Posts Tagged ‘Bareface’

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.




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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
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!!!!
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

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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.

Chef Khulood

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.

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Recently  I was asked to style an Arabian Lifestyle stock shoot for Arabian Eye. This involved two very talented photographers, Katarina Premfors and Rich Facun and the equally talented cameramen Nick Davidson and Andrew Clemson both from Alchemy. Now, all stock shoots are pretty hectic as the aim is to get as many quality shots as possible but when you have two photographers and film rolling you have to make sure that scenes work from all angles and everyone has a set-up to shoot!!!

I was responsible for the props, wardrobe and food. Luckily I was given two fabulous assistants, Simona and Sandiya to make this all possible. Here is the thing, you cannot do an Arabian Lifestyle shoot without dates and Arabian coffee served from a dalla (Arabian coffee pot). And to convey the Arab culture of hospitality I usually have to buy quite a lot of dates!

The Date, some facts……..
1. The English name as well as the Latin species name comes from the Greek word, daktulos,  which means finger because of it’s elongated shape.
2. Egypt produces the most dates at 1,350,000 metric tonnes and the UAE are 5th at 795,000 metric tonnes per year.
3. Dates are used in savoury dishes such as the Moroccan tagine, sweets such as Ka’ak, the Arabic cookie and in various date desserts popular in the West.
4. Dates are fed to camels, horses and dogs in the Sahara.
5. Traditionally, it is believed that dates can counteract alcoholic intoxication!!!(mmm, not sure about this one!)
6. Dates are a natural laxative so good for preventing constipation!
Well, as I mentioned earlier I am always left with rather a large amount of dates at the end of one of these shoots so I just choose one of the numorous recipes on the internet or from cookbooks for date cakes, date cookies, date squares etc but here is a tasty one called date drop cookies….
1/2 cup , 4 ounces, of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Date filling:
1 pack, 8 ounces, dates, cut up
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1. Bring dates, sugar and water to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until dates are thickened. About 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Cream butter and sugar, stir in egg, water, flour, vanilla, baking soda and salt.
3. Drop cookie dough by the teaspoonful onto a lightly greased cooking sheet.
4. Place  half a teaspoonful of date mixture on top of the cookie dough.
5. Bake at 350 degrees or 180 degrees for 10 to 15 mins.




Share with friends, family and hardworking Bookers in the office. Enjoy your date!

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This summer I decided to visit my friend in New York. I managed to beat Hurricane Irene and get in just before JFK was shut down! It was a blustery  weekend to say the least.

In New York there are over 960,00 restaurants which employ 12.8 million people and this earns $604 million dollars a year! Needless to say I found that during my week in the city  there just wasn’t enough time to eat all the things I wanted to! I sampled food in Little Italy, Chinatown, Chelsea Market , Madison Avenue but there was so much more I didn’t get a chance to taste. Even my friend said she couldn’t keep up with all the delicious and exciting eateries that are constantly opening.

The highlights were Eleven Madison, a five star restaurant in a converted bank where I enjoyed tomato snow!! Amazing! Chelsea Market, a must for all foodies, my first taste of catfish(weird after taste!) at City Island near Orchard Beach, Maialino at Gramercy Park Hotel, pork belly to die for and dim sum in a little place in New Jersey which were incredible and Eataly on 5th Ave full of Italian delights with a beer garden right under the Flatiron Building.

A few facts from 2011:

  • $1.7 billion restaurant-industry sales on a typical day in 2011
  • 80% of restaurant owners started their industry careers at entry-level positions
  • 88% of adults say they enjoy going to restaurants
  • 69% of adults say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers food grown or raised in an organically-friendly way
A huge thanks to Julie, her husband Sung Ho and their gorgeous little Rocco for a fabulous week. I won’t leave it so long before my next visit. xx

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This past year I grew tomatoes, aubergines and peppers only to find myself harvesting one pathetic cherry tomato! Not even a bunch, just the one!!! So I have to hand it to my father when he showed me his vegetable garden. The deal is my mum does the flowers (and the sculptures), and my dad does the veg. Of course they both battle to find enough time to stay on top of the garden but as it seems to be an English national  obsession it is permanently at the top of the ”to do” list!

He has courgettes, (I made a courgette quiche the other day), tomatoes, beetroot, beans, lettuce, leeks and of course rhubarb which just seems to grow itself and has lived in the same corner of the garden since I can remember! I was informed that the rhubarb needed using up! Growing your own means that you not only have a constant stream of fresh and therefore delicious vegetables but it also forces you to make dishes that you probably wouldn’t make everyday.

As my brother and his family were coming over for Sunday lunch I decided to use the rhubarb in an adaptation of the very traditional English summer dessert, Eton mess. Eton mess is a dish of strawberries, cream and meringue mixed together and has been around since the early 19th century and was traditionally served at the annual cricket match between Eton college and Winchester college. The great thing about it is it’s so quick, easy and tasty. (if you like creamy desserts)

Rhubarb Mess

1. Peel the rhubarb to get rid of the stringy bits.

2. Chop into chunks and put in a pan with sugar and cinnamon.

3. Simmer until soft and leave to cool.

4.Whip some double cream and add sugar to taste. Mix in the rhubarb compote.

5. Before serving fold in the crushed meringue. If this is done too early the meringue will dissolve and the texture will be lost.

6. Serve chilled in individual bowls or glasses.

Styling tip: Glupey food should be served in smaller containers or dishes so it looks more attractive!

Now, rhubarb is an acquired taste due to its tartness. So I was not at all surprised when, after their first mouthfuls, I got a unanimous, ”I don’t like it!!!!!!” from my two little nieces. Luckily I had some mini magnums as back-up!

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The one-piece is back! Check out these amazing swimsuits from Ralph Lauren, Moschino, Roberto Cavalli and Dolce&Gabbana, all featured in this months edition of Tatler. What better way to enjoy the summer that with delicious ice lollies and ice cream. Make your own ice lollies with fresh fruit juices or try a new flavour ice cream.

Food styling tip:

To avoid ice lollies from frosting over, blow on them using a straw or use compressed air such as ‘Dust Off’.

 Try  green tea ice cream served with shiratama dumplings (rice flour) and sweet adzuki bean paste, available at most Japanese restaurants. This desert always reminds me of summer in Tokyo.

Food styling tip:

Make fake ice cream using icing sugar and food colouring, see ‘I Scream for Ice cream’ blog. I used acylic paint as well to get the colour right on this ice cream.

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