Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, welcome 2013

I can't believe that this year has come to an end. Mentally, I am still somewhere in March. Time goes too fast!! This year has involved a lot of business travelling to Kenya, Somalia and Sudan but also some fun trips to Bangkok with the girls, Germany with the kids and Portugal with hubby. Hubs and I celebrated our 10th anniversary and in November, my Mum and aunt M came to visit us.
I have another meeting scheduled in Nairobi for end of January and I am also planning a trip to Georgia. My dear friend C is spending three weeks in Tblisi and has invited me over. How can I resist? Georgia (along with the rest of the Caucasus and Centralasia) is one of my dream destinations.

This New Years Eve, we are gathering at our house, the usual gang in our neighbourhood. Friend S went to Langkawi with hubby and kids but the rest of us will celebrate together. I already set the table (yesterday) and also spent the entire evening trying to make my own napkin rings. It didnt turn out the way I wanted so I may have to rush over to the mall and see if I can find anything at Home Centre! We have decided to make ribs for tonigh, perhaps not the typical "New years eve" dinner but I am sure it will be yummy. The baby back ribs are from Nils & Robbys butchery. To make them extra tender, we boil them for a few hours in the slow cooker along with some BBQ- sauce and then put them quickly on the grill to give them some nice colour. It will all be served with baked potatoes and salad. For desert, friend T has made her famous carrot cake and I will attempt to make white chocolate mousse this afternoon (all depends on when I can leave work)!

It has been a good year, an interesting year and I hope the next one will be just as good, or even better.

Happy new year!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Russian salad

Russia has a special place in my heart and I have spent quite a lot of time there, mainly in St. Petersburg. I love the language, the food, the people, their culture. Walking through St. Petersburg is like visiting a gigantic outdoor museum, with glorious buildings, churches, parks, monuments. I can never get tired of that city! I have spent New Years Eve, summer, I have studied at the St. Petersburg state university and I even got married there (in the true Orthodox fashion) with my, at the time, Russian boyfriend (later husband and even later, ex husband...).
The new year in Russia is a big celebration, mainly because Christmas was a religious holiday and therefore banned during the Soviet era. And the Orthodox church celebrates Christmas in January according to the old calendar. On New Year's, everyone gathers at home and eat lots of food (not too different from the rest of the world), and a standard dish on the New Year's table is zimnij salad (winter salad) or "olivier" as it is also named. This is one of the yummiest salads I have ever tasted and has become one of my favouries since then. And I quickly learned, that on most occasions, there is "olivier" on the table! Even in former Soviet Uzbekistan, I had "olivier".

Olivier
potatoes
carrots
pickled cucumber
eggs
onion
ham
mayonnaise

Boil potatoes, carrots and eggs. Chop all ingredients into small cubes and mix with mayonnaise. Stir it all carefully around so as not to mash all the vegerables. Add more mayonnaise after taste, some salt if necessary. Decorate with chopped carrots and parsely before serving.

 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jansson's temptation

Janssons's tempation, or Janssons frestelse, as we call it in Swedish, is a well known Swedish dish and is served not only during Christmas, but also for Easter, as "late night meal or "vickning" and as a normal dinner dish. I love Janssons and could probably eat it every second day. The combination of creamy potatoes and salty sprats is just divine. I just learned from Wikipeda, that what we use is not actually anchovies but sprats (didn't know that!!). The dish consists of cut thin potatoe strips, layered in a baking dish, alternating with sprats and chopped onions in between.

Jansson's tempation
potatoes, cut in thin strips (like french fries)
chopped onion
cream
salt
pepper
breadcrumbs
sprats

Put the potatoes in the bottom of a baking dish, alternate with sprats and chopped onion and finish off with a potato layer. Add cream on top, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake in the oven until the potatoes are soft and some of the liquid is absorbed. However, I like it when it is a bit creamy!
 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Swedish christmas

Each family has their own traditions when it comes to Christmas celebration, all ranging from what you eat, when you open your gifts and where you spend it. When I was a child, back in Sweden, we always celebrated at my Grandmas' house. My uncle and his two children (and later on, my cousins children since he is slightly older than myself), Grandma (of course) and my Dad and Mum (Mum later replaced by girlfriend as they got divorced when I was 6). The entire day was filled with anticipation, the gifts under the tree, the food, the mandatory Christmas episode of "Donald Duck" at 3 o clock, Christmas candy... you name it.
Sweden is a Lutheran/Protestant country and we always celebrate on the 24th of December. And the celebration starts early that day with ham sandwich and "julmust" ( a fizzy drink served only on Christmas and Easter, and yes, it is the same, just with a different label), Christmas porridge (rice porridge) and curious glances towards the pile of presents under the tree.  After that we tried to avoid food as much as you could in order to stuff yourself later that afternoon at Grandmas'.
Since I had children, I tried to keep at least a few of these traditions but also trying to create our own. My husband doesnt have any specific traditions that he brought into our house, apart from the Christmas food so I have pretty much dictated our own!
My Dad's girlfriend was very determined when it came to decorating the tree. The tree did not make any appearance inside the house until the day before Christmas. It was a nice thing though, decorating all togher while the ham was cooking in the oven and you were allowed to stay up as late as you wished! I have made some changes to that rule and on the second of Advent, we normally unfold our tiny little tree and decorate it (mostly because all our neighbours tend to put it up already by end of November!).
The ham is another thing. You can't find the type of ham we cook and then grill in the oven so last year we decided to order a ham at Spinney's which turned out to be a good substitute.
For the past years, we have celebrated with our American neighbours, which means turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potaties, green bean casserole and waldor salad. Very delicious I must say (and I have to admit that I hadn't had turkey in my entire life before we moved to Dubai).
The typical Christmas food in Sweden is like a smorgasbord (a form of buffet) with various cold and hot dishes:
  • Various forms of herring (pickled, mustard, garlic)
  • Smoked salmon
  • Marinated salmon
  • Liver pate
  • Brawn (preferably home made)
  • Smoked eel (at least in our house, we used to eat smoked eel and I love it)
  • Potatoes (of course, we are Swedes after all)
  • Beet root salad
  • Herring salad
  • Potato salad
  • Other salad
  • Christmas ham
  • Meatballs
  • Wienersausages
  • Jansons tempation (potato dish with anchoves, covered with cream)
  • Red cabbage
  • Spare ribs
  • Brown cabbage
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Omelet
The desert is usually rice porridge with cinnamon or a mix of porridge and cream, called Ris a la Malta (very delicious but dangerous).

Jansson temptation, a must on the Christmas table!

Danish Winersausages

Smoked salmon

Russian winter salad, or "olivier"

Herring

Not quite the same ham as in Sweden, but still ham...

 
This Boxing day afternoon, we enjoyed a tiny version of the traditional Swedish christmas buffet, but managed to get the essentials, such as herring, salmon and Jansons temptation, a potato dish with onion, anchovies and cream. I also made meatballs and we bough red cabbage from the Danish consulate, so it wasn't that bad. As much as I love the turkey and the other good stuff, I do want some Swedish Christmas food as well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas day brunch, Layan style

The name of our compound is Layan and since a few years back, we have a tradition of doing Christmas brunch. The first year, we went to the Polo club, which was lovely. Excellent food and beautiful surroundings. The following year, the Polo club was already fully booked so we had to find a solution: we did it at the neighbours!! All participating families pitched in and we rented chairs, tables, china, a jumping castle for the kids and Secret Santa. It was a huge success and we have basically continued with our little Christmas day tradition since then. One year we ordered a suckling pig and lamb to be grilled (it turned out to be not so successful, the company arrived three hours late and they didn't quite know how to work the pig...). This year we moved the venue to friend T (same as last night) and it was just as beautiful. Gorgeous food, lovely company and beautiful weather!


What can go wrong with a chocolate fountain?



 

Merry Christmas

Normally, Christmas is a hectic day with lots of food to prepare, last minute shopping and gift wrapping etc. However this year was very quiet. Since we were invited over to our neighbours (as uaual), the only thing I had to prepare this year was mashed potatoes. So I had time to go to the gym and then spent a good hour by the pool. Husband came home after lunch and we exchanged gifts and then it was time to walk over to H-street (which takes literally 2 minutes). My friend T had decorated the tables, everything was sparkling and beautiful. We enjoyed some wine while waiting for husbands to return home (the 24th is not necessarily an off day in the flying business). Friend S brought a golden turkey, coooked to perfection and stuffing. Friend L made green been casserole. And there was vegetables, waldorf salad, sweet potatoes, gravy and cranberry jam. After dinner we opened our presents, which usually is a bit chaotic when four families get together. The kids were happy and after the gift opening, we decided to have some desert. Pumpkin pie, banana cream pie, you name it. I was stuffing myself like there was no tomorrow.
And there IS tomorrow! Today we are doing it all over again with our traditional Christmas day brunch. I am going to wear something very loose fitted today!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

English fudge

My Grandma always made the same kind of Christmas candy every year and I loved it (and still do!). It is originally called "English fudge" but I call it "Grandmas candy".

3 dl sugar
3 tbsp butter
2 dl cream
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
50 g almond, peeled and chopped.

 
Mix all ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to boil and boil until the mixture gets thicker. Stir all the time. Boil until it reaches the soft ball stage. Pour into a prepared tin and leave to cool in the fridge.  Once cold, cut the fudge into small squares an store in a sealed container. Enjoy!

I have also manged to make some traditional rice porridge for tomorrow, photos to be uploaded tomorrow.

The finished result, with and without camera flash... Tasted very yummy with the perfect texture! Not too "fudgy" but melts nicely in your mouth!!



Trader Vics (again)

Trader Vics at Madinat Jumeirah has become one of my favourite places lately. The food is excellent and I love the mixed crowd of people. On Friday, I met up with a new friend. Our friendship started on Facebook when I added her as a friend, thinking she was my old colleague from Sweden. After a while, when I actually started to look at her profile picture, I quickly realized that either had she gone through a complete make over, or I had actually added a complete stranger to my friends' list. We started chatting and she turned out to be the sweetest girl and we also discovered that our business fields and academic background were quite similar. So we kept in touch and the other day, she passed through Dubai on her way from Shanghai to Copenhagen and we met up for a lovely dinner at Traders. The food was excellent, we shared some nibbles, jalapeno cheese balls, Vietnamese springrolls, chicken wings and calamares. When the food was finished, we moved to the bar and listened to the Cuban band playing. All in all it was a great evening and we had lots of fun.
Jalapeno cheese balls

Vietnamese springrolls

Bubbly with A
 
On Wednesday evening, I and friend A met up for some bubbly. Visiting A is always a treat. Her entire house is a wonderful mix of Scandinavian design with a touch of the Middle East. We talked (and drank) for hours, a much needed therapy session in the middle of all the Christmas craziness!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas candy

Yesterday I took a day off from work to attend Joli's Christmas Extravaganza. It was such a beautiful concert with KG1 and KG2 kids all signing together in Arabic, English, German and French! They were all dressed in red T-shirts and with festive hats on their little heads, all in true Christmas spirit. They sang their Christmas songs and rounded off with "We wish you a Merry Christmas" but "merry christmas" was replaced by "happy holidays" and the extra syllable added some new challenges to the song. After their performance (and I was in tears most of the time, even when my child was not even performing) we had a lovely picnic outside. Joli made friends with a Swedish boy and she was very excited about the fact that they were speaking Swedish together. Luckily, it turned out that the same boy lives in our compound so I suspect there will be some playdates coming up during the winter break!
Early in the morning, I decided to do the mandatory Barracuda run, and no, it is not a fishing adventure. Barracuda is a large, tax free shop, located in the small emirate of Umm al Quwain. Many thousands dirhams later, I drove back with the car trunk packed with cases of various contents. I got home just in time to off load my cargo and then head straight to Joli's school.
Joli was knackered in the afternoon and fell asleep, Elias had his friends over and I got the brilliant "I-have-to-make-candy" idea. A very popular reciepe (as I read about it in various blogs) is Leila's rocky road. Since I don't have any Dumle toffee, I decided to use Riesen which may be a bit too dark and the toffee got stuck here and there, turning into lumps but maybe that's how it should be? All in all, despite the looks of it, it tasted really good!

Leilas' rocky road

  • 600 g dark chocolat (70 %)
  • 2 bags Dumel toffee (I used Riesen toffee since we don't have the Dumle ones here)
  • 2 dl mini marshmallows
  • 3 dl salted peanuts
  • 1 dl peeled pistachio nuts
  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water.
  2. Mix all ingredients with the chocolate. Save some for garnish.
  3. Put it in a tray with baking paper, refrigerate for a few hours and cut in pireces.
 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nils & Robby Butchery in Dubai

Despite being a Muslim country, you can still buy pork meat in Dubai, though not everywhere. Grocery stores like Spinneys and Choitrams have special pork sections for Non Muslims only. I normally buy my meat at Carrefour, where I do my weekly grocery shopping and the quality is ok. The only negativ thing is that they don't have a pork section so you still need to do an extra grocery run to get your pork fix.
A few weeks back, my neighbours recommended Nils & Robby Butchery. They are conveniently located next to our office (opposite of Speedex, next to Oasis centre). Their office is one of the smallest offices I have ever seen but the service is good and you can pick up your order after 24 hours, all packed and sealed. Last time, we ordered pork baby back ribs, tenderloin, pork chops and lamb chops and it was all excellent. The tenderloin was amazing and so were the ribs! I have never found the optimal receipe for pork chops but friend L suggested to put them in the slow cooker and that may be a good idea. I normally marinate them over night to make them soft and juicy.

For those who live here in Dubai and are interested in buying high quality meat, contact Nils & Robby Butchery on + 971 4 3384429!

Metro, nibbles and Skyfall

Yesterday, me and friend A went to the movies to see the latest Bond-movie "Skyfall". The movie was excellent. I am a huge fan of Daniel Craig and I think he is the best Bond after Sean Connery (nobody can compete with good old Sean)!

Drinks and nibbles at Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel
 
Since Oasis centre gets a bit crowded around 5 pm and it is very hard to get a taxi as everyone leaves work I decided to use the metro for the first time in my life! Since we live far out in the desert, (I am not joking) the metro is never an option and especially if you have a car, why bother. However, my first metro experience was a very pleasant one. Very clean, smooth, hassle free and I was surprised to see how packed it was! I thought the metro was running half empty all days but I guess a lot has happened since they first opened it up and with more and more stations opening, more people are actually using it. It took me about 20 min to get from Noor Islamic bank station to Ibn Battuta, not too bad. And then I took a quick walk from the metro to Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel where I was meeting up with A. The hotel is quite new and I love the Arabic inspired interior. We enjoyed white wine with nibbles; hummus, cheese samosas, fried calamari, moutabbal and Arabic bread. After that, we tried to get a taxi from the hotel to the other end of Ibn Battuta Mall (which is across the street but since it is quite long, it takes a while to walk from one end to the other). The taxi driver didn't not understand why we needed a taxi so we gave up trying to convince him that since we were a bit late, a taxi drive would be much more convenient. So we walked through the mall, to the very end (The Chinese Pavillion) where the movie theatre is. And we just made it in time!
I definitely recommend Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel! The environment is gorgeous and the nibbles excellent! The service was a bit slow, especially since there were not many people but the all in all impression was very good!

Monday, December 17, 2012

When it rains, it pours

Burj Khalifa hiding behind the clouds

Flooded streets outside our office
 
Rain is a very rare event here in the UAE. However, our first trip to Dubai was a very rainy experience with flooded streets and chaos (almost missed the flight back to Singapore due to the rain, on the other hand, the Singapore Airlines crew were also stuck in traffic....) The year of 2008-2009 was quite rainy with the usual floods here and there, traffic jam, accidents, aqua planning due to mad driving etc. Following years, up until now, have been quite dry. Or very dry. We haven't seen more than a few rain drops over the past years and rain has become something very exotic to us. This year seems to be different though. A few weeks back, the first very heavy rain and thunder storm hit Dubai. The local paper, Gulf news, showed photos of residents in Sharjah and Dubai, up to their knees in water. Since there are no drainage systems here, just a litttle bit of rain will cause major flooding.
This morning is the second "rainy day" here and I start wondering if this will actually be a really rainy winter? Sheikh Zayed Road outside is already a mess and I bet there are accidents reported from all over the Emirate due to the weather. People are not used to driving on wet roads and tend to keep the same insane speed.
I must admit though that I like this weather. I enjoy sitting inside a warm office (warm for once and not A/C freezer temperature) with a hot cup of tea or coffee. A bit of Christmas feeling to it. As much as you can get here at least.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Stir fried chicken with mango and cashew nuts

Last spring, me and friends L, T and S organized a cooking class for our maids. It was more as an opportunity for the girls to get together and to swap recipes as we were all running out of dinner ideas. The below recipe is from friend T and has become one of my family's favourite chicken recipe. I love the mix of sweet and salt and the variety of vegetables makes it also a healthy option!

Cabbage salad from a strange angle...

Voila!

Here is the recipe!
 
1 large ripe but firm mango
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
250 ml sunflower oil
500 g boneless chicken breast cut in 2 cm pieces
2 tsp very finely minced garlic
1 tsp very finely minced large red chili (1/4 tsp dried chili)
200 g sugar snap or snow peas
1-2 medium ripe tomato cut in 1 cm dice
70 g dry-roasted cashew nuts
Cut the mango lengthways, following the stone to remove the two “cheeks” of flesh. Cut diagonal slashes across each mango cheek, 1 cm apart, taking care not to cut through the skin. Use a spoon to ease out the mango slices.
Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt.
Heat the oil in a work until very hot, then add the chicken and deep-fry in two separate batches, stirring frequently, until just cooked, 2 min. Remove with slotted spatula and drain on paper towel.
Pour out about 3 tbsp of oil from the wok. Reheat the oil and stir fry the garlic and chili over medium heat for a few seconds. Increase the heat and the snow peas and stir fry for 1 minute. Add chicken and fish sauce mixture, stirring to mix well. Then put in the mango slices, tomato and cashews. Stir for about 30 seconds until heated through, taking care not to smash the mango. Transfer to a dish and serve with steamed rice.

Why?


 

Husband's garden project

The advent table


 

Corn!

Chili pepper
 
My husband had developed a hobby; gardening. And he is taking it quite seriously. The project at the moment is chili peppers. He brings chili peppers home from all over the world, dries the seeds and plants it in our garden. Each little chili fruit has a name sign attached to it so he can follow up on the growth process.
I am not a garden person at all, I like to sit there and admire the flowers around me, but that's it. I can barely keep the plants alive while Teresa is away. Having said that, I do appreciate that I can just step outside and get fresh herbs, corn, tomatoes and bell pepper.
The corn is growing very fast and last year we harvested a few and they were delicious! I hope this year will be as good. Hubby also tried strawberries last year which didn't quite work out so well, mianly because of the heat and the birds also seemed to be very fond of the berries...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday dinner

Me and my son are probably the world's biggest potato lovers, I could live solely on potatoes...


The meatloaf

Thursdays are the beginning of our weekend (the UAE weekend stretches from Friday to Saturday, so Sunday is actually our first working day) so that normally calls for some more festive food or a nice BBQ. However, since husband had an early flight this (Friday) morning, we decided to cook some more traditional "husmanskost", Swedish everyday cuisine.

Meatlof or "kottfarslimpa" is not specifically Swedish but it is very popular in Sweden. It is an easier alternative than meatballs (just make a loaf and put it in the oven) but still yummy and the kids love it. I normally add chopped mushrooms, chopped parsley and some mustard and mix it with the rest of the ingredients. According to me, meatloaf is best served with boiled or mashed potatoes, gravy and Lingonberry jam! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Brighten up your day!

My best office friends, the notebook folder from Ordning & Reda and my pink Filofax organizer from Kinokuniya, Dubai Mall
 
I am a stationery junkie and I have always been. Cute notebooks, pens and pencil cases have a special place in my heart. It can take me days to find the ultimate calendar, or notebook or binder, I am not kidding. I am firm believer that if you have colourful stationery, your day will be much happier, at least brighter.

Slow cooker peasoup and pancakes

The amazing slow cooker

Thin, Swedish pancakes

 
 
Thursdays in Sweden is the day when we eat peasoup and pancakes. This tradition goes back to the 1200s -1300s when Sweden was still Catholic and the week ended with peasoup and salted pork as a preparation for the Friday fasting.
The peasoup we make in the slow cooker is slightly different from the traditional one, but tastes just as good:

1 lb split peas or yellow peas
10 cups broth water
1 lb pork or sausage
6 cubes chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped carrot
1 chopped celery
2 potatoes, chopped
4 pcs garlic cloves
oregano
2 bay leves
1 chopped onion

Layer all ingredients in a slow cooker in the order given, adding the broth last. do not stir the ingredients. Cover and cook on High 4-5 hours or on Low 8-10 hours until peas are soft. Serve with garlic bread and if stomach room allows; pancakes with jam and whipped cream for desert.
My apologies for the crappy photos, I never seem to have my SLR at hand so most of my photos are taken with my Blackberry. Or I start eating before taking a photo and the Kodak momen is lost, who wants to look at an empty plate? I will try to improve in the photo department, promise!
 



 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Looking for Christmas gifts?

Swedish design is making its way to Dubai. Swedish-owned Kollektion sells various products, all Swedish brands at their store at DIFC. Two of my favourite brands are the Edblad jewellery and the interior design items from Sagaform.
Photos: www.edblad.com

 
 
Kollektion has a great promotion going on at the moment, buy a new Edblad piece and get one complimentary (to the same or less value). I and my friend T dedicated our entire lunch break to this event. The rings are just examples of the simple but yet beautiful design.
We also found some notebook covers in leather, purses and small note books from Ordning & Reda.
I found the cutest "glogg" (mulled wine) set, consisting of four glasses, a glass pitcher and two small bowls for the almonds and raisins, all from Sagaform.

 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Indian food at Oasis Centre

I am not a huge fan of Indian food, yes, very strange as most people seem to love Indian food. I don't. I generally find it way too spicy (yes, that is also strange since I am born Korean but at some stage during the flight from Seoul to Gothenburg, my sense for spicy food must have vanished). I do have given Indian food a few chances but the bond between us never seem to develop.
However, having that said, about six months ago, they opened up a new Indian restaurant in our Oasis Foodcourt with the most delicious (and not too spicy) chicken curry! It is served with paratha (and I am addicted to that bread now!) and a cool, fresh raita with vegetables. The meal itself is not more than 16 dhs, very cheap and the servings are big enough to make you satisfied. You can tell that the place is popular, the tables next to their counter are always busy. Of course they serve other dishes than the chicken curry, but that is what I have ordered so far.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Max Burger opens up in Dubai

I work just next to Oasis Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road. It is a quite small but pleasant mall with various shops such as New  Look, Babyshop, Koton, Emax, Home Centre to mention a few and on the 3rd floor, there is a small food court with the typical selection of fast food; McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, Bazerkan (Lebanese) and Bombay chowpatty.  However, two weeks ago, Max Hamburger opened up their first restaurant in Dubai (and the whole of UAE). Max Hamburger is a Swedish fast food chain, founded in Gallivare, Sweden and until the 1980's, Max was the largets hamburger chain in northern Sweden with only a single restaurant outside of Norrland (northern part of Sweden). During the 1990's, they became a a nationwide fast-food chain. Max was the first hamburger chain to outcompete McDonald's restaurant in 1991 in Umea and Lulea. (info from Wikipeda).

 
For being a fast food chain, I do think they have one of the yummiest burgers in comparison with Burger King and McDonald's and the fries are golden brown and crispy. For an additional 3 dhs, you can chose a delicious dip sauce. My personal favorite is the green and garlic but they have a wide range of different flavours. After a quick look around the food court, you can see that Max already gained some popularity. The trays with Max burgers are starting to outnumber those from McDonald's. So if you are in Dubai and would love to try Sweden's tastiest burger, don't forget to swing by Oasis centre!
 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hospital food and a stroll around Wafi

In Sweden, I think hospital food is considered one of the least yummy things you can think of. Usually bland, tasteless and generally boring (as it has to suit everyone’s taste) it normally doesn’t not make to the top ten food list, not even top thousand…. The only time I had the doubtful pleasure of enjoying hospital food was when the kids were born and the culinary experiences from that time are not very memorable. By some reason, they tend to serve the food extremely early, breakfast at 7, lunch at 11 and dinner at 5. At 5!! That is way too early! What do you do with the rest of the afternoon/evening? Starve?
I learned that breakfast during weekends is served around 9 when a very polite Indian guy with a funny hair net on his head knocked on the door and brought two trays of food for us. Elias got fried sausages, two boiled eggs, cereal, milk and fruit salad. I got scrambled eggs, two sausages, Arabic bread and hummus. More than enough to give you a healthy start of the day. I was already looking forward to lunch.
The lunch proved to be just as good. Elias had fried hammour (fish) fillet with vegetable rice and I got chicken fillet with pesto sauce and rosti, for dessert we enjoyed mango mousse with fresh fruit.

Scrambled eggs and sausages

Fuitsalad

A la carte but where is the wine list???

This reminds more of a hotel than a hospital

We went for a stroll to Wafi mall and admired the X-mas tree

The X-mas village at Wafi mall

As we enjoyed our lunch, we were asked to fill in our meal orders for the following day. At that time we didnt know that Elias was granted temporary leave during the day. Teresa made a wonderful, creamy Spaghetti carbonara for lunch. We all sat outside in the garden, enjoying the fresh air and the birds singing and for dinner Elias requested meatballs with mashed potatoes. Unfortunately we have to go back tonight for more IV antibiotics and stay there over night, but the temporary leave surely lifted his mood (and mine).  I was quite eager to get home and see Joli and during the afternoon we managed to decorat the Christmas tree all together and Elias caught up on his chocolate calendar.

Last night, we decided to take a stroll to the nearby Wafi Mall which is known for exclusive shopping and fine dining. We admired the gigantic Christmas tree and the beautiful little Christmas village before heading towards Carrefour to stock up on some crisps and juice. On the way back we stopped at the Raffles hotel for some cranberry tea and a "fruity" drink for Mum...  We had barely opened our crisp bags before both of us slept like babies. The only thing waking me up was when the night nurse came in to relieve Elias from his IV-drip, but at that time he was already snoring.

Cranberry ice tea. I was very tempted to buy this cute little tea set for myself.


 

When the kids get sick while you are away


The final UN meeting for this year is over. No dramas or strange events, we went through our agenda fairly quickly and decided to meet again in January next year. After a quick stop at the Village Market food court, we brought some delicious Italian food with us to the office house for an early dinner. My colleague P had to fly back to Mogadishu the following day and I had just changed my ticket to catch the red-eye back to Dubai around midnight.
When I left Dubai on Tuesday morning, Elias had a high temperature and felt unwell. After a few trips back and forth to the nearby clinic, they finally decided to do an X-ray and it showed a quite severe pneumonia.  As he didnt respond well to the oral medication, hubby decided to take him to the ER late Wednesday evening where they decided to keep him for observation for at least 48 hours. In general, here in Dubai they seem to be more prone to admit people a few extra days  rather than sending them home, and I cannot argue with that, as I rather have my son under medical surveillance for a few days, to make sure he is recovering properly. Husband and son have now spent two nights at the City hospital and I just arrived yesterday morning and headed straight to the hospital. Elias has his own room and the best thing is of course the gigantic flat screen TV hanging on the wall. The bathroom reminds me more of a hotel  with complementary shower gel, body lotion, tooth brush and tooth paste. The tiled floors are very far away from the typical sterile plastic floors we have in the Swedish hospitals. During the weekends, they bring a menu where you can order breakfast and lunch. Downstairs is a large cafeteria and a gift shop with lots of soft toys and magazines.

Husband is in the middle of his upgrade and had to postpone one of his final simulator tests since I was in Kenya. The thought crossed my mind several times, what if he had been gone on a flight? However, tons of mail and messages came in during the day from lovely friends and neighbours, offering their help and when you are far away from family and especially on a silly business trip and not even present, this means the world to you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nairobi

It is that time of the month, when it is time to pack ones bags and head off to Nairobi for the monthly meeting.
To be honest with you, I do not have much time to roam around and discover the city. The only view I get is from the car, driving from Kenyatta airport to our office. I love the climate in Kenya and the lush, green surroundings. Especially when you live in a dry place like Dubai. I am planning a safari trip one day with the kids as well as a trip down to Mombasa.
I would like to see the Karen Blixen museum and would love to see something else than the UN complex in Gigiri or the Westgate mall in Westlands. But one should not complain. I enjoy my visits here and we also try to get out and do the most of our stay.
Since the power has been off since early this morning, we had no other option than to visit excellent Cafe Brasserie at the Village Market for breakfast. While I enjoyed "Eggs Benedicts" with hollandaise sauce and parmesan cheese, my colleagues chose omelet with mushrooms and a Mediterranean salad. The Cafe never disappoints you, neither the service nor the food.
The highlight of the day was definitely when our Boss decided to take us to one of Nairobi's best restaurants, "The Lord Erroll". The restaurant is located in a wonderful residential area called Runda, with plenty of beautiful mansions (yes, mansions!) all around, hiding behind lush gardens and barb wired walls. We sat on the veranda, overlooking a beautiful garden with a small pond and a water fall in the background. The food was excellent and very nicely presented. The restaurant often hosts various functions for the UN and last week, the Turkish president apparently enjoyed lunch here!
There was still no power when we got back to the office, so I decided to take a nap. The plan for the evening is to get a taxi to Westlands, the area where "it all happens" and visit our favourite bar, "Gypsies". I realize that there are probably classier bars than "Gypsies", but I like the place and we always had a great time there.

The very delicate Thai soup we had as a starter
 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Byta sprak!

Jag borjade med att blogga pa engelska men saknade svenskan och overgick saledes till svenska. Nu kanns det som att det ar dags att byta tillbaka till engelska. Jag hoppas ju att ni som foljer fortsatter att folja bloggen!

 

Forsta advent och UAE nationalday

Glad forsta advent alla bloggvanner! Igar var det alltsa dags att tanda det forsta ljuset. Jag har fatt en fin adventsljusstake av mina foraldrar, en gammaldags traljusstake och den star i matrummet. Sedan har jag en svart smidessak fran Indiska som star i koket.
I fredags sa hande nagot ovanligt, det osregnade och askade! Alla ungar var ute pa gatan och lekte. "This is the best day ever", horde jag grannflickan ropa nar de cyklade omkring i regnpolarna. Och polar blev det. Eftersom Dubai totalt saknar avloppssystem sa blev det snabbt mindre oversvamningar runt om i emiratet. Vi klarade oss dock denna gangen. Mitt i allt osregn letade jag mig fram till danska konsulatet for att hamta ut min julmat. En lada med rakssallad, 2 kg polser, leverpastej,glogg och grotris. Jag insag att jag borde bestallt mer mat nar jag sag hur de danska familjerna stuvade in lada efter lada i sina stora SUV's. Pa kvallen grillade vi vara polser och till det raksallad, det var himmelskt gott.
Jag trotsade regn och rusk och motte upp Mitzie Mee for ett par drinkar pa Trader Vics. Det var god stamning dar, gott om folk som varit pa Rugby 7 under dagen (trots regnet). Vi drack nagra riktigt goda drinkar och hade en valdigt trevlig kvall!
Igar sondag var aven Forenade Arabemiratens nationaldag. De firade 41 ar som nation och lite har och var hordes musik och det bjods pa mat. En stor parad gick fran Emaar square men jag holl mig darifran. Istallet akte jag ner till Barasti Beach Bar och traffade goda vanner. Vi at och drack gott och jag maste saga att det var en fantastisk kvall, underbart vader (inget mer regn) fantastisk utsikt over The Palm och god stamning.
Min fina adventsljusstake fran Indiska som hangt med nagra ar

Matsalsbordet med julduk och julblomma
 
Barnen har oppnat sina adventskalendrar (det blev tillsut "bara" en chokladkalender) och jag och maken avnjot arets forsta glogg pa verandan. Vi passade pa att besoka IKEA igar och trots makens protester sa fick jag med honom till restaurangen dar vi at gravlaxtallrik och delade pa en rakmacka. Det var valdigt gott det med. Ibland langtar bara efter svensk mat!