Immune Boosting Power Foods

children As we welcome winter, it comes accompanied by the uninvited guest, ' the nasty Influenza virus'. Children are more prone to its attack than adults. Preventive measure such as washings hands and avoiding contact with the virus is certainly a good idea, however the key to a healthy child is a healthy immune system.

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Reem Abdallah, Dietician, Health Factory, offers my readers  tips to promote healthy eating at home which in turn promotes positive immune function. Reem advises parents to visit the local grocery store and choose a variety of ingredients that aids in keeping your child's immune system running strong. Of these the main ingredients are:

 

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The Language of ‘Saving’ and No Wastage’

The World Food day was celebrated on the 16th of October.  On this account as i was approached to raise awareness on 'Saving and to avert food wastage' i was pleased to adopt this cause and spread the word. This post is dedicated to my husband who is a propagator of no wastage and a person who dreams to see in his lifetime fairer distribution of wealth around the world. Where we live in the UAE, we do not see the depressing sight of the homeless and the struggle of the hungry, as we see in other parts of the world. The fact however remains one in 9 people around the globe live daily facing the demon of devastating hunger and more than 5 million children under the age of 5 die every year as they suffer malnutrition.

UAE is a land known for the biggest, the best and the excess. Food waste is a growing problem in the UAE.  We love food, but for a nation of food lovers, the amount we waste each year is quite staggering, 350kg per person. It is the equivalent of each one of us throwing five bowls of rice in the bin, every day.  Each year AED 13 billion worth of food is wasted, the same as AED 1400 per person.

How can we revert these alarming statistics? While there is no single miracle formula, every drop saved counts and our home is a great place to start. I am learning this process and teaching my children a new language. I urge you to give thought to this and to teach your children the language of 'Saving and No Wastage'.

Here is a list of some easy and useful tips to reduce food waste at home, provided by helpling.ae , the leading online-platform for home cleaners.  

1. Shop smart

Buy less food. Seems simple, but really, this is one of the most important things you can do. More often than not, some of the food we buy in the supermarket will spoil before it’s eaten and get thrown away. Buy a little less food each time you visit the supermarket, even if this means making more trips. 

2. Work with what you’ve got

Regularly check use-by dates and make meals using items that are reaching their expiry date. This will help reduce the amount of food you throw out. Get versatile with food and experiment with recipes to avoid chucking them to the bin.When you make a big meal, save any excess food. It can be your lunch for the following day, or simply a snack for when you get peckish. You can freeze most food in individual portions in freezer bags, too.

3. Store food properly

Proper storage of certain foods can drastically impact their longevity. Keep your fridge clean and hygienic and at the right temperature (ideally around 4 degrees Celsius) and your food will stay fresh for longer. Get into the habit of rotating your foods in the fridge each time you shop. 

4. Serve sensible portions

Avoid over-serving food when cooking for friends and family by serving smaller portions at first, then dishing out any more to those who are still hungry. You might also try serving food on smaller plates - the same amount of food on a smaller plate seems like more food, as it seems to be taking up more space on the plate.

5. Reuse, Recycle

Many items that you might just toss in the trash once you’ve used them still have life left in them. You can also use used tea leaves as manure for plants, old lemons to disinfect surfaces, or even clean the inside of your fridge.You could try composting. It’s nature’s way of recycling food waste. 

Teach you child a New language - The Language of 'Saving' and 'No Wastage'

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Review: Flavors of Brazil at SPIRITO

Walk through the doors of Spirito and find yourself transported to South America. It is a cheerful space with flamboyant interiors, exotic drinks and intoxicating sounds of Brazil. This new restaurant is the latest in the series of South American culinary invasion to hit Dubai.

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Service was excellent from the moment we stepped through the door. The servers were in their element: charismatic and witty with a personality, to influence.

Caipirinha, margarita--They've got all kinds of Latino beverages to keep you ticking. For our appetizers, we opted for the Spirito Picanha Sliders and Coxinha, which are traditional Brazilian croquettes. Small plates clearly did not mean small and was ample for sharing. A bite into the sliders revealed the aromatic flavors of caramelized onions and well cooked juicy beef--everything you expect a top quality slider to taste like.  The smoked Coxinha was a tear drop shaped bomb of flavors. All together this hit the spot and I deemed them worth 5 stars.

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For my entrée, I opted for Lobo, which is a Balck Angus Steak served with Polenta fries. On arrival, it did create an impression with its innovative presentation, on a wooden board. While I still enjoyed it, it just really didn't stack up to my expectation. My husband picked the Cordeiro for his entrée. This is a two bone rack of lamb slathered shamelessly with chimichurri. It sure possessed a distinctive flavor and is 'Interesting' as my husband would describe it.

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Dessert saw us sharing the Brazilian chocolate bonbon cake. This layered pie is amazingly decadent! It has a thin crust biscuit layer topped with rich custard, layered with chocolate ganache and topped with whipped meringue. I almost tasted a slice of heaven. I was won over.

The overall scene: As seems fitting for a cosmopolitan city, with swag careers, fine dining has taken an about turn towards the more eclectic and trendy. This spot is a reflection of this cultural shift. Spirito has made its way into town with its vibrant vibes providing a welcome flavor of Brazil and its ethos. It is a spot not to be missed!

Grab the deal: 50% off your total bill during the month of August

Where: Media One hotel

Contact: +971 4 421 2679

Reservation:reservations@spirito.ae

visit: www.spirito.ae

Price: Coxinah  AED 55

Cordeiro -Two bone rack of lamb, chimichurri AED 120

Brazilian chocolate bon-bon cake AED 50

 

 

 

 

Review: HOOKED to Crab Tavern

If you attempt to score a table at Crab Tavern, you will find a contemporary approach to classic American Fun, Fare, and Favor. As its name suggests, Crab Tavern's menu boasts a myriad of crustacean dishes. It  focuses on reinventing the classic American food and drinks with a delicious and creative twist. The ambiance is upscale ‘Casual Chic’ with an inviting rustic charm, which includes; warm leather sofas, wide plank wood flooring, and brick walls...personally I love this style.I am a sucker for character and warmth. Crab Tavern 243

Our server Justin, who was knowledgeable, fun and witty  made great recommendations, and his service was stellar.

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We started by ordering a Strawberry Colada and a Crab Jar for drinks. I have an obsession for mason jars and classic milk bottles!! My poised and composed demeanor gave way to reveal a visibly excited and awed disposition when I witnessed our server present our drinks in mason jars and milk bottles. Not only were the drinks oozing an enticing appeal but also tasted equally good and were a refreshing start to our meal ahead.

 

IMG_6541For our starter, my husband and I shared a Seafood Arancini. It was my second rendezvous with Arancini and I must add that this particular one lacked the flavor to seduce my pallet and warm my soul. However, the presentation was immaculate with a generous serving of fresh salad greens paired with quail eggs.

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I associate mussels with my very first trip to the French Riviera, where my eyes and taste buds discovered the irresistible flavor of this juicy meat with glistening black shells. I was pleased to note Crab Tavern’s selection of Mussels from the entrée menu brought back delicious memories of the fresh juicy gems of the French Riviera. It was served in a silver tavern accompanied by crispy fries and crusty bread, to soak up the sensational creamy white sauce. It's everything you want it to be!

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My husband chose the much-recommended Singapore crab for his entrée.This was served in spicy chili-tomato gravy, which hooked him from the very first bite. Its appearance was tantalizing, served with crab cracking and scooping tools. My OCD husband overlooked the mess as he enjoyed the succulent flesh in a luscious spiced sauce. This dish lives up to its reputation and is a must try.

 

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For dessert, we opted to share a Pecan and Maple tart served with Bourbon ice cream. What I loved most about this pie is that It’s not cloyingly sweet and I did not have to battle cutting into the crust as it was just the perfect texture.

As the evening progressed the scene here was an upbeat frenzy. The servers were pacing about buzzing with life, clearly enjoying their trade.This kept us waiting a while after our dessert course, to grab the attention of a server (which was the only low point of our evening).

 

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Crab Tavern is completely unique to the city of Dubai. This space has rightfully earned a bounty of buzz. Scoring a table on a weekend can be tricky, so I recommend making a reservation to ensure you can eat your way through their praise-worthy culinary goodness. The rustic décor, fashion-forward company, uplifting tunes and welcoming vibes make this a space worth trying! It’s stylish, urban, fun, impressive and oh! its just larger than life… it’s American for crying out loud!!

 

Where: Media One hotel

Contact: +971 4 420 7489

Reservation: reservations@crabtavern.ae.

visit: www.crabtavern.ae

Price: The Crab Tavern Arancini / Scotch Egg AED 65

Singapore Crab - AED 85

Pecan & Maple Tart- AED 35

Strawberry Colada - AED 35

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking up Memories

It’s always worth it to create memories alongside teaching a new skill to your kids. This summer has been the most amazing bonding experience for me. I have discovered cooking and baking with kids is wonderfully rewarding. OK, it can be a grimy affair and a date with boisterous…but the joy of watching your kids take pride in what they made and to see them have fun while loving the art of whipping, mixing and decorating is a warm fuzzy mommy feeling. So let’s don on the aprons and cook up some memories. Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

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Review: Savouring Dubai at Seven Sands

The Bedouin culinary experience is enjoying a resurgence in Dubai. One of the hottest recent entrants on the Emirati dining scene is ‘Seven Sands’ at ‘The Beach’, JBR. Named after the seven Emirates that constitute the nation of UAE. This expansive two-level eatery is a fashionably modern space with a cultural twist.

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I embarked on a culinary adventure to discover the flavors of the region, offered at Seven Sands. My husband and I arrived at the restaurant after sunset to discover a quiet haven and were greeted by polite and friendly staff. I noted the glass-covered section on the ground floor containing sand from each of the seven emirates and modern frescos on the walls featuring cultural and iconic elements of the Emirates. The head hostess volunteered much of her knowledge and led us upstairs to our table by the window, nicely isolated from the cozy shisha/smoking area and the outdoor terrace facing the sea.

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The building blocks of authentic Emirati cuisine are the use of fresh ingredients. I learned the meat and ingredients here are locally sourced. We were welcomed with an interesting complimentary light bite of warm flat bread sprinkled with zaatar flakes accompanied by chilly labneh dip on the side. Incredible I must say!

Levantine favorites like hummus, moutabal and  tabbouleh were highlights of the appetizer menu. We decided to opt for the Middle Eastern salads with a contemporary twist. My pick was UAE grown green mangoes with homeidh leaves plucked fresh from AL Ain farms, tossed in olive oil and baby tomatoes, bursting with tangy notes. This salad was suitably summery with its zesty flavors. The Seven Sands signature salad which was my partners selection was full of playful colors and clean flavors.

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For our Entrees, I decided to pick the much-recommended ‘Wrapped Bezar Prawns’ fried with vermicelli dough served with sweet chilly dip. The prawn was cooked to perfection but lacked flavor. The chilly dip that accompanied the prawn did the magic and elevated the dish. My husband decided to go with an unconventional pick(In a Middle Eastern restaurant) of ‘Grilled Beef Tenderloin ‘ marinated with olive oil served with pumpkin crisps, mash, and locally sourced vegetables. One can generally assume a restaurant that calls itself a Steakhouse puts out fine examples of steak, but you’re not expecting to stumble on a flavorful and tender steak at an Emirati dining scene. The tenderloin presented was juicy and delicious, down to the very last bite.

Middle Eastern desserts do not tickle my fancy like a cheesecake or Crème-Brule does, however, the dessert list here has one scrumptious cake that I cannot get enough of, the ‘Seven Sands Date pudding’! Hands down this restaurant serves the best version of date pudding that I have ever tasted. It’s a delightful date sponge cake; lightly textured and soaked up with toffee sauce and garnished with almond flakes. It’s an absolutely satisfying combination of smooth and gooey, and described in one word as HEAVENLY! Whether you’ve never tried a date pudding or it’s a favorite, visit The Seven Sands today to treat yourself with their version of this classic.

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Seven Sands is a culinary marriage between traditional Emirati and the modern cuisine, similar to what present day cosmopolitan Dubai symbolizes. If you are looking for well priced and well-portioned Emirati dishes with a twist, served within an aesthetically pleasing ambiance, this is the place to head to.

Where: The Beach, Opposite JBR.

Cuisine: Arabic

Phone:+971 4 551 66652

Website: www.sevensandsrestaurant.com

Timings: Sat - Wed: 8am - 1am / Thu - Fri: 8am - 2am

Price: Seven Sands Signature Salad- AED 25

Harees- AED 45

Grilled Beef Tenderloin- AED 95

Seven Sands Date Pudding- AED 25

 

Review - Iftar Buffet at Raffles, Dubai

There is no better way to experience the richness of Middle Eastern culture than to indulge in a sumptuous Iftar buffet. Despite the plethora of Iftar buffet options in the UAE, the average diner finds it challenging to strike a consistent and gratifying experience. If you are going to experience one, I recommend starting with the one offered at Raffles Dubai. Last month I went on a gastronomic journey with Raffles Dubaiand it’s pre-Iftar offerings presented at ‘Azur’ restaurant. The ambiance is stunning with the restaurant overlooking the Raffles garden and an atmosphere which is a mixture of heritage and luxury. It presents a more contemporary take on Iftar including Arabic and international delicacies.

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Upon arrival the hostess dressed in an Arabian princess costume and the restaurant manager, who accompanied us to the table, greeted us. The Executive Chef Tuomas Heikkinen along with Chef Mohammed, who hails from the region is responsible for designing the menu items. They ventured out of the kitchen for a chat about the offerings.We started our experience with dates followed by a selection of refreshing Ramadan drinks, which included Tamarind juice, Date juice, Date smoothie, Laban and more.

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I was overwhelmed and delighted by a wide array of appetizers, which comprised–Smoked salmon salad, Steamed Prawn Makdous, Moulabel with beetroot (Eggplant and beetroot purée with tahina sauce), Baburma with greens (Arabic air-dried beet with roca leaf) and other diverse offerings. Among hot Meze, the gently spiced Sambusa stands out. The Manakish selection included meat, cheese, zaatar and vegetable. It was an interesting experience for my husband and I to sample a range of flavors before tucking into the main course.

For the Entrée, the centerpiece, was the obvious hearty dish of Lamb Ouzi.  The entrée counter also featured the uncomplicated Dawood Basha, which are Arabic-style meatballs in tomato sauce. The fish was succulent, well cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce. My husband and I were unanimous in picking the Fish presented as our favorite. The lavish Iftar featured 4 impressive live cooking stations dishing up Pasta, Fatteh, Shawarma and Mixed grill.

The sweet course served was extensive with Arabic perennial favorite Umm Ali and Kunafa. It also featured an international selection of desserts such as Sticky date pudding, Blueberry Cheesecake, Dark and White Chocolate Mousse and Linzer tart. The Fig Halwa was a clear standout. If you own a sweet tooth, you won’t be disappointed with the selection presented. Shisha is also available to guests, priced separately. The staff and the service stood out impeccable, striking the right balance of attentive but not intrusive.

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To share a meal is to share a portion of your culture. Living in Dubai, the melting pot of diverse nationalities and cuisines, it is a joy to experience the city's very own taste of culture and flavor. Whether you’re fasting as part of your faith or a foodie feasting to experience the culture, an Iftar in Raffles Dubai is something to relish and not to miss!!

Where

- Azur, Raffles Dubai. Call +971 4324 8888

Price

-       Aed 185 per person, inclusive of soft beverages and Ramadan juices.

-       With 2 Adults dining 2 children dine for free.

Timings

- Sundown to 9 pm.

REVIEW: Simply Delicious! by FRHI Restaurants

This past week I had the pleasure of joining a select group of journalist, bloggers and other presumable qualified personals for a media event hosted by the FRHI Hotel and Resorts. The group represents three distinct brands which is the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel. The group assembled an array of their finest chefs and featured mouth watering signature refreshments to deliver an unforgettable gastro experience. To everyone who lives in Dubai here is my pick on the groups most coveted signature dishes, indulgent sweet treats and refreshing drinks.

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The chefs with their genuine charm and personal style of hospitality introduced the selection of dishes presented for the event. There were delightful appetizers ranging from heart-healthy fresh pick of salads, golden brown crispy crabs cakes, creamy silk textured risotto to delicate fork tender Foie gras. A definite stand out was the super crunchy crab cakes fried to perfection with a distinctive flavor. You can enjoy these light bites at 'Flow Kitchen' in Fairmont, The Palm.

The authentic carnivore that I am, it didn't take much convincing to seduce me into a juicy looking slow cooked braised short rib. I am not talking about a slab of meat cooked in high temperature. These melting tender ribs are marinated for 24 hours and ever-so-slowly braised. It was served on a bed of creamed chickpeas and topped with pickled mushrooms. The flavor was magical and the quality undeniable. If you find yourself remotely close to Fairmont in the Palm, remember to make a beeline for Frevo's Brazilian Churrascaria experience. Truly recommended.

Speaking of soulful cocktails you can never go wrong with the South East Asian acclaimed 'Singapore Sling'. My previous job offered me the privilege of staying in Raffles in Singapore where the drink was created. The team often could not wait to land into Singapore as there was a thrilling anticipation of hitting Raffles 'Long Bar' for a refreshing spirited 'Singapore Sling'. Put down your tickets. You do not have to fly across seas to enjoy this tantalising refresher. It is as simple as heading out to the Raffles Dubai to pay tribute to this classic.

Raffles display of signature dessert from their renowned 'Fashion Afternoon Tea' was set for all to see, taste and fantasies over. I am not sweet toothed but I will describe my self as 'Afternoon Tea crazy'. I have had the privilege to experience Raffles Afternoon Tea which is chic and bright unlike the usual stuffy, uptight affair. What captured my attention was the presence of the beautifully crafted chocolate shoe from the much celebrated Afternoon Tea experience at Raffles. Too pretty to eat but undoubtedly delicious. For all the lovely ladies who enjoy Fun, Chic, Tea and Dessert this is the place to head to.

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I was deliciously pleased with my experiences for the day. The FRHI group is known for its luxurious and delectable restaurant offerings and it undeniably surpassed its reputation.

 

Disclaimer: This is not a paid review. All content and comments are based on my own opinion and was not influenced by any external factors.