Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Swedish school

There are quite a few Swedish expats here in Dubai and like in many other countries, the Swedish school provides additional Swedish language classes for Swedish expat children. I once worked as a Teacher's Assistance at the Swedish Supplementary School in Singapore. It only lasted for one semester but it was very interesting.
Here in Dubai we also have the Swedish School, located at the Dubai International Academy in Emirates Hill. Unfortunately, since I am working, I am unable to bring Elias there so he has been missing out on some valuable Swedish classes. We do speak Swedish at home (being two Swedes, it is kind of natural) but with Teresa in the house, English is also common. Elias speaks better Swedish than Joli, who grew up in Singapore and has actually never set foot in Sweden except for when she was born (and some vacations spent in Sweden).
Last semester, I had a chat to a fellow Swede and also full-time working Mum (whos son was in the same class as Elias) and we agreed to find a free lance Swedish teacher who could perhaps meet the children once per week to go through the basics of Swedish grammar and vocabulary. I encourage Elias to speak Swedish at home but I haven't fully introduced any Swedish books as I think it is more important for him to focus on his English comprehension and since he is also doing Arabic and French, I think he will only get confused! Maybe I'm wrong. Jolis English is excellent and she has a very rich vocabulary, not quite sure where she got that from but she truly enjoys reading (she just learned to read some basic sentences and identify sight words) and she talks a lot too! Her Swedish though is very limited but thanks to some Swedish friends at school, she is getting more keen to speak Swedish at home. She is also learning French and Arabic at school and I wanted her to focus more on English, just like her brother.
Maybe some extra Swedish classes can encourage Elias to even start reading in Swedish. I have dragged all the Harry Potter and Narnia books with me from Sweden for him to read in Swedish, although he already started reading them but in English!
Today it's Wednesday. One more day and it's the Weekend. Elias has a friend over, Teresa is celebrating her birthday and I am going on a suit hunt. I still can't find anything decent in my wardrobe.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I have nothing to wear

Some people are born with this gift of always knowing what's right. Regardless if it's buying a wedding gift or just sending a small thank you card, they have this sense of what is just perfect for the occasion. I must have ended up at the very end of that line when this particular talent was handed out. I have no clue what to bring to dinner parties, I just can't "wrap up" little gifts or write something funny or witty on birthday cards. I'm lucky I can actually spell the word "happy birthday" without messing it up.
This particular "sense" seems not only be limited to gifts or cards but also stretches over to interior design, sense of colour and fasion. Areas where I am also very limited. In a few days time, I have an important meeting and I am already dreading what to wear. It should be simple, black trousers, a nice blouse but then, knowing myself, my mind will play up and I will probably end up in my old jeans, leather boots and a tank top. Shall I wear lots of jewellery, or shall I be modest? Shall I let my hair down or up? Sometimes I wish there were manuals for this, it would have saved me a lot of time.
So I am still debating with myself and will probably do so until five minutes before I have to leave and will put on something really stupid, or with some stains on it.
This afternoon, friend T and I are meeting up at Dubai Festival City, taking the boys to see a movie and after we are hoping to find a nice place to have dinner. Husband left for Mauritius this morning, lucky him. Lots of things going on in my mind at the moment, so I'll make this short for now.
BTW, last night, Teresa made pita chips in the oven, sprinkled with chili and garlic spices. It was amazing! Better than crisps, hopefully healthier too but at least it is home made! And perfect when your pita bread is getting a bit old and you don't really want to throw it away.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cinderella and Brazilian fish soup

Yesterday I took Joli to the ballet "Cinderella" and we were both swept away by the beauty and talent all the performers showed! It was the dancing school Turning Pointe performing at the DUCTAC Theathre at Mall of the Emirats. Last year I brought Joli to see "Peter Pan", by the same Ballet and Dancing school and we both loved it ! Last years production was perhaps more mystical and dramatic at times, this years production was more comical, especially when the evil step sisters were seeking the attention of Prince Charming and also very beautiful and romantic when Prince Charming came to search for Cinderella. I recognized half of the cast from last year and all the dancers are amazing, the youngest ones cannot be more than seven years of age and still performing with confidence and grace on a big stage! As we left the theatre, Joli was already asking when we will go next time!

All dressed up in the pretty dress, hair band and a small purse
My recipe project has been sort of "on and off" (more "off" I would say) so yesterday before leaving for the ballet, I was searching around for a nice fish soup recipe. I love fish soup but realized that I don't really have any good recipes. A few clicks later, I found this:

Brazilian fish soup

800 g of white fish
2 yellow onions
2 garlic cloves
1 can of canned tomatoes
1/2 dl of lime juice
3 dl water
1 fish broth cube
4 fresh tomatoes
sambal oelek
1 small chili fruit
4 dl coconut milk
salt, pepper
Spring onion, finely chopped

Slice the onion and garlic, chop the chili fruit and fry it all in oil. Add canned tomatoes, lime juice, water and fish broth. Let it all simmer for about 10 minutes. Slice tomatoes and add together with the coconut milk and sambal oelek. Bring to boil. Cut the fish in small cubes and add to the soup, let it all simmer for 7-10 min or when the fish is ready. Sprinkle some coriander and salad onion before serving!

Voila! Fish soup!

Any reason to make it more festive!

Garlic bread, a must with soup!
Have a great week!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Toasted pita chips

This is the perfect BBQ season in Dubai, the evenings are not too hot and you can actually sit outside without melting into a puddle. We normally get together with a few other families and have a pot luck kind of BBQ where people bring their meat and a salad or potato dish to share and gather at someone's house. Usually the house where the husband is not flying or doesn't have an early pick up. Tonight we are gathering at T's house. Both hubbies are away so it's just us and the kids. These semi-spontaneous parties are usually the best. Everyone who is around come by for a bite to eat or just a drink or two. I think this is one of the absolutely best parts of Dubai, how close you get to your neigbhours and the companionship we all share. It means the world to you as an expat when your friends and family are so far away.

Neighbour B's chili sauce

T's tzatziki

Toasted Pita chips, easy to make in the oven
We met up in the early evening at T's house for wine and snacks before the BBQ started. T had made lovely toasted pita chips, very addictive! We dipped this in tzatziki and it tasted divine!

Toasted pita chips
pita bred
olive oil
coarse salt
any other spice you may have at home

Cut each pita bread in quarters and each quarter in half to make 8 triangles. Place them in a single layer on a sheet pan and sprinkle lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper and any other spice. Bake for about 10 minutes, until crisp, turning once.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Restaurant "Kung" at Byblos Hotel

Yesterday, I finally got my kimchi fix and it was very delicious! Mitzie Mee knows her way around the Korean food (I'm still a happy amateur that usually opt for pulgogi or fried rice). We ordered bipimbab, a signature Korean dish, Korean pancakes and a hot and very tasty (not too spicy) sea food soup! Served along with the food were also the traditional Korean side dishes, banchan (including my favourite kimchi). The place was very busy, mostly by Koreans which is usually a good sign. The also serve the traditional beverage "soju". I also liked how the waitress greated me in Korean when I entered the restaurant and then  happily continued the conversation until she saw the large question mark in my face (I can say a few things in Korean but that is pretty much it).
After this gorgeous Korean meal, we took a stroll over to Media Rotana hotel and ended up at "Nelson"s" bar, where they happend to have Ladies night!
The kids have mid term break (just one day) and were sleeping in today. I would have loved to have a day off today but will leave early to take Joli to her swimming lesson in the afternoon and after that, it's the weekend!
Banchan- Korean side dishes


Korean pancakes, dont' know the name in Korean


Delicious soup
The weekend is busy, Elias has a birthday party to attend and I'm planning a trip to Barracuda, the Tax Free shop to stock up on some wine. And on Saturday Joli and I are off to see the ballet "Cinderella" at the DUCTAC Theatre in Mall of the Emirates. My dear friend S' girls are performing and they are amazing. Last year we watched "Peter Pan" and Joli is still talking about it. It will be perfect Mummy and Joli event!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kimchi fix

After I finished a whole jar of kimchi a few weeks ago that ended up with a very upset stomach, my kimchi cravings have been on low but I believe they are starting to wake up, hence the plan to visit restaurant "Kung" tomorrow at the Byblos hotel Al Barsha. The restaurant promises dinner Korean style and they also have separate karaoke rooms!
Another strange thing is happening in my house. My son, who has been very reluctant to homework and with every homework session resulting in a fight between me and him, has gone through a complete change. And I'm not sure what is happening. Just before Christmas, his class was divided due to the lack of a permanent teacher and they were all distributed among the existing classes, an arrangement I was not too pleased with initially but now I think it works really good. He adores his new teacher and now makes sure to complete all his homework the same day it's been sent out. Amazing. I'm just hoping this will last.
Joli also started to get some homework and she loves it. Last week she had to write sentences, this week she is following a plant for being a seed to a real plant, all steps have to be documented in her homework book!
I have reached a new state of non-motivation at work. I have millions of different things going on and it all gets very fragemented. And I have to leave early to pick up my son from his football ECA.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Falukorv (falu sausage)

Our friend A, who visited us over the weekend, brought some really yummy treats from Sweden! The beloved falu sausage that I love, Vasterbotten cheese, Swedish crisps, dry yeast and dip sauce! All those things I miss most! Tomorrow is therefore a very special day, the day when the falu sausage is going to be eaten. I have yet not decided whether to grill it in the oven with cheese and tomato/chili sauce or just fry it in a pan and serve with pasta. Either way, it is so delicious. Or just eating it as it is, cold! For those who wish to read more about this sausage, please click here.

We opted for fried falukorv
Husbands home grown pak choi with chili and garlic

Mashed potatoes with homegrown dill
This week has started off in a slow tempo. My enthusiasm of last week seem to have vanished and I just can't seem to get my act together. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow. Sundays (Mondays for all of you in the "normal" world) are always slow.
The kids birthdays are coming up in March, convenient on one hand but stressful on the other. Elias doesnt have a clue of what he wants for his birthday, the only thing on the list at the moment is a football goal and a football. Joli wants some fancy jewellery. I was looking for somekind of nice event we could attend in Sweden during Easter as a form of birthday gift for both of them but haven't found anything yet. I will keep on looking!
Joli attended a birthday party yesterday, it was in one of those many malls and many play areas. Apparently they started off with a make over session involving make up and fixing their hair. My Joli was not too thrilled about this and told them that she doesn't really like make up, she'd rather go into the climbing area!! After the make up session (I think she actually had to stay there) they went into a separate room for some dance lessons (soooo cute!!!) and after that, nuggets and fries and a beautiful cake! Joli was over the moon and she was almost thinking of changing her birthday venue from Chucky Cheese (she has wanted this for months) to Cheeky Monkeys but then she said that she rather prefer Chucky Cheese cause she doesnt like make up...!
I am opting for a home party with a huge bouncy castle, some face painters, pop corn machine and burgers. Let's see...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Madinat Jumeirah and Al Karama

A friend of ours is visiting from Sweden and once again you have the chance to rediscover this city through the eyes of someone that doesn't live her! On Friday evening we headed out to Madinat Jumeirah and had the most amazing dinner at newly open Rivington Grill.  Rivington Grill is an English steakhouse with, yes, steaks but a lot of other great dishes such as the classic fish and chips and grilled sea bass but we opted for the riby eye and hubby dug into a gigantic T-bone, all served with hand cut chips and bearnaise sauce. It was divine! After that, we moved on to my favourite hang out, Trader Vics. It was quite busy (Friday day evenings are always busy) and great music played by the Cuban band. However, by midnight, we were all quite tired and went back home. I can definitely recommend Rivington Grill. We have visited their other restaurant in Souk Al Bahar, downtown Burj Khalifa before and the food and service was just as good at Madinat Jumeirah.
On Saturday, me and friend A decided to explore Al Karama, the paradise of fake brand shopping. I haven't been to Karama for a while so it was a great deal of fun! I found some football T-shirts with Messi on the back for Elias, an Ed Hardy T-shirt for Joli, some Dora slippers and a pair of khaki shorts for Elias.
Freshly baked bread

Delicious chips

THE steak

Wonderful Madinat Jumeirah
We enjoyed a lovely Lebanese lunch and then drove off to the Textile Souk, watched the dhows sailing in and out of Dubai creek, did some more shopping before we went back home for dinner.
A is now out and about on her own, I'm back at the office, kids are in school and hubby has a flight to Dhaka. Joli is off to a birthday party this afternoon so will pick her up after work. She was very excited!
Later this week, I'm meeting up with Mitzie Mee for some kimchi at the new Korean restaurant in Al Barsha.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sometimes all you need to do is ask

I have just gotten back from my breakfast meeting and it was very interesting! Of course you can't cover everything in a two hour meeting but at least some bullet points about the regulatory and litigation deveopments in the Middle East, Key US regulatory developments (and very relevant to us as a company) plus European trends in corporate litigation. The meeting started off with a gorgeous breakfast buffet, unfortunately I felt a bit embarrassed to take out my phone and start taking photos of the food so, sorry, no pics this time. There was cheese, cold cuts, cereal, fresh fruit, omelets, sausages, coffee, tea, juice, croissants, you name it! I soon found myself involved in discussions with three other legal advisors/lawyers from various companies and the main topic was not law but children, schools and homework! Sometimes it's nice to know it's not just me trying to balance a career with children, homework, school activities and birthday parties.
Now I'm back at my desk and should probably start doing some work but thought I'd pop in and say hi first.
I have been interested in taking a course to "deepen" my knowledge in project management and finance and found a very interesting one "Finance for Non financial managers", and it only lasts for three days which is just as much time as I can take off  from the normal working week. I was playing with the thought of doing an Executive MBA which is a course designed for managers who are already working full time. However, when looking at the course hours (and the price, OMG! A fortune!) I realized that there would be no time whatsoever left for free time, normal weekends and quality time with the family so decided quickly to put that project aside. After getting some mixed messages from our HR department I claiming that I had to take vacation days to attend a course that is beneficial for my work role, I decided to discuss it with my CEO directly and within less than 15 minutes she had agreed to funding half of the course fee plus allowing me to attend during working hours (as it should be, I guess..?). So I was very happy yesterday, sometimes all you need is to ask!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Breakfast meeting at the Radisson Royal Hotel

Managing the international regulatory and litigation exposures of Middle East business
Well, that is the topic of tomorrow's breakfast meeting, hosted by the law firm Clyde & Co here in Dubai. I'm not a litigation lawyer (I'm a taxation lawyer) but this is still very interesting and very relevant to our company. And the fact that they also serve breakfast during this meeting is a bonus!
Yesterday's dinner was not new at all, meat loaf so didn't bother to take any photos and today's dinner will be the same, but with pasta instead of mash. Husband is leaving again for Manila so it's just me, Teresa and the kids and we try to make it simply when it's just us!
As for my recipe project, it seems to have gone into some form of hybernation. I can't even come up with a decent dinner list for the family these days!
I have started to look forward to our trip to Sweden and I have big plans of trying to bring as much food and other stuff that I can't find in the UAE with me back. Good thing is that Emirates allows you 40 kg per person in business classs and 30 kg in economy!! I want to go wild and crazy in "Indiska", one of my favourite shops and I normally take a stroll around our village (where we have a very limited amount of shops but at least you have time to go through it thoroughly) to find some nice clothes. My home country "Mark" or "Sjuharadsbygden" is very well known for its textile industry. I am sure you have heard of "Kasthall", "Almedahls", "Ludvig Svensson" and "Arvidssons Textil" (maybe not abroad, but at least quite well known in Sweden). I have bought lots of nice fabric there as the quality is very nice with unique pattern made by their own designers.

Well that is all from the UAE for now!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Baked fish with garlic cream

One of my favourite fish dishes, and so easy to make!

Fish with garlic cream

600 g of frozen or fresh fish fillets
3 dl of whipping cream
1 pack of garlic cream cheese (any brand is fine)

Put the fish in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper. Whip the cream and add the garlic cream cheese to the cream, mix the cheese and the cream thoroughly. Add some extra garlic if you like. Cover the fish with the garlic cream and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cream has a nice, golden brown colour. Serve with either mashed or boiled potatoes and a fresh green salad!

Fish covered with garlic cream, so delicious!

A bit of dill sprinkled on top of your boiled potatoes makes it more festive and it smells divine!

Work wise I am a bit confused. I have lots to do but can't seem to find the right motivation. Parts of our management have relocated to a different continent and that is a bit frustrating especially when they visit Dubai every third week and tend to stir up things during their visit. Mixed, unclear messages, rude comments and no propoer guidelines completely de-motivate me and I cant' seem to upbring the slightest energy to complete even a simple task.

I have been looking for a floor lamp, or some sort of lamp for my living room and spent hours at Mall of the Emirates the other day, looking for THE lamp but couldn't find anything. Yesterday, when I did my usual stroll around Oasis Centre on my lunch break, I literally bumped into THE lamp! And it was on sale! I grabbed it instantly and now it lights up the previous dark corner of my living room!

THE lamp! The photo is of lousy quality with the weirdest angle but at least it gives you an idea! It is more of a gigantic candle light holder than a lamp actually...
Today I'm busy with organizing an internal training session at work. It is mandatory but people are not too thrilled to give up their usual routine for three ours of Health & Safety training! I can understand them from one point, they are all busy as it is but on the other, training is necessary and rather look at it as a resource instead of a burden! To cheer ourselves up a bit, I got some doughnuts for our morning coffee, hopefully the sugar rush will help us staying awake during the training!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Champagne and a job fair

As I mentioned before, we buy our meat at the butchers Nils & Robbie and they have so far never disappointed us! A standing order is pork baby back ribs and husband has been experimenting in his attempt to cook the ultimate pork ribs. We usually put them in our slow cooker, covered with BBQ sauce or char sew (hubs buys it in Singapore whenever he has a layover there, I haven't seen it in Dubai) and let it cook for 6 hours to make the meat tender, actually it is so tender it almost falls off. Then a quick session on the BBQ to add some nice colour to it et voila! Amazing ribs! We normally serve it with baked potatoes and garlic butter (on my plate it looks more like garlic butter with potatoes though, I just love garlic butter!) and a fresh salad.


Dr. Joli
Hubby came back after a six day trip to Australia and New Zealand. Since it was his first flight as a Captain, the crew gave him a bottle of champagne which we shared yesterday before digging into our magic ribs. Unfortunately we started eating before I even had time to take a photo, sorry...!
Last Thursday, Joli had a job fair at school. She had to select a profession (community worker) and make a poster and also dress up as one. I didn't  really want to spend tons of money on a costume that she would wear only once so I found a cheap white boys shirt that looked exactly like a Doctor's robe. A name tag and a stetoscope and she was all set!
The last week was filled with homework and projects for the kids so I felt pretty drained by the end of the week. I think it's great when the school is aiming high regarding their learning but sometimes it jsut gets a bit too much!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Easter in Sweden

We try to go home to Sweden at least once a year but last year we decided to visit our friends in Montana instead. Therefore, I and kids are going home for Easter this year to catch up with friends and family. My Mum was just here in Dubai but unfortunately my Dad can't travel that far anymore so we decided that this year we will all spend Easter together, the Swedish way! Emirates flies all the way to Copenhagen and from there we fly SAS to Gothenburg. Rumour has it that Emirates is opening up Stockholm and/or Oslo this summer and that sounds almost too good to be true! Husband is excited and I suspect he will be bidding for this destination on a regular basis. That also means that my supply of falu sausage, cheese, Estrella crisps, Swedish interior design magazines etc will never run empty. My hubby is from the northern part of Sweden so for him Stockholm is a much better destination than Copenhagen, whereas for me, Copenhagen is actually better as you can easily hop on the train to Kinna (the small village where I'm from) in case all flights are full.
This Easter I am looking forward to Easter Buffet with my parents, taking the bus to Gothenburg (I love Gothenburg!) and visit some museums (thanks Nazima for the great advise!) and stroll around in town if weather permits.
After almost 7 years of expat life, one of my greatest pleasures is actually to go grocery shopping! I never thought visiting my local ICA grocery store would bring me so much joy! But the bare sight of Swedish shrimps, hard bread, Estrella crisps, shrimp salad, cheese, sausages makes my heart beat a little faster!! I could easily go completely nuts in that store, most of the times I do and stock up on food as if we were going to stay for a few years. But there are so many things I've missed! Other "must do" things are ordering Swedish pizza with pizza salad, visit the local coffee shop for a meatball sandwhich with beet root salad, enjoy my Mum's home made sandwich cake (smorgastarta) and drink "paskmust". 
And then we will of course celebrate this guys' birthday! Elias turns 10 end of March!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New York, New York!

I have been to New York once and I immediately fell in love with the city! It is amazing!! Me, friend M and friend A visited The Big Apple in March 2005 for five days and had a wonderful time! We went clubbing, had dinner at Spice Market, spotted Christy Turlington at Downtown Ciprianis and went nuts at the spring sales. I got myself a nice winter coat at Macy's and it's still with me!
Finally, it's time to revisit this fantastic city again! Friend M turns 40 this year which calls for proper celebration! We have decided to meet up in NYC! I have started to look at some hotels and Mitzie Mee recommended The Pod, which looks really nice and not too pricy! I suspect we will go for that option. I will also check with the Emirates crew hotel what they can offer. I remember the kimchi in Korea Town and I suspect there will be a few visits back for kimchi and mando! Friend M is like me, adopted from Korea and also happends to love Korean food!
To something completely different. I came across Tintin Style through one of the blogs I follow and immediately fell for this necklace:
Photo from Tintin style
It has already been sent to my Dad's address in Sweden and waits for me there! I see it as a late Christmas gift (or early birthday gift) to myself!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Arets bild/Photo of the year competition

I have decided to participate in the "Photo of the year" competition! The competition is arranged by Freedomtravel and the participant shall post what they consider the best travel photo from last year.
My contribution is a photo taken in Seattle in August 2012 where I spent four wonderful days with my children. We were en route back to Dubai from Montana and had some really amazing days in this wonderful city!

The photo shows my daughter Joli, running back and forth through a water fountain wall. Every time was just as hilarious as the previous and she came out laughing! I love the joy and good feeling this photo gives me everytime I look at it! The simple joys in life!
If I win this competition, I would love the 50% discount on a photobook! I love photobooks and this would be a perfect opportunity to collect all our recent travel photos into one book!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Presenting Anna, interior designer in Dubai

My dear friend Anna is working as an interior designer here in Dubai and she has excellent taste and that special eye for details that I for instance don't have! Her home is one of the most welcoming and beautiful I have ever seen, all with that special "Anna" touch! She has an unique mix of Scandinavian design with touches of Singapore and Dubai! You can read more about her projects in her blogg Ansoninteriors. Anna has also made it to the frontpage of Emirates Homes, one of the largest interior design magazines here in the UAE!! For those of you who live in the area, Anna is also working at Home Specialists, and she is happy to get inquiries from new and old customers! The company has many years of experience in curtains, cushions, upholstery and many other things! You will find more information on their website!

Anna on the front page of the February issue of Emirates Home!
All my cushions are made by Home Specialists and I have just ordered two bedframes for the kids rooms!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

"Hug a Korean Day"

On February 1st, it was "Hug a Korean Day". I have no idea who started this idea but I found it quite funny and it made me start thinking whether I should give my kids a "half" hug since they are half Korean, or if I could perhaps hug myself as none of my Korean friends where in hugging distance (although I sent some virtual hugs through FB). Hubby happily participated and gave me a hug. Does anyone know where this actually started?
Speaking of Korean, I have been contemplating whether I should join the IKAA (International Korean Adoptee Associations) gathering in Seoul this summer. I would love to bring the kids there but the event lasts for one week and I am not sure if I can take that much leave from work (as we have other vacation plans as well). So now I am thinking that maybe I'll go for just a few days, without joining the gathering itself but at least to visit some friends and to have a look at the country (it's been 21 years since I was there last time) and perhaps join some form of IKAA gathering next time, when the kids are a bit bigger. Hmm...still thinking about it!!

Princess Joli (photo taken during our dhow dinner cruise with my Mum)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The recipe project

I have been quite tired since I got back but yesterday I managed to take up my recipe project again. The original plan was to have salmon but the salmon at Carrefour didn't look (or smell) very tempting so we skipped the plan and moved on to plan B, dory fillets. I found a recipe online and it turned out really good!

Fish fillets cooked in aluminium foil

Fish fillets
Leek, chopped
Tomatoes, chopped
Onion, chopped
Lemon juice
Garlic, chopped

Tear off a piece of aluminium foil, big enough to completely wrap the fish before it is put in the oven. Season with salt and pepper on the fish, cover with chopped vegetables. Sprinkle some lemon juice on top, add some dill and cover with butter before closing the foil tightly around the fish. Repeat until all fish fillets are wrapped and place them all in a baking dish and put in the oven for about 30 min, 225 degrees. Open gently to check if ready. Carefully unwrap the fish and transfer the fish to a serving dish. Pour the liquid from the foil into a sauce pan and use as gravy. Serve with boiled potatoes and a fresh salad. You can basically chose whatever you wish to put ontop of the fish.
Unfortunately I dont have any pictures but it was very delicious and easy to make!

Today is a rainy and grey day in Dubai. Very unusual!! It is still quite warm though so all kids are outside, playing happily in the rain! I am seizing the moment to dash off to a mall, looking for a nurse outfit for my daughters job fair next week. They are all making a poster of a community worker (police, teacher, doctor, vet...) and on Thursday, they have a job fair where the posters will be presented and they have to dress up as their chosen community worker. Since I have been away, none of these preparations have been made (despite the fact that the father has been at home....) so this is the perfect day to sort that out! Elias Arabic homework is getting trickier every time so I am also searching for an Arabic book for children with some explanatory grammar. 

Svetitskhoveli palace in the dark


Friday, February 1, 2013

Images of Georgia part 2


St. Georges church, Bodbe where the Saint Nino is buried


One of the towers of the city wall surrounding Sighnaghi

Tsinandali, the summer maison of Chavchavadze

Tsaminda Sameba, the Holy Trinity Church and the largest in Tbilisi

Mtkvari (Kura) river. Kura is the Turkish name as it rises in Turkey

Overview of Tbilisi

Kartlis Deda, Mother of Kartli, is a monument that has become a symbol of the city and is a figure of a woman in Georgian national dress. She symbolizes the Georgian national character: in her left hand she holds a bowl of wine to greet those who come as friends, and in her right hand is a sword for those who come as enemies.


Home sweet home

The day after our trip to the Eastern part of Georgia, we woke up to rainy and grey weather. We had been very lucky with sunshine the day before! After a nice breakfast at "Le Gateau" in Vake, close to our apartment we decided to walk along Chavchavadze avenue towards the old part of town. I found a book about Georgian cuisine and some fridge magnets and friend C found an English- Georgian book for beginners. In the afternoon, we took a taxi to the Holy Trinity church and lit some candles before heading back to the Georgian restaurant we went the previous night. The service is good and the food excellent! This time we tried some cheese dumplings, the khinkali (meat dumplings) and a veal stew that was amazing! Soft meat in a tomato sauce based on onion, garlic, cilantro and other herbs and warm bread to soak up the sauce. After dinner, we were picked up by friend "I" for a small gathering at our apartment. The evening started well, we decided to open one of the four bottles we bought at Tsinanadali and sometime around 2 am the following morning, all four of them were empty. We enjoyed the wine, listened to Georgian music on our ipads (and other music) and danced from time to time in the tiny apartment.
Needless to say, it was quite hard to get up the following morning and I think we were out the door around lunch time. We decided to have breakfast/lunch at a small cafe on Rustavelli avenue and I think that was our first negative experience of the service and food. I ordered Siberian pelmeni (Russian ravioli or dumplings, filled with meat, almost like the khinkali but smaller). I didnt know that the Siberian pelmeni is covered with a dough that is baked in the oven, so it took a while and we were hungry. After that we walked through Old Town again, discovered a small theatre and walked over to take the cable car up to the ruins of the Narikala caste. A stunning view over the city presented itself and I can imagine how wonderful it must be to stroll around in the summer time. This particular day was quite windy, though sunny and we were both freezing. We took the cable car back and found a cozy book cafe in old town before taking a taxi back home.
C's friends decided to meet up for a traditional Georgian dinner on my last evening. We took a taxi to restaurant "Tifliss", on the other side of the river and quite far from Vake. The food was great, large chunks of marinated and roasted pork on a bed of potatoes, salad, tomatoes, cucumber awaited us. Unfortunately I can't recall the name of the dish!
I was a bit worried that the weather would cause more cancellations but all seemed fine when we went to bed. I think I slept for about two hours before my pre-ordered taxi arrived at 4 and took me to the airport. The airplane departed as scheduled and we landed a few minutes past ten in Dubai. I took a taxi to the office, where I tried to stay awake and look alert but I think I failed miserably.
In the evening, we had a lovely BBQ with hubby and the kids. Such a nice feeling to be able to sit outside without jacket, stockings and boots.
This is the end of this trip but I will definitely go back to Georgia again. I even got hubby interested!

Georgian food

Nadughi, a  form of cottage cheese in filo wraps

Khinkali, gigantic dumplings filled with meat, potatoes or cheese

Fried pork with potatoes

Veal stew

Cheese dumplings

Pork BBQ- shashlik

Siberian pelmeni

Roasted pork with spices
Georgian cuisine is specific to the country, but also contains some influences from other Middle Eastern and European culinary traditions, as well as those of the surrounding Western Asia. The cuisine offers a variety of dishes with various herbs and spices. Each historical province of Georgia has its own distinct culinary tradition, such as Megrelian, Kakhetian, and Imeretian cuisines. In addition to various meat dishes, Georgian cuisine also offers a variety of vegetarian meals.
The importance of both food and drink to Georgian culture is best observed during a feast, or supra, when a huge assortment of dishes is prepared, always accompanied by large amounts of wine, and dinner can last for hours. In a Georgian feast, the role of the tamada (toastmaster) is an important and honoured position (information from Wikipeda).
I found the food very tasty, not spicy but delicious. With every meal comes a basket of traditional bread that you dip in a tomato sauce, or any other sauce.