Stories behind Christmas food

As we are full on Christmas vibes, I wanted to share with you some festive food stories and traditions.

Why we eat Turkey or Goose in Christmas?

The tradition of a roasted聽goose聽on the holiday table goes way, way back. The people of ancient Greece and Rome may have been celebrating different festivals, but they did so with the very same bird we do.聽From medieval days right through to the Victorian depiction in Charles Dickens, the goose has remained the ubiquitous Christmas bird throughout Europe.

Goose

The goose was a common farmyard bird and a natural forager that came in handy after the harvest. When turned loose in the stubble left from the reaper鈥檚 work, geese could find and devour all the scattered grain that would otherwise be lost.聽Thus,聽a goose was at its fattest (think tastiest) after the harvest, just in time for the coming holiday celebrations.
Geese were plentiful and cheaper than the exotic turkey (native to the New World) so made the best choice for the holiday table. Today you can join the tradition and enjoy this delectable bird at Christmas.

Turkeys where first bought into Britain in 1526, before that Goose was the traditional food. Turkeys were eating instead of the cows and chicken as they needed their cows more for their milk and the chicken for the eggs.
King Henry VIII was the first to eat Turkey on Christmas however it wasn’t until 1950’s that the turkey was a more popoular festive meal choice than the goose.
Nowadays 87% of the Brits believe that Christmas won’t be the same without a roasted turkey.

Christmas pudding聽

Christmas pudding originated as a 14th century porridge called ‘frumenty’ that was made of beef and mutton with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices. This would often be more like soup and was eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas festivities.
By 1595, frumenty was slowly changing into a plum pudding, having been thickened with eggs, breadcrumbs, dried fruit and given more flavor with the addition of beer and spirits. It became the customary Christmas dessert around 1650, but in 1664 the Puritans banned it as a bad custom.

Christmas Pudding

In 1714, King George I re-established it as part of the Christmas meal, having tasted and enjoyed Plum Pudding. By Victorian times, Christmas Puddings had changed into something similar to the ones that are eaten today.

Putting a silver coin in the pudding is another age-old custom that is said to bring luck to the person that finds it.

In the UK the coin traditionally used was a silver ‘six pence’. The closest coin to that now is a five pence piece!

Mince Pies

Were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than the dried fruits and spices mix as they are today. They were also first made in an oval shape to represent the manger that Jesus slept in as a baby, with the top representing his swaddling clothes. Sometimes they even had a ‘pastry baby Jesus’ on the top!

Mince Pie

During the Stuart and Georgian times, in the UK, mince pies were a status symbol at Christmas. Very rich people liked to show off at their Christmas parties by having pies made is different shapes (like stars, crescents, hearts, tears, & flowers); they fancy shaped pies could often fit together a bit like a jigsaw! They also looked like the ‘knot gardens’ that were popular during those periods. Having pies like this meant you were rich and could afford to employ the best, and most expensive, pastry cooks.

A custom from the middle ages says that if you eat a mince pie on every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night (evening of the 5th January) you will have happiness for the next 12 months!

Marzipan & Turron

The origin of Marzipan is not clear being Germany, Spain, Italy and Hungary the main countries from which could come from.
This pastries are mainly eaten in Christmas but you can find them throughout the year.
Nowadays it is a strong tradition in many different countries like England and Germany.

Marzipan

聽In Germany and throughout much of northern Europe it is considered good luck to receive a marzipan pig on Christmas or New Year’s Day. The Spanish and Portuguese are big consumers of marzipan too. But perhaps the form of marzipan that Americans are most familiar with are the聽cute little miniature fruit shapes聽that pop up all over.

聽Turron is a southern European聽nougat聽confection, typically made of聽honey,聽sugar, and聽egg white, with toasted聽almonds聽or other聽nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. It is frequently consumed as a traditional聽Christmasdessert in Spain and Italy as well as countries formerly under the聽Spanish Empire, particularly in Latin America.

All versions of the name appear to have been derived from Latin聽torrere聽(to toast). The modern confection might be derived from the Muslim recipe prevalent in parts of聽Islamic Spain聽known as聽turun.[2]聽One may also point to a similar confection named聽cupedia聽or聽cupeto聽that was marketed in Ancient Rome and noted by Roman poets.[3][4]

Turr贸n or聽Torr贸聽has been known at least since the 15th century in the city of聽Jijona/Xixona聽(formerly Sexona), north of聽Alicante. Turr贸n is commonly consumed in most of Spain, some countries of Latin America, and in聽Roussillon聽(France). The similar聽Torrone聽is typical of聽Cremona聽and聽Benevento聽in Italy. There are similar confections made in the Philippines.

Rosc贸n de Reyes

This is a very Spanish tradition extended to some countries of Latino America and south of France.
As a Spanish myself I lived this tradition since I was a kid.
Basically the night of 5th of January we believe that the 3 Kings “wise Man” will travel to all our houses and will leave gifts for all the kids. The roscon in eaten in the morning after opening all gifts as a breakfast paired with a hot chocolate.

The Roscon have a small figure hidden inside, either of a baby Jesus or little toys for children, as well as the more traditional dry聽fava bean. Whoever finds the figure is crowned “king” or “queen” of the celebration, whereas whoever finds the bean has to pay for the next year’s聽rosc贸n聽or Epiphany party.

Eggnog聽& Mulled wine

While culinary historians debate its exact lineage, most agree eggnog originated from the early medieval Britain 鈥減osset,鈥 a hot, milky, ale-like drink. By the 13th century, monks were known to drink a posset with eggs and figs. Milk, eggs, and sherry were foods of the wealthy, so eggnog was often used in toasts to prosperity and good health.

Eggnog became tied to the holidays when the drink hopped the pond in the 1700s. American colonies were full of farms鈥攁nd chickens and cows鈥攁nd cheaper rum, a soon-signature ingredient. Mexico adopted the very eggnog varietal 鈥渞ompope,鈥 and Puerto Rico enjoys the 鈥渃oquito,鈥 which adds coconut milk. The English name鈥檚 etymology however remains a mystery. Some say 鈥渘og鈥 comes from 鈥渘oggin,鈥 meaning a wooden cup, or 鈥済rog,鈥 a strong beer. By the late 18th century, the combined term 鈥渆ggnog鈥 stuck.

Mulled wine is a beverage usually made with聽red wine聽along with various聽mulling spices聽and sometimes raisins. It is served hot or warm and is聽alcoholic, although there are聽non-alcoholic聽versions of mulled wine.
Gl眉hwein聽(roughly translated as “glowing-wine”, from the temperature the wine is heated to) is popular in German-speaking countries and in the region of聽Alsace聽in France. It is a traditional beverage offered during the聽Christmas聽holidays. In Alsace Christmas markets, it is traditionally the only alcoholic beverage served. The oldest documented聽Gl眉hweintankard聽is attributed to Count John IV of聽Katzenelnbogen, a German nobleman who was the first grower of聽Riesling聽grapes. This gold-plated lockable silver tankard is dated to c. 1420.

Panettone & Stollen

In the early 20th century, two enterprising Milanese bakers began to produce panettone in large quantities in the rest of Italy. In 1919,聽Angelo Motta聽started producing his eponymous brand of cakes. It was also Motta who revolutionised the traditional panettone by giving it its tall domed shape by making the dough rise three times, for almost 20 hours, before cooking, giving it its now-familiar light texture. The recipe was adapted shortly after by another baker, Gioacchino Alemagna, around 1925, who also gave his name to a popular brand that still exists today. The stiff competition between the two that then ensued led to industrial production of the cake.聽Nestl茅聽took over the brands together in the late 1990s, but Bauli,聽an Italian bakery company based in聽Verona, has acquired Motta and Alemagna from Nestl茅.[

Panettone

By the end of World War II, panettone was cheap enough for anyone and soon became the country’s leading Christmas sweet. Lombard聽immigrants聽to聽Argentina,聽Uruguay,聽Mexico,聽Venezuela聽and聽Brazil聽also brought their love of panettone, and panettone is enjoyed for Christmas with聽hot cocoa聽or liquor during the holiday season, which became a mainstream tradition in those countries. In some places, it replaces the聽King cake.

As a Christmas bread stollen was baked for the first time at the聽Council of Trent聽in 1545,[8]聽and was made with flour, yeast, oil and water.

The聽Advent聽season was a time of fasting, and bakers were not allowed to use butter, only oil, and the cake was tasteless and hard.[聽In the 15th century, in medieval Saxony (in central Germany, north of Bavaria and south of Brandenburg), the聽Prince ElectorErnst聽(1441鈥1486) and his brother聽DukeAlbrecht聽(1443鈥1500) decided to remedy this by writing to the聽Pope聽in聽Rome. The聽Saxon聽bakers needed to use butter, as oil in Saxony was expensive, hard to come by, and had to be made from turnips.

Pope Nicholas V聽(1397鈥1455), in 1450 denied the first appeal. Five popes died before finally,聽Pope Innocent VIII, (1432鈥1492)[聽in 1490 sent a letter to the Prince, known as the “Butter-Letter” which granted the use of butter (without having to pay a fine), but only for the Prince-Elector and his family and household.

Others were also permitted to use butter, but on the condition of having to pay annually 1/20th of a gold Gulden to support the building of the聽Freiberg聽Minster. The ban on butter was removed when聽Saxony聽became聽Protestant.

Over the centuries, the bread changed from being a simple, fairly tasteless “bread” to a sweeter bread with richer ingredients, such as聽marzipan, although traditional Stollen is not as sweet, light and airy as the copies made around the world.

I hope you enjoyed the article and If you are looking for a place to buy all the Christmas pastries, goodies, turkey and Goose in Dubai, I highly recommend Brothaus Bakery Bistro.
It’s a German Bistro located at Steigenberger Hotel Dubai that makes amazing freshly baked items!

Spanish Tapas, a Gastronomic Culture

ORIGIN

Though the primary meaning of tapa is cover or lid, it has in Spain also become a term for this style of food.
The origin of this new meaning is uncertain but there are several theories:

  • A commonly cited explanation is that an item, be it bread or a flat card, etc., would often be placed on top of a drink to protect it from fruit flies; at some point it became a habit to top this “cover” with a snack.
  • It is also commonly said that since one would be standing while eating a tapa in traditional Spanish bars, they would need to place their plates on top of their drinks to eat, making it a top.
  • Some believe the name originated sometime around the 16th century when tavern owners from Castile-La Mancha found out that the strong taste and smell of mature cheese could help disguise that of bad wine, thus “covering” it, and started offering free cheese when serving cheap wine.
  • Among the Portuguese region of eastern Alentejo, it is claimed that shepherds used to cover jugs of fresh water or wine with bread slices to protect it from snakes while on the field. This bread was finally eaten with chorizo or morcela upon return from herding.
  • Others believe the tapas tradition began when king Alfonso X of Castile recovered from an illness by drinking wine with small dishes between meals. After regaining his health, the king ordered that taverns would not be allowed to serve wine to customers unless it was accompanied by a small snack or “tapa”.[9]
  • Another popular explanation says that King Alfonso XIII stopped by a famous tavern in C谩diz (Andalusian city) where he ordered a cup of wine. The waiter covered the glass with a slice of cured ham before offering it to the king, to protect the wine from the beach sand, as C谩diz is a windy place. The king, after drinking the wine and eating the tapa, ordered another wine “with the cover”.[10]
  • A final possibility surrounds Felipe III, who passed a law in an effort to curb rowdy drunken behavior, particularly among soldiers and sailors. The law stated that when one purchased a drink, the bartender was to place over the mouth of the mug or goblet a cover or lid containing some small quantity of food as part of the purchase of the beverage, the hope being that the food would slow the effects of the alcohol, and fill the stomach to prevent overimbibing.

TAPAS TODAY

Today聽having tapas is known as a version of eating out, this style becoming so typical that consumers have started to replace long and formal meals with informal and sociable tapas. In Spanish, to eat tapas even has its own verbs; picarmeans聽“to pick at” and is used to describe the way you would eat finger-foods, while tapear is a verb specifically meaning “to have tapas”.

You will also find that tapas follow the gastronomic tastes and traditions of each region in Spain, but that types of olives, nuts, meats and cheeses are universal to all areas.

In addition to these typical tapas there is a world of possibilities in the form of different recipes that tapas bars across Spain have mastered, encompassing ingredients including meats, fish, vegetables, eggs and many other foods served in small forms.

Tapas are of great culinary importance in Spain.聽The truth is that this type of eating has become a form of national identification and of cultural importance for all.

Spanish cities are constantly competing to be known as one of the best places to have tapas and there are countless lists of best tapas bars by city available across the web.

I’m sharing couple of places in 3 big cities in Spain that I personally visited and enjoyed!

MADRID

My number one is Mareas Vivas.
This place is located near Callao (in the city center) it’s a little bar with old style decoration. I recommend you to go early or you won’t find place! It’s a great place to hang out with friend, which every drink they will give you a free big tapa!

There are 3 markets that have been rebuild and made as a tapa’s market, I recommend you all.

  1. Mercado de San Miguel, located next to Plaza Mayor, it’s the main one, it’s always busy but there is a nice selection of food & drinks (it’s expensive).
  2. Mercado de San Ildefonso, located in the city center too in the centric street of Fuencarral, it’s a smaller place with some food stations. There is some food with a fusion twist. You will find more locals there.
  3. Mercado de San Anton, in the heart of Chueca district, it’s as well a smaller market where you can buy organic products as well as tasting fresh and delicious tapas!

La Taverna de la Daniela, there are different locations all in the city center. Their canyas (small fresh beer) and tapas are amazing! You must try the croquetas.

Casa Alberto, in Huertas area. It’s one of the oldest places where famous writers and artists use to go.

There is a lot of places everywhere, the best is to start in one and walk to the next one and so on!
Sharing with you a link to Tripadvisor recommendations.聽

SEVILLA

I recently visited the city and I could discover the following places:

Eslava,The place is not in the city center but is worth a visit! All the seafood and tapas were delicious! The place is small and it’s very difficult to get a spot!

Casa Ricardo, very famous for their croquetas, the decoration is cool like a old style bar.

Universal People Bar, Located in the center, it’s a new place but the food was absolutely amazing specially the Ox tail stew!

El Mercado de Triana, probably the best market in Sevilla where you can buy and try the best cold cuts, vegetables, fish & seafood. Inside the market there is a small shop where you can try the best world wide awarded Jamon Iberico. AMAZING!

All Sevilla was spectacular for tapas, just go our from your hotel and keep trying tapas in different places, tapa’s goes from 3 to 5 euros each but a good quantity.

BARCELONA

Visited in November 2018, and here my DO TO LIST:

Bar el Pla, a old traditional place located in the old area of the city. Everything was delicious! Make a booking as the place will be super full!

Xampanyet, next door to Bar El Pla is as well a classic with delicious tapas!聽

Cerveceria Catalana, I discovered it walking in the street and it was AMAZING! Super good seafood and all type of tapas. They have the seasonal tapas and the speciality of the day. The place was full all the time, book in advance!

El Nacional, a new restaurant with different corners very well decorated with a chic and modern style. It’s a beautiful place to visit with friends.

Mercat del Ninot, it’s a very casual market where you will find beautiful organic and local produced products, you can as well have you breakfast, lunch or tapas there! All is delicious!

 

SPAIN it’s a culinary destination and the country with more Starred Michellin Chef’s in the world.

Tapa’s it’s only one part of the gastronomy but you will as well find amazing food destination such as: Basque Country (where pintxos are traditional too), La Rioja (known for their wineries), Asturias (known for the seafood & mountain food), Galicia (the best place for seafood and fish), All the south for the best fish, seafood and cold cuts. Valencia the mother land of the Paella.

It’s a rich country, a paradise for food lovers !

If you need any information don’t hesitate to contact me!

 

Street Art – Inspiring Happiness

THE ORIGIN OF STREET ART

Slogans of protest and political or social commentary graffitied onto public walls are the precursor to modern graffiti and street art, and continue as one aspect of the genre. Street art in the form of text or simple iconic graphics in the vein of聽corporate icons become well-known yet enigmatic symbols of an area or an era.

Some credit the Kilroy Was Here graffiti of the World War II era as one such early example; a simple line-drawing of a long-nosed man peering from behind a ledge. 聽“Kilroy” graffiti was described as “outrageous not for what it said, but where it turned up”.
Much of what can now be defined as modern street art has well-documented origins dating from New York City‘s graffiti boom, with its infancy in the 1960s, maturation in the 1970s, and peaking with the spray-painted full-car subway train murals of the 1980s centered in the Bronx.

As the 1980s progressed, a shift occurred from text-based works of early in the decade to visually conceptual street art such as Hambleton‘s shadow figures. This period coincides with Keith Haring‘s subway advertisement subversions and Jean-Michel Basquiat‘s SAMO tags.

What is now recognized as “street art” had yet to become a realistic career consideration, and offshoots such as stencil graffiti were in their infancy. Wheatpasted poster art used to promote bands and the clubs where they performed evolved into actual artwork or copy-art and became a common sight during the 1980s in cities worldwide.

Punk rock music’s subversive ideologies were also instrumental to street art’s evolution as an art form during the 1980s. Some of the anti-museum mentality can be attributed to the ideology of Marinetti who in 1909 wrote the “Manifesto of Futurism.聽Many street artists claim we do not live in a museum so art should be in public places with no tickets.

STREET ART IN DUBAI

Dubai鈥檚 started with street art around 2013 – 2016, but it was in 2017 when Dubai Government started a movement where varied and vast public spaces were provided to national and international artists.
There is fabulous locations that you can find from north to south in key spaces.

You can see more information here.

There is multiple fairs and initiatives happening in Dubai every year specially during winter months when the weather is good.

Dubai Canvas is one of the famous and expected聽3D street art fair, that happens in different areas of the city every year.
People can enjoy real pieces of art made from the best artists in the world.

In recent years, Dubai has become a hotbed of fantastic street art, with wow-worthy walls from JBR to Satwa. And now Dubai Metro is next in line to get a splash of colour.
The Dubai Metro Murals Project will see two top international street artists transform some of the pillars of the Dubai Metro into masterpieces. The pillars that will be painted are on Sheikh Zayed Road, between Financial Centre and Emirates Towers stations.

According to Brand Dubai, which is behind the project, the themes of the murals have been chosen to 鈥渋nspire creativity and spread happiness while also reflecting Dubai鈥檚 character, vision and future aspirations鈥.

Peruvian muralist Daniel Cortez, also known as Decertor, is one of the artists who has been chosen for the project. His colourful human portraits can be found on walls in Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and Morocco.

Dominican-born, Miami-based artist Elio Mercado, known as Evoca1, will also contribute to the project. You might have already seen his work at Al Raha Beach in Abu Dhabi.

The Dubai Metro Murals Project is part of a beautification initiative that aims to transform Dubai into an 鈥渙pen-air museum鈥. Other beautification projects that will take place over the next three years will cover聽bridges, tunnels, walking tracks, bus stops and other public facilities and areas.

Brand Dubai said artists from the UAE, the Middle East and around the world would be invited to create public artworks in the city.
Credit to What’s On

I can’t wait to see the new creations!

I see Street Art as a way of expression, as a way to create feelings and memories.

What do you think about Street Art?

I leave here a great reportage of Barcelona Street Art!

Korean food – simply good.

I can say that I started discovering Korean food only 2 years ago, but since then it’s been a MUST to eat it at least once a month!

I would like to introduce you to this exciting cuisine and recommend you some Korean places in Dubai as well as my favourite dishes!

Korean food

WHAT IS KOREAN FOOD?

Korean food is some of the healthiest on earth, with an emphasis on vegetables, meats simply cooked and without much oil, and a “near-obsession” with the fermented vegetable kimchi, which can be a strange taste for non-Koreans.

Starting with ritual bowls of rice and soup, the main meal is built around numerous shared side dishes selected to complement each other. The number of side dishes may vary from two to a dozen or more but everyday meals will include at least a few. All dishes are served at once to share, rather than in courses.

Another cornerstone of Korean food is rice, which forms the backbone of almost every meal, although is sometimes replaced with noodles.

The Koreans have perfected the art of preserving food, so many side dishes are picked, fermented or salted and many are as well spicy.
Kimchi, Korea鈥檚 famous spicy cabbage, which has over a hundred varieties using different vegetables, is a constant of every meal. It is adored for its sour tangy crunch as well as being a digestive aid.

Other popular spices and sauces include: sesame and sesame oil, chilli pepper paste (kochujang), soybean paste (daenjang), garlic, ginger and chilli pepper flakes. Korean food tends to be intensely flavoured, spicy and pungent.

Traditional restaurants often feature charcoal grills in the middle of the table – a type of indoor barbecue. Paper-thin slices of marinated meat (bulgogi 鈥 literally “fire meat”) or beef ribs (kalbi) are grilled, cut into pieces, and wrapped in lettuce leaves with garlic, chilli and soybean paste. They’re eaten in one bite as it’s considered the height of rudeness to bite into a lettuce parcel.

Koreans also place great importance on the role of food as medicine, using exotic ingredients such as dried persimmon, red dates (jujube), pine seeds, chestnut, gingko, tangerine and ginseng in their cooking and also in specially brewed teas. **

MY TOP 5 KOREAN DISHES聽

Japchae (sweet potato noodles)Japchae

This classic Korean noodle dish combines translucent sweet potato noodles with lots of stir-fried vegetables and a sweet-savory sauce. I normally order it with beef!

It’s light, flavourful and just perfect!

 

 

Kimchi Stewkimchi

Made with kimchi and other ingredients, such as scallions, onions, diced tofu, pork, and seafood. (Pork and seafood are generally not used in the same recipe.) It is one of the most common jjigae in Korea.

Like many other Korean dishes, kimchi jjigae is usually eaten communally from the center of the table if more than two people are served. It is accompanied by banchan (side dishes) and rice. It is usually cooked and served boiling hot in a stone pot.

bibiBibimbap (rice, vegetables & beef)

A delicious mix of rice, beef and vegetables cooked with garlic and sesame oil, topped with an egg yolk and gochujang (Korean chilli paste).

The ingredients are cooked individually then beautifully arranged in a stone bowl called a dolsot, which is heated until the rice turns golden and crispy on the bottom. You mix everything together when you eat it.

Buchimgae (seafood pancake)pank

Known as a pancake,聽refers broadly to any type of pan-fried ingredients soaked in egg or a batter mixed with other ingredients.

More specifically, it is a dish made by pan-frying a thick batter mixed with egg and other ingredients until a thin flat pancake is formed. You will always find the seafood pancake with small prawns and scallions.

MY TOP KOREAN RESTAURANT IN DUBAI

Mannaland
It’s a very casual and old style Korean restaurant located in Karama.
The place is run by an old Korean woman that you normally will find seating at the entrance and managing the show!

The staff is very friendly, fast and efficient.
You can seat in the typical floor tables or normal dinning tables.

The best is the food and the price.
They start with the typical small sharing dishes (my favourite is the kimchi tofu) and very fast they bring all the food. I always go for the dishes I mentioned before, but everything looks very good!

Check out as well the Tripadvisor listing: Korean restaurants in Dubai.

Zomato listing here

And one more article in What’s On.

THANK YOU!

thanku

**Credits here聽

Understanding the Emirati culture at SMCCU

We recently finished Eid Al Adha*, which is a big celebration for muslims.

*”Also called the “Festival of Sacrifice“, is the second of two Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide each year (the other being Eid al-Fitr), and considered the holier of the two. It honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God鈥檚 command. But, before Ibraham could sacrifice his son, God provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts: one third of the share is given to the poor and needy; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the remaining third is retained by the family.”

Understanding the festivities of muslim people brings you to understand they culture.
I had the opportunity to visit and have an Emirati lunch at Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding SMCCU .

The beautiful place is located in one of my favourite areas, Al Fahidi neighbourhood in Bur Dubai. The whole area is a recreation of an old Emirati village by the Creek. But this little museum bring you to the heart of the old Emirati houses.

We started the journey inside the house in the majilis or gathering space where we were all seating in the floor, as they normally do when they gather with the family and friends.

Ms. Fathayah, a young and lovely Emirati woman walked us through the secrets of the Emirati culture starting with the coffee traditions.

It’s a lovely Arabic custom, sitting with friends and family in the evening, and over several tiny cups of steaming coffee poured from a dallah,聽 discussing the day’s events. It is a custom that has, for several centuries, enabled conversations within a community, with family and people from the neighbourhood. Traditionally, and even today, it’s a sign of enduring Arabic hospitality, to invite people to come sit and chat, possibly munch on dates, and have a cup or two – no one’s counting. That’s the beauty of sitting in the majlis and sipping gahwa. It’s kept Emiratis together.

Cardamom, cumin, cloves, saffron are also added to add another dimension to the already exquisite taste of fresh coffee. After preparing the coffee, it is served in small cups to the guests. The person serving the coffee to the guests or family members (muqahwi) must be a mature one, at least 15 years and above and not a child so he’s able to speak well with the guests and not risk spilling coffee onto the clothes of guests as he serves them. “The muqahwi should hold the dallah in his left hand and about three small cups with no handle on the right,” he said.

“He should serve the coffee starting from the person sitting on the right of the majlis and should not skip anyone. If there is a very important person in the majlis, like a Sheikh or a religious scholar, he should be served first. The muqahwi should then serve others starting with the person on his right.” After drinking, the guest gently shakes the small cup to show the muqahwi that he’s done. The muqahwi always remains standing until all guests have finished drinking the coffee. And it is prohibited to serve coffee while people are eating food. (More)

She explained us about the Emirati clothing.

Man wears Kandura,聽a long white cloak. The color of the garment originates from Bedouin culture, as it is perfect to reflect the sun鈥檚 rays. Browns and grays are also worn more in the winter months. It is common for Emirati men to own over 50 Kanduras and to change them throughout the day, in order to keep their look crease-free and fresh.

Men also wear the Guthra, a headscarf. The most common colors are white or white and red checks. The Guthra is also an item originating in Bedouin culture, as it protected men against the sand of the desert. The Guthra can be worn in different ways to indicate status and importance.

Women in the UAE traditionally wear the Abaya. This is a long flowing black gown and can be plain or decorated with impressive designs.聽It is worn as a sign of modesty. However, it鈥檚 common for women to wear completely Western outfits under their Abayas.

Women also wear a headscarf called the Shela, to cover their hair. This is normally black and made of very light material. Many women opt for designer scarves, such as Givenchy or Dior, which can even be matched to their handbags. For more traditional women, the Gishwa is an option. This black veil covers the entire face; it is thin enough to see out of, although nobody can see their faces. A third option is the Burqa, which only shows the eyes. Together these women鈥檚 garments are known as the Hijab, which essentially means head covering.

While taking with Fathayah we starting eating the traditional #food !
By the way she is very open, and you can ask her anything (curiosity) that you have

Emiratis, as most of the muslims eat seated in the floor and with the right hand.
We had some delicious food:

Chicken biryani:聽lavoured rice with lot of meat or egg or vegetables. The main ingredients of biryani are rice, spices, herbs, vegetables and non vegetarian products.

Veal Machboos:聽is a very popular dish cooked in a large pot.聽It consists of rice, onions and meat, seasoned with spices, salt and dried lemon.聽This dish is prepared by cooking meat, spices, dried lemon, and seasonings in boiling water until they are very tender.聽The meat is taken out and the rice is added to the rest of the ingredients and cooked together.

Vegetable OR chicken聽salona聽 it’s a slow cooked stew, mixed with a lot of vegetables and spices. In that case was vegetarian but chicken is as well very popular.

Lugaimat: (I think聽I was waiting the whole day only to eat Lugaimat!)聽Crunchy on the outside, soft and airy in the middle, luqaimat are often dipped in date syrup and served garnished with sesame seeds. An Arabic word that literally means 鈥榖ite-sized鈥, it is a traditional dessert popular amongst ancient Bedouins for its ease of preparation; the luqaimat is a firm favourite at Iftar experiences during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

We spoke about history, about traditions, about the importance of their leaders and how the system works in United Arab Emirates.

Was a lovely morning that brought me near to the culture of the country that I call home for the last 4 years and of which I’m so grateful and happy to be!

We could as well try their traditional cloths, here I share with you a nice picture of me with Abaya and Shela!
I highly recommend you to visit the center and walk through the old Dubai.

Superfoods. For real?

What are superfoods?

Superfoods do more than just help you meet your vitamin and mineral needs or aid in shedding a few extra pounds when it comes time for swimsuit season. In fact, these foods can help you achieve better health, prevent chronic disease, and improve the way you feel day in and day out 鈥 and they鈥檙e some of the top anti-aging foods around.

When combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet, adding a few of these top superfoods into your day can benefit many different aspects of your health.

See below the Top 15 superfood

Top 15 superfoods - Dr. Axe

1. Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is prepared from the freshly sprouted leaves of the common wheat plant and can supply tons of vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium and magnesium. It also gives you some added chlorophyll, a plant pigment that鈥檚 loaded with health benefits.

Add it to juices or smoothies for a burst of energy, try it in tablet form, or even eat it raw if you鈥檙e feeling adventurous.

2. Cinnamon

This delicious spice does more than just add flavor to sweet treats and seasonal drinks. In fact, it鈥檚 high in antioxidants and has been associated with lower blood sugar and聽cholesterol, improvements in nausea and PMS symptoms, and decreased inflammation. (1, 2, 3)

Try sprinkling cinnamon over yogurt, oatmeal or smoothies to bump up the nutritional value of your healthy breakfast and reap the many health benefits of this invaluable spice.

3. Blueberries

Tiny but packed with nutrients, blueberries fit the superfood definition to a T. Blueberries are brimming with disease-fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals as well as plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.

Best of all, these flavorful fruits are delicious and easy to add into your diet. Use them to bring a hint of sweetness to salads, add them to baked goods or even enjoy them alone as a healthy snack.

4. Avocados

In answering the question of 鈥渨hat are superfoods,鈥 it would be impossible not to mention this super nutritious fruit. Yes, although the avocado is commonly enjoyed and used in cooking as a vegetable, it is technically a fruit from the聽Lauraceae family of plants.

The avocado is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. Not only that, but it manages to pack in more potassium than a banana.

There are limitless ways to enjoy this creamy fruit; try spreading it over toast, adding it to a salad or even just sprinkling a bit of salt on a few slices and chowing down.

5. Broccoli Rabe

Also known as rapini, broccoli rabe is a cruciferous green veggie that makes the list of top 10 superfoods without question.

It鈥檚 loaded with bone-building vitamin K and antioxidant-rich vitamins A and C as well as folate, calcium and manganese.

Thanks to its impressive nutrient profile, the compounds found in broccoli rabe may be able to help reduce inflammation, keep your skeletal structure strong, protect against eye disease, improve your heart heath and even prevent the growth of cancer.

Saut茅e a big bunch of broccoli rabe and add it to frittatas, pasta dishes, soups or sandwiches to give your meal a serious superfood upgrade.

6. Salmon

The American Heart Association recommends including fish in your diet at least twice a week, and for good reason. Fatty fish like salmon are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can slash inflammation, boost brain health and keep your heart strong.

Opt for wild-caught salmon whenever possible, and try to squeeze a few servings into your week by enjoying it as a savory snack paired with crackers or a healthy entree for lunch or dinner.

7. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are known and loved for their delicious flavor, but did you know that they鈥檙e also high in vitamins and minerals and can provide important benefits to you and your health?

These nutritious root vegetables are high in vitamin C, potassium and manganese. Most notably, however, they鈥檙e brimming with vitamin A. In fact, one cup of cooked sweet potatoes meets 769 percent of the daily value for vitamin A.

Vitamin A plays a role in maintaining healthy vision, fighting inflammation and protecting the health of your immune system to fight off infections.

Try roasting up a batch of sweet potato wedges, throwing them into soups or casseroles, or using them to kick up the flavor of curries and salads.

8. Goji Berries

With up to 12 times the antioxidant levels of blueberries, it鈥檚 no wonder these berries top the charts as one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods for men and women.

Goji berries have been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and have been credited with improving vitality, energy and longevity.

They are also loaded with nutrients that may help prevent eye disease, protect against skin damage and inhibit the growth of cancer cells. (4, 5, 6)

You can often find goji berries in dried or superfoods powder form at many grocery stores. Try adding them to a raw superfood carrot salad for a nutritious option for lunch or dinner.

9. Raw Milk

Raw milk is high in many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and D.

Kefir聽made from raw milk is especially beneficial for health as it has been fermented and has probiotics that can help boost the good bacteria in your gut to promote better digestion and enhance immunity.

Try adding raw milk or kefir to your next breakfast smoothie to pump up the nutrient profile and start your day off on the right foot.

10. Almonds

Almonds are one of the most nutrient-rich nuts available. They are among the best non-dairy sources of calcium, providing more milligrams of calcium per serving than any other nut, and are also high in vitamin E and protein.

You can enjoy these nuts raw as a tasty snack or try roasting them up for a warm treat on a cold day. Just remember that almonds are high in calories, so be sure to keep your portion size in check 鈥 it is definitely possible to have too much of a good thing.

11. Kale

Type 鈥渨hat are superfoods鈥 into Google and this leafy green vegetable is likely to be one of the first results that pops up.

Kale is one of the best superfoods for weight loss聽and can supplement your diet with lots of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium and manganese for very few calories.

Whip up a batch of kale chips for a savory snack, or use raw kale to take your shakes or salads to the next level.

12. Spirulina

This blue-green algae is considered one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Gram for gram, it鈥檚 higher in protein than red meat, contains all of the essential fatty acids your body needs, and also provides tons of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Health benefits of spirulina include potentially preventing plaque buildup in the arteries, lowering blood pressure and protecting against cancer. (7, 8, 9)

Spirulina is most often found in powder form and is widely available at online retailers and health stores. Use it in smoothies, or sprinkle it over your foods to increase the nutritional content.

13. Acai Berries

High in antioxidants and health-promoting properties, the acai berry is a key player in defining what are superfoods. These berries contain plenty of healthy fats, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.

Studies show that the compounds found in acai berries may help improve cognitive function, enhance lipid profiles and maintain normal blood sugar levels. (10, 11, 12)

Thanks to its growing popularity, acai powder is widely available at health stores and can be mixed into smoothies or used to make a nourishing acai bowl.

14. Coconuts

Coconut and coconut oil are both high in medium-chain triglycerides, a type of beneficial fatty acid that can help support the health of your gut due to its bacteria-fighting, antioxidant properties.

These fatty acids are also easy to digest, can be burned up as fuel rather than stored as fat and are able to provide immediate energy.

Coconut oil, in particular, has been credited with aiding in weight loss, keeping hair healthy and smooth, and even preventing bone loss. (13, 14)

Be sure to use extra virgin coconut oil that has not been refined, and use it in your cooking and baking for an added dose of healthy fats.

15. Flaxseeds

Flaxseed is loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and even potentially protect against cancer and diabetes.

These seeds are also high in thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, plus contain a hearty dose of protein and fiber in each serving.

You can reap the benefits of flaxseed by using the seeds in everything from granola to oatmeal or hummus or by consuming flaxseed oil in liquid or capsule form.

Text by Dr. Axe

World Art Dubai 2018

Bringing Affordable Art to The Middle East

The stage for the fourth edition of World Art Dubai has been set as the fair expands and grows, underlining the message that there is growing demand for affordable, contemporary art in the Middle East.

Spanning across 6,000 sqm of inspiring exhibition space, the fourth edition included new segments like photography and digital art, as well as dedicated spaces for galleries, solo artists and groups representing a display of art & culture from all over the world.

Part of Dubai鈥檚 Official Art Season, the fair took place from 18鈥21 April at Dubai World Trade Centre and聽showcases an impressive global collection of contemporary paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and mixedmedia ranging from $100 to $20,000.

I visited the fair on the last day and great that I did it because there was a lot of talented artists! I found amazing pieces that really inspired and transported me to other dimensions.

Here I’m sharing with you some of them:

Art as a multi sensory experience by Alex Raspberry and Silent Revolution Mia.

Alex Raspberry is painter from Miami but based in Dubai that plays with geometrical forms and abstract designs creating a very unique style.

He mixed his paints with the music of the Miami Music Curator DJ Mikel, owner of the Silent Revolution.

Was a space where you could experience Art through different senses.
The paintings were inspired by the music and viceversa creating 3 different walls.
I had to put a headphones and listen to the music designed for each piece while enjoying the paintings that were changing as there was a game of lights and colours.

The music made me disappear from where I was to get into the paints and enjoy the moment. It was an amazing experience, a great new way to enjoy art.


聽Design by Mariska. Turning waste into something beautiful.

This great artist turns waste into Art, creating beautiful lamps and paints.
She Recently started a campaign to fight against the plastic so she was wearing for 30 consecutive days a jacket made by plastic waste.

I actually saw her in D3 couple of weeks before and I was so happy to see her again and understand what is she really doing.

Thanks for being part of the consciousness of recycling and being social responsible.


There was an impressive woman that was only painting woman faces, but all of them were very strong and powerful.Here I’m sharing my favourite piece that was as well nominated.


There was as well a lot of workshops, and Ripe Market has a spot outside the center where you could buy hand craft products and have a little bite in the food trucks.Overall the ambience was really nice, mixed culture of Artists from around the world and great live music.If you missed it… put it in your To Do List for 2019!To finish with this post I share some other beautiful pieces I saw in the exhibition.