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Food Mag

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Edition 18, February 2018

Connect with us

Ishita B Saha Editor, Co-Founder & Creative Head T/FB/Instagram: @ishitaunblogged Debbie Rogers Editor & Business Head FB/Instagram: @coffeecakesandrunning T: @bettyboodubai For advertising, marketing & conceptualisation of campaigns, please 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: Meringue with whipped cream by Debbie Rogers]

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.

Dubai Winter, may you continue to warm our hearts! It's the perfect Dubai winter weather now with no humidity, cooler temperatures (for Dubai), balmy evenings and a time for us to get outdoors and enjoy ourselves before panicking indoors due to the soaring summer heat! We’ve lined up some amazing articles and recipes for you in this issue which we hope you will take time to read and cook. From the truly decadent and indulgent, healthy and virtuous, we hope that you find everything as delicious and tasty as we have. Did you know, due to feedback and requests, the magazine comes out in two different formats? You can read it as a virtual e-Magazine in ISSUU or on our website in separate posts. We also have a YouTube Channel and of course you can find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Do follow us on all of these channels or on any channel that you would like to use, so you don’t miss a thing, as often our reader events and competitions are posted on our social media channels. Every Sunday, you will find us in a new cafe or a restaurant (working of course!), so don't forget to tune in to our instastories!

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.


FoodeMag Presents Event at Cocosia Artisan Chocolate

7 11


#BringBackBalance Event at Le Meridien

Dubai Dining

Le Perle


Rejuvenate & Refuel Special Recipes Protein Wraps, Salmon Frittata, Granola Bars & more

32 42

Dubai Differently

Cream, White Forest, Al Huda - Recipes

21 26

Toro Toro, Miss Tess, Sesame, 21 Grams



Coffee Nespresso

48 Culinary Travel Normandy, Recipes

Balance Special Debbie's Diary, Ishita's Diary


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.



Chocolate means Cocosia... a world beyond cocoa beans and chocolate bars!


Like a secret society meetup, we all gathered - our selected readers and guests, in the pretty chocolate boutique in Al Barsha to learn about chocolate. Chocolate may be one of our favourite heart-tugging ingredients that we know the least about. We were delighted to learn that there's so much of health benefits to good

As we get ready for our second reader's event with Cocosia Artisan Chocolates next Sunday, on 11th February, let's take a recap of our earlier event at their boutique - a special chocolate morning that was made so delicious and enlightening by Qudsia Karim (standing in the middle of the group picture), the passionate chocolatier and founder of Cocosia. Hot chocolate, savoury canapĂŠs, a tasting of a variety of artisan chocolates starting from single origin chocolates to a varied selection of infused ones - we embarked on an educational and delicious journey on the fine ingredient ~ Chocolate!

quality chocolate, specially dark chocolate which has flavanols that help in reducing blood pressure and hypertension and the antioxidants improve heart health, lower cholesterol and lower the risk of dementia. And we don't disagree at all! Open Saturday to Thursdays, 10:00 am - 09:00 pm Shop 2 & 3, Rasis Business Centre Al Barsha 1, Behind MOE Tel no: +971 4 3950977



Qudsia Karim (above) has honed her chocolate magic at various institutes like the Ecole Chocolat, Professional School of Chocolate Arts in Vancouver, British Columbia, Barry Callebaut Academy, The French Pastry School in Chicago and also has trained under Thierry Mulphaut, a well-known chocolatier of Strasbourg, France.

Our chocolate morning had several instagram worthy moments. Cocosia's artisan chocolates were complemented by Qudsia's home made savouries. Both chocolates as well as the savouries vied for our readers' attention - virtual as well as real!

Image: Ishita B Saha



Click here to enter


Join us on a delicious journey, a morning of appreciation of the ďŹ ne ingredient...


Artisan Chocolate!



Say Cream! By Debbie Rogers

Cream is such a versatile ingredient and one that we often overlook. Debbie spent a week touring Normandy, Brittany and finally Paris on a press trip to find out more about cream and how it’s used in Patisserie. Her trip starts in Paris and we quickly drive to Normandy to start learning all about the dairy business. Do read about how she spent a few days in Normandy in our Travel Section.

All information gathered as part of a Cream of Europe Press Trip.

Image: Debbie Rogers

...a beautiful Meringue with whipped cream recipe inside Click here >>



Image: Bigstock

Finding Cream • Find it in ice-cream, rich sundaes, milkshakes, lassies and as a side to your coffee – poured in or floating on the top • Blend it with an alcoholic liqueur for some fantastic festive tipples; • Find it in sauces, curries, dips, mashed potatoes, swirled on soups, or part of the rich garlicky sauce over hot dauphinoise potatoes; • Find it whipped or poured over your pudding, in custard, hidden away in profiteroles or decadently swirled in a pavlova or Eton mess! What is Cream? Cream is a dairy product made by skimming the higher butterfat layer from the top of the milk. The skimmed layer is the Cream which is graded, or categorised by the amount of fat content of the cream. As a child, I remember waiting for the cream to rise to the top of the milk bottle which was delivered to our house by the milkman every morning. The darker cream at the top of the bottle was always the prized layer of milk that we fought over for breakfast! These days however, technology has taken over and the cream is now separated from the milk in centrifuges!


You’re probably aware that there are different types of cream such as double cream, whipping cream, clotted cream etc. To be classified as cream, there are strict legal requirements in terms of the amount of milk fat per 100mg.

What are the classifications? There’s no standard worldwide classifications, which surprised me. On a recent trip to France, I learnt so much on cream. In France, to be called cream, there must be at least 30gm of milk fat per 100gm (30% fat). • Cream – 30gm of milk fat per 100gm • Light Cream – between 12gm and 30gm of milk fat per 100gm As a comparison, the UK definitions are as follows: • Clotted Cream – 55% fat and is heat treated: think cream tea and scones • Extra Thick Double Cream – 48% fat: spooned on desserts, cannot be poured • Double Cream – 48% fat: can be whipped and piped • Whipping Cream - 35% fat: whips well but is lighter than double cream • Whipped Cream – 35% fat (already whipped): typically used for ice cream toppings • Sterilized Cream – 23% fat and is sterilized • Cream or Single Cream – 18% fat and is not sterilized: pouring consistency • Sterilized half cream – 12% fat and is sterilized Whilst the US categories are: • Half and Half – 10.5-18% fat: used in coffee • Light Cream – 18-30% fat: called table or coffee cream,

...continued • • •

often used in sauces Whipping Cream – 30-36% fat: used in sauces and soups, pourable. Makes soft peaks when whipped Heavy (whipping) Cream – 36% fat: for whipping if need stable peaks Manufacturer’s Cream – 40% plus fat: commercial and professional use mostly

Why does the fat content matter? • It’s essential to the lactic cream taste • You need at least 30% fat content to be able to whip cream UHT Sterilised Cream Typically, most cream that we buy in the supermarkets is UHT Sterilised Cream and has the following qualities: • Generous and creamy texture with a lactic taste • Made with pasteurized milk with no preservatives (it’s preserved through UHT* treatment) • Heated above 140ºC for two seconds, then cooled which preserves the nutritional and functional qualities without altering taste • Gives long shelf life (8 months) • It's the most consumed cream

Reading Labels – Not all creams are equal As I mentioned before, across the world there are some different variances in terms of classification of cream, so it’s important to read the labels when you are buying your cream to understand which type of cream works best for different uses. In addition to the fat content, there are also some quite major variances in terms of ingredients which is something that I was not aware of. Generally there are 3 main types of cream that you can buy. These are: • Milk Cream • Vegetable Based Cream (Powder milk + vegetable fat + water + additives – technically can’t be called cream) • Recombined Cream (Recombined milk + Recombined Butter).

On the shelves in my local supermarket, I found cartons containing Milk Cream and Recombined Cream sitting next to each other. I confess I’ve used Recombined Cream a lot in the past without realising what it was or understanding how it had been made. Typically, this cream contains a lot of stabilisers to stop it turning back into butter and the taste is stronger than Milk Cream. Furthermore, it has additional additives than milk cream. Nutrition Information of Milk Cream • 35% fat content – 3 times less than oil • Provides calcium and vitamins A, D, B2 & B12 • Low cholesterol (100mg/100gm) • Very few additives

Over the course of the week, we spoke to lots of master patisseries about their use of cream, more of that to come in the next issue, but in general the professions use cream as

follows : • For Pastry – Whipping Cream • For Cooking – Cooking Cream (it stands up better with acidic ingredients) • Smaller establishments sometimes use a universal cream which can do both Did you know? It takes 10 litres of milk to make 1 litre of cream! A milking cow produces 40 litres of milk per day and that's about 4 litres of cream Milk contains 3 major nutrients, minerals and vitamins: • Carbohydrates, lipids, proteins • Calcium and phosphorus • Vitamins A,D,B2 & B12

Terminologies [source Wiki] • Butter is made by churning cream to separate the butterfat and buttermilk. This can be done by hand or by machine. • Whipped cream is made by whisking or mixing air into cream with more than 30% fat, to turn the liquid cream into a soft solid. Nitrous oxide, from whipped-cream chargers may also be used to make whipped cream. • Sour cream, common in many countries including the U.S., Canada and Australia, is cream (12 to 16% or more milk fat) that has been subjected to a bacterial culture that produces lactic acid (0.5%+), which sours and thickens it. • Crème fraîche (28% milk fat) is slightly soured with bacterial culture, but not as sour or as thick as sour cream. Mexican crema (or cream espesa) is similar to crème fraîche. • Smetana is a heavy cream product (15-40% milk fat) Central and Eastern European sweet or sour cream. • Rjome or rømme is Norwegian sour cream containing 35% milk fat, similar to Icelandic sýrður rjómi. • Clotted cream, common in the United Kingdom, is made through a process that starts by slowly heating whole milk to produce a very high-fat (55%) product. This is similar to Indian malai. • Reduced cream is a cream product used in New Zealand to make Kiwi dip. • Chantilly Cream is whipped cream with the addition of sugar

...interested in trying out this Meringue that Debbie learnt on her France trip? Click here >>


How important is cream in your pastry-making? Cream has always been an essential element in my cooking. It is an extremely special ingredient that I use in all my pastries. It adds lightness to my desserts, gives them a rich texture and a unique taste, and gives my creations the perfect balance. How do you process and use cream? I whip my cream by hand, and I like doing this because I have found that I can control it better than a mixer. Though this does take longer, I am so thrilled with the end result that it’s certainly worth the effort! You can feel that the cream is indeed lighter! I usually use cold cream for all my preparations, but sometimes I infuse it (at 45-50 degrees) with herbs like basil and mint or Tonka beans. I also find that cream goes perfectly with certain local ingredients like cardamom. Generally, you won’t be able to see the cream in my desserts unlike the Chantilly cream, but there is no missing it when you taste it.

White Forest A recipe by Chef Waddah Bou Saad


Chef Waddah Bou Saad is the Cream of Europe's UAE Ambassador for 2017. Originally from Syria he is extremely passionate about pastries. He especially loves working with chocolate, and his speciality is eclairs. He worked as a pastry chef at La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie, one of the most renowned pâtisseries in Dubai, before joining Lighthouse, a new concept store.


I think pastry chefs are also artists, and cream allows us to express our creativity!

White Forest Ingredients

...interested in joining our next Method event?

For vanilla cream: 975 gm 35% cream 4 vanilla pods scraped out beforehand 30 gm inverted sugar 30 gm glucose 400 gm melted white chocolate For chocolate cream: 250 gm cream 250 gm milk 5 egg yolks 50 gm caster sugar 275 mg melted dark chocolate For Breton shortbread biscuit: 225 gm T45 flour 4 egg yolks 15 gm baking powder 160 gm caster sugar 5 gm salt 160 gm melted butter For chocolate genoise: 80 gm T45 flour 6 eggs 320 gm caster sugar 80 gm cocoa powder 5 egg yolks 6 egg whites For red berry preserve: 300 gm red berry purée 15 gm glucose syrup 70 gm caster sugar 10 gm pectin 4 gm lemon juice For white chocolate spraying: 230 gm white chocolate 100 gm cocoa butter Paint gun

For assembly: 100 gm amaretto cherries White chocolate and gold leaf for decoration

For vanilla Click here cream: >> • In a saucepan, mix 275 g cream with the glucose, vanilla and inverted sugar on medium heat. • Slowly add the chocolate. • Add the remaining cream. • Mix it gently until completely incorporated. • Let it rest in the refrigerator for 10 hours. For chocolate cream: • Mix the cream and milk in a saucepan on medium heat. • Add the sugar, egg yolks and mix until the temperature reaches 83°C. • Slowly add the melted dark chocolate and mix with a mixer. • Remove from heat and place it in the refrigerator for 10 hours. For Breton shortbread biscuit: • Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until light. • Add the melted butter, then the flour, baking powder and salt. • Place a sheet of baking paper on a tray, spread the mixture on it and then cover with baking paper. • Roll it out with a rolling pin (3 cm thick). • Chill for four hours and then bake at 160°C for 15 minutes. • Cut out a circle with a diameter of 24 cm. For chocolate genoise: • Mix the egg yolks, eggs and 160g caster sugar. Keep it aside. • In another bowl, mix the egg whites and the remaining sugar. • Add the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture. • Add the flour, cocoa, and mix until completely incorporated. • Spread the batter on a tray and bake at 215°C for 7 minutes. • Let it cool down and then cut out a circle with a diameter of 18 cm. For red berry preserve: • In a saucepan, heat the berry purée with the glucose syrup until it reaches 40°C. • Add the caster sugar and pectin. Bring to a boil. • Add the lemon juice. • Pour the mixture into an 18 cm mould and freeze for 1 hour. • For white chocolate spraying: • Heat the white chocolate and cocoa butter until the mixture reaches 45°C. For assembly: • For the first layer, put 500 g vanilla cream in a piping bag and fill the base of the mould. Place the berry preserve on the vanilla cream layer and add the amaretto cherries. • Put 300 g chocolate cream in a piping bag and create a layer on top of the cherries, and then place the chocolate genoise on top. • Put the cake in the freezer for 1 hour. • Remove the cake from the mould and spray it with the white chocolate preparation. Finally, place the cake on the breton shortbread biscuit. • Finish by using the remaining vanilla cream to decorate the dessert with a piping bag, along with the white chocolate and gold leaf.



How important do you think cream is in pastry-making? Cream is extremely important in my cooking: it gives my pastries a certain lightness, puffs them up and gives them a soft texture. This sensation of lightness is crucial for me, and cream is the ingredient that truly helps me create the right feel. How do you process and use cream? I use cream in almost all my recipes. Be it meringues, ganaches or icing… I’ll let you in on a little trick I use! I use lots of cream to make my macaroons lighter and tastier. Honestly speaking, you just have to use cream for a scrumptious pastry!

Al Huda - Serenity A recipe by Chef Mayada Badr


Chef Mayada Badr, from Saudi Arabia, first studied design before pursuing her passion and enrolling at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. After she returned to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, she went on to open her own pâtisserie: Pink Camel. She is commonly known as the Macaroon Queen!

I think my prettiest cream pastry is the one I have made for this book. I call it “Al Huda” meaning “Serenity”, but it is also named after my aunt who was a terrific cook! It is a vacherin with the creaminess of ice-cream, surrounding a soft gooey centre of coffee and cardamom, covered by a rose meringue. It is a light and creamy dessert that you just can’t put down once you have begun!


Al Huda - Serenity Ingredients

For Italian meringue: 250 gm sugar 120 gm egg whites 70 ml water For Halawa ice-cream: 1 lt whole milk 300 ml single cream 100 gm egg yolks 200 gm sugar 250 gm “Halawa” paste 5 gm salt For Arabica pearl: 200 gm hollow white chocolate balls, Ø 2.6 cm 100 gm single cream 100 gm white chocolate 5 cardamom pods (ground) 50 gm roasted coffee beans For almond biscuit: 120 gm ground almonds 120 gm butter 120 gm sugar 2 eggs 40 gm flour 1 gm vanilla pod For whipped cream: 200 gm single cream 10 gm orange blossom essence


For Italian meringue: • Heat the sugar in the water until the temperature reaches 116°C. • Start beating the egg whites and slowly pour in the sugar mixture. • Beat for another 10 minutes and put it into a piping bag. • With half of your preparation, make raindrop shapes and smooth them out until 2 mm thick, leave to dry for 24h. • Keep the remaining meringue preparation aside. For Halawa ice-cream: • Bring the milk and cream to a boil. • In another bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks. • Pour half of the milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture, and mix until completely blended. • Pour over the remaining milk mixture and cook until the temperature reaches 80°C. Remove from heat and pour over the halawa paste and salt. • Mix and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight before putting it into an ice-cream maker. For Arabica pearl: • Place the chocolate balls on a tray in the refrigerator. • In a saucepan, heat the single cream, roast and grind the coffee beans and place them in a muslin cloth with the ground cardamom pods. • Add the mixture to the cream and bring to a boil, let it simmer for five minutes, and then put it in the refrigerator for approximately four hours for it to infuse. • Filter the mixture and then heat it together with the white chocolate until the chocolate melts completely. Let cool before putting it into the chocolate balls using a piping bag. Keep chilled. For almond biscuit: • In a mixer, mix all the ingredients and spread the pastry mixture onto a baking tray. • Let it cool in the refrigerator for half an hour, and cut it into the desired sizes. Bake at 180°C until golden brown. For whipped cream: • Whisk the cream with the orange blossom essence. For assembly • Place the ice-cream in a cone mould and insert an Arabica pearl in the centre. • Cover with the biscuit and freeze for approximately four hours. • Mix the whipped cream and the remaining meringue mixture, place the preparation in a St. Honoré piping bag and cover the frozen cones. • Decorate the dessert with the dry meringue and gold leaf. Keep in the freezer until it is time to serve.

Both the recipes - White Forest and Al Huda can be found in the 2017 Edition of LA CRÈME DE LA CRÈME - European Cream & European Pastries, a publication by Cniel and the European Commission within the framework of the CREAM of EUROPE programme. Recipes and images supplied.



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


Rejuvenate & Refuel...

in the midst of your city & soul!


Our third #bringbackbalance event ‘Rejuvenate N Refuel, in the midst of your city & soul’ concluded beautifully at Le Meridien Dubai earlier on and with that we have come to the end of our first season of the campaign. We hope that this campaign reaches a wider audience than it has until now and you continue sharing your personal stories with us. We cannot thank Oman Insurance Company (OIC) and Bupa Global enough for supporting our campaign and our vision and all of you – our readers – who have been part of our journey so far. We feel really touched! Our event started early at 8 am as we gathered in the bright studio at the Natural Elements Spa in Le Meridien Dubai for a short

This event was a part of a series of bespoke events that we have planned to raise awareness of our campaign. Different venues, different themed dining experiences, a bit of an education on Stress ~ the silent killer at this time and age. In today’s times of dramatic distraction, people have inadvertently lost out of good quality rest and have somewhat compromised on the work-life balance.

fitness session. Yogi Zakir from Optimal Fitness, who has more than 15 years of yoga experience led us through a light session of Hatha Yoga and essential breathing techniques, and this was followed by an inspirational talk session with David Lebouchere, Inspirational Speaker & Advocate of Healthy Living and founder of Optimal Fitness (a former army man, a world athlete and Ironman), where he shared with us real life experiences about wellness and fitness. A little attention to our daily routines of sleep, eating habits and tending to our emotional and physical wellbeing was all that was required to bring back balance into our lives, was one of the major highlights of David’s talk.


#FoodeMagPresents Yogi Zakir (right) from Optimal Fitness, who has more than 15 years of yoga experience led us through a light session of Hatha Yoga and essential breathing techniques.


...continued An inspirational talk by session with David Lebouchere, Inspirational Speaker & Advocate of Healthy Living and founder of Optimal Fitness (a former army man, a world athlete and Ironman), shared with us real life experiences about wellness and fitness.


A curated delicious light brunch waited for us in our own private area at the Yalumba restaurant with a visually stunning menu curated by Chef Dominic Petzold, the Executive Sous Chef, Le Meridien Dubai, who added his own magic to some of the healthy recipes by Ella Mills – also known as Deliciously Ella, created specially for Bupa Global. On arrival, we were greeted with chilled Nectarine Smoothies and Brain Boosters. The sweet menu of our light brunch had us munching into Banana Raisin Cakes, Honey & Lemon Breakfast Bar (both recipes created by Deliciously Ella), Greek Yoghurt parfait with berries and almond brittle, Baked raspberry doughnut with raspberry cottage cheese whip and shots of Red elixir (beetroot, acai berry, blackberry, pomegranate, ginger and red apple). The savouries from our curated menu comprised of Salmon frittata (sous vide salmon, dill, scallions, crème fraiche), Vollkorn toasts with hummus, avocado and baby spinach with cress, Protein Wraps with honey roasted turkey ham, iceberg, roma tomatoes and honey- mustard spread, Sous vide marinated Pumpkin with Pomegranate tacos, low fat yoghurt, caramelized walnuts, pomegranate and salted peach, and Mini Beetroot & Bean Burgers (a recipe from the Bupa Global website). The guests received goodie bags that complemented the ethos of the campaign – fresh fruit boxes from Fruitful UAE, courtesy Bupa Global, discount vouchers from Natural Elements Spa and fruit infuser bottles from our end. There were surprises in store as well for some in the form of gym memberships at Optimal Fitness! Reiterating the thoughts of Samer Sawaya, Head of Partner Operations (Bupa Global) for Oman Insurance Company: “Bringing balance back into the lives of UAE residents is a goal close to our

hearts. Our research revealed that 89% of UAE residents want to live a healthier life, while 40% claim that lack of time is a barrier to managing their wellbeing. If people cannot find a measure of balance within their busy lives, they are more likely to be spending less time eating wholesome meals, exercising regularly, sleeping sufficiently, and looking after their overall health and wellbeing. Neglecting their health and wellbeing will also have a knock on effect on their happiness. We understand that achieving the perfect equilibrium is a challenging feat, and for this reason we have partnered with FoodeMag to support people in finding a way to bring balance back to their life.” Do visit our website regularly, there will be series of #BringBackBalance videos and articles from experts as well as our simple suggestions of how we can bring back balance through returning to our basics. Stay with us if you want to join our next event (with the Season 2 coming up hopefully soon) and also tag us if you find some time to do the simple things in life that make you happy!

...interested in joining our next event?

Click here >>


#FoodeMagPresents #1




While our event had Yalumba serving up a different fare, we recommend checking out their Shellfish Lobsession night on Fridays. From Canadian crabs to fresh oysters from France, from devilled squid curries to crispy woks, Yalumba serves up a wonder. It's #triedNtested by FoodeMag team and passes with the highest flying sea-colours! For more info on special promotions and packages visit






On Arrival: (#1) Nectarine Smoothies and Brain Boosters On The Table: (#2) Carrot Muffins; (#3) Sous vide marinated Pumpkin w/ Pomegranate tacos, low fat yoghurt, caramelized walnuts, pomegranate and salted peach; (#4) The entire brunch spread curated for our third #BringBackBalance event and laid spectacularly at a private seating in the Yalumba restaurant; (#6) Nutty chocolate treat pops; (#5) Chef Dominic Petzold, the Executive Sous Chef of Le Meridien, in front of his own culinary creations.

recipes 25



protein wraps Recipe and styling: Chef Dominic Petzold; Image: Ishita B Saha


Protein Wraps

Salmon Frittata

Serves 4

Serves 4

1 protein roll bread 1 roma tomato - sliced 50 gm honey roasted turkey ham sliced 25 gm iceberg lettuce 10 gm honey - mustard spread 50 gm cottage cheese

4 eggs 1 red onion finely chopped 1 garlic clove finely chopped 4 tbsp milk 150 gm salmon diced 150 gm smoked salmon chopped 50 gm chives


Method • •

In a bowl, combine the sliced ham, tomatoes, honey, mustard spread and cheese. To assemble the wrap, spread the above onto the wrap, cover with lettuce leaves, and roll up, beginning at rounded end. Cut in half or as you wish.


Method • • • • •

Beat eggs and milk together Mix in chopped onion, garlic and chives Add salmon Season with salt and pepper Bake at 180º C for approximately 20 minutes until the egg is cooked

salmon frittata



Vollkorn Toast Bread with Hummus, Avocado & Spinach Ingredients

Vollkorn bread toasted hummus avocado thinly sliced lemon baby spinach cress

Method • •

Peel and slice avocado in thin slices soak in lemon to prevent from turning color Cut Vollkorn bread in your likes of shape and start layering avocado, spinach leaves, hummus and cress


...continued Pomegranate Tacos with Pumpkin & Caramelized Walnut Ingredients

10 pomegranate tacos 150 gm pumpkin, small dices cooked sous vide 150 gm pumpkin puree 50 gm caramelized walnut 25 gm low fat yoghurt

Method • • • • • • • • • •

Preheat the water bath to a temperature of 65ºC Remove the tough outer skin of the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and slice the flesh into chunks Arrange the pumpkin slices in a single layer inside a vacuum bag. Make sure that you lay them flat and do not overlap them Sprinkle some salt over the pumpkin, add a drizzle of olive oil Place the bag in the water bath and leave to cook for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the slices Take the pumpkin out of the bag and gently dry with kitchen paper Cut half of the pumpkin in small dices for the taco the other half put in a kitchen blender and puree until smooth, season Mix pumpkin dice, puree and yoghurt together Fill in taco and garnish with walnut



granola bars


...continued A recipe by Ella Mills, also known as Deliciously Ella. Bupa Global has come together with Ella to provide insights on healthy eating. Our specially curated #BringBackBalance brunch menu also had a few 'Deliciously Ella' recipes created for Bupa Global, like this Honey & Lemon Bar. More such recipes here

Honey & Lemon Bar Ingredients

Granola Bars Ingredients

2 kg white oats 100 gm coconut flakes 125 gm macadamia nuts 120 gm pumpkin seed kernel 180 gm sultana 300 gm cashew nuts 140 gm pine nuts 360 gm dried apricot diced 110 gm almond, sliced 80 gm sesame seeds white 80 gm sesame seeds black 2 tsp maldon salt 400 gm X.V olive oil 600 gm honey 550 gm maple syrup 4 tbsp vanilla extracts vanilla sticks ttt

Method • • • •

• • •

Mix the dried ingredients in a large bowl. In a casserole, bring to boil the wet ingredients with the vanilla sticks. Let cool down till warm, pour over the dried ingredients and mix well till nicely coated. Roast in an oven at a temperature of 140-150ºC, stir every 5 minutes to toast the granola trough until it turns nicely golden and light brown in color. Cool at room temperature in an air conditioned environment and store in a sealed container. Add 100 gm honey to 1kg of the above mixture. Toast again in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until it turns brown and crispy. Shape granola bar as you like.

6 medjool dates 110 gm oats (1 cup) 1 tbsp of coconut oil 3 tbsp runny honey 1 tbsp tahini zest of 1 lemon juice of 1 lemon 70 gm pumpkin seeds 2 tbsp chia seeds pinch of salt

Method • •

• • •

Melt the coconut oil, honey, lemon juice and tahini in a pan over a gentle heat. Add the pumpkin seeds to the food processor and pulse a few times until they are roughly chopped. Remove the pumpkin seeds and put in a large mixing bowl. Pit the dates and add them to the food processor and blend until a sticky paste forms. Add this to the pumpkin seeds along with all the other ingredients including the contents of the pan. Mix thoroughly until everything is evenly coated. Line a baking tray or large lunchbox with greaseproof paper, spoon in the mixture and press down evenly. Place in the fridge for about 2 hours to set. Cut into squares or slices before serving.



Toro Toro...

Brunch season is back and we take off with Hola Hola! By Debbie Rogers

We are receiving lots of information about new brunches, new menus or new venues. As we can’t go to all of them, each month we handpick a few which we think are interesting, unusual, or personal favourites and we share those finds with you. As you probably know by now, Team FoodeMag are not advocates of buffet brunches because of food wastage, the time spent walking the floor ‘foraging for food’ rather than chatting to our friends or family. Unless it’s something uber special or unusual we avoid buffets preferring instead, menu driven brunches.

#triedNtested Famed Pan-Latin American favourites!

We are huge fans of Toro Toro, by the famed Latin American Chef Richard Sandoval, a global pioneer in Contemporary Latin Cuisine who has over 52 Latin restaurants across the United States, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East. We have visited Toro Toro on a few occasions for dinner or events rather than brunch. Recently, the restaurant revamped it's legendary Toro Toro Friday Brunch to a livelier version called the Hola Hola brunch, which we really enjoyed. Images: Debbie Rogers

Brunch is served family-style and is based on Pan-Latin favourites from the main menu. The menu at first looks overwhelming but once it’s explained, is easy to follow. Starters come hot or cold. You select the cold dishes from the small station and include some real favourites like delightful ceviches. Hot starters are brought to the table on small sharing plates and are supplemented with a small dish of perfectly spiced guacamole, which is made table side. The next course is the signature churrasco grill which involves skewers of beef, lamb, chicken and prawns being brought to your table and carved expertly by Toro Toro's Passadors. My guest who

usually orders his food well done, enjoyed every mouthful of his medium grilled steak and lamb. Succulent, juicy, tender and with a hint of burnt fat around the edges, the meat was quite obviously of a high quality and tasted outstanding. To help save our ever expanding waistlines or to save us having to lift our head to acknowledge the staff whilst tucking into a plate of succulent meat, there’s a simple card system on the table which you use to indicate whether you want more food from the churrasco grill. Green (Sim, Por Favor) means “Yes please” and the staff will keep on serving you whilst Red (Nao, Obrigado) means “No thanks” or as we coined it “please give us a break”, or “I’m done!” Along with the meat, you get a decent portion of sweet potato fries sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon (tastes surprisingly good), and a dish of rice and some steamed broccoli. Drinks There’s a couple of cocktails on offer at arrival which are made at live cocktail stations, and then you can order standard drinks, wine, beer and sparkling wine which are served at the table. The atmosphere is lively with some great Latin beats being played by the DJ and a mix of families, couples and groups of friends which make for a perfect brunch venue. Service is attentive, staff is knowledgeable and helpful and last drinks offered close to final order's time without us having to ask, which was a lovely touch. Note: Small improvements would add to the overall experience, a drinks menu and mocktail menu would be helpful and hot towels served towards the end of the dessert course would make it less of a cleanup. Apart from that, and my wish for a wider choice for desserts (but that’s just me as I am not a chocolate dessert fan), this is certainly one brunch that we will go return to in this Brunch season.

Pricing: The Hola Hola Toro Toro Friday brunch is available from 12.30 pm - 4 pm every Friday at AED 490/person inclusive of selected beverages and AED 350/person inclusive of soft beverages. Not only can you avail the 'Hora Loca' prices from 4 to 6pm with a 30% off selected beverages, but can also get a 20% discount on brunch when you book and pay by Wednesday. For reservation, call Toro Toro, Grosvenor House, Tel : +97143176000

#ToroToroDXB 33


Miss Tess... let the expert lead you through an Asian steet food invasion! By Ishita B Saha

Miss Tess is real. She will guide you, lead you and tend to you, as you settle into this new-Asian street food inspired by Korean, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisines and the exciting vibes of night markets that are so typical of the Orient. The story has been built around Miss Tess, 'a mysterious woman who has travelled the streets of Asia collecting inspiration and experiences along the way.' From street performances to a real tuktuk right in the middle of the restaurant, the vibe is electrifying. Food complements the excitement and we think that this could easily be one of the refreshing F&B openings from last year!

#triedNtested Delectable Asian Street Food where to start and finish?

The menu at Miss Tess is vast and after taking assistance from miss Tess herself and Will, the restaurant manager, we decide to settle on signature samples from each place. The essence is street food and calls for sharing portions. We start off with the Far East Satay, a mix of chicken, beef, lamb and tiger prawn, served with peanut sauce and ajad. This is followed by Grilled Squid served with spicy seafood sauce and Takoyaki, fried octopus, served with Okonomiyaki sauce Images: Ishita B Saha

and bonito flakes. Dumpling are a must for an Asian food tasting and Shrimp Shaomai grace our plates soon. Then we move onto to Thailand with a Thai Pomelo Salad, a juicy pomelo pulp salad served with poached prawns, crispy shallots, garlic chips, sweet roasted chili paste and lime vinaigrette. We move to Japan now with Gesha Maki served with a shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, crispy crabstick, spicy mayo and sesame seeds. Super Mario Maki follows soon, maki rolls made with fresh tuna, salmon, spring onion and spicy mayo. Our choice of Mains include the Szechuan Hokkien Noodles from China, deliciously stirred with Seafood, bean sprouts, cabbage, bok choy and spring onions. We also tasted another

signature dish - a Korean mixed fried rice, the Bibimbap. If you are a rice eater and seeking for comfort food, go for this one a bowl of rice topped with sautéed vegetables, meat, egg and Gochujang chili paste. Its presented in an interactive way as the server breaks down the mound of rice and mixes the other cooked ingredients noisily! Drinks Signature Cocktails, some meant for sharing, are prepared from ingredients and liqueurs originating from different regions in South East Asia and are appropriately listed in a 'passport'. For example, the #Tessgroni_Ceremony using Pandan leaves and Campari; or the #Meet_In_Beijing created out of Asian beer, white rum and a syrup made with 5 spices; or the #South_Cebu using vodka, sake, rose syrup and basil leaves etc. Non-alcoholic versions of the cocktails and other interesting mocktails are available too - and in both the cases just like the creations, the names are catchy too - #Changsa_ Sour, #Another_Pad_Thai, #Lost_In_Hanoi etc.

Go Wok Yourself

Under the guidance of Miss Tess herself, guests are dared to take on the challenge of eating the hottest and spiciest noodles of your selection - Fried, Hokkien, Yaki Soba and glass noodles along with a variety of protein, sauces, spice levels and add-ons! You can carry on the feistiness and eat upto free by winning ‘The Spicy Noodles Challenge’ where you have to polish off a hot bowls in less than 20 minutes. Go Wok Yourself, if you dare, but only after signing a legal disclaimer!

#theAsianWay 35



open your body & mind to a delicious plant-forward menu! By Ishita B Saha


'Plant-forward' - the word conjured up extremities in my mind, a inclination towards vegan thinking perhaps? Or may be strict vegetarianism? I was quite honestly taken back spotting lamb meatballs, chicken and seabass on the menu. Welcome to the world of Sesame with it's plant-forward menu which simply put, means a menu that focuses on using more whole-grains, fruits, vegetables along with pulses and not necessarily curbs on non-vegetarianism. Team FoodeMag met up with Irina Sharma and Neha Jamani, the cofounders of Sesame, and a delicious breakfast menu unfurled before us. Irina is a health and wellness advocate and a follower of the VIVAMAYR cult believing in the philosophy ‘you are what you digest’, not ‘we are what we eat’, and Neha is a Natural Chef trained at the Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, Berkeley, and has been involved with ‘Food As Medicine’ conferences, a training program teaching health professionals on how to integrate nutrition into their clinical practices, as well as into their own personal lives.

Thankfully, the above prelude doesn't translate into mere difficult terms that only a select audience will appreciate but the restaurant has been envisaged as an engaging community space where healthy and delicious food can connect to the conscious Dubai diner who's also looking for his/her money worth of a wholesome meal in a beautiful yet casual venue in Sunset Mall on Jumeirah Road. The Food Sesame boasts of a Nourishing Menu, and by that they mean going an extra mile in every aspect of stirring up a dish - from soaking the grains, nuts and beans for easier digestion to making homemade sauces and dressings. Ingredients used are seasonal, organic and local wherever possible and all food preferences and requirements can be catered to. We I opted for a Seaweed and Lotus Salad from the Starters section, my companions ordered a Carrot Banana Pancakes made with buckwheat, drizzled generously with date and pomegranate syrup and nut butter; and a Potato Rösti with Poached Egg and Avocado - both from the Breakfast menu. Each portion size is generous, and the flavours are enhanced by a variety of drizzles or a serving of home made sauces - for example, the homemade sesame dressing in my salad lent an extra flavour and strength to the interesting combination of the mixed seaweed. Don't miss the Falafel Waffles (below), a signature from the Mains (I overstayed my breakfast tenure and continued until lunch) - the waffles packed with flavours of fresh mint and other herbs and a homemade Harissa Mayo adding to the punch.

Falafel Waffles


Seaweed & Lotus Salad

Orange Polenta Cake with Saffron & Orange

Salmon & Greens.with pea puree, kale and lemon from Sesame's lunch menu... contrary to what 'plant-forward' menu may suggest, some interesting non-vegetarian preparations are available. For example, Five – Spice Lamb or the Harissa Honey Chicken, Pomegranate Lamb Meat balls and Origami Fish etc.

Desserts If a foodie can have an indulgent dessert without any guilt, clearly that has to be the ultimate signoff for a restaurant - and thankfully Sesame does have a few winners in the menu, although with limited options. We tasted the Orange Polenta Cake with Saffron & Orange Blossom, the honey labneh drizzle over it being a healthy alternative to traditional icing; Coconut Lime Pudding Pot, a homemade granola with cashew, coconut and lime; and flourless Chocolate Cake made with almonds, 70% dark chocolate and homemade coconut crème.

For more info on Sesame Restaurant, visit Images: Ishita B Saha

#DubaiDining 'Cooking is very therapeutic, never cook when you are in a bad mood... Never eat when you are in a mood...' Yes, we are listening... and learning Chef Neha Jamani! What an incredible experience it has been joining Neha in Sesame Dubai's first #PlantForward cooking class.


Plant Forward Cooking Class...

The founding principle of Sesame is to provide holistic health and nourishment through food. So it is hardly a surprise that it will evolve beyond just a restaurant and will build a community that is interested in the deepest form of nutrition - that of nourishment and healing of the soul! A series of events are in the offering, for example, the Plant-forward monthly cooking classes with Chef Neha Jamani, the #nourishnheal programme where Sesame Restaurant and Hope Energy Healing Center in Dubai joins hands in a unique partnership to bring more awareness and education towards holistic health, or the monthly Dinner with Doctor Series with a renowned medical guru. I joined Chef Neha on 25th January for Sesame's first plant forward cooking class where our objective was to learn how to use more herbs and greens in our daily routine. It was followed by lunch which served the dishes that we learnt in our cooking session, for example, the Millet and Pea Cakes with Tahini drizzle (right). Neha is a treasure trove of virtuous food and earlier, she had come home and spent two days teaching us little tweaks that would make our home cooking more beneficial for my family. Read more about it in Ishita's diary.

Ishita's story & Chef Neha's recipes

Sesame Dubai ...continued #weRecommend Sesame Restaurant’s monthly ‘Dinner with Doctor Series’ Each month, a renowned medical guru is invited to dine at Sesame, interact with guests and engage them on a wide range of health and nutrition topics. In the second event from this series, diners have an opportunity to meet Dr Harald Stossier, founder and Medical Director of VIVAMAYR centre in Austria. Dr Stossier will share his knowledge of alkalising one's diet by balancing the acidity and alkalinity in the body in order to boost energy and ward off illness.

For more info on Sesame Restaurant, visit Images: Ishita B Saha


21 Grams... the fresh new Bistro in Jumeirah that's trending right now By Ishita B Saha


We are in love! In love with this cute 30-seater bistro cum restaurant tucked in the corner of Park Regis Boutique Jumeirah hotel, a few stones away from the sea. As we walked in, we are hit by a strong aroma of specialty coffee and fresh bakes, the recipes of which have flown all the way from the Balkan peninsula. 21 Grams, the Urban Balkan Bistro has completely swept us off our feet from our buzzing urban landscape of Dubai to an urban hideout that is small enough to make us feel cosy and vibrant enough to tempt us to gather here for a casual hangout with our friends and family, or sneak out for a one off out-of-office workspace, almost by the sea – with good coffee and homely Balkan food to keep company. What's in a name? The name itself hides a lot of inner meaning literally. 21 Grams is apparently the weight of the human soul, explains Stasha Toncev, the founder and ‘Chief Soulkitchen Officer’ of the new bistro. Later, we do find some references in the internet to some soul weight experiments which directs us to similar digits (the 21 grams experiment). Soul talk apart, 21 degrees also indicates the latitude of the Balkan Peninsula and 021 also happens to be the area code for Novi Sad, Stasha’s hometown in Serbia. Can it all be a coincidence? The Food It is very clear that nostalgia hangs over every dish in the menu, and each has been created using family recipes that have been handed down lovingly over generations. Seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers are at the essence of each dish and pleasant presentation by Head Chef Uros adds a new look to popular regional classics – which are either served as street food or as family meals cooked at home. We snuggled into our breakfast with a jug of infused water. My fried egg came gently sandwiched between two homemade flat breads – soft, fluffy and round, with kajmak (clotted cream) by the side and a beef jus softening the base. Although this was enough, I also had to order a Burek, after having heard so much about this legendary layered dish of phyllo and a filling. My first burek didn’t disappoint me, and the treat came in the form of a generous portion of phyllo pie, each layer crisply tucked with delicately spiced meat. Debbie is currently following a keto diet and hence opted for a Bouyourdie which is baked feta Cheese topped with tomatoes, peppers, olive oil and oregano from the mezze menu. And did I mention that I also couldn't resist a dessert for my breakfast - a subtly favoured Elderflower dessert? It is very evident that the emphasis is in serving home cooked Balkan ‘soul food’ - gypsy toasts with kaymak and ajvar, Kifla or the butter rolls, grilled ćevapi, meat and cheese bureks, traditional Balkan pies and an array of desserts stirred soulfully like the chocolate hazelnut baklava, Cheese strudel with rosehip jam, Tufahije - walnut stuffed apples with whipped cream and many other traditional delicacies. The menu is elaborate and the Mains itself borders on exoticism – oven-baked seabass with green chard puree and baby potatoes, the slow-cooked lamb in milk with horseradish sauce and poached apple, the orange and balsamic vinegar marinated octopus with baby potato and carrot puree, the homemade gnocchi with forest mushroom mix or Dalmatian pasticada, the slow cooked beef stew with prunes and apples!

For more info on 21 Grams - Urban Balkan Bistro, visit


Signing off: As one settles down in this vibrant yet calm ambiance of the restaurant, the menu is a sort of a gentle introduction to a cuisine that is not very known to Dubai diners, although the Ottoman or the Middle Eastern influences in Balkan cuisine has introduced us to the Baklava, Somuns and other dishes. The authenticity of the taste and the flavours have been certified by the handful of Dubai residents who are walking in and who come from Serbia and other Balkan countries. This is perhaps the biggest stamp of approval for 21 Grams!

Infused water

Above picture: Fried free range egg on homemade flat bread with kajmak & beef jus (in front) and Bouyourdie baked feta cheese with tomato, pepper, olive oil and oregano (behind) This picture: Elderflower Icecream Left: Burek with meat

Images: Ishita B Saha



creating barista style coffee is possible at home now By Debbie Rogers

The Concept Imagine being able to create barista style coffees at home with a machine that is virtually fully automated and at a reasonable cost. Sounds too good to be true? Think again. I was recently invited to see the new Creatista machine by Nespresso in action at a pop event in Al Quoz. The machine itself looks beautiful and stylish and is easy to operate. The one we were using was in brushed steel and would grace any counter top without taking up too much space. The Machine The machine is super easy to operate. Once filled with water your biggest choice will be which Nespresso capsule to use from the full Nespresso range. My suggestion, add a bit of pazazz and go for a flavoured coffee, my personal choice is always the Caramelito. After selecting your capsule you then choose the type of coffee you want. The machine makes the full range of coffees from espresso, flat white, cappuccino, latte, latte macchiato etc. Once you’ve chosen the coffee you want, you make some personal settings on the machine in terms of the volume of coffee to be brewed, temperature, amount of foam etc. Pop in your capsule, add milk to the barista jug and position the jug on the temperature plate. Press start and set the machine to work. The machine will save the settings and store e to


Images: Debbie Rogers

do is pour the milk into the coffee and voila! If you have barista talents (or think you do) you can try and pour a heart, unicorn etc into your espresso and really wow yourself and your friends (warning it’s way harder than it looks, believe me when I say I tried this lots of times and failed miserably as well as entertained the barista, alibi making a lot of mess, lols!). Alternatively, simply add the milk to the coffee and if you want it to look super cool do some faux latte art with some chocolate syrup and a toothpick (much easier and equally fun).


Nespresso Creatista Plus enables you to easily create authentic top-quality Latte Art coffees at home. You can purchase the Creatista Plus from any Nespresso store and it is price at A 2,300, barista milk jug included.

xxxxxx Debbie, pls talk about this coffee

Overall, this is a cute and clever machine which I am sorely tempted to save up for. It’s really functional, easy to use, has a small work surface footprint, which is important in my apartment, and as a bonus has minimal requirements for keeping the milk nozzle clean. Now the inner barista in you might say, go buy a proper machine that uses ground coffee and yes, I’ve had one of those moments, but never found the pressure good enough to make good coffee. In addition, having to separately steam the milk was a faff and the tidy up afterwards was never worth the effort. I’m open for suggestions if you think you have the perfect countertop ground coffee solution.





unforgettable and an exhilirating performance

Al Habtoor City just got a whole lot more interesting with the opening of the the latest new show in town in La Perle. Created and produced by Franco Dragone, one of the most sought-after artistic directors in the world, it’s a show which left me completely entranced, spellbound and constantly asking the question ‘how do they do that?’

By Debbie Rogers

#triedNtested The Show The show is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s Cirque du Soleil style(ish) with acrobats, motorbikes, and divers with a cast of superbly fit performers, dare we call them athletes? It’s visually stunning, entertaining and if I’m honest a little puzzling. There is no narrative to the story, although there is a story, so it leaves you thinking about it way after the show ends. The performance is mesmerising. It takes place in and around the on-stage pool (people dive in a disappear into the depths of the water). There’s also a wet/dry stage which at times is filled with some 2.7 million litres of water which then vanishes to become a dry stage! There are real waterfalls cascading down the theatre wall, stunning graphics beamed on the auditorium walls, high trapeze action, motorbikes pulling stunts in a suspended dome and so much more. Images: Debbie Rogers

The Seating The show takes place in a fully immersive theatre with just fourteen rows, so no matter where you sit, you are close to the action. Sit high and you can look down on the action on the floor and be immersed in the trapeze acts which happen in front of you. Sit lower down and you will be immersed in the floor show ahead of you and gaze up at the higher action. Take your pick and as you ‘pay the price’, for the ticket prices vary depending on where you sit. In my opinion, no matter where you sit, you are bound to be entertained and get a fully immersive experience.



- Franco Dragone

Info: La Perle Website

The show has to be unique!



Showtimes There are two shows per day, five days a week, Tuesday - Friday at 7 pm and 9.30 pm and on Saturdays at 4pm and 7pm. We went to the 7 pm show and wished we had gone later as we hit rush hour traffic and were a little freaked that we would miss the start time as the shows start promptly! Each show lasts 90 minutes which seems to fly by. This is a show where you will want to take photos and videos, and it’s actively encouraged, just don’t use your flash to prevent distracting the performers! Food & Drinks We bought some simple cinema type snacks on entry, but found them pretty pricey - for example AED 50 for a popcorn or AED 30 for a small cup of coffee. Our tip would be to dine before or after the show at one of the many restaurants in Habtoor City which are all within walking distance: • Zoco - Mexican and Latin American cuisine • The Rose & Crown - British pub

• • • • •

Blind Dragon Asian inspired bites City Grill - South African dining experience Namu Korean and Japanese fusion Il Capo - Authentic Italian J&G Steakhouse - American classics with a modern touch

Alternativel,y a short drive takes you to City Walk, Box Park and Downtown where your dining options are literally unlimited. Note: If you valet park (AED 50 charge) there’s a long queue to get your car after the show, so might as well while away some time at dining!

Pricing: Tickets start at AED 400/person for Bronze seats, AED 600/person for Silver, AED 800/person for Gold and AED 1600/person for VIP seating. The latter includes a few complimentary bites, but no details on what these are.


Images: Debbie Rogers


...Deb's Diary

#TrainWithMeDxb... yalla,

get moving outdoors, cool weather's here! By Debbie Rogers

The good news that it’s much cooler for training and so outside is now my absolute favourite venue. However, I wouldn’t want you to think I’m a wuss, I’ve actually trained outdoors all year round, it’s just that now it’s cooler the hours that I’m training have become much more sensible and sociable. Over the last couple of months I’ve continued to try new things as well as to continue some of the ‘TriedNTested’ sessions that I love.

#triedNtested Round9 UAE This is boxing circuit class which literally takes just over 30 minutes and can be done at a time to suit you. You can arrive anytime as there are no set class times which is a huge bonus in terms of flexibility and timing. Once you arrive the trainer puts on your handwraps, and gloves and you are off! Essentially there

Images: Debbie Rogers

are nine, three minute rounds that you work at, you also do some active rest on the one minute allowed for you to move to the next round. Each round consists of a station which has a three minute workout attached to it. For instance you might be hitting a boxing bag, doing ab twist with a medicine ball, etc - all are boxing related and there’s some fast dance music in the background as well as the instructor to encourage you to work hard. The workout changes daily so no two days or circuits will be the same which is great for variety. For beginners, the instructor helps coach you on what to do at each station and demonstrate the moves etc, the more advanced you get the less instructor help you need as you know what to do as each workout is written on a sign next to the station. The workout is suitable for any level and fitness levels. I trained with someone who was superfit but we were able to train together and both get a good workout from it. Regular attendees chalk up their results on a leader type board which adds to the competitive spirit of the class. A fun, hard work, high intensity workout.

For more fitness ideas and a list of places in Dubai where you can train for free, visit


#TrainWithMeDxb Recommends ~ Variety is the spice of life! I've loved doing lots of different things. This workout @9rounduae was awesome! An awesome 30 minute high intensity boxing/ kickboxing workout this morning @9rounduae Basically you turn up when you want, get your hands wrapped then put on your boxing gloves and do 9 x 3 minute rounds. Each round is fairly high energy/high intensity and non stop! 30 minutes later and it's all over!



Boxing Bootcamp Coach Hicham from Dubai Boxing Sambo School has recently set up a FREE Boxing Bootcamp which I’ve attended a few times and am really enjoying it. Each week takes on a different theme in terms of moves and workout but so far I’m learning how to train to box properly and to understand the reason behind getting stance, posture moves right etc. I’ve done Boxercise and Box Fit classes before but have to say Coach Hicham is putting the theory and practical moves together for me in a really understandable way. You’ll generally be paired with someone equal to you so don’t worry about being knocked out or injured - work is against pads or gloves with the emphasis being on technique rather than power or full contact. Expect to work hard, but have fun and to learn some new moves. Bring gloves if you have them, but there are usually a few spare pairs for you to borrow. Suitable for all levels. Details Skydive Dubai 9am every Saturday. Be like me and do Gumbo first.

Hatha Yoga Got a chance to try some Hatha Yoga again as part of the #BringBackBalance campaign and our third event called Retreat And Relax. Hatha Yoga is a really classic style of yoga suitable for all and one that I really enjoy. There are variations available for most levels and I had a timely reminder of the benefit of “leaving my ego at the door” as once again I was reminded that my body is not as flexible as it used to be. I opted for a variation on classic Hatha, which I call ‘Hatha Click’ since I was also on duty to take shots of the class, so a few unusual moves might have been noticed by our yogi instructor, but honestly these were all in the spirit of sharing our experiences. On a more positive note, the event inspired a few people to go and try further yoga classes, and if nothing else, our mission is done, as we’ve inspired others to try something new to #BringBackBalance. Do take a look at our feature on the event earlier.

Gumbo Bootcamp Gumbo is a free weekly outdoor workout at Skydive Dubai run by the team from Fit Goals Dubai. It’s very much a community event and attendance is FREE. I’m now a regular attendee. Workouts are mainly body weight ones so no fancy equipment. Attendees change regularly with a few of us being regular hard core attendees. Most important of all, these workouts are fun! We’ve done relay races, tug of wars and chain relay racing etc. Details 8am every Saturday morning.

CycleBar CycleBar is a relatively new bike studio in City Walk. I attended a class early one Friday morning shortly after opening day and to my horror, found out that it was only myself and my guest booked in. Whilst this was great in terms of instructor attention, it was also pretty intense as the lovely instructor only had us to focus on so there was absolutely no slacking. In order to ride, you are loaned a pair of cycle shoes which allows you to clip yourself into the bike and to remain clipped in during the ride which keeps you in the right position. Each instructor curates their own set of music and the music that you train to along with your stats are sent to you

Images: Debbie Rogers

Deb's Diary...continued at the end of the class which is pretty neat. The class simulates an outdoor ride with hill climbs, sprints etc and as you workout your results are beamed on the wall. There are a couple of ‘race’ sessions too where you race others in the class with the constant encouragement of the instructor. Near to the end there’s a session using weighted bars which you do on your bike adding in some arm and shoulder work and letting your weary legs take a short rest. Expect a high energy, high intensity workout with the added benefit of some competition during the race section. Really happy to see that Cyclebar encourage you to stay hydrated during class and they provide refillable water bottles for you to do this as well as fruit to refuel with afterwards. RPM at Golds’ Gym I’m halfway through with membership at Gold’s Gym and am enjoying RPM classes on a fairly regular basis. The cycle studio has undergone a revamp and has some fab new TechnoGym bikes which are sturdy, in great repair and perfect for the class. RPM involves you cycling in a group to music for an hour. An instructor leads the class and the music is choreographed to simulate a cycle ride. Think sprints, hills etc. Since the bikes are stationary you simulate the moves with speed or resistance, or a combination of both which is pretty intense and hard. The great thing about the bikes is that each bike can be synched with your phone and then your workout results are beamed on the wall in front of you live! There’s absolutely no room for faking how hard you are working with this method which adds to the overall performance of the class. MashHIIT Up at NRG I’m a huge fan of HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training means that you work at a high intensity for a shorter period of time. This is beneficial to your body in terms of an efficient workout both in terms of time spent excising, calorie burn and afterburn as well as being rewarding in terms of feeling like you’ve had a super hard workout. NRG Fitness recently held an open evening where you could do four thirty minute HIIT sessions back to back and I managed to get a spot the day after I returned from ten days in France tasting cream and patisserie - perfect! We started with a short HIIT Bike session which was intense and high energy, then a 30 minute boxing circuit class, a 30 minute KO8 class and finally a 30 minute HIIT Abs class. Each class was on point in terms of exercise and intensity and a perfect introduction to the type of classes run. The abs class at the end was a ‘killer’ at the time, but am sure my body will benefit from the exertion. HIIT is a fab way to workout, the feeling of ‘oh I think I’m going to vomit’ is quickly forgotten as you bathe in the glory of achievement at finishing a class and the calorie afterburn.

that I would be eating a lot of calories (I was there to learn about cream and patisserie) and have little free time to exercise. I toyed with taking my KO8 system with me, but having seen the packed agenda knew that realistically I wouldn't use it. Instead Paris had it’s own exercise plan worked out for us. Every day we were in Paris we were easily clocking up between 15,000 - 25,000 steps a day (image in the left), as measured by my Fitbit. Voila! So that’s how the French ladies stay so slim. Vive La France!

Counting Steps! And finally, I should mention the often overlooked easy method of exercise - Walking! Whilst on a press trip to France, I knew

Psst - I’ve now set up a new website where I will share more stories about my training exploits. Do hop over for honest and raw stories, hints & tips.


#Balance #FEMrecommends

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Images:Debbie DebbieRogers Rogers Images:


Deb's Diary...continued


Day1) In this case heavy cream which is just what I needed to help with day 1 of #keto at Jamaica Blue; Day 5) I’m feeling rough. It’s called keto flu and it’s a process where your body starts to transform from burning carbs for fuel to burning fat for fuel. I’m crazy tired, feel mentally foggy and have terrible bags under my eyes but I know this will pass in the next few days as my body adapts. Breakfast goals for keto - protein, carbs and healthy fat! Pic 3) Simple food elevated to mega tasty with a good pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and some grass fed butter. Pic4) The teaser menu from Slab at La Mer Dubai was really good! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the full menu which will be launched soon. We feasted on two incredibly beautiful and vibrant salads which more than pleased us (neither is officially on the menu yet but will be coming soon) as well as two dishes from the sandwich menu, confit duck and salmon, served as plated dishes instead of sandwiches which is helping my keto diet. Meanwhile, my date enjoyed a decadent rich flourless Chocolate brownie which I’m gonna call the snickerdoodle as it came with caramel and peanuts and looked sublime. A Home grown concept born out of a passion for fine quality food at affordable prices. Inspiration for the restaurant is based on the travels of the owner, a passionate foodie who loves to travel (I want his job!); Pic 5) Technically this is a sandwich filling ... but the clever guys at Slab can turn any “carbie” sandwich item into a plated version without batting an eyelid making it not only tasty but also keto -compliant!






...Ishita's Diary

From Brain Fog to Brain Drain... How did I move forward? By Ishita B Saha



Pic 1) Overnight camping in the Al Qudra desert Pic 2) Let the sand gulp away your problems and stress; Pic 3) Growing herbs in the garden acan be real therapeutic; Pic 4) A quiet corner in the garden for listening to some binaural beats and birds' chirping; Pic5) Smelling in the fresh vegetables and the fresh air in the Community Farms in DSO; Pic7 & Pic 8) Chasing sunrises everyday!






This is my story that I am finally sharing, after a long deliberation. Because if I didn't share today, I would continue leading a life full of lies, a beautiful instagram feed hiding a conflicted and a restless mind and a fatigued body. If this dialogue strikes a chord with even one person or if I get to hear even one single word of real-life wisdom, it would be my gain. #timetotalk I truly believe that I lead an amazing life surrounded by a beautiful family, caring friends and colleague, have a dream job as my career since I managed to convert my passion into a career. Each day, I wake up excited to meet new people in my work field and inspire me with their stories, the behind-the-scene tales that go on to prove once again - everything that you dream of, is indeed possible. I have connected to so many people around the world that it seems incredible. The problem lies within - how does one take a cue from anything amazing that is happening in life when the brain doesn't tune in to them automatically? Why and when does that brain wiring gets snapped? For some one like me, a moderately high-functioning, over-zealous creative individual, snapping doesn't come easy. But when it does, it becomes very difficult to retune because there's a lot of selfimposed expectation and comparison with the most efficient version of one's self. That's actually a very good and a positive thing, however, can be quite a lengthy process as the thought that strikes it's head is always this - "I can do it myself! No help needed! And definitely Not burdening anybody else!" To be fair, everybody needs a bit of support structure in terms of having 'someone/few people' to off-load one's emotions. And to be unfair, that 'someone/few people' are the chosen ones to be left strained and disappointed the most, when their 'job' of helping out fails. I have no qualms in admitting that I have been living in a bit of doldrums lately. The last one year, I have been working to reverse a few of my physical ailments - an underactive Thyroid, insulin resistance bordering on Type 2 Diabetes, a bit of hypertension and adding feather to the cap, an abdominal hernia surrected from an unhealed laparoscopic incision from a hysterectomy done two years back. Oops, so a forced menopause? No not yet, as the ovaries are still intact - thank goodness for some naturally active female hormones! Excessive weight, dry skin, wrinkling and aging



Follow Rhian Lindley, an integrative holistic healthcoach who's lost 34 kgs, beat T2 Diabetes and Hashimotos and is a Fitbit Brand Ambassador!



#Balance #8 #8


is just one aspect of it - the external aspect. But what really has been floundering me is how to deal with the internal aspects exhaustion, regular motional breakdowns, acute brain fogs (forgetting to shut the car door and locking the car or walking upto the supermarket to buy bread and coming back without it!) and eventual brain drain (listening to various opinions throttled my way as to what I should be doing, how to exercise and what to eat etc swaying from one theory to the other). It is extremely disorienting and difficult for a person - who's a conscientious daughter, mum, wife, friend, colleague and a co-worker. Hence FoodeMag's aim to #bringbackbalance with a Wellness category is so vital in my life right now - it connects me to people who are helping me to bring back the balance that my mind and my life needs. For me, there are no 'before and after' pictures... it offends my senses to think that a 'before' or an 'after' is better than a 'now'. I sincerely believe that I am always the best version of myself, momentary phases of emotional lows notwithstanding. Here's what I have done in the past few months, in concrete terms and spiritual, to make sure that I am on the track that I wish to be! Strengthening the core Undertaking private lessons with Rehab specialist and STOTT PILATES certified instructor Tegan at Real Pilates has been life changing. Focusing on simply strengthening my core and increasing my abdominal strength has transformed by ability to focus, increased my confidence about my own body and is slowly helping me to tune my brain wire again. I wish to learn pole dancing in the future and Tegan assures that it's not going to be impossible. Although Pilates isn't guaranteeing a cure for my hernia, it is definitely strengthening the abdominal muscles and closing the hernial gap, something that I am wanting with all my heart - and to avoid another surgery, if possible. Alongside her Pilates, Tegan has an interest in how exercise can help improve general well being and mood, and also aid in the management of complex neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases - we are both working together to make some magic happen! www. Walking from the time I wake up In fact, a lot of walking - I have never been a gym person and have preferred to move outdoors or take up dance lessons. When I started to retrack my life, the best option for me not to give excuses was to be forcefully in nature. I walk twice a day, one ushering in the day and watching the sunrise, and the other after dinner, taking a moment to sit under a sky full of stars. Both the desert and the beach is at close proximity to wherever we may live in the UAE, and with the weather holding so good now, there can't be any excuse. Initially I would be tracking my steps and now I don't. I don't want to feel stressed out when I haven't walked the minimum daily requirement of 10,000 step. However, I do take the help various walking apps which guides me to make my daily walk a high intensive exercise - repeated intervals of three minutes of fast walking followed by three minutes of regular walking.


Loop in some experts Connect to a community and loop in some experts who are in cue. I am lucky to have had close friend Tanuka Gupta (Pic8), a psychologist, yogi and holistic wellness coach on my speed dial. Since food and cooking forms a very important part of my wellbeing, I took lessons from Natural Chef Neha Jamani (Pic9), also the founder of Sesame Dubai. She came home and taught us to cook in a more holistic way so that the food that we were cooking at home nourished us properly. A few tweaks here and there in the kitchen and we are good to sizzle!

Chasing sunrises rather than sunsets For the most part of my life, I believed that I was a night person - my creativity, energy and efficiency soared during the night. I joked that I chased sunsets rather than sunrises, even created a hashtag #101sunsetdays as I captured beautiful sunsets. I worked through the night with very less sleep, considering I had a fairly regular early morning routine with two school-going kids. We all know that our body is naturally attuned to the circadian rhythm which is linked to the light–dark cycle. It's taken a while for me to reverse this cycle, thanks to the insistence from my family and friends. Today, I am addicted to the sunrise, having shared my inner conflicts and inner desires to the early morning sun for the Images: Ishita B Saha

Ishita's Diary...continued I have always believed in Law of Attraction and it has been working for me from the time I was born - and I know it. But how do you make a waning mind believe in it? I know it's all in the mind, but how do 'put all the fabulous stuff' into a chaotic mind? I have accepted that 'Falling is not failing', and there is a real support crew holding me tight so that I can carry on - no matter what. Each day, I thank my stars that I am surrounded by people who love me, they may not necessarily understand me fully, but they never judge me. And remember, if not people, Nature is a great listener... So are pets !

Never stop having fun and a bit or role playing when you are in self doubt... “Start telling the story of your amazing life, and the law of attraction must make sure you receive it!” - The Power by Rhonda Byrne

last six months, breathing in it's beauty and radiance and breathing out the assurance that 'today is going to be magical'! Listening to Binaural Beats and other spiritual pursuits Listening regularly to Binaural beats via various chanting etc have helped me tremendously to re-focus and re-orient myself, specially because I am right-brain inclined and my entire wellbeing is dependent upon the success of my creativity endeavours. In almost every ancient culture, repetitive beats have been used to usher in intentions, wellbeing, prosperity and spirituality. There is science working here - the repeated beats can induce a trance-like state due to the brain shifting into a specific brainwave frequency, which is a low Theta brainwave state*. Nature too has embraced binaural beats - the sound of the sea waves, the consistent noise emitted by crickets in a forest at night - these have the power to calm down nerves and send signals to the brain. For example: through the use of repetitive drumming and chanting, Tibetan monks, Native American shamans, Hindu healers and master Yogis have been able to induce specific brainwave states for transcending consciousness, healing, concentration and spiritual growth. Open your mind to different theories from various cultures and religion and pick the ones that seem to resonate with you. *Scientists have discovered that certain brain wave frequencies (especially the Alpha and Theta) may: 1. Relieve stress and promote a lasting and substantial reduction in people prone to anxiety states. 2. Facilitate a deep physical relaxation and mental clarity 3. Increase verbal ability and also the performance IQ, verbal. 4. Better synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain. 5. Recall mental images live and spontaneous imaginative and creative thinking. 6. Reduce pain, promote euphoria and stimulate the release of endorphins. []



@ishitaunblogged: For many of you who have come into my virtual

life fairly recently.... this is an updated version of one of the most popular posts on my blog - 'About Me', six years since it was published. From a blog that started out of my passion and later served as the founding stone for a career spun out of food and travel, its come a long way. In the meantime, Subir has turned the Bearded Biker from S, Big Z has turned thirteen (she was seven then), Lil Z is eight now (she was three)… For all of you who have come into my life along the way and who may not have read this post yet, deserve to know about my idiosyncrasies! What hasn’t changed though is the ruffled hair, sand-brushed cracked cheeks and squinty stares from the featured family picture from our annual vacations ... and our cracked wit!!!


Pic 10) Debbie Rogers, Editor & Business Head FoodeMag dxb - my soul sister and the boss lady who holds the whip at the work place; Pic 11) Friends who are like (more than) family as we make the UAE our adopted home; Pic 13) The boys in the Saha household - brings sanity and salvation in my life; Pic 13) Laughing, living, travelling and eating the whole world with our two daughters is perhaps sole purpose of why I can't ever let go!


Images: Ishita B Saha


#Balance #triedNtested

Spaghetti Squash with Herb Drizzle and Turkey Meatballs Ingredients

Meatballs: 500 gms ground turkey 30 gms finely diced onion 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ tsp ground fennel ¼ tsp red pepper flakes salt and pepper, to taste water or stock, as needed Squash: 1 large spaghetti squash Oil of choice salt and pepper Herb Drizzle: 75 – 100 ml Olive Oil 15 gms parsley leaves and stems 25 gms basil leaves 2 garlic cloves 1 ½ tsp lemon zest salt and pepper, to taste


Meatballs: • Preheat the oven to 350 F. • Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Form into small meatballs and place into a baking dish. Pour a little water or stock in the baking dish, just to cover the bottom. Cover the baking dish with parchment and then foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Squash: • In the meantime, cut the spaghetti squash in half and scrape out any seeds. Drizzle with oil of choice and season with salt and pepper. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake until tender, about 30 minutes. • When the spaghetti squash is cooked, take out of the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Using a fork, scrape the flesh, making spaghetti-like strands into a large bowl. Sauce: • Place the basil, parsley, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a blender or mini-food processor, mix until you have smooth consistency. • Stir in the lemon zest. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed. • You can also adjust the amount of olive oil if you want a more liquid sauce. • The herb drizzle can be used immediately or refrigerated until ready to use. For freshest flavor, use 72 hours. Serving: • Toss enough sauce to coat the squash and season if necessary. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the meatballs and herb drizzle.


...continued These are recipes that Chef Neha Jamani created and cooked for us at our home. They are easy, nutritious and absolutely delicious!

Kale, Arame & Sesame Salad Ingredients

¾ cup dried arame 2 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil, divided 2 tbsp minced ginger 2 tbsp minced garlic 1 large bunch kale, chiffonade 2 tbsp tamari 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted


• • • •

Rinse the arame and then place in a bowl. Cover with water and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add 1 tsp of the sesame oil and all of the minced ginger. In a large pan, heat 2 tsp of the sesame oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and gently sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the arame mixture and gently cook for another minute. Remove from the pan,

• •

back into the large bowl, and set aside. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Add the kale and tamari. Gently mix in the pan to coat the kale with the oil and tamari. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until the kale is wilted. Remove the cover and let cook 1 minute more to evaporate any excess moisture. Remove from the heat. Combine the kale with the seaweed mixture. Taste and add more sesame oil and tamari if needed. Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds.

Images: Ishita B Saha


#Balance Spinach Buckwheat Risotto Ingredients

150 gms spinach puree 400 gms cooked buckwheat 75 gms green peas 150 gms broccoli 100 gms asparagus 4 gms salt 2 gms pepper 50 ml nut milk of choice 10 gms herb drizzle 5 gms cress Spinach puree: 250 grams spinach leaf 30 gram water Blanch spinach for 30 seconds and drain Blend in vitamix with water


Method • • • • • • • • •

Rinse the arame and then place in a bowl. Cover with water and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add 1 tsp of the sesame oil and all of the minced ginger. In a large pan, heat 2 tsp of the sesame oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and gently sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the arame mixture and gently cook for another minute. Remove from the pan, back into the large bowl, and set aside. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Add the kale and tamari. Gently mix in the pan to coat the kale with the oil and tamari. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until the kale is wilted. Remove the cover and let cook 1 minute more to evaporate any excess moisture. Remove from the heat. Combine the kale with the seaweed mixture. Taste and add more sesame oil and tamari if needed. Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds.


Fish Tagine Ingredients

500 gms white fish of choice (filleted and deboned) 150 gms onion, diced 200 gms tomato, diced 120 gms red pepper, large dice 50 gms olives 100 gms tomato puree 10 gms oil of choice (Coconut, Avocado, Ghee, Sesame, Rice Bran) 8 gms paprika 2 gms turmeric 1 gm cinnamon powder a few strands of saffron 5 gms salt 500 ml water 10 gms parsley, garnish 500 grams cauli rice (to serve) 100 grams pickled apricot

Method • • • • •

Sauté onion in oil for 3-4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato puree, olives and seasoning and sauté for a further 3 minutes. Tip in fish, bell peppers, water, tomato and saffron, bring it a boil and reduce heat and cook covered on low heat for 10-12 mins Once fish is cooked, remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasonings if required. Serve with cauliflower rice and garnish with parsley and pickled apricot.



Normandy... haute-cuisine heaven for food lovers & for cream! By Debbie Rogers

Getting to Normandy from the Middle East: Fly to Paris then either drive or take a train (45 mins to 3 hours depending on destination) to various stations in Normandy. Time Difference: 2 or 3 hours behind Dubai depending on British Summer Time The Weather: Varies from a minimum of 1ºC in winter to 23ºC in summer. It rains a lot, so take some waterproof clothing and/or an umbrella.

I spent a week touring Normandy, Brittany and finally Paris on a press trip to find out more about cream and how it’s used in Patisserie. My trip starts in Paris and we quickly drive to Normandy to start learning all about the dairy business. Normandy: Located just a two-hour drive from central Paris is the province of Normandy. It’s an area rich in history and has 600 km of coastline with an abundance of fresh seafood. The lush green countryside makes it perfect grazing for dairy herds, and there are plenty of apple orchards. Normandy is a perfect holiday hideaway for food lovers. There’s gorgeous fresh seafood, local duck, veal and salt marsh lamb as well as beautiful local cheeses, apples and of course apple products such as apple cider, Calvados etc. Most restaurants in Normandy use locally sourced products and is haute-cuisine heaven for food lovers and visitors seeking authentic culinary experiences.


Normandy is particularly famous for its dairy products, butter, milk, cream and cheese and cream was the focus of the trip that I was on along with some other journalists from the Middle East. In just over a week we were in France to visit Normandy, Brittany and finally Paris to learn about how cream is used in cooking and baking, or should I say patisserie. More information on Normandy as a destination later.




Selection of Isigny Set Mere products for us to taste after a tour around the production area



...continued Julia Child: If you're afraid of butter, use cream.


Premier cru laitier de France (the finest milk-producing area in France)

It’s a little after 8 am and we are at a small family owned farm in Normandy. The mist swirls over the fields and the grey clouds above mean there’s a chance it could rain. Donning protective footwear, we are taken in a small group into the milking parlour to see the cows being milked. It’s calm and peaceful and all we can hear is the sounds of the machines and the radio playing in the background. We’re told the radio helps soothe the cows, and it seems to be working. Two workers are setting up the equipment to milk the cows and go about their job quietly and efficiently. As for the cows, they are settled and content and going through their usual daily routine.

Why is the milk so good?

The cows graze on fresh grass, herbs and flowers. Milk comes from three main breeds of cows all of whom produce high protein milk with a high casein content. High casein content produces excellent cheese. The cows graze on fresh high quality grass year-round and spend at least two hundred and twenty days outside grazing on fresh pasture. Good cream can only be made using high quality milk and the process starts in many family owned farms across the region like the one that we visited. The farms are part of the Isigny Ste Mère Dairy co-operative which was formed in the 1930’s. Today the cooperative covers more than 450 farmers and employs more than 700 employees and processes 215 million litres of milk every year.

The role of the Co-operative Where can you buy French Cream in Dubai? French cream is broadly distributed in the UAE, most famous brands being Elle & Vire, Paysan Breton, Président, Bridel, Isigny Ste Mere are available in different sizes (20cl to 1L but also in spray for the readymade Chantilly). You can find the largest selection in Carrefour hypermarkets but they are also available in other popular supermarkets like Spinneys, Choithrams and others.

Milk produced at the small farms is transferred to the Isigny Ste Mère production facility where after rigorous quality checks etc, it is transformed into butter, cream, AOC* cheese, and milk powder. Each item of produce is produced and marketed under the established Isigny Ste Mère brand and by processing the milk into other products, value is added to the product which is then marketed and exported across the world. You’ll recognise the products, as they are available here in Dubai.

*AOC One of the major roles played by the Co-operative was the successful application for the AOC standard. AOC stands for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (translation: Controlled Name of Origin). AOC is a designation of process and provenance that is used in France. Essentially AOC covers a process or method of production, rather than a level of quality. The program is designed to ensure that products with a long history and a strong sense of terroir can maintain their identity in the marketplace. The AOC designation covers many different food groups – wine, oils, spices and cheese to name a few. To have the right to use the AOC symbol a product must be produced in the agreed area, have an established reputation and have successfully completed the approval procedure.


Normandy Food Festivals

There are plenty of festivals spread across the year. They typically fall into the following categories: • • • •

Apple & Cider Seafood Cheese, and Local Produce & Traditions – everything from black pudding to snails!

Dining in France - Restaurant Tips: • • •

more here >>


The tourism authority lists over seventy different type of experiences from snails, cheese, chocolate, seafood, cider and so much more. There are museum tours, trips to farms and tastings. There’s certainly plenty to keep a foodie busy on a trip.

more here >>


Check out the various markets where there’s bound to be plenty of local produce. Note: ‘Rise and Shine’ - markets take place in the morning and are usually wrapped up by lunch time so don’t be late!

more here >>

Foodie Circuits

Not sure where to go or what to see? The tourism authority has details of routes called Circuits which highlight areas to visit and activities based on your preferences. Of interest to food lovers are: - The ivory and spice trail (La route de l'Ivoire et des épices) - The fruit trail (La route des fruits) - The Camembert trail (La Route du Camembert) - The cider trail (La Route du Cidre) - The mill trail (La Route des Moulins) - The tradition trail (La Route des Traditions)

more here >>

• •

• • • •

Menus in France are always displayed outside the restaurant, so you can decide in advance if the price, style and food available are what you want. There is no added tax on top of the food costs and no obligation to tip. Set menus, are very common and are often a great way to try some new dishes, although the selection may be limited. They typically involve a several courses. Not fancying the set menu? You can usually order A La Carte. Some restaurants also offer ‘Plat du jour’ – dish of the day. Dégustation Menus are quite common. This menu is chosen by the chef to show off his/her expertise. Usually this consists of many small plates, and there’s no choice of menu. Wine is a common part of the menu – usually with a good selection of house wine which you can order by the glass – (by the pichet which is 125ml) we had some amazing apple cider as well. Fine dining is quite often cheaper at lunch rather than dinner. Restaurants often close mid afternoon to prepare for the evening meal. Whilst we would thinking nothing of it, it is not usual to ask for a “doggy bag” for leftovers. Most places were not overly helpful in making changes to menu selections, and vegetarian food choices tended not to be on the menu and the resulting dish was very unimaginative. Finally, if you don’t recognize an ingredient from the menu, ask for a translation to avoid you tucking into something unexpected – in hindsight that might just have been me – though it did entertain everyone at the table!


Cows on a Paysan Breton Cooperative farm visit

Normandy Farm Experiences

We were privileged to visit a working farm which is not open to the public, however if you want to have a farm experience in Normandy there are some working dairy farms which offer accommodation. La Ferme de la Folivraie An organic family owned organic dairy farm close to the beach and a national park where you can see the cows being milked.

more here >>

Ferme de la Rouge Fosse Stay in a typical Bessin house on a farm producing dairy, meat and cereals. In the immediate vicinity of the Normandy landing beaches.

The small milking herd at one of the Isigny Set Mere cooperative farms

more here >>

Gite Ferme de la Vieille Horloge Stay on this family owned working dairy farm in a former cheese house (now a family gite) surrounded by green Norman meadows.

more here >>

For more info on Normandy and France, visit 67

#CulinaryTravel #CreamDesserts Meringue Makes 4 servings


5 egg whites 200 gm caster sugar pink food coloring (optional) For cream: 400 ml whipping cream 1 pack strawberries

Method • •

• •

Preheat oven to 140ºC. Put egg whites into a bowl and whip with a food processor until soft peaks. Add the sugar and contintue to whip until still peaks. Spread the meringue in a circle on a silicon baking mat (roughly 8 inches wide). If you want the ripple coloring, dip a cocktail stick into the food coloring and swirl it through the meringue. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the meringue to cool in the oven with the door slightly open (this lets the meringue dry out).

By Debbie Rogers

...continued Meringue in Paris... sweet dreams are made of this! Can you believe I made this? Well I piped the cream and chopped up the fruit...

Much to my surprise, Nicolas judged my dessert to be the winner! You can see the final result above. The ripe figs added the final touch of “je ne sais quoi“ to my dessert, an indefinable quality that makes something distinctive or attractive. I wanted to recreate this dessert in a more homely style once I was back in Dubai, and so made a large meringue, rippled it with red food coloring to add some contrast, and then piled it high with whipped cream and strawberries. Et Voila!


On our visit to Paris to learn more about cream, we had a cream masterclass at Un Dimanche à Paris with Nicolas Bacheyre, Chief Pâtissier. Using preformed meringues (I chose coconut), we filled the inside with chopped fruit which we had bought at the market in the morning, then covered the fruit with piped whipped cream. Finally, we sprinkled dehydrated fruit and added the zest of a lime for a quick and easy, but visually stunning dessert.

Meringue with whipped cream is a staple in my ‘impress the guests’ repertoire! It’s quick and easy to knock up and if it all goes wrong then you can always smash the meringue and call it an Eton mess. Yes, I might have done that a few times!

,, 69


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Edition 18, February 2018