The world seems to divide into two, those who like the smell of petrol and those who prefer the smell of chlorine, those who like wet food and those who prefer dry food. I definitely prefer wet food! Soups, stews, pies, tagines etc (the thought of nibbling on a dry ryvita makes me recoil in horror). Last week I was at Taste of Dubai as all self respecting foodies would have been and met up with some colleagues from work. I got chatting to Suzanne, our Bareface Entertainment Booker and realised that she has taken wet food to another level! Suzanne explained to me that she will not actually eat something unless it has an accompanying sauce, gravy, dip or relish to go with it. Her main gripe is that the proportion of sauce to main dish is often very inadequate and so she ends up leaving half the food on her plate uneaten. I have to agree with her, when I cook a roast I make buckets of gravy to go with it.
”A sauce is a liquid, creaming or semi-solid food served on or used in preparing other foods. Sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavour, moisture and visual appeal to another dish. Sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsa meaning salted.
Sauces may be used for savoury dishes or deserts. they can be prepared cold and served cold like mayonnaise, prepared cold and served luke warm like pesto, or can be cooked and served warm like béchamel or cooked and served cold like apple sauce.
A cook who specialises in making sauces is a saucier.” (wikipedia)
I recently did a sauce shoot with photographer Hikmat W and W Studio for Delicio which is an Omani based company specialising in dressings and pasta sauces.
Now the problem with many sauces are that they can be calorific so here is a delicious healthy recipe for ketchup which is known for its high sugar content (and so often a favourite of children, my god daughter eats it off her plate with hand!!!). Check out more low cal recipes on Spark People.
Minutes to Prepare: 5 Minutes to Cook: 15 Number of Servings: 100
Tomato Paste, 1 can (6 oz) (remove)
*Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, 3 tsp (remove)
Cider Vinegar, .75 cup (remove)
Garlic powder, 1 tsp (remove)
*Onion powder, 1 tsp (remove)
Salt, 4 tsp (remove)
In medium sauce pan place tomato paste and stir until smooth. Slowly add in splenda, water, and vinegar, continuing to stir until smooth. Place over low heat, add all other ingredients and bring to simmer while stirring. Refrigerate after cooling. Makes about 100 tablespoon servings.
Saucy Suzanne eating sauce!!!!
Posted in food tips & techniques, personal, recipes, Shoots, Uncategorized | Tagged Bareface, delicio, Food Photography, Hikmat W, ketchup, sauce | Leave a Comment »
I recently went back to Japan to celebrate my Grandmother’s 95th birthday. I travelled around visiting temples, old friends and well, eating! Every other shop in Japan is a food shop of some kind whether it is a restaurant, cafe, bar, speciality bakery or supermarket. It is quite strange how the Japanese manage to stay so thin!! Every restaurant and cafe has a window display of fake food showcasing their menu. This food is all made of resin but is so incredibly well done that it is by looking at this plastic food you decide what you feel like eating.( It is also a godsend for any bemused foreigner who is struggling to make sense of a Japanese menu!)
Kappabashi is an area of Tokyo which is famous for kitchen shops, restaurant retail shops, amazing Japanese knife shops and plastic food shops. I signed up for a one hour course on how to make fake food. They taught us the traditional method of using wax instead of resin. (All this food was made of wax originally until resin was decided to be longer lasting) It was facsinating!! We made lettuce and tempura….
I then treated myself to a couple of kits where you can do this at home… just for fun! As you do!
And Voila! A delicious plastic and silicon ice cream sundae!! You can order these kits online at www.ganso-sample.com. The instructions are in Japanese but there are very good diagrams to follow.
Posted in personal, Uncategorized | Tagged Food styling workshops, Ganso Sample, Ice Sundae, Kappabashi, plastic food, Tokyo | 1 Comment »
Recently I was asked by the luxury silverware brand, Cristofle to work with them to create a unique event. We decided to do it in two parts, one aim was to showcase their gorgeous mini trays and the other was to show how the tray can be the centrepiece of party presentation and is not just something that drinks are brought in on, to then be put back in the kitchen, especially when they are as beautiful as these Cristofle trays!
Breakfast in Bed
Emirati New Year
These were shot by Photographer Edwina Cottino using trays from the Vertigo, Jardin d’Eden and Royal Cisile ranges.We actually shot seven varieties including Emirati sushi , French deserts as well canapes set out as the Emirati flag and the idea was to present food gifts to your guests not unlike the Japanese bento box where food is beautifully presented for the individual.
The second part of our tray event was a VIP party, kindly hosted by Sheika al Qamze at her beautiful house. We set out a Christofle tray extravaganze on her seven meter dining room table. The format was based on the traditional Jardin a la Francaise, (you have to imagine the beautifully kept gardens of Versaille) where geometry and negative space is the key. The event was a huge success and everyone enjoyed the new ideas we brought to the table as well aseating the delicious food!!
A huge thank you to Gwendoline Fontaine and her team, Marie Elena and Farah from Christofle, to the Hyatt Regency for their exquisite food and to Shereen Saifudeen from Havas PR. Look out for more coverage in Dec edition of Marie Claire UAE and Russian Emirates. Christofle can be found at Dubai Mall, MOE and Tanagra at Wafi so don’t forget to put a a little silver tray on the Christmas list. They are adorable!
Posted in food tips & techniques, personal, Uncategorized | Tagged Christofle, food styling, Hyatt Regency, Party decoration, silver tray | Leave a Comment »
I have just returned from a great new experience! I was working on a tv cookery program with Emirati Chef, Chef Khulood Atiq for Abu Dhabi TV. As I work mainly on stills and tv comercials it was great to see how a tv program is put together. Our set was modern and clean, white and turquoise with accents of red props including red Kenwood machines which I was of course pleased to see.
I was in charge of setting the themed table on set as each episode has a different them and styling the dishes for the close up shots.
The control room was upstairs where the director David Coyle from the UK would switch from camera 2 to camera 3, back to close ups on camera 1 etc. I however spent most of my time in either the props room or in the back kitchen which got fairly chaotic on a daily basis!
This is where we prepped all the ingredients and made some of the dishes ahead of time. ”Here’s one I made earlier!!”
I have been trying to get more knowledge of Emirati food and it is surprisingly hard to find this information so I was grateful to Chef Khulood who works as a Emirati Food Consultant for TDIC (Tourism Development & Investment Company) who taught me so much. She cooked everything from Semach Al Hasho, stuffed fish to Sagaw, sago. We also diversified into Emirati sushi made with rocca and spiced hammour and Emirati pizza. I have learned that saffron, cardamom powder, sugar, flour and ghee are key ingredients in Emirati cuisine.
I have to say a huge thank you to Executive Producer-Charbel who did everything from buying props to washing the dead goat in the shower! Script Writer and ingredients coordinator Susie who taught me Arabic everyday and Assistant Executive Producer-Jaad who spent most of his time in the supermarket but kept us all entertained, all from Firehorse in Lebanon.
And yes, the last episode was cooking a whole goat in true Emirati style! It was the first time I had seen one being prepared for cooking and now I can definitely say I have styled a baby goat. Always a winner on the CV!!!!
Watch Sarareed with Chef Khulood on Abu Dhabi Emirates channel everyday throughout Ramadan at 3pm.
Posted in Shoots, Uncategorized | Tagged Abu Dhabi TV, Bareface, Chef Khulood, David Coyle, Firehorse, Kenwood | Leave a Comment »
The pomegranate is an ancient fruit originating from Persia. Its’ sweet, sour seeds glisten like little rubies. It is a fruit that for centuries has represented prosperity, ambition and fertility. There are records of the pomegranate in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, Greek mythology, the Quran, the Bible and in Hinduism. ” Shrouded in history, myth and legend, some say the pomegranate was the original forbidden fruit found by Eve in the Garden of Eden” Julie Le Clerc. Today the pomegranate is grown all over the world from the US to Japan and is revered for being a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B5 and potassium. Pomegranates are also high-fiber and full of nutrients and studies have shown it can reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure!
Last week I was at Bloomingdale’s with fellow food blogger Nausheen from Dubai Bites and Sally from My Custard Pie for the book signing of Ariana Bundy’s gorgeous cookbook ”Pomegranates and Roses”. It is a cookery book that features traditional Iranian recipes that have been handed down for generations. The book is more than a cookbook being so personal, with old family photos and illustrations. It is beautifully styled with Ariana and her mother sourcing all the props themselves. We were treated to an array of delicious canapes from the book and cookery demonstration using pomegranate molasses.
Personally, I have very fond memories of eating pomegranates, there was this sudden craze at school where we would bring in a half a pomegranate (I think they were quite expensive in England at that time!) for our morning break snack and we used to sit together picking all the seeds out, sharing and chatting like little old ladies! Ahh, the good ol’ days!!!
image 1,2 mary-kei, image 5 tartelette, image 6 tamarhammer, image 7 family spice
Posted in personal, Uncategorized | Tagged Ariana Bundy, Bloomingdale's, dubai bites, my custard pie, Pomegranates, Pomegranates and Roses | 1 Comment »
Last week I was lucky enough to attend a food photography and styling course here in Dubai. It was held by Meeta K Wolff who is the author of the very successful ‘Whats for lunch Honey?’ blog. It was organized by Sally Prosser of My Custard Pie blog fame and was held at Nasimi Beach at Atlantis where I have to say we were totally spoilt! We had cocktail demonstrations and cooking demonstrations from their talented chefs as well as a full on Arabian banquet in the evening where all course attendees got to know each other better after our first day of learning. It was great to talk and share with other bloggers and foodies.
It was very inspirational to hear how Meeta has developed her skills of photography and food styling over the years driven by her love of food and to learn of the success she is now experiencing. I personally learnt a lot about my camera, what I want from my camera and how to use it as a proper tool.
Cocktails and Chefs
On day two we all met at Lafayette Gourmet at Galleries Lafayette for a guided tour by Chef Russell and for more photography challenges!
Meeta showing us how its done!!
A huge thank you to Meeta, Sally and Alison from Nasimi for all the effort and organization that went into this inspiring course!
Posted in food tips & techniques, personal, Shoots, Uncategorized | Tagged Atlantis, cocktails, dubai, Food Photography, Food styling workshops, Food Stylist, Galleries Lafayette, Lafayette Gourmet, Meeta K Wolff, Nasimi beach, sally Prosser | 2 Comments »
Last week I was kindly invited to the sparkling Cavalli Club for dinner and wine.
It was evening to celebrate Tenuta Degli Dei which is the wine created by Tommaso and Roberto Cavalli. I had a chance to ask the charming Tomasso about his love of wine and he explained that he has chosen a variety of different grapes to grow instead of the traditional chianti as he wanted to create something new and exciting as well as in respect to the neighbouring established chianti vineyards. He said that his wine is still young at 10 years and that it takes time for a wine to develop a mood. We were offered Le Redini 2009 and the Tenuta Degli Dei 2007 with our meal. I was fortunate enough to be sitting next to fellow blogger Sarah, the Hedonista, who is quite the wine expert and encouraged me to smell the raspberry and blackcurrant and explained about the pepper which comes from the skin and seeds of the berry. I preferred Le Redini which is 90% merlot and was slightly lighter.
Our delicious menu started with seared scallops (my fave) wrapped in smoked duck on a morel risotto, an amuse of leek followed by Mesquite smoked Black Angus, crisp potatoes, earth salad and smoked tomato cream. I asked Tomasso what food he likes to eat most and he said he cooks a mean steak! he did also say that Japanese food is a firm favourite and when travelling he always looks for the best sushi restaurant.We finished our meal with dark chocolate Molleux with heart of caramel and a very alcoholic glass of Grappa!
We were entertained by a very beautiful opera singer and as the night went on the restaurant filled with more and more beautiful people, wealthy men, women dressed head to toe in sequins(I think it’s the Cavalli Club dress code!), fabulous shoes and so many pairs of perfect eyebrows! I don’t live in this land of bedazzle but I do enjoy visiting every so often. It was a great night meeting fellow bloggers, eating delicious food and indulging in ever flowing wine. A huge thanks to our kind hosts Camellia, Zahirah and Sheamus from Pragma PR Agency.
For Reservations to dine at the Cavalli Club call 04 332 9260 or 050 856 6044 or email@example.com
Posted in personal, Uncategorized | Tagged Cavalli Club, Pragma, Tenuta Degli Dei, Tomasso Cavalli | Leave a Comment »