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In partnership with

@foodemagdxb: We are proud to launch our new wellness category ‘Balance’ with a very special campaign #BringBackBalance in collaboration with Oman Insurance Company (OIC) and @bupaglobal. Research shows that many health problems are related to stress. High blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, depression and more, could be a result of stress. #BringBackBalance is created to recognise that STRESS is a concern but you can manage it. Join us for a series of bespoke events with wellness practitioners, nutritionists and experiences shared by real people like you and me. More on


Taste Of Ethiopia



Do you ever stop to think about where your daily coffee comes from? We do … and we ask you one question:

Why should your coffee travel around the world before it gets to your cup? Most Ethiopian coffee in the UAE and Middle East is purchased by large coffee importers, it’s then shipped to the US or Australia before being imported to this region. We think differently! We source and import fresh high grade organic Ethiopian Coffee directly from small farms in Harar, Ethiopia. But the story don’ts just stop there. We then roast the coffee here in our own roastery and are able to provide coffee to our consumers just a few weeks after it’s been picked.

We truly believe that you can Taste the difference! Welcome to Boon Coffee!

We are a small boutique Ethiopian coffee company based in Dubai founded by Orit Mohammed, a passionate coffee lover and entrepreneur. Find us at our coffee shop in JLT, and The Farmers Market on The Terrace. Enjoy our exclusive blends roasted for La Serre, Baker & Spice, The Change Initiative and Galeries Lafayette. The origin of coffee, pure and simple

Edition 15, February 2017

Connect with us

What makes you happy? If you have been able to figure that out already, your life's really sorted then!

Balance - that's a tough word. Hope you have settled well into 2017! For me, the year has already started in the fast forward mode. This year I have promised myself that I am only moving forward and I am going to 'work' on making myself happy. Yes, that has become a work too!

Ishita B Saha Editor & Co-Founder T/FB/Instagram: @ishitaunblogged Debbie Rogers Editor & Business Head FB/Instagram: @coffeecakesandrunning T: @bettyboodubai For Advertising & Marketing, email Debbie Rogers.

Prior permission for all editorial content and images have been obtained from contributors and featured sources. Images are sourced from authors for their respective articles unless mentioned otherwise. We have also taken measures to ensure that the info and data mentioned here are accurate. However, we take no responsibility for any factual error or for any misinterpretation, if there have been any. [Cover shot and concept: Ishita B Saha]

We are very excited to launch our new Wellness category called 'Balance' with a special campaign called #BringBackBalance in collaboration with Oman Insurance Company (OIC) and Bupa Global. A series of bespoke events follow at various venues for the next few months, the first one kick starting at Tesoro, Taj Dubai. We are also very happy to have Verve Marketing & Communications on board as our PR & Marketing Partner for this campaign. Why Balance? I feel that we are ignoring the simple basics that used to bring us happiness. What makes me happy? When I cook for my family, when I listen to my girls' non-stop chatter, when I plan our family holidays with my husband and the girls, when I sit up cozy with my close friends over drinks and good food, when I see the sun rise and set every day, when I blog and... when I dance! Yet, I am not making time for all of these as much as I should because... in my mind there is too much happening - both in my work and personal life. And not being able to do what makes ME happy, have added up to my guilt, disrupting my happiness even more. STRESS. Yes, it's the factor called STRESS that has probably gotten into me just like many of you. We feel we have too many things on our plates. What we really want is for you focus more on yourself, your mind and the surroundings that we live in and happiness shall follow. Come, join us in our gentle crusade on STRESS, a not so gentle issue that's slowly afflicting our lives, whether we recognise it or not. Let us lend our voices to each other and let's #BringBackBalance!

Ishita B Saha, Editor & Co-Founder

Ishita is obsessed with street food and learning about culinary cultures across the world. She aspires to travel the world with her family - husband and two daughters – the Z-Sisters, and dreams about writing a book on Bengali cuisine, the kind that can be passed on as a wedding trousseau to her daughters.

Coffee, Cakes & Confessions! Happy New Year! Well, it’s our first issue since December so it’s never too late to wish you all a Happy New Year. We are delighted to launch this issue with Balance, our new Wellness section.

Trying to get a balance for food has always been an issue for me. I have a sweet tooth, it runs in the family, but my body is beginning not to like sugar and actually that’s not such a bad thing. Eating out is about ordering what I feel like and being a bit indulgent, eating at home is more about cooking from scratch and trying to make healthy swops when possible.

Why Balance? Ishita and I debated this long and hard, and in the end, concluded that what makes us healthy and happy is all about getting balance in our life. We’re not talking about the scales so much as balancing the good times with the bad times, the healthy eats with the indulgent treats. Finding time for family, for friends and for our self. It’s about not seeing everything as extremes, but more about finding the way that balances needs, wants, dreams and desires, essentials and nice-to-haves as well as ‘must do’s. It’s about finding the right balance to allow us ways to live and enjoy life in ever changing times. You won’t’ find us advocating one particular way of anything, after all who are we to do that? Instead we want to provide you with information and content based on our experiences, and from some of our carefully selected featured experts. Providing enough information to peak an interest, or to leave you to find out more, but without preaching that ‘xyz’ is the only way, the best way etc – at the end of the day, balance is about everyone finding the right level of balance that works for them which is an art in itself. Read more about what I’m doing to work towards balance later.

Debbie Rogers, Editor & Business Head

Debbie shares her experiences through the joys of eating and travelling, as well as the pains and gains of exercise. She is passionate about Food, Baking, Cooking, Travel, Exercise and Specialty Coffee.

Our Specialist Panel Sally Prosser, Food Sourcing Expert In her own words... ‘I am a food blogger, a keen eater… of GOOD food…. and for me that’s about using the best, freshest, tastiest ingredients cooked from scratch.’ Who else can we trust with our food sourcing and market round ups, but Sally? We are proud to have this award-winning conscientious blogger in our panel.

Prachi Grover, Kids Columnist Prachi declares that her blog has ‘recipes that we have tried and appreciated, cooking victories and failures, kitchen and food related DIY projects that we are working on and more'. We refers to Prachi and Sara, her 8 year old little chefling, whom we have lovingly adopted as our own contributing little expert! Prachi is a Super Ambassador of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Programme.

Special Mentions

Chef Jitin Joshi Executive Chef at Taj Dubai

Chef Aabhas Mehrotra Chef de Cuisine at Tesoro, Taj Dubai




Where to buy Cheese in Dubai?

12 16

Cooking with Kids The Sandwich Substitute

Special Feature

Tesoro Dubai



Diane Henry, Kalyan Karmakar, Dima Sharif

28 34

Dubai Dining


20 26




Balance Recipes

Special Recipes from Tesoro, Taj Dubai

40 Dubai Dining

La Dolce Vita Brunch, Andiamo

Drip House CafĂŠ

Culinary Travel

Doing Dubai Differently Dinner in the Sky

46 48

Georgia; Recipes - Khachapuri, Chkmeruli, Tkmeli, Caesar Mushrooms in Claypot

Mediterranean Market Brunch, Morah Dubai

42 44

Specialty Coffee

Dubai Dining

Balance Retreat Alma Retreat


Note: Some of the articles and/or recipes in this edition may contain reference to alcohol and other ingredients without intentions to hurt any religious sentiment.



Don't just say Cheese, eat it... where to buy in Dubai? By Sally Prosser

La Cave a Fromage

Tucked away on the back wall of this space dedicated to good food, my eyes boggled when I first saw the varying sizes, shapes and colours of the vast array of cheese. Managed by some seriously nerdy cheesemongers, this is the very best selection of European cheese you will find. My previous gripe was where were all the British cheeses, however they now stock an incredible range including a nutty Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop, a raw milk Derby (from the Staffordshire Cheese Company) and a farmhouse Caerphilly. It’s a blue cheese lover’s haven. Chef Russell Impiazzi of Lafayette Gourmet recommends his favourite soft, hard and blue cheeses as Xavier David Saint Marcellin, Testun al Foglie di Castagno -wrapped in chestnut leaves - and Devon Blue (one of my favourites too). La Cave a Fromage is located in Lafayette Gourmet, Galeries Lafayette, Dubai Mall.

Jones the Grocer

,, 12

Cheese. Melted on toast. Grated over a hot baked potato and mashed into the steaming flesh. Running off the plate and chased with a cracker. Sliced into a sandwich, primped with pickle. Liquid and bubbling in a fondue. Sprinkled over pasta, melted on pizza. When my daughter goes vegan the most difficult thing to replace is cheese. Where to find the best cheeses in Dubai? Let me show you my favourite haunts for this wonderful stuff – plus where I go for vegan cheese.


I’ve spent many a happy time in the special cheese rooms in the Jones the Grocer shops at the Al Manara branch and more recently the new one in the Dusit hotel. The cheese is well stored and displayed; you can taste before you buy and all from small, specialist producers. It’s top of my ‘go-to’ list for my Christmas Stilton. Their exclusive partnership with Paxton and Whitfield (the oldest cheesemongers in England established in 1797) has brought new British treasures but they are strong on French, Spanish and other European specialist cheeses too. Royal warrant holders Paxton and Whitfield make all sorts of crackers, biscuits, chutneys and preserves to go with cheese so you could be munching on the same favourites as the British Royal family. Bonus tip: Register for their cheese club and cheese-tasting nights. Jones the Grocer, Sheikh Zayed Road (opposite Times Square) and in the Dusit Al Thani.

Image on this page: Sally Prosser

A fruit platter with Blue Cheese

Brie Cheese

Blue Cheese

Images on this page: Pixabay

#Markets Market and Platters

An assorted vegan cheese platter created by Chef Athena Matheou

Known for their seafood platters, this gourmet paradise has over fifty different types of cheese. The majority are from France, supplied by producer Beillevaire, and there’s a good range of cow, goat and sheep’s milk cheese mainly from raw milk. Enthusiastic and helpful service, Chef Ray recommends his favourite soft, hard and blue cheeses as Brie de Meaux, Comte and Forme D’Ambert. Market and Platters is located in Marina Pinnacle Tower, Dubai Marina.


Don’t be overwhelmed by the array or the prices at Eataly in Dubai Mall. Some canny shopping will uncover a few gems. My tip is to buy a huge block of their Grana Padano. It may seem expensive to fork out 100 aed in one go but it’s the best value for this quality in the whole of Dubai. Store it well and it will last for ages too. Bonus tip: Keep an eye out for their occasional events, which includes a class on making mozzarella. Eataly is located in Dubai Mall.


Before all the specialist choice we had Carrefour and it’s still a good bet for cheese if you choose wisely. Ignore the array of mass produced block ‘Cheddars’ and plastic looking stuff. Go for individual whole cheeses from small French producers. The Mont D’or (only available in winter) is very good value (if kept a bit too cold). Leave to ripen in your own fridge and remove well before serving to come to room temperature. Carrefour Hypermarkets are located in various locations across Dubai.

Recommended Cheesy tip: Meat the Cheese night at Cave in The Conrad Dubai. Enjoy an evening of unlimited servings of curated artisanal cheese, charcuterie and wines - both red and white, every Tuesday from 7:00pm till 11:00pm for AED 245/person.

Chef Athena Matheou's special diet helped her Dad lose 22 kgs and also reverse his Type 2 Diabetes and doesn't need to inject insulin anymore.

Images: Sally Prosser & Ishita B Saha


Vegan Cheese

All cheese is a processed food but at one end of the scale it can be packed full of E numbers and ‘matured’ with chemicals in days rather than months, and resemble plastic rather than food. Simple farmhouse methods relied on the alchemy of combining milk with a starter and letting the unique natural forces in the atmosphere do the rest. A cheese maker told me that most cheese is made with vegetarian rennet these days even if not mentioned on the label. My issue with vegan cheese is that when you read the label it has too many ingredients that wouldn’t normally find their way into my kitchen. I’ve had a go at making various nut cheeses at home, but they don’t give you the melt factor when cooking. Having said that, it's different with Chef Athena, a committed vegan chef of Supernatural Kitchen in Lafayette Gourmet. Athena makes artisan raw vegan cheese in small batches which take up to two weeks to make depending on the variety. Instead of milk products they use cashews and vegan probiotics from which they are able to create fresh sliceable soft cheese, cream cheese, medium hard air-dehydrated cheese with a rind, and a firm cheese which is also air dried. The flavours are intense and convincingly ‘cheesy’ plus they add other herbs and spices for interest such as chilli paprika, fresh lemon and thyme, truffle, chive, Italian herb, pink peppercorn and smoked sea salt. You can find the packet stuff in Jones the Grocer, Tidjoori (800 pizza and Freedom pizza use it in their vegan pizzas) and Be Supernatural Kitchen., www. FoodeMag #Handpicked

Be Supernatural Kitchen

Vegan Cheese platter at Be Supernatural Kitchen.

We met Chef Athena in Be Supernatural Kitchen, the Fully Raw Vegan Restaurant that seeks to connect between food, health, body and mind. The menu has been revamped and the dishes that we tasted not only looked beautiful, but tasted delicious as well. We believe that the reason one turns into Vegan should be based on one's inner belief and philosophy rather than resorting to what is currently a trend. But if you do turn strictly Vegan and do not want to eat anything that contain animal products, honey, gluten, dairy and refined sugar, then at least there is one place to serve you vegan Spring Rolls, Tom Kha soup, North Indian curry with Cauliflower rice to Truffle Beetroot Ravioli. And not to mention the vegan Cheesecake!




what do you drink in Dubai? By Debbie Rogers

Look at your desk, your table or in your car – what do you see? What beverage is beside you? Is it a glass of water, a cup of tea or a mug of coffee? In the US, water is the second most popular drink, after soft drinks, a figure that shocked me when I did some research. Our body is made up of between 55% to 78% water and water is essential to good health. Water keeps our body hydrated and is essential to health as almost every cell in the body needs water to function properly. We can survive for more than three weeks without food - Mahatma Gandhi survived 21 days of complete starvation — but water is a different story. The maximum time an individual can go without water seems to be a week — an estimate that is certainly much shorter in difficult conditions, such as intense heat.


Images: Pixabay

From a nutrition point of view it has no calories, no fat, carbohydrates or sugar and can help with feeling full particularly if you are looking to lose some weight. Aside from ‘running of the body’ mentioned above, water plays an essential part in our day to day life and wellbeing. Keeping properly hydrated is essential since dehydration can have a major effect on energy levels, brain function and physical performance – it’s even more important to stay hydrated if you exercise particularly in our hot climate. Dehydration can impact on how we feel and can trigger headaches in some people as well as lead to constipation and kidney stones for others. Water is essential for our body’s heating and cooling system too.


more than just H2O!

World Water Day World Water Day (recommended by the United Nationals Conference on Environment and Development) is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The theme for 2017 World Water Day is Wastewater.

Water is the driving force of all nature. — Leonardo da Vinci



#Ingredient Infused Water Infused water is also known as Detox water, and can be made very easily by combining the following: • fresh fruits • fresh vegetables • fresh herbs • spices such as roasted cumin powder, cinnamon

Method: Immerse the ingredients in water and let it infuse for at least an hour. A few combinations that work well - lemon, basil and mint; strawberry, lime and cucumber, oranges and blueberries, kiwi and cucumber, watermelon and lemon etc. Serve chilled with crushed ice, fizz it up if you would like and you have a healthy alternative to your regular soda.

How MUCH should we drink? The common recommendation is to drink 8 x 8 ounce glass per day (roughly 2 litres) but some individuals need more than this, and living in a hot climate and/or exercising has an impact too. Regular hydration seems to be the trick, keeping a full water bottle or glass close to you and drinking when you are thirsty is a common trick which works for many. Does it have to be PLAIN water? Absolutely not, you can hydrate with in many ways: • Heat water up and make it into tea or coffee • Add herbs and/or edible flowers to make a detox/ refreshing drink • Add slices of citrus fruit to make it citrus • Chill it in the fridge • Drink it still or sparkling, use it to dilute fruit juice • Add cucumber and/or soft fruit to add a different taste • Eat fruit & vegetables with a high water percentage (eg cucumber, water melon, and many other fruits & vegetables)

...continued Water in Dubai The water that comes from your kitchen tap is desalinated water (sea water) which has had the salt removed, been filtered and treated to prevent bacteria growth and then converted into safe drinking water. In general, it’s perfectly safe to drink this water, however before the water makes it to your tap, it’s usually stored in an on-site water tank which needs to be regularly maintained and if not could cause issues. Lots of people don’t drink tap water, and instead choose to drink purified or mineral water either bought by the bottle or supplied in large water dispensers typically in 5 gallon bottles (19 litres). Aside from the taste and quality of the water, and the practicalities of having it delivered or carrying it home from the shops, things to consider include the cost and environmental impact of disposing large amounts of water bottles which are generally sent to landfill and not. Other options When I moved to Dubai I started with a subscription bottle service and was easily getting through 2-3 large water containers a week but more recently have moved to been trying a Zip Water tap which has been installed in my kitchen and replaces my normal tap and my kettle too! The tap and the under-counter control centre is a clever piece of kit which has really impressed me. Water from the building water tank is processed through a micro filter removing any dirt or contaminants and can be dispensed directly from the tap. Filtered water can be chilled and/or served carbonated as the unit is also attached to a small C02 bottle. In addition, there is also a hot water facility which dispenses boiling hot water suitable for making tea/coffee at the press of a button.

Zip Hydrotap

countless kettles full of water when I fill flasks for my #ChaiPopUp (Tea for the Taxi Guys) nor do I have to wait for water to come to the boil for cooking vegetables in etc. I find that I’m drinking a lot more water now, particularly sparkling water as it’s readily available and always ‘on tap’ so to speak. On average I think I save a minimum of AED 50/week (3 x 5 gallon bottles and 6 bottles sparkling water) on buying in water, not to mention the reduction in water bottles going to landfill. If you want to reduce your reliance on bottled water other options include Counter Top Filter Jugs, or Water Filters which are generally attached to your water feed under the sink and can filter through carbon filters, ion exchange units, reverse osmosis or distillation. We were gifted the Zip Hydrotap by Zip Water. More details on

From a convenience point of view, I no longer have to remember to order water from building security and rely on him delivering when I need it. Nor do I have to plan ahead and/or store large water bottles in my apartment. My chiller unit has been donated to someone who needed it and I no longer have to remember to buy bottles of carbonated water, nor dispose of a lot of plastic bottles. Boiling water is always available, and there’s no need to boil Images: Pixabay


The Croissantwich

Recipe next page


A Lunch Makeover... for the Brown Bag Sandwich By Prachi Grover

New School Bag. Check. New Books. Check. New Pencils. Check. New and healthy snack options that will ensure the lunch box will come back empty every single school day? Hmmm, not sure.


My little chefling and I bring to you a Croissantwich, a Bagelwich and a Muffinwich - a treat for the last day of the school week. Add a Chapathiwich and a Tortillawich stuffed with veggies and meat for the other two days of the school week and you’re entire week is sorted!


After any school break, getting up at five in the morning and preparing lunch boxes that are healthy, wholesome and have a variety can be quite a challenge. Especially when all that your little one wants is a sandwich because it is easy to hold and munch and leaves her with enough time to play. Let’s admit, even if you keep altering the fillings it can get boring for them (to eat) and for you (to make) after a while. So let’s spice up Back–to-School this year with these new “Sandwiches”. All these options are super healthy and packed with nutrients which is every parent’s mission for the school year and since these are still “sandwiches” I assure you there will be no resistance to this “new” lunch. The children can easily prepare these themselves and that assures they are proud to eat them too. Happy Sandwiching and don’t forget to include a lunch box note. My little girl loves finding a joke or a riddle in her lunch. Wish you and your little ones a lovely school year; a year where they will make friends and memories for life!


#CookingWithKids The Muffinwich Two halves of a muffin sandwiched with healthy sweet ingredients make for delicious end of week “treat� snack for the little ones. Keep changing the muffin and the fruit inside for variation. Try a nut butter with sliced apple or pear. You can even grill the bananas on a hot griddle if you like.

...continued The Croissantwich Often we are left with one day old croissants from the weekend and filling them up with a moist salad not only gives it a new life but is a welcome change from the sliced bread sandwich. Vary the fillings over the weeks; boiled egg with salad leaves, ham and cheese are some of our favorites.

The Muffinwich

The Croissantwich

You will need

You will need

Makes a pair

1 large muffin 2 tbsp of cream cheese 1 pinch of cinnamon powder ¼ tsp vanilla extract 1 tbsp maple syrup half a banana cheese of your choice cut into bite sized pieces cucumber and carrot batons

Method • • • • • •

Slice the muffin into half. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, cinnamon powder, vanilla extract and maple syrup until smooth. Spread the vanilla spiced cream cheese on both the sides of the muffin. Slice the banana and arrange them on one side of the sliced muffin. Drizzle some maple syrup on top. Put the other half of the muffin on the banana half to make a “sandwich”. Pack the muffinwich with cucumber and carrot batons and cubes of cheese.

Makes a pair

1 wholemeal mini croissant 50 gms of smoked salmon, torn into bits 1 tbsps chopped spring onions 4 tbsp thick yogurt or sour cream 1 tsp dijon mustard (optional) 1 tsp chopped dill or any herb of your choice salt pepper 5-6 slices of cucumber a handful of nuts (if your school is nut-free; dates are another option) a pear

Method • • • •

Halve the croissant, lengthwise taking care not to completely cut it else it will be difficult for little hands to hold. In a bowl combine the smoked salmon, chopped spring onions, yoghurt, mustard if using, dill and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently. Fill the croissant with the salmon sandwich filling. Add cucumber slices on top. Pack the croissantwich with a handful of mixed nuts and a pear.


#CookingWithKids The Bagelwich Makes a pair

You will need 1 multigrain bagel 1 small potato ¼ tsp cumin powder salt paprika ½ tsp oil 2 tbsp mayonnaise 1 boiled egg handful of blueberries

Method • • • •

• • •

Split the bagel into half. Peel and grate the potato and squeeze out all the water. In a bowl, combine the grated potato, cumin powder, salt and paprika to taste. Shape it into flat round disc. In a nonstick pan, heat the oil and cook the potato disc till it gets golden and a nice crust. I like to then cutout a small hole into the centre of the potato patty so it resembles the bagel but that is not necessary. Spread the mayonnaise on both the sides of the bagel. Place the potato patty on to the bagel and close the sandwich. Pack the bagelwich with a boiled egg and a handful of blueberries.

Sandwiching it RIGHT •

Season and timing: When packing a protein keep in mind the season and also at what time the child will be consuming it. When using any kind of protein I like to pack it with an ice pack just to ensure that the protein doesn’t get spoilt.

Packing it: A sandwich bag or a Ziploc bag is what is used commonly. However reusable parchment paper is a great option when you to wrap it tight. Do give a cloth napkin a go that can double up a table mat and is easy on the environment.

Preventing sogginess: Adding a few salad leaves between the bread and the filling not only helps prevent sogginess but also adds another layer of texture to the sandwich. Use options like crusty rolls and bagels, etc. to prevent sogginess instead of regular bread or try toasting the bread.


U lef so int no a co pa


The Bagelwich

Unlike the croissantwich where you need a ftover, the trick here is to use a fresh one it is still pillowy soft for your child to bite to. Making the potato patty by grating it ot only saves you from the trouble of boiling potato early morning but also reduces ooking time. The crusty texture of the atty against the chewy bagel is another win.

You Suggest!

Images: Prachi Grover



Diane Henry: A Change of Appetite... where delicious meets healthy By Debbie Rogers

When I initially started researching books for this edition, the aim was to find a book on Georgian Cooking to sit alongside the Georgian travel feature for this edition. The challenge is that there aren’t many, and even when you hunt one out it’s difficult to get hold of it quickly in Dubai. Scouring the shelves of Kinokunia, and googling frantically for resources I eventually stumbled on "A Change of Appetite" by Diane Henry. Whilst it only has one Georgian recipe in it, that of a Georgian Chicken, having picked it up off the shelf, it was difficult to put it back as I was drawn into the book for many reasons. Firstly, I should say that the recipe for Georgian Chicken sounds tasty and easy, so dare I say it’s something that I’ll be making sometime soon anyway. One of the main reasons that the book resonated with me is that Diane describes what I think a lot of us are trying to do - eat healthy and delicious food in a sensible and achievable way.

The best thing you can do for good health is to eat proper home–cooked food, limit anything processed, really keep an eye on refined carbohydrates (especially sugar), switch to whole grains for at least some meals and up your vegetable intake.



All of the above seems to be sensible advice without resorting to extreme measures such as juice fasts and cleanses etc. A lot of the recipes are inspired by Middle Eastern and Far Eastern dishes so that’s another big tick for me as these are both cuisines that I love. There are other cuisines too for balance. The book is set out by season with the addition of a shopping guide and


A Change of Appetite is available in Kinokunia in Dubai Mall and is priced at AED 165.

detailed index with all of the recipes listed which is fairly comprehensive. The recipes and photos would be enough in a usual cookbook sense, but what Diane does so well is that Interspersed between the pages are what I call “honest sections” where she shares her personal take on a particular issue. I particularly love the one called “how many diets can you fit into a life?” Carefully crafted prose shares some of Diana's personal struggles with dieting, something that I think most of us struggle with. To sum up, this is not just another cookbook with gorgeous photos, there’s a good smattering of nutritional information in a casual educational ‘hmm let me think about that a bit more’ sort of way, literally leaving you with further ‘food for thought.


As a bonus each recipe seems easy to follow with not too many steps and there’s almost always another variation of the dish included. So by swopping out a few ingredients you can change the whole dish, effectively giving you two cook books for the price of one!

Recipes from Plated Heirlooms grace our Edition 11. Find them in our website.

One of our favourite foodie people - Dima Sharif, the artisanal chef, food blogger and author of Plated Heirlooms, has been awarded the National Winner under the 'Self Published Book/Best Mediterranean Cuisine – Dun Gifford Award/Historical Recipes' category in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards and is a nominee in the list for 'The Best In The World' title that will be announced in an awards ceremony taking place in China in May 2017. We are keeping our fingers crossed!

On a 'street' note... We haven't yet got fellow blogger Kalyan's book in hand but one thing is for sure, there's no way we can dislike a travelling belly, specially when it belongs to a foodie whose writing is packed in flavour and garnished with passion! We won't be surprised if spices splatter when we unwrap our parcel carrying the book, but until then - here's from the press pick: Meet the man who will go to any length in search of a good meal! Popular food blogger and Kalyan Karmakar has spent a lifetime being obsessed with food. In The Travelling Belly, he takes you on a delectable journey through the crowded lanes of India’s food havens, guiding you towards the good, and veering you away from the bad and the ugly of India’s multifarious urban foodscapes. Join him as he traces the many intricacies of the true-blue Bengali mahabhoj in Kolkata; dives deep into the kebab-laden alleys of Old Delhi; quests for the original tunday in Lucknow; tracks down the crispiest kulchas in Amritsar and digs out the perfect Bohri meal in Mumbai. From sampling the biryani in Hyderabad to falling in love with the dosa in Chennai; from uncovering Bangalore’s best breakfast to getting to the heart of the home-cooked Goan meal, Kalyan’s food journeys will take you on a sensory experience that is as delicious as it is revelatory.

The Travelling Belly is priced at INR 399 and is available on Amazon.


Kalyan has previously wriiten for us about his Seville food walk experience. More of that in our website.

I'd love to make people curious about Indian food and make them want to try it. I hope The Travelling Belly does that. I believe that food offers a great canvas for people from different cultures to connect. This is what I've tried to encourage through my book.



lance Newly Launched.

#BringBackBalance #winwith

Brought to you by


From (farm) harvesting at Organic Oasis


to (table) lunch served at

Tesoro,Taj Dubai

Hospitality Partner:

Ingredients Partner:


Farm to Table...

bringing back balance into your life - one bite at a time!

Join our special #BringBackBalance event - a trip to the Organic Oasis farm where we will pick up our veggies along with Chef Jitin Joshi, Executive Chef at Taj Dubai and on return to the Tesoro Terrace, our life coach and medical practitioner will share some simple techniques to de-stress. This will be followed by a bespoke lunch prepared by Chef Jitin Joshi and the Tesoro team. Let us pamper you as you learn to unwind.

#BringBackBalance is a FoodeMag campaign in collaboration with OIC and Bupa Global. More on how to enter the competition:


@coffeecakesandrunning: Move over avocado on toast! Cauliflower rosti is here! Egg on #cauliRosti for breakfast. Super tasty, low carb and moreish. #homemade #thisisnow #breakfast

Debbie brings back balance: When Ishita and I committed to launch the Balance part of the magazine, we also made a personal commitment to each other, and now to you our readers, to share more about us in the magazine. Each of us will write this section unedited by the other, and it’s our place to share with you what we are doing to personally work towards our own balance goals. We are both very different and so our approaches will be different. We want to experiment and try new things, and to share those things with you. I’m sure a few things will be done together, but equally our personalities and preferred ways are very different and so some things will be done alone. We want to challenge ourselves, to take ourselves out of our comfort zones and to experience new and different things. We hope our posts reach you as an individual and you can share our journey too. Perhaps this column will provide ‘food for thought’, possibly it might provoke you, for some it might inspire you to do some research or make a change. If nothing else we might give you a good giggle as I’m sure we’re in for a few surprises and unplanned ‘faux pas’ too!


#BringBackBalance @ishitaunblogged: It's all about #Balance and Balance is all about making the right 'choices', isn't it? Pancakes are such a huge breakfast favourite with the Z-Sisters and I have given them the task to 'choose' while in the kitchen. So honey and fresh fruits over chocolate syrup and smarties now! #healthybliss #inmykitchen #weekend

Ishita brings back balance: I have been obsessing over my social media feeds with gorgeous images of gravity defying yogis and extreme crossfit practitioners looking calm and composed, and wondering about terms like Hygge and Mindfulness - how can we obsess and bring about calm? How can we create pin boards where we pin images of healthy eating and decadent chocolate at the same breath? How can we miss wishing our close friends on their birthdays - because we have too much on our plates and yet feel calm and arrive at zen? Happiness is within - yet we are subscribing to endless channels from life coaches and gurus on YouTube channels to enlighten ourselves to seek that happiness that has always been within. Debbie and I are two different personalities - while she loves a bit of an adrenaline, I accept that I believe in the powers of the full moon. However, I haven't been able to meditate harnessing the powers of it, not yet. We are seeking Balance into our lives. And we believe that many of you out there are like us. And for all of us we have to believe in #BringBackBalance!

Confessions of a food blogger! Debbie: Trying to get a balance for food has always been an issue for me. I have a sweet tooth, it runs in the family, but my body is beginning not to like sugar and actually that’s not such a bad thing. Eating out is about ordering what I feel like and being a bit indulgent, eating at home is more about cooking from scratch and trying to make healthy swops when possible. Ishita: I start my day with a lot of motivation but by the end of the day, I am almost dragging myself to stay firm to my diet plans. I crave for sweets - you know the sticky toffee pudding and the caramel kinds? Being Hypothyroid and with a borderline case of Type 2 Diabetes and the fact that Diabetes runs in the family puts a lot of strain on my mental wellbeing. We are mostly cooking at home and conscious of what goes into our food, but I really look forward to indulging while eating out!


Beetroot Hummus Ingredients

400 gms chickpea, boiled 1 small beetroot 2 strawberries 2 cloves garlic ¼ bunch parsley 1 tbsp olive oil salt to taste ½ red onion 2 tsp tahina 2 purple raddish 2 pinch zaatar 1 lavash bread, 15cm diameter

Method • • • •

Boil the beetroot till tender. Blend the chickpeas, beets, olive oil, tahini, garlic and salt. Pass through a sieve to make it smooth. Cut the strawberries, red onion, raddish and chop the parsley. Serve the hummus with the above ingredients on top along with a zaatar lavash bread, or any Arabic bread.

Recipes, images and nutritional excerpts reproduced with permission from Tesoro, Taj Dubai

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 135 gms Amount Per Serving Calories 401 Calories from Fat 275 % Daily Value* Total Fat 30.5 gms 47% Saturated Fat 4.3 gms 22% Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 599 mg 25% Potassium 257 mg 7% Total Carbohydrates 28.2 gms 9% Dietary Fiber 5.3 gms 21% Sugars 1.4 gms Protein 7.9 gms Vitamin A 2% Calcium 12%

• •

Nutrition Grade C+ * Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis Good Points • No Cholesterol • Low in Sugar

Vitamin C 10% Iron 18%


Quinoa Goat Cheese Salad Ingredients

1 cup quinoa 1 bunch arugula 1 tsp mustard paste 2 tbsp orange juice 1 tsp balsamic reduction 1 tbsp lemon juice 100 gms goat cheese 2 tbsp olive oil salt to taste 1 slice croutons 1 tbsp pine nuts

Method • • • •

Boil the quinoa in salted water. Drain the water and cool the quinoa. Make a dressing with mustard paste, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil. Mix the quinoa with the rest of the ingredients and serve as a salad.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 173 gms

Amount Per Serving Calories 255 Calories from Fat 91 % Daily Value* Total Fat 10.1 gms 16% Saturated Fat 5.3 gms 26% Cholesterol 21mg 7% Sodium 472 mg 20% Potassium 442 mg 13% Total Carbohydrates 30.8 gms 10% Dietary Fiber 4.4 gms 18% Sugars 8.7 gms Protein 12.2 gms Vitamin A 33% Calcium 30%

• •

Vitamin C 75% Iron 15%

Nutrition Grade C+ * Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis

Good Points • High in calcium • High in magnesium • Very high in phosphorus • High in vitamin A • Very High in vitamin C Bad Points • High in saturated fat



Spiced Tuna And Soba Noodle Salad Ingredients

100 gms tuna 1 tsp cajun spice 50 gms soba noodles ½ stick lemon grass 1 kaffir lime 2 spring onions ¼ bell pepper 1 tsp tamarind Paste 2 tsp sesame oil 1 tsp honey 1 tsp dark soy sauce salt to taste ½ lemon, juiced

Method • • • • •

Prepare the Tuna into a nice long piece and coat it with cajun spice. Blanch the soba noodles in water with lemon grass, kaffir lime and salt. Set aside. Chop the rest of the bell peppers and spring onions and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Sear the tuna lightly on all sides. Dress the noodles with this dressing and serve with tuna slices on top.

Recipes, images and nutritional excerpts reproduced with permission from Tesoro, Taj Dubai

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 261 gms

Amount Per Serving Calories 392 Calories from Fat 59 % Daily Value* Total Fat 6.5 gms 10% Saturated Fat 1.3 gms 7% Cholesterol 19 mg 6% Sodium 832 mg 35% Potassium 894 mg 26% Total Carbohydrates 65.4 gms 22% Dietary Fiber 5.5 gms 22% Sugars 35.4 gms Protein 23.8 gms Vitamin A 21% Calcium 13%

• •

Nutrition Grade C+ * Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis Good Points • Low in saturated fat • Low in cholesterol • High in niacin • High in selenium • High in vitamin C Bad Points • Very high in sugar

Vitamin C 43% Iron 24%



Thai Baked Chilean Seabass Ingredients

200 gms Chilean Seabass 2 tbsp plum sauce 1 tsp yuzu/lime 1 Thai red chilli ½ celery stick 1 pok choy 2-3 florets broccoli 2 stems asparagus ¼ inch ginger 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 pinch sesame seeds

Method • • • • •

Make a marinade with plum sauce, lime and Thai red chilli Apply on the fish and set aside for 20 minutes. Roast for 20 minutes at 180ºC. Stir fry the green vegetables with ginger and soy. Serve together and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 273 gms

Amount Per Serving Calories 296 Calories from Fat 27 % Daily Value* Total Fat 3.0 gms 5% Saturated Fat 0.6 gms 3% Cholesterol 110 mg 37% Sodium 785 mg 33% Potassium 909 mg 26% Total Carbohydrates 18.2 gms 6% Dietary Fiber 5.1 gms 20% Sugars 5.7 gms Protein 48.8 gms Vitamin A 61% Calcium 6%

• •

Vitamin C 18% Iron 19%

Nutrition Grade C+ * Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutritional Analysis

Good Points • Low in saturated fat • Very high in manganese • High in magnesium • High in niacin • High in phosphorus • High in selenium • High in vitamin A • High in vitamin B6 • High in vitamin B12




Dine & Dash with food for the soul!

Dine & Dash... what else can be the name of a Business Lunch of a restaurant when the executive chef at the helm of the kitchens runs the marathon and gives a gleaming smile dashing from the different kitchens knowing that the pedometer is basking with the perfect digits? Tesoro, true to its meaning 'treasure', is a global eatery and showcases the melting pot of several cultures and cuisines. A business lunch is gradually becoming an efficient sampler for what a restaurant has to offer (often a healthier sampler), without breaking the bank. A stunning backdrop of Taj Dubai adds an extra garnishing to the Tesoro dining experience.

Chef Jitin Joshi, Executive Chef at Taj Dubai With a culinary background of working at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze as Head Pastry Chef in Jason Atherton’s team (in the same year in which it was awarded One Michelin Star) to taking on the role of Executive Chef at Atul Kochhar’s fine dining Indian restaurant Benares and joining the later again as they set up the first Indian restaurant Sindhu onboard the prestigious P&O Cruise, serving Indian Tapas style lunches and modern Indian dinners - Chef Jitin's culinary heritage in both Western and India cuisine is exemplary. Chef Jitin and the Tesoro team has also been actively involved in the Friday Farmers’ Market at Bay Avenue Tesoro from buying fresh, local, organic produce directly from the farmers and educating and engaging the Friday buyers through live cooking demonstrations. We are proud that we have Chef Jitin amongst us to help us chart our #BringBackCampaign campaign by sharing recipes from Tesoro - all of them delicious, healthy and that can be recreated at our homes very easily.


Chef Jitin's swop tips

• • • •


Instead of boiling beets, wrap them in aluminium foil and bake for better flavour Steam broccoli, instead of boiling as it keeps the nutrients from leeching To extract more juice from a lime, put it in the microwave oven for 10 seconds Equal parts of honey, vinegar, soy make a quick salad dressing

Chef Aabhas Mehrotra, Chef de Cuisine at Tesoro Chef Abhash Mehrotra (right) has an enviable culinary lineage too - honing his skills working with Michelin Star famed Chef Vineet Bhatia, Chef Anil Rohira (World Pastry Champion 2008), Chef Peter Yeun (King of Laminated Pastries) and Chef Vikas Bagul (World Chocolate Master 2014). His young and dynamic approach and his experience from Patisserie to Thai to Italian Fine Dining and Gourmet Global Dining helps in creating the Tesoro menu delectable and trendy.


In Dine and Dash, you can choose the healthy dishes like the Lentil Soup and Microgreens with Haloumi & Pomegranate while for a la carte there are other options such as Burrata Bowl, Beetroot Hummus, Spicy Guacamole, Miso Black Cod, Quinoa Goat Cheese Salad etc. Down the healthy morsel with complimenting smoothies like Nutribullet, Green Lush, Green Lush, Berrilicious and Beat the heat! Our most Intagram worthy moments in the last two months have probably been our work meetings at the Tesoro terrace. The rays of the setting sun against the world's tallest building are indeed a few #MyDubai moments in all its glory.



a Mediterranean Market Brunch so high & decadent

We’re avoiding lavish buffet brunches this year - too much food waste, and too much time spent wandering the buffet foraging for food rather than talking to our dining companions. Morah’s carefully curated menu works well. The free selection of starters and desserts, but with small plates, allows us to fulfil our ‘hunter, gatherer brunch instinct’ whilst the rest of the time is spent at the table catching up with friends. We are sure this is going to be a popular and successful brunch going forward.

By Debbie Rogers

Magical Morah Moments

It’s Friday afternoon and we’re in the lift speedily being transported up to the 71st floor of JW Marriott Marquis to try out the newest brunch in town. We have high expectations - excuse the pun! With a stunning backdrop and a slick venue spread across two floors (71st and 72nd floors), Morah offers a mix of Eastern and Coastal Mediterranean menu. A very promising opening of 2017, the concept has been brought from Toronto and Miami (known as Byblos) by the same owners of Weslodge Saloon and we want to see what the buzz is about.

Location, Location, Location!

Location wise what’s not to enjoy about being so high up with views across all of Dubai? We love the view and the interior. In contrast to Weslodge which is just a few floors below (yes, constant comparison to the sibling is inevitable perhaps because of the proximity and some of the staff from Weslodge are also on duty that day), Morah is light, bright, modern yet elegant in its simplicity and whilst my guests love it, I prefer the darker tones of Weslodge.

The Food

Tuna with jalapeno dressing, squid ink chips Burrata salad

Starters are ‘self-serve’ and prepared at the Mezze Bar. Oysters are shucked as we watch, whilst smaller plates of Mediterranean food with a hint of the Middle East are also on offer. We dive in and are impressed. Whipped Burrata with ripe tomatoes, creamy labneh with roast beetroot, Steak Tartar and Tuna with a Jalapeno dressing were just some of our favourites. The main course is sharing platters which are ordered from the menu and brought to your table. Each platter has three small dishes perfect for sharing. You can make your own selection, from the menu, or as we did, let the staff choose and send for you. We got to try all the dishes and to make a repeat order for one of the favourite dishes. Dishes that stand out are the Black cod served in vine leaf, the Prime Striploin, the Fried Chicken and Shakshouka complete with quail eggs. A last-minute change to my guest list means that one of my guests has a severe allergy to garlic which I forget to


Images: Debbie Rogers & Ishita B Saha, excepting the Beverages image

The Chefs busy in preparation for the Brunch

mention until we are seated. No problem at all, the staff point out the dishes which contain garlic and with addition of a few more starter plates, she is more than delighted with the amount of food available to her (we will call ahead next time). Desserts are mounted on a tiered display which is regularly replenished, the display is full of smaller size portions, handmade chocolates and some exceptionally good macarons. As well as the display, there is also a live dessert station with some nitro ice-cream action going on. You can also order baked Alaska which are made to order and brought to you. We adore the nitro ice-cream, it’s made from yogurt and so good that one of my guests goes back three times. The chocolates and macarons are a perfect pairing to our coffee and we leave feeling comfortable rather than ‘brunch stuffed’.

Morah meat platter

The dessert station

A spiral staircase and a custom-made crystal chandelier (above) forms the focal point in Morah, while an intricate petal ceiling design that showcases overlapping wood panels forming the shape of a flower. The bar and lounge is located on the second level while the panoramic views of Dubai unfolds all around in both the floors.

The Drinks

I had the Rose Gulab cocktail which was a clever combination of rose hip inflused gin with pomegranate rose syrup and hibiscus – worth a return visit for alone! My guests ask for a no syrup option and have a custom-made lemon grass mojito made from them which is good. The signature punch service made with chilled steeped teas featuring blends like Turkish Delight, Lapsang Souchong and Morrocan Mint are the highlights. Entertainment comes in the form of a DJ rocking the booth as well as a belly dancer whose gorgeous figure makes you hold back on indulging in too many desserts! The Mediterranean Market Brunch is available every Friday from 12pm-4pm and is priced at AED 250/person for the non alcoholic package, AED 350/person for House Beverages and AED 450/ person for Bubbly. For more info:

Ishita : "I went to Morah during nighttime and the stunning panorama created a perfect backdrop as we celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. The staff was well versed with the menu and suggested a few dishes that are all worth mentioning, but the taste of the yogurt baked grill and the fried rice still lingers on."



fancy a brunch typically La Dolce Vita style, mio caro? By Ishita B Saha

Ciao Andiamo! A laid back vibe of a vine covered pergolas in a newly constructed terrace, a selective spread and live barbeque, we thoroughly enjoyed our La Dolce Vita Brunch at the recently re-launched Andamo at the Grand Hyatt Dubai. Just the way we like it - no elaborate buffet spreads, a la carte menu and a selective spread and fresh cooking by the table. Chef Alberto Burgio previously worked as Pizzeria Sous Chef at Bussola and joins the Andiamo kitchen and adds authenticity to the menu. A lovely terrace overlooking the greens, live barbeque and an acrobatic pizza chef adds up to the charm.

La Dolce Vita Moments

La dolce vita translates into 'the sweet life', a phrase made popular by Hollywood with Federico Fellini's movie by the same name. It reflects an indulgent and good life, but since it's got the Italian connection, it's all about home made deliciousness and freshness. A red Vespa greets the diner at the entrance and our moods are already set for a day out in Italy!

Al Fresco Vibe

The restaurant is divided into two sections - a large indoor seating area that opens out seamlessly into the open terrace overlooking a verdant landscaped lawn. With the resident DJ playing soulful Italian classics (we are told that the music changes to a bit loungy during the evenings) and the aroma of barbeque drifting through, we love the laid back vibe.

The Food

Pizzas are made to order in an open blaze oven while pasta dishes are prepared a la minute by the chefs at the table. The only things laid out on the buffet is an array of salads, cheese, cold cuts and freshly shucked oysters. The mozzarella and burrata cheese melts in the mouth and we scamper to order our meats from the live barbeque station. We order the sauces and the toppings for our pizzas and go back to our tables waiting for the freshly cooked dishes to arrive. Chef Alberto’s signature pasta, Sicilia in Bocca arrives at the table - it's rich in flavour - a mezze rigatoni pasta with Sicilian pesto. The pizza crusts are crispy and soft at the same time and the toppings of mushroom, pesto, cherry tomatoes in one and the beef bresaola in the other engulf our senses.

The Desserts

For a spread which believes in 'no wastage' policy, the dessert station seems contradictory with its enormous spread. But after the cursory first glance, it doesn't seem so overwhelming. A variety of dessert options which include the signature Tiramisu, are laid out in tiny portions. A bevy of chocolate butterflies line up to brighten up the chocolate mousses, cakes and mini tarts!

Chef Alberto began his career in Syracuse in 2004 where he learnt the art of pizza-making from his mentor, the Pizza World Championship-winning Alfio Russo.

The Drinks

Our fresh pizza being made with sauces resembling the flame from the mosaic artwork of the oven.

The lush oasis of 37 acres of landscaped gardens!

A circular bar counter holds centre stage in the terrace and whether you prefer to raise a toast with a Prosecco or from a glass freshly tapped from the barrel (the only restaurant serving wine fresh from the barrel), the mood is set for the weekend. The wine list promises one of the finest selection of Italian Wines. As we leave, its already 5pm - past brunch time and enough strolling in the lawns. The music had already transformed itself into a peppy and loungy number and the terrace slowly brightening up for the evening.

FoodeMag #Handpicked The Valentine Days menu at Andiamo sounds extremely 'heart' warming too - A Ravioli rossi con burrata e crema di gorgonzola made of handmade beetroot ravioli stuffed with creamy burrata and yellow capsicum, Gamberoni e capesante grigliate con vellutata di ceci picante combines juicy grilled prawns and scallops with spicy chickpea cream and more! AED 199 set menu per person.

The La Dolce Vita Brunch is available every Friday from 12:30pm3:30 pm and is priced at AED 199/person with soft beverages and AED 299/person with free-flowing beers and wines. For more info: +9714317 2222 or visit Images: Ishita B Saha



Dinner in the Sky...

an experience that will leave you high! By Ishita B Saha

Fellow diner Courtney Brandt getting strapped into her harness.

The safety briefings before the flight



The Concept Definitely an unique experience and thrilling concept, a group of 22 diners are lifted 50m in the air amidst breathtaking views. Once in the air, a small staff serves a meal cooked up by dedicated chef hosted at a table suspended by a crane. The concept originated in Belgium and since then has created more than 5,000 dinner events in 40 cities around the world including some iconic locations like Kuala Lumpur Tower, Villa Borghese in Rome, Athens, Copacabana Beach, and Cape Town. It has been selected by Forbes in its list of the 10 most unusual restaurants in the world. In Dubai, the suspended mini restaurant - if I may term it so, is docked in Dubai International Marine Club and dining options include breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner and is catered by the Ritz Carlton in DIFC. Prices start from AED 499/person Tickets can be purchased for private or corporate occasions through an online booking system at or through the reception desk in the location.


Images: Ishita B Saha, excepting the sunset image



If I look blushed on (left), it was the sun and the sea breeze...and may I add, being high (read fright)!



High selfie moments!


No ground beneath my feet!

The Experience After having signed up and waiting to be transported to the unique culinary experience as promised, I have to admit that I wasn't all that brave, neither my companion. But we braved it and soared up rising through the clouds. Yes, it was that dramatic. After having been strapped into a bucket seat with a tight harness, the flight up was very gradual with no particular feeling of uneasiness. The sudden realisation of not having the ground beneath my feet took the first ten minutes away. The breakfast menu was simple - fresh fruits, granola honey yogurt, croissants, chicken sausages, scrambled egg, hash browns and tea/coffee. And yes, I definitely want to go back for the unusual experience, although a tad bit pricey for the food. But then the experience itself is worth booking into - specially the afternoon tea at sunset or the dinner in the backdrop of a glittering Dubai Marina. After the preview, I had only one thing to quip in - "Only FOOD can lure me up there - 50m above sea level, harnessed up in a seat and hanging from a crane!"


Drip House Café By Debbie Rogers

Chocolate cake - of course it equals happiness!

Waze, my preferred on-line map system tells me that Drip House Café is a quick fifteen-minute drive from my place and once I’m on the road, I can confirm that Waze know what they are talking about. The dreadful ‘close your eyes and pray’ junction taking you into DIP has now been replaced with a nifty flyover so the journey is much easier. After finding somewhere to park I enter into Drip House Café, a café I have been waiting to open for a long time. I first met the owner, Ali in Goldbox roastery when he was out and about sourcing coffee for his new venture.

Chocolate Honey Cake

What is the essence of Drip House Café?

The café is very much centred on the Community. The day before I arrived, there had been a phone food photography workshop and before that a session on Financial Planning. Ali explains to me that he wants the Community to be at the heart of the café and he plans to run more of these events in the future, all free of charge I might add. The community feel continues as you look around the café, a large bookshelf is full of books donated by residents, they can’t be loaned, but you are encouraged to read in the shop and I spy some of the books complete with bookmarked pages highlighting where they were last left. Board games are in supply too and whilst there’s Wifi, ample power sockets and a large table for co-working, you also get the feeling that this is the sort of place you could just hang out and catch up with friends at too. Though personally I would want a few more soft chairs or sofas to stay for a long time.

How did it all brew?

Drip House Café is the first café in the area to offer Speciality Coffee and unusually it’s not listed on the menu, instead Ali prefers for people to go and talk to the Baristas at the interactive coffee bar and to learn more about the coffee and various brewing methods before ordering. It’s a novel idea and seems to be working well as he explains that the most popular brewing methods are Chemex and the Syphon which demonstrates that people know how they like their coffee brewed. The Coffee is sourced from GoldBox and I’m treated to a gorgeous flat white to start with and then to an Ethiopian Yirgarcheffe which is brewed in the Royal Balancing Syphon. The syphon has been on my wish list for a long Images: Debbie Rogers

The work area

time, it’s expensive, cleverly engineered and brews some exquisite smooth coffee with very little human interaction. Brewing wise you can have espresso and the usual milk based drinks along with Aeropress, V60, Chemex, two different syphons and of course the often underrated, but good French Press.. Cold Drip and Cold Toddy are also on offer, but are not so popular now as people want hot drinks in the cooler weather. For a relatively small café, there’s a reasonably sized food menu with hot breakfasts through to cakes, and larger meals for lunch and dinner. Prices are reasonable and there’s always a selection of cakes and gluten free items available in the chiller section too.

Want to get your Drip House Café fix?

Drip House has been a long time coming and is the first Speciality Coffee place in DIP (Jebena Roastery is in DIP2 but it’s not open to the public - in fact, if you want Speciality Coffee the closest place is Al Quoz). Don’t go for gorgeous latte art, it’s not really their thing, but for a cup of great Specialty Coffee and some food, company and perhaps a community activity or two in DIP, this could be the place just for you. For more info:


The coffee bar


Debbie: I absolutely love the concept behind the Community Café, in fact if I had my own, it would have a community focus!

any other new cafe serving Specialty Coffee? 47


A Bedouin Retreat...

an escape into your (primitive) mind & soul!

The Concept Retreats take place every weekend, (with weekdays being booked by corporates and groups) with a variety of programmes based on three themes: Heart, Mind and Body. The Food There are differently themed diet weekends with 100 percent organic food supplied by Alma's partners that include Detox Delight and Greenheart Organic Farms. Images: Supplied

Alma means 'soul' in Spanish and Portuguese and true it's meaning, the newly opened wellness retreat in Ras Al Khaimah, seeks to revive the soul and believes in 'inspiring the mind, changing the body and unlocking creativity'. Definitely a first of its kind in the UAE, that can boast of many over-the-top luxury hotels and resorts, the Alma Retreat is a wellness getaway that embraces solitude, simplicity and the beauty of the surrounding desert environment with 15 tented camps that can accommodate to a maximum of 30 people. The camps are comfortable and have been kept very simple - almost deliberately. The founder of the retreat, Sarah Arnold’s vision is to help the guests to go back to their roots, back to the nature and detach from the high strung daily life that most of us have become habituated in leading. We are booked into one of Alma's weekend retreats very soon!

Spring Offers Starting in March, Alma Retreat is offering a special wellness weekend rate of AED 749 per person or AED 999 per room, including accommodation, food and all activities. Wellness weekends include 1 night’s accommodation and 2 days of mind and body activities plus all meals and refreshments courtesy of their partners Detox Delight. Transfers to/from Dubai available at AED 300 each way.




tearing a page from the books of art, architecture & history! By Debbie Rogers

Flight Time from Dubai 3.5 hours Time Difference to Dubai - 0hrs

“Welcome to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia” our driver said as he helped load our luggage into the car for our transfer to our hotel. I was here for a short three-day trip with Ishita with the aim of exploring the city on foot as well as finding out more about what Georgia had to offer on the food and drink front. Ishita would be staying on to meet friends for a longer trip and to explore much more of Georgia. Georgia is an interesting place to visit. To the north is Russia, to the South, Turkey and Armenia. Head west and you will reach the Black sea and head southeast towards Azerbaijan. Rich in history Georgia is full of reminders of years gone past. Influences from the Ottoman Empire, The Mongols, the Russian Empire and Europe can be seen everywhere, which makes the trip interesting in terms of history and heritage, if that’s your thing, as much as for the culinary influences that are very much evident. Tourism is now playing a significant part in the Georgian economy but when we were there it still had a ‘not too touristy’ feel about it.

There are daily FlyDubai flights from Dubai and prices start from AED 900/person. Special packages on flights and accommodation is available all the time. Tbilisi is a charming town nestled between North and South Caucasus Mountain ranges. 3-4 days is comfortable for enjoying Tbilisi and its surrounding regions while a longer period would let you explore upto the Black Sea.

The cave city of Uplistsikhe is built on a high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River, and dates back to the Iron Age.

Freedom Square is located in the center of Tbilisi at one end of Rustaveli Avenue. The Liberty Monument made up of granite and gold is a gift to the city from its creator, Georgian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli and depicts St George slaying the dragon.

The countryside is a contrast to the grandeur of Tbilisi city.

Out and About in Tbilisi
 It’s easy to explore on foot, a quick read of the guidebook, a chat to the hotel porters and a map from Tourist Information meant that we were out and about exploring the streets of Tbilisi without too much hassle. A Central location made this easy, as did a pair of comfortable walking shoes and a degree of flexibility on our side. We had arrived during Orthodox Easter so many attractions were either closed, or opening at unusual hours, something we which we managed to navigate through without to much adjustment to our calendar, although unfortunately we missed some of the street markets as they were closed. Out and About in Tbilisi

It’s easy to explore on foot, a quick read of the


#CulinaryTravel Out and About in Tbilisi

Tbilisi at nighttime is a different story altogether. The lit up Narikela Fort forms a formidable backdrop to the historical Old Town.

It’s easy to explore on foot, a quick read of the guidebook a chat to the hotel porters and a map from Tourist Information meant that we were out and about exploring the streets of Tbilisi without too much hassle. A central location made this easy, as did a pair of comfortable walking shoes and a degree of flexibility on our side. Do check beforehand about the many religious dates, for example during Orthodox Easter many of the attractions are either closed, or opening at unusual hours. Some of the street markets may also be closed. The popular check list would be to visit the Saturday Flea Market, Sulfur Baths (although we avoided the latter), taking the funicular, climbing up to the Narikala Fortress, a cruise on the Mtkvari river... walking through the narrow, winding back alleys as well as regaling at the distinctive architecture of the buildings along the Rustavelli Avenue. It's through the bricks that the entire history of the city unfolds - an eclectic mix of styles from different periods.

What to Eat

Live performance of Georgian folk music accompanies dinner in one of the traditional restaurants.

As much as our trip was to explore, we were able to fit in quite a few culinary treats too. The Georgians have taken advantage of their heritage with influences from the Greeks, Mongols, Turks and Arabs. It’s a food lovers’ paradise. Our first stop was for some heart stopping good khachapuri, which to this day, we still dream about (the salguni cheese makes all the difference). Georgian dishes stand out in their simplicity - for example, a garlic chicken seasoned with a local secret spice that we mopped up with freshly baked bread, or the juicy and steaming hot Khinkali (dumplings in soup) which we later learnt to make in a cooking class and the sweet and indulgent candle shaped candies - Churchkhela (strands of walnuts, almonds and other nuts are threaded together and dipped in concentrated grape juice), which are eaten whilst walking along the streets.

Where to Eat

Breadhouse is a traditional Georgian restaurant by the Mtkvari river.

Samikitno: There are multiple branches of Samikitno and puritans may scoff off at this fast-food style restaurant, but they are open at all odd hours and specialise in Georgian cuisine, serving freshly cooked food in no time. With our flight landing at a wee hour in the morning, the Samikitno at the Freedom Square was almost like a life saver. And with our first taste of Khachapuri in there, it will always be treasured in our memory! Breadhouse: Situated by the Mtkvari river and with a menu that offers a variety of speciality breads and traditional Georgian dishes, Breadhouse is one of the popular places with the tourists. The dining experience here does make for keepsake culinary memories from Georgia. A large bread oven is the highlight inside the restaurant, with a live presentation of the drama of bread making.


Local Georgian lady selling Traditional Georgian candies Churchkhela by the streetside

Casablanca, serving Middle Eastern food and offering Shisha, is a buzzing joint where the food was presented in great style and panache. We signed off our last night in Tbilisi wondering through Ortachala and its assorted array of restaurants and night clubs!

Funicular Restaurant: Take the funicular up to the Mtatsminda Plateau and enjoy stunning views of Tbisli below you as you indulge in a set menu of traditional Georgian dishes at the Funicular restaurant, one of the five restaurants in the Funicular Complex. The latter is one of the most important places in Tbilisi, with its significant long history dating back to 1905. Take a seat on the terrace for the best views and walk off the excess carbs at the park afterwards. A note of caution though: It tends to be really windy up there!

Tbilisi at nighttime: Two streets - Jan Shardeni and Rkinis shoot off the Metekhi Bridge into the Ortachala neighbourhood and are lined with a variety of restaurants serving different cuisine. While some of these restaurants are open for sumptuous breakfasts in the mornings, during the nighttime they are transformed into night clubs and lounges. Each restaurant sit next to each other, almost onto each others' laps and there's a coziness that tucks every diner in. We had breakfast in Singer, a Jazz Cafe by the evening and a casual restaurant during the day, where all the tables were built with the legs of the Singer sewing machines!


#CulinaryTravel Khinkhali

These are Georgian Dumplings traditionally filled with spiced meat (beef, pork or lamb) along with herbs, onions and garlic. Non meat options are made with cheese, potato or mushroom. These are eaten plain when piping hot by first sucking out the juices and then eat the rest of the dumpling. The meat filling is cooked raw and that generates its own juices which are trapped inside the dumpling. To get the perfect pleats of a Kinkhali and stitching the edges together so that the filling doesn't pour out may sound very easy but is absolute Rocket Science, as we found in our masterclass at Iago’s Winery in Chardakhi!



Filled with melted cheese and topped with a runny egg, this flatbread is best eaten hot — tear off the crust and dunk it in the well of cheese and egg. Make sure you have a superhot oven; a pizza stone helps.

Khachapuri, Acharuli Style

Method •

In a bowl combine yeast, sugar, and 2⁄3 cup water heated to 115°; let stand until foamy for about 10 minutes. Add oil, flour, and salt; mix with Ingredients a wooden spoon until it forms a soft dough. 1 tsp active dry yeast • Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, ¼ tsp sugar for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely 2/3 cup water with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until doubled in size, for about 45 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for greasing minutes. 1 ¼ cups flour, plus more for dusting • Place a pizza stone on a rack in lower third of oven. Get the oven very 1 tsp kosher salt hot and heat it for 1 hour at 500°. • Combine cheeses in a bowl; set aside. Punch down dough and divide in For the Cheese Filling half. On a piece of lightly floured parchment paper, roll half of dough 2 ¼ cups shredded haloumi (In Georgia you’d use the • Spread a quarter of the cheese mixture over dough, leaving a ½ inch local sulguni cheese, a fine substitute; you could also try border. mozzarella) • On one side of the circle tightly roll dough about a third of the way 1 cup crumbled feta cheese toward the center. Repeat on the opposite side. 2 eggs • There should be a 2-3 inch space between the rolls; pinch edges of the 4 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed boat together and twist to seal, making a stretched diamond or rowboat shape. Place another quarter of the cheese mixture in the middle; repeat with remaining dough and cheese. This cheese pie comes complete • Transfer boats to stone; bake until golden brown, for 14–16 minutes. Crack an egg into the center of each boat. Return to the oven until egg with a runny egg and a knob of white is slightly set, for 3–4 minutes. Place 2 tablespoons butter on each melting butter! bread. Serve hot.


#CulinaryTravel Caesar Mushrooms Cooked In A Clay Dish Ingredients

1 lb Caesar mushrooms (to serve at least three people)

Method • • •

Heat the terra-cotta pan in advance, but heat it up slowly to avoid cracking. If you have a yard, heating it on the grill over coals is best, but an oven will work. Clean the mushrooms with a brush, and if they are very large, cut in half lengthwise. The bigger the chunks, the juicier they remain. Once the pan is hot, add the mushrooms and a touch of salt and black pep- per, and drizzle a touch of olive oil or butter. Let them sit in there for exactly 5 minutes. The idea is to just barely sear them to awaken the flavor. Caesar mushrooms cannot be eaten raw, so remember there’s a danger in undercooking, yet overcooking breaks their structure down too much.

The simplicity of the mushroom and the resulting crispness make it remarkable on the palate. You’ll need a terra-cotta pan. A Georgian one is nice, but you can find them in most cooking shops, perhaps from Spain. The Caesar is so delicate that the more simply you cook it, the more you can feel the texture and delicacy of the mushroom.

Tkemali Ingredients

4 pounds plums 4 heads garlic ½ cup fresh coriander, finely chopped 1 tsp mint, finely chopped 1 tsp dill, chopped 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp fennel seed, grounded 1 tsp red pepper 2 ½ tsp salt

Method • • • • •

Cut plums in half. Place the plums in a medium saucepan and add water to cover. Simmer until the plums are soft, for about 10 minutes, depending on their size. Drain. When cool, skin and pit. Discard pits and skins. Pass the plums through a sieve. Return them to the saucepan. Reserve the water. Add the garlic and coriander. Add salt and cook on medium temperature. If too sour, add some sugar to taste At the end, add the coriander, mint, and remaining spices. Add in the reserved water to achieve desired thickness. The mixture should be stirred well and cooked lightly.

Another staple of the table is Tkemali, which to me seems like a Georgian version of Indian tamarind sauce.The sauce is always on the Georgian table and adds zip and tang to any food, from potatoes to kinkhali to fried fish. I’d even dip my khachapuri in it. Unless you have a source for sour plums or a local wild plum tree, you’ll have to add acidity with extra lemon juice. The Georgian feast recipe calls for Santa Anna plums.

...continued Iago teaches us to drink ChaCha a la Georgian style - gulp it down in one shot through entwined arms!

Where to stay

Tbilisi Marriott Hotel: This is housed in a 100-yearold historical building, near Tbilisi's city center and other landmarks of the city like Narikala Fortress, Freedom Square and the Parliament of Georgia. A grand atrium-style lobby and crystal chandeliers welcomes the guest and the rooms are furnished elegantly and have an old world charm to them. Room rates start from $200/night depending upon season and type of room. 13 Shota Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi.

Chicken “Gia” Chkmeruli Ingredients

1 bulb garlic (that’s right, a whole bulb) 1 chicken (about 2.2 lbs) 1 cup butterflied adjika (a Georgian-Abkhaz hot and spicy flavored dip) salt and pepper to taste 1 glass white wine—Rkatsiteli or Chinuri, with or without skin ½ stick butter 1 cup milk cilantro or green onion to garnish

Method • • •

Mince the garlic and divide in two. Rub the chicken with half the garlic, adjika, salt, and pepper. In a cold baking dish, pour in the wine and place the chicken in, skin side up. You’re essentially baking the chicken in the wine. Bake at 475° for 25–30 minutes or until cooked.

This is the classic Rachan chicken dish, rich and buttery. It comes from the village of Chkmeri. I’ve seen all sorts of versions, from the pale and anemic to the golden and fat. Here it is, tweaked by Pheasant’s Tears wine bar chef Gia. Traditionally the chicken is fried and then doused in a rich sour cream sauce. Here Gia bakes the chicken in wine, and then it is finished in butter sauce. All the Georgian recipes have been shared with us by Alice Feiring, an American journalist and author who visited Georgia in 2011 and wrote the book 'For the Love of Wine'. Written during her trip, she writes about not only Georgian wine but also her experiences with Georgian natural and vqvevri winemakers, along with sharing recipes of the Georgian food that she found along the way. Images: Debbie Rogers & Ishita B Saha



Qvevri’s are the conical clay wine making vessels Iago teaches us to drink ChaCha a la Georgian style - gulp it down in one shot through entwined arms!

Maka Tarashvili, from Taste of Georgia helps us discover the Kakheti wine region as well as the Uplistsikhe Cave Town and Mtskheta - both listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.


Iago Bitarishvili and his wife Marina are both winemakers. They welcome tourists into their homes where they can have a homecooked Georgian meal, partake in cooking masterclasses (like we did for Kinkhali masterclass) and taste wines from his winery. They live in a house surrounded by their vineyards and the entire family is involved in winemaking.


Wine in Georgia

Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world and is awash with Qvevri’s (conical clay wine making vessels). The importance of the traditional brewing method is not to be overlooked, in fact UNESCO added the traditional brewing method to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Georgian wine is everywhere and it’s great quality too partly due to the climate and also the traditional brewing methods. You can book tastings at many of the wine cellars in the city, or, as we did, take a tour to a small family run winery - Iago’s Winery in Chardakhi which is a short 45 minute drive from Tbilisi in the Kakheti region. where you can meet the family involved in their business, share a wine or two as well as some warming ChaCha (a Georgian spirit made from the grape residue) often brewed at home and exceedingly strong. Back in Tbilisi, courtesy Taste of Georgia, we meet Eko Glonti (below), founder of Lagvinari, a small organic winery in Georgia at Vinotel, a boutique hotel in old Tbilisi as he tells us all about Georgian wines. Prices depend upon the tour package.

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Edition 15, February 2017  

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