....the food! On the menu this evening were the following items:

  • Cumin Crackers topped with Baked Eggplant and Whipped Burani Yogurt
  • Seasoned White Lentils Stuffed in Zuchini Cups topped with Crispy Fried Onions
  • Seared Scallops with a Curried Cauliflower Puree and Golden Raisin sauce
  • Tamarind Whipped Sweet Potatoes
  • Spicy Cauliflower and Onion Fritters with a Tomato and Pepper Sauce
  • Tea Smoked Tandoori Chicken with Kachumber Salad
  • Spice Glazed Rack of Lamb with an Almond, Nigella, and sesame Crust

And Finally....the Dessert!

A Gorgeous Fig and Frangipan Tart, topped with Cardamom Yogurt Ice Cream. Need I say more......

Check out November's Issue of Ahlan! Gourmet for more on this elegant dinner party (including recipes) plus my regular column covering various topics of interest around Dubai and the UAE!

Oct 7, 2011

3 Course meal before noon!

I was cordially invited to an informative cooking demo inside Bloomingdale's Home with Chef Alain Gobeil, executive Chef at the Address Hotel, Dubai Mall this past week. Chef Alain was well spoken, thorough, and confident during his entire presentation, but also managed to keep his cool throughout.

On the menu was a top cured, bottom seared salmon with asparagus and mushroom ragout and cauliflower puree. 

 Grilled New York Steak, pumpkin pecan crumble, smoked tomato and garlic jam
 And for a dessert a caramel braised pineapple tarte tatin with goat cheese vanilla mousse 

Chef Alain prepared this selection in association with the Ember Grill and Lounge in the Address Hotel, Dubai Mall.  After tasting these demo items today, I was impressed with what they had to offer, and will definietly check out the Ember Lounge for a proper sit down dinner experience. 

Bloomingdale's are hosting these cooking demos regularly in honor of their special New York promotion.  To get more information, spin by the store otherwise check out their Facebook page:


Oct 4, 2011

Mimi's Bumble Bee Baby Shower

This was a very special occasion for a very special lady.  Mariam and I have been friends for ten years now, having met one autumn day in the coffee shop at the University Student Center, who knew we would have made it this far! Moving to the UAE was actually facilitated by miss Mariam herself, and a year later, its been quite an interesting journey for all of us!

As many know, a baby shower is a celebration for the anxious arrival of the little bun's in the oven. In order to honor that we decided to share our own little buns with everyone.  Hidden inside one of these felt buns was a little charm, the lucky winner who found the charm, won a prize!
 The gift bags were filled with more edible goodies, such as Organic Honey Pots and Patchi chocolates. 
 The customized centerpieces and table runners were also a nice touch and brought a lot of color and warmth to the room.
 The food station was over flowing with everything from a Caprese to a Thai glass noodle salad plus an assortment hot items including grilled meats, lamb biryani, and mushroom ravioli
 No baby shower would be complete without the signature Diaper Cake!  Custom made to order for this special event, the diaper cake traveled all the way from the USA.  It's not edible, but it does add that special novel touch to the event.
The dessert display was another feast for the eyes and tummies! I can't even begin to explain everything on the table, but I will say that there was a warm apple crumble and mille-feuille amongst other sugary confections.
The Peach Creme Brulee
 The "icing on the cake" was literally the Icing on this cake!!!  Staying with the bumble bee them...this cake brought everything together, Courtesy of Le Pont Cafe, Abu Dhabi

Oct 3, 2011

Abu Dhabi Culinary Adventures!

On Friday evening we explored one of the UAE's signature restaurants, Teatro at the Park Rotana, Abu Dhabi.  The place was buzzing! Their tag line is, "Where Eastern Cooking Meets Western Cuisine"  with a menu selection that ranges from brick oven pizza to Indian style curries to maki rolls and even dim sum, they stick to their promise and deliver a wide array of eclectic global cuisine, below are a couple of my favorites..... 

Miso Marinted Sea Bass with a crispy Tempura Potato Cake 

Compliments of the manager Geoffrey Boon, we enjoyed this "Baked Hawaiin" dessert.  It consisted of coconut ice cream and golden cake topped with baked meringue served with mango coulis and fresh berries.   With each bite, this scrumptious dessert transported me to a tropical island paradise, it was flavorful and sweet, but not too dense.  The perfect way to end the meal..... 

The following evening we explored another classic restaurant on Yas Island, the Blue Grill. A steak house that captures the classic old world feel, but with a touch of the modern.  For dinner we enjoyed the Peppercorn crusted Wagyu Tenderloin, which was tasty, but I have to say, it didn't taste as tender as the Wagyu Ive had in the past.  Nonetheless, it was a well cooked steak and was served with a Mushroom Tarragon sauce 

We also shared a Butternut squash risotto, which was actually a nice surprise. The risotto had the perfect balance of cream, not too starchy or rich, plus the texture from the Butternut Squash and Peas worked nicely with the Arborio rice. 

The weekend was a non-stop eating frenzy.....with more to come! These 2 restaurants were just a quick stop over.  The actual event this weekend was building up to is the BABY SHOWER of the century.....stay tuned for more on that!