Goodbye Dubai!

Goodbye Dubai

It’s been grand. Really it has.

When I left Berlin, post babies, in the middle of  winter (which I hear is still going on despite it being Spring now) and bout after bout of sickness – I was feeling low. I blamed it on motherhood. I blamed it on hormones. I blamed it on the weather. I blamed it on Berlin. I blamed it on whoever was in my line of vision at the time of blame attribution.Lunch at our favorite LebaneseTwo months of sun, help with the babies and friendly locals have done wonders. This morning I was speaking to someone about opening a shop with adorable baby clothing handmade in Burma.  A  little while later I sent an email off to a friend about travel plans. Anything seems possible, again.

I don’t know who those guys are by the way.  They simply walked up to us and asked to be photographed with the twins.

This is what the Middle East does so well.  Friendliness.  Hospitality.  Fun.  Irreverence.  Lots of silliness. The Lime Tree CafeIt’s why they can have places like Scoozi, a restaurant that serves Italian and Sushi.  Neither are particularly good-by the way but sometimes food is just food.  I eat the avocado maki and complain that the tempura is all uncooked carrots and onions until my husband tells me to pipe down because I am giving him indigestion.  He’s right sometimes it’s about having a good time, somewhere close to home, where the twins can sqwuak and flap like baby birds and liter the floor with breadsticks.Arabic breakfast at The Lime Tree Cafe Read more of this post

Sumac & Quinoa Lavosh

 I am addicted to the magic of baking and all things sugared but when it comes to eating, I prefer salty foods.

Add crisp and crunch and I’m your valentine.

Oh Oh and a little bit of sour?  That’s it, I’m a goner!And all my highbrow la dee da dee da, ‘this place is too small’, ‘this place is too big’, doing my best impersonation of Goldilocks.  Yea well all that goes out the window.  I’ll eat anything salty, crunchy and sour.  Well almost anything.  I won’t eat the ubiquitous paprika flavoured chips they favour here or those weird puffed up concoctions that dissolve in your mouth and adhere  to every crevice in your teeth.

I’ve been struggling with my cravings here, there is no where I can get my fix.  Sometimes it get’s so bad, I shake a little Furikake (a salty Japanese condiment for sprinkling onto rice) into the palm of my hand and eat that.  Without rice or even plans to eat any time soon.

Hmm.  Have I said too much? Maybe.

Listen, that’s it – I swear! No other questionable habits in the closet. Read more of this post

Lemon Tart and Dinner for a Discerning Friend

Proclaiming myself ‘Foodie in Berlin’, then eating my way through the city giving long commentaries on what I think about a place is a little…..

Well, King Julien the XIII (the conceited but fun-loving lemur from the cartoon Madagascar. “Maurice, my arm is tired. Wave it for me. Faster, you naughty little monkey!”)

My self-declared expert status on food means that when I invite friends over for dinner; there is a little bit of implied ‘Okay sister; bring it on.” After all that talk I would expect nothing less.

Still, it makes me sweat a little (a lot).  This weekend I invited my friend Margue for dinner. The first time I met her was at Winterfeldplatz market where she had picked up a thick slice of veal liver which she was going to cook for her family later that afternoon.
Offal for children? And they eat it?
She must be gifted, I thought.
And did I mention she’s French? Oh ya, she’s French. And cooking for a French person, well – they wrote the book on cooking.  Plus they actually wrote the book on cooking! Careme, Escoffier, Point, Bocuse, Roux, Ducasse.I opted to deploy the bulk of my energy on a main course of herb tortellini with an oxtail ragu.  The ragu was not a thick chunky murky soup but rather a clear jus which took an hour of diligent skimming, in it two large tortellini filled with a light chicken mousse flecked with chervil and parsley.  Around each tortellini, a shawl of prosciutto ham.  It’s an elegant dish and one which takes a lot of preparation. Read more of this post

Reflections on Jordan

My two weeks in Jordan gave me some significant insight into myself.  Jordanians are possibly the most food obsessed people on the planet.  And my father is Jordanian, so it’s no wonder then, that I go on and on about food; it’s in my genes.
Jordanians are either eating, talking about eating or thinking about what they are gong to eat.  To this end, the provenance of their food is very important.  Not in the conscious way that it is in Europe in the minds of the nutritionally educated but in an inherent instinctual way.

Most things are organic because the land is rich enough to produce unaided and because industrial farming is, for the most part, not present.

A lot of families have an olive grove somewhere, or maybe a few trees or perhaps know of a few trees that they can plunder so that they can take their olives to a communal press and have their own olive oil made.  (And here I thought my mother’s friend from Crete was extreme, eschewing supermarket olive oil because ‘they put stuff in it” in favour of giant cans she would bring back to Athens with her from her village in Chania).

I risked paying a fine for excess luggage and lugged back a 3kg bag of Terra Rossa, hand-picked, extra virgin olive oil (0.8 % acidity).

If you want chicken, you go to the butchers, point at the live specimen which is quickly and efficiently dispatched to chicken heaven.  

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Halloumi Salad


I am taking German classes at Pro-Log in Schonberg and it’s given me a chance to shop at the Turkish supermarkets.  The one I visit the most is called Oz-Gida.  I love wondering around the aisles and trying to work out what different things are.  I enjoy the “foreign” atmosphere, where the gentlemen weighing the vegetables sport thick mustaches and the check out counter women sometimes wear a hijab.  And everyone smiles big – I like that, it’s so Middle Eastern!  When you check out, you receive plastic bags without having to pay for them.  Although I have already become totally Germanized on that front and always bring my own bags.

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