Tag Archives: Food

Ramadan

Ramadan Kareem everyone!

It’s Ramadan and the entire country is in festival mode.  No eating or drinking during the day is DEFINITELY made up for at night.

We had out first Iftar meal yesterday, that is the traditional meal to break the fast.  Iftar is served at the first prayer call of the evening. It was about 6:45.

Iftar Menu

Jallab and Dates

Jallab is  a drink made from dates,  grape molasses and rose water, then smoked with Arabic incense. It was served with crushed ice and floating pine nuts.

To me it tastes like liquified Turkish Delight.

Jallab

Jallab

Lentil Soup

Salad

Main Course: Tenderloin beef with onions and baby potatoes

Date based desert, like date eclairs or date pie.

Advertisements

Strange Days

So they ask my husband to take a pay cut the day after we buy ourselves a coffee machine.

Timing is everything!

Anybightme, here is a picture of the shiny new toy.  I can highly recommend this if anyone is thinking about getting a home machine.  It took us about a week to get it working well, but now we are making some kick-arse coffee!

It also makes great Chai Latte.

The Giotto Rocket Espresso Machine

The Giotto Rocket Espresso Machine

Heating Up

It’s now 7pm and its 38 degrees celcius. The car said the outside temperature was 46 while we were driving today but the weather report says it only reached 44.  Not a personal best for me but it’s getting there!

Despite the fact that I seem to be aclimitising better than most people (maybe being Australian helps?) I did notice it was hot today.  (When its in the high 30s I now describe it as ‘quite warm’.  Madness.)

We decided a trip to Dubai Mall was in order because I had heard there was a good cafe there called Kozi. Kozi is an African-themed cafe selling coffee from African beans, and staffed by Africans.  It’s quite a charming spot and the coffee was excellent… which is why we went searching for it.

Richard and myself at Kozi today

Richard and I at Kozi today

Also took some pics of a couple of stores with interesting retail desgn.

Kurt Geiger Shoe Store, Dubai Mall

Kurt Geiger Shoe Store, Dubai Mall

The Manolo Blahnik Store - designed to look like a fishtank with the shoes being the fish.

The Manolo Blahnik Store - designed to look like a fishtank with the shoes being the fish.

Yay!  Galleries Lafayette is finally open in Dubai Mall!

Yay! Galleries Lafayette is finally open in Dubai Mall!

The Dubai Mall Fountain

The Dubai Mall Fountain

Worker on break sleeping in window, Dubai Mall.

Worker on break sleeping in window, Dubai Mall.

Cute Restaurant in Dubai

MoMo - Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

MoMo - Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

Last weekend we had dinner at MoMo in Harvey Nichols in Dubai.  It was incredibly glam and full of beautiful Emiratis, as well as a generous sprinkling of uber-trendy Middle Easterners and a few Europeans.
 
Richard and I enjoyed a tagine of chicken with olives and preserved lemons. While the lads were smoking shisha I enjoyed a wafer-thin apple tart with star anise ice-cream garnished with crushed pistachios.
 
We really enjoyed the Moroccan tea they served from a beautiful silver pot into little glasses.  It was a mixture of mint, clove and cardamom I think. We went straight out and bought some from the supermarket.  (Lipton makes one.) We are enjoying it without sugar, with a couple of fresh mint leaves floating in it.

Camel Milk

I was in the local supermarket the other day – Choithram’s – and I saw what I initially thought was a container of Caramel Milk for sale.

Then I realised it said, Camel Milk!

Awesome! I might even try some.

Camel Milk (Image Source: http://jasminengpl.blogspot.com)

Camel Milk (Image Source: http://jasminengpl.blogspot.com)

Rubbish Room

We have a waste disposal system in our apartment block.  To get rid of your rubbish you take the rubbish bag and walk down the hallway to the cryptically-named Rubbish Room. In the Rubbish Room there is a Rubbish Chute. To dispose of your rubbish you pull open the door and throw the rubbish down the chute.

Well, you’re meant to.

It seems a number of people take the sign on the door literally (the room where the rubbish goes?) and place their rubbish bags on the floor of the Rubbish Room.

I find this perplexing.

It’s particularly annoying when you cannot get to the chute because the floor is covered in half-open bags of dinner leftovers that look like the outcasts from an Asian  food hall.rubbish2

The Korean always looks pretty good. Thanks to my next-door neighbour for that one. Apparently she has never lived in an apartment building before with a rubbish chute.  I find this a bit weird because don’t almost all Koreans live in apartments? How do they get rid of their rubbish? That’s one thing I failed to investigate on my trip to Seoul last year.

Needless to say I shall be paying close attention next time.

You’d also be surprised how many dead kitchen  appliances can fit into a 1m square room. Of course, it’s all in the stacking.

I once found a couch in there, upended.

Making the Decision to Move

When you are thinking about moving to a new country you do a lot of reading. I cannot even IMAGINE how people contemplated moving to another place before the internet. Seriously… how would you have any idea of what was what if you couldn’t read the expat discussion groups? They were brave back in the day. Or maybe ignorance was bliss.

While you investigate this new place – long before you have made your final decision that you are prepared to give it a go – you have ‘moments’. Good ‘moments’. And not so good ‘moments. I’ll give you some examples of moments we experienced while researching life in Dubai (both having never even visited).

Slightly-not-so-good-moment: finding out that the same job has different rates of pay for employees depending on their nationality. For example, Phillipino maids are paid more that Sri Lankans maids even though they work the same hours and under the same conditions.

The reason this is not a strongly-not-so-good-moment is because;

a) as a Western-educated anglo-saxons we’re probably going to experience positive discrimination when it comes to salary in this regard, and

b) despite the fact that we don’t feel comfortable with that approach ourselves, we do try to operate under the assumption that the rest of the world does NOT need to hold the same values. (Stay tuned for the inevitable culture-shocked rant a few months down the track to see how long we can maintain this attitude.)

How-bad-is-it-really-gonna-be?-not-so-good-moment: Finding out that it is not uncommon for positions of employment to be advertised with a gender specification. Generally this applies to roles that are very traditionally male or female. For example, roles for Drivers (chauffers) are specified as male. Roles for maids are specified as female (and very often females without husbands. There is actually a pragmatic reason behind the no husbands rule which I can explain if anyone wants me to.) So too are nurses and receptionists specified as being female.

I haven’t seen an instance within the Information Technology sector (at least at the professional level) where gender has been specified. So I live in hope. However, this could just be because it is assumed that the candidates will generally be male. Although I do know of women holding these roles in Dubai.

Its not the prospect of not getting a job that really concerns me. What concerns me is the impact that my gender will have on me if I chose to continue as a consultant for a big-4. Is it an issue sending out a female consultant to clients? I don’t know.

If this IS an acceptable practise, how to I navigate my role as a woman amongst people that are not used to women being in authority? (Again… this might not even be the case and I admit I am working on a lot of untested assumptions here.)

Well, at least I have the benefit of having worked in a culture with different views than my home country when it comes to behavior towards women in the workplace. Australia is far more PC than Western Europe in these matters, and I see a lot of Australians quite shocked by behavior that is seen as normal by Western Europeans. It took some getting used to.

The kicker is… if I found the Netherlands confronting at times on this issue, how on earth am I going to deal with the Middle East? It will be interesting. I am hoping that the gulf between men and women is somewhat exaggerated by the Western media. A fact highlighted to me when a compatriot and friend of mine asked me how I was going to cope wearing a Burkha!

Really-good-moment: We were sitting on the couch surfing frantically one evening in Sydney when my husband turned to me and said, ‘They have Carrefour!’ We both looked at eachother for a minute with misty eyes for one and half seconds before I said, ‘I’m there!’

For anyone that hasn’t experienced the bliss that is known as a french supermarket, its probably for the best. They ruin you for all other supermarkets. (Okay, so English and Japanese supermarkets are pretty great too.) Aisle-upon-aisle of french cheeses, pates and charcuterie, Champagne and Cognac (at reasonable prices no less) and fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables. If I die and go to heaven there will be a perfect replica of the Carrefour supermarket in Lille, and I will never get fat eating my way through it.

I was amused to read that Carrefour in the UAE accepts the following methods of payment…UAE Dhs (that’s Dirhams), US Dollars, Saudi Riyals, Kuwaiti Dinars, Omani Ryals, Qatari Riyals, Bahraini Dinars and Euros.

All I can say is.. it will be nice to back in the ‘middle’ of the world again where there are strange and different places all around you, each with their own currency and history. I can’t wait!

One of four Carrefour Supermarkets in Dubai

One of four Carrefour Supermarkets in Dubai