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This week I was invited to dinner at Mo’s which is a comfortable restaurant with cute design features open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is very much American Diner. “A stylish place to have a home-cooked meal” as my dining partner T put it.

The menu offers a lot of choice with salads, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, sundaes, cakes, ice creams with up to 22 toppings and of course milkshakes. We started with cheese quesadillas and spicy buffalo wings. I have to say I’m not a huge fan of quesadillas but these were very good and I loved the spicy buffalo sauce.

To follow we tried the TNT shrimp tacos, which had a good kick to it, and the Kobe beef meatloaf which came with the most delicious bacon, spring onion mash.

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To drink we both indulged in a milkshake, the milkshake choice is extensive, T choosing the Nutella shake and myself having the date milkshake, both were delicious and came in traditional parlour glasses with the extra in the shakers for a top up!! All important! After deliberating for a while between the coconut cream cake and Jim’s 3 layer carrot cake (Jim being the COO) we decided to finish our meal with the Brownie a la MO’s which was a chewy, guey home baked chocolate brownie. We  shared!

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Mo’s also offers an extensive kids menu with both fish fingers and chicken nuggets cooked fresh at the restaurant. Kids also eat for free every Sunday!!

Check out their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MosDubai

Now I don’t often indulge in a milkshake but it was quite a treat! I then started to wonder how a milkshake differs from a smoothie.

” The main difference between smoothies and milk shakes is that the principal ingredient of the smoothie is fruit whereas the principle ingredient of the milkshake is ice cream.”

This has inspired me to combine the two and make a milkshake  smoothie, a SHOOTHIE ….

Strawberry and Blueberry Shoothie:

6 large strawberries, handful of blueberries, 6 ice cubes, 1 cup of milk and 2 scoops of strawberry ice cream. Add extra ice cream or honey to sweeten if necessary. Mix in blender and enjoy!

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Recently I was asked to style a feature for BBC Good Food Magazine, ‘A Day in the Life of a Kitchen’. The venue chosen was the new Sapori Di Bice on Citywalk, Jumeirah. It is a large, bright, airy restaurant, with a welcoming atmosphere. The latest venture of the Bice group, Sapori Di Bice is more family friendly offering all day dining from breakfasts to lunch, tea and cakes, gelato and of course dinner. They do kids parties where kids can go up to the large pizza counter and make their own pizzas! They are even introducing gluten free pastas and organic mozzarella but what was so special about our day was that every member of staff helped and looked after us in the kindest way. Even when I accidentally broke one of their display boxes, the very good looking Head Waiter was more than happy to hammer it together with some kitchen utensil the Head Chef handed to him!!! Amazing!!!

 

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I had the Ravioli alla Massala for lunch which is a homemade ravioli stuffed with veal and spinach in wild mushroom cream sauce.  It was excellent! Of course all this hospitality just meant our photoshoot, shot by Avi Chatterjee, went extremely smoothly and the results can be seen in this months issue of BBC Good Food.

 

 

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A massive thank you to Sudeshna Ghosh and Nicola Monteath from BBC Good Food, Avi Chatterjee, photographer and Gianpiero Ciceri ,Restaurant Manager and Chef Luca from Sapori Di Bice.

 

 

Skinney Genie Genius

skinnygenie logoI have been on a bit of a blogoliday as work has been super busy but there is so much going on here in Dubai it is time to return and share. The most recent of my new discoveries is a great new company called Skinny Genie. Well, we all know that bread is the enemy, and if not the enemy then a friend that you only visit on rare occasions but maybe not anymore. Skinny Genie is a boutique bakery that makes all their products, breads, muffins, cookies, quiches and party canapés etc gluten free. Not only are their products gluten free but often sugar free replacing sugar with agave syrup or using a fruit puree in place of butter and oil. Genius!

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Skinny Genie was started by Yann Jolivet and Sheikha Maryam al Qassimi. Yann explained that he was just a little tired of the same old offerings here in Dubai and decided it was time to introduce something more exciting and healthier, hence muffin flavours such as cranberry, barberry, lemon and sunflower seeds or date, orange blossom, cardamom and coconut. These can be purchased online straight out of the oven or products can be bought at outlets such as Milk and Honey, Cafe Nero and Spill the Bean amongst others. I am sure that in the coming few months these delicious baked goods will be appearing in more and more outlets. I also noticed whilst I was nosing around the bakery “lab” that there were jars of  gourmet sugar free jams and dare I say it, a sugar free, low fat chocolate spread….. True Genius!!!

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Check out their website www.skinny-genie.com or give them a call!

Dil and the Bear

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I have a friend called Dil who is a very talented cook (and a very talented artist and interior designer as well!). She left us in Dubai a few years ago to move back to Tynemouth to set up her dream cafe which is exactly what she has done. ‘Dil and the Bear’ opened two months ago and I have just been to check it out while helping out with a bit of scone making! (way more stressful than I anticipated!!!)

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As these images show the food is to die for, everything is homemade with love and care and coupled with the impeccable interior details, you get a cafe that you want to visit time and again. And there are plenty of regulars who are already popping in on a daily basis!

One thing I was over the moon to taste again was Dil’s breakfast pie. Dil used to make this for us when she used to cater our photo shoots in Dubai.  It is sausage, spinach, egg and tomato all in a puff pastry pie crust!!! Genius! Served with her homemade baked beans you can’t really ask for more.(she serves the baked beans in gorgeous grey enamel mugs)

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Breakfast Pie!!!

Congratulations to Dil and her brother Paul for achieving so much. And of course to their small army of young staff. Thank you for feeding me this weekend, it was a huge treat!! If you happen to be in the area it is definitely worth a visit (18 Front Street, Tynemouth)

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Nane Nane

Last week I was at Nane (no.8 in Swahili), Kasa Beach in Tanzania. I went for a bit of down time with my friend Dennie, hair and beauty consultant and owner of Nane. What a treat to be somewhere with no electricity, phones or internet but only the view of the sea, the passing monkeys in the trees and the exotic birds to look at. It was definitely very therapeutic and many who have stayed at her place have ended up making positive life changes on their return home. With no distractions it forces you to assess your life and take stock!

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My room for the week!

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Tea on the terrace….

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One evening, Merci the cook at the Lodge came up to Nane to cook one of her own African dishes, Kuku Siri (Secret Chicken)

Ingredients, serves two:

2 Chicken Breasts

Cabbage or Spinach

Carrots, Onions, Green Pepper

4 Eggs

Salt, Pepper, Vinegar, Curry powder

1. Marinate the chicken breast in salt, pepper, vinegar and a little curry powder at leave in the fridge for 20 mins.

2. Julienne the cabbage, carrots, onions and green pepper and saute with salt and pepper to taste. Put to one side.

3. Pan fry the chicken breasts until cooked through.

4. Whisk the eggs and pour half the mixture in a frying pan to make a flat omelette. When cooked place the chicken in the centre of the egg and heap half the julienned veg on top. Fold the omelette over the chicken and veg like a parcel and gently flip it out onto a plate ready to serve. Repeat with the second piece of chicken.

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To stay at Nane contact Dennie on  00971 (0) 508520557 or go to her website http://www.denniepasion.com for more details.

Saucy Suzanne

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)

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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.

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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
Ingredients
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)
Directions
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.
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Saucy Suzanne eating sauce!!!!
1. Donna Hay, 2. Bill Granger, 3. http://www.preparedpantry.com, 4. http://www.simplyrecipes.com, 5.www.mixgreensblog.com, 6.www.femail.com.au

Plastic Fantastic

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!)

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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….

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I then treated myself to a couple of kits where you can do this at home… just for fun! As you do!

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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.