Wednesday, 30 November 2011

What will the future hold?

Everything started in the late 1990's, when the whole family went to Egypt. I was young, really young and had no knowledge why or when and why I was there, all I remember is I was playing with a bunch of petite humble girls in the middle of the dessert. They were herding a flock of sheep's and I merged them, those memories were concealed somewhere in my head over the years. 4 years or 5+ years ago we went back there to that dynasty which I have no images left in my head. I wasn't thrilled about it, I still remember the hours I spent in the car, my feet felt like they were on fire! The flooring of the car had a hole and the car was speeding, the back seat floor temperature was high and I tried to lift my feet up to cool them down.
As soon as we reached the house, after a 4 hour flight + 4 hours of driving + 30 minutes until we reached the house. It was after mid-night around 1:00 AM. When I saw the door, everything burst out of my head and I regret being here, for some reason I had a feeling I wouldn’t be satisfied.
That night I slept on my bed which is jam-packed with sand and dust, I felt deprived, I felt as if I was plucked out of my world. I woke up the following morning looking out of the window and saw women herding, kids carrying water in torn gasoline bottles, and men walking up the hills and then at that precise moment I remembered everything, the day I met those people, the day I played with them. It's like I had amnesia or something.

An Emirati girl why would she be there? Let me answer you, it was in the late 70 and 80's when my dad is obsessed with falcons, he crossed the world for those birds. I still remember the day he told me when he stole falcons from China and got away with it. I saw the photo's when he was in Frankfurt with David holding those treasurable creatures. My dad was passionate, he crossed  the Middle-East, Africa, and Asia for falcons. He went to Sena with my Grandpa and Saif emleeh, they came across the people who lived in the Sahara of Sena, the people who until this very day still live the same way they did 100 years ago. Years later my dad bought a property nearby a tribe and built a house on the side, on the highest dune in the area.

Hello and welcome to our house, as you can see there are no shops around us the only brick build base beside us was an abandoned school which was an unfortunate attempt in educating Bedouins in Sena. Let’s look at the superior picture and pinpoint our exact location on this earth, the nearest town is around half-hour drive and 1 hour drive to Israel.

Every night for the past 2 months I've been hearing the sound of missiles and explosive, it didn’t feel right. I imagined this where my life would end, they would hit us any day. The sensation was unreal. I even thought if i spoke to my friends about it would they ever believe me?
The reason is, nobody would be around such tough zones, well let’s outlook it differently, would anyone be interested in visiting those places? My answer to that is we were there because new crops were deported from Spain to Egypt for plantation.

Throughout the period my dad started to buy grounds near the farm and expanded it. So most of the time we were left home alone in the internal of the dessert, all I did is read books and sit on top of the dunes, those volcanic sand dunes. I ended up walking around the dessert, I met some familiar girls, they remember me so well and I can barely recall them. Talking to them was an inspirational moment, the purest minds you will ever find, they know nothing about the contemporary female fashion world or about sex or about edifice your guru happy life. Can you imagine how peaceful is that?
 The only problem I faced is those little evil creatures that bite! These live on sheep's and camels. I think he accomplished his goal drawing “the last supper “on my body. I was itching day and night.

Pure evil.

Well, one day my dad decided we should visit (Shaikh Ziwayd) famous Wednesday market, when we went there, all we did is buy veggies, eggs and poultry. 10 minutes later we were in Rafah, yes, never in a million years I thought I'd be there, but somehow destiny dropped me there. I saw dreadful matter which I don't want to evoke, I saw those unfortunate people standing on the roof across the borders, Palestinian, yes, palestinian.

I didn't want to recollect this stage of my life, because that wasn't my life, I can't live like that, I just felt immoral being among those people, wait, don't get me wrong, I meant I felt as if I was trying to elitist on those people, no haram I would never do that. I'm used to dress in decent clothes and wear makeup every day.  In my simplicity those people look at it as if I'm a monarch. Those societies know nothing about the outer world, can you visualize if they went to America? They'd consider you Aliens, I speculate, ya they would probably think that way. 

but I'm fortunate , a seed of such experience was grown in me, this made me appreciate life, appreciate god, appreciate people, humanity, life as a whole. I've been to a place called "Zaraneek" it is where salt is produced, before we went there we passed by a house across the street and I saw a man, a man that I not once thought I'd see in my entire life 'Salaam'. When I saw him I had flashbacks of the past, this man was the gentleman I played with when I was a kid, this man worked for my father, and he was looking after the camels in the manor. Oh dear 'Salam' I missed him, I never knew he was Egyptian. However, the Zaraneek was a snow-like field, it was filled with salt. The endless piles of salt, before this visit I remembered when my brother and sister tried to walk in these salt pools which didn’t dry yet, they said it felt like knifes. I wanted to dip my feet inside them, but it was so red and looked like blood, I chickened out and just meditate god’s creation.

The Zaraneek was an interesting story my dad told us, I envy my father, he is such a great man, I believed one day I will get my husband and children to these area and just share my experience, my dad and grandpa's adventure. At least I did something different in my life. Every time these images arise into my mind, all I could think of is this phrase "الحمد لله الذي فضلنا على كثير من عباده

Shaikha x

Friday, 25 November 2011

Roll cake

This is my first attempt in making roll cake, the mistake I almost did is over cooking the sponge cake. I was looking at it in the oven and touching the top of it and it felt so sticky, I actually over-cooked it slightly. Thankfully, I folded it without cracking. 

For the filling I used cream-cheese vanilla bean, I added fresh pomegranate on the filling and rolled it out. I rested the cake in the fridge over night.

Shaika x

Saturday, 19 November 2011


This picture is dedicated to my father. He's a fisher man, a man I'm proud of. This is the traditional food - white rice and fried fish. This is the ultimate comfort food.

Ignore the chopsticks this doesn't connect to our culture at all loool. It's just giving the picture third dimension look.


Shaikha x

Friday, 18 November 2011

Key lime pie fusion of Cheese Cake

I love cheesecake thanks to the ancient Greece its popular. My memories of cheesecake started with my sister and aunt, can't decide who was first. I still remember the day I saw the red strawberry jelly on top of that creamy texture, I wanted it just for the strawberry jelly on top, and I loved it.

Years later I discovered its called cheesecake and wondered, where the hell is the cheese in this dessert? All types of cheese is salty and mild. But then, I knew cream cheese existed and its Philadelphia. Obviously I was so young to know those kind of information about food, 10 or 9 perhaps?

I found this recipe online, and gave it a shot. One of the steps in making this cheesecake is poaching the lime a day ahead in water, sugar and mint syrup and add the sliced lime and cook for 10 minutes and let the flavors infuse over night. Myself, I didn't like the smell and the taste of the syrup and decided not to use the syrup and squeezed the limes, this gave them this odd shape. At least I used it for decoration.

Overall, it taste very good. I wasn't a fan of the filling but it tastes like cheesecake but without that punch or kick of that "REAL" cheese cake.


Serves 8-10
Preparation time: 1 day in advance for the poached lime slices, + about 35 minutes, + chilling
Cooking time:  35-45 minutes

For the poached lime slices
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint  
  • 4 limes, finely sliced
For the base
  • 3½ cups crushed graham crackers
  • ¼lb plus 1 tbsp (11/8 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
For the filling
  • 4 large eggs, separated   
  • 2½ cups condensed milk
  • finely grated zest and juice of 4 limes
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar
For the topping
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • confectioners' sugar, for dusting
The day before making the pie, prepare the poached lime slices for the decoration. Place the sugar in a pan with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sugar has melted, then add half the mint leaves and all the lime slices. Poach the lime in this minty syrup for about 10 minutes, then allow to cool and infuse overnight. 

To make the base, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and press into a buttered deep 10 inch removable-bottomed, preferably fluted, tart pan. If you don't have one of the latter, use a springform pan of the same size and just press the crumbs two-thirds of the way up the side. Let the base rest for another hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. 

Line the crumb shell with waxed paper and half-fill it with ceramic pie weights or uncooked dried beans. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the weights and cook for another 5 minutes until the base has darkened slightly in color. Remove from the oven and cool.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks in a bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the condensed milk and lime zest and juice.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and superfine sugar until firm, then gently fold into the lime mixture, using a large metal spoon.
Completely fill the crumb shell with the lime mixture and bake in the preheated oven, at the same temperature, for 20-25 minutes until set and lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool. It will sink slightly, so don't worry.  

Loosen the edges of the tart, remove the pan and transfer to a serving plate. Finally, whip the cream until it peaks, spoon into a pastry bag, and pipe around the edge of the cold tart. Dust the top with confectioners' sugar, then decorate with the poached lime slices and some of the syrup, discarding the cooked mint and adding the remaining fresh mint leaves.

Shaikha x

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Looking at my current situation, its not that I don't have time to blog it is about me being lazy. Since I joined college my plans where to major in marketing, but sadly things didn't work out and I've been forced to major in HR. Lucky me! I found HR a good alternative. I've been busy thinking about companies corporate social responisbility and preparing training on how to manage time professionally, doesn't sound fun ha? I guess not. 

Here is a new twist for cupcakes, S'MORES! Who doesn't like it ha?

Anyways, this is a basic chocolate cupcake recipe topped with meringue, graham crckers and hershey's chocolate.

A definition for s'mores. 
A s'more is a traditional night-time campfire treat popular in the United States and Canada consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate (Hershey's) sandwich between twi pieces of graham crackers.

Shaikha x

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Tarte Tatin

Tarte tatin , is an upside down tart. You have a wide choice in what kind of fruits or anything you wold like to add to a puff pastry or any kind of pastry dough, tarte tatin is usually famous with caramelized apples. I've tried 2 kinds of tarte tatin apple and mangos. They say tarte tatin was accidentally created by two sisters who own Tatin Hotel back in France 1898.

The recipe is extremely easy to make, all you need is apple and puff pastry, you don't need measurements just add sugar to a hot pan until it melts & gets dark, add you apple and sauteé until tender. You can use a pie baking sheet, but I used souflé cups for baking my tart. For the dough I used the normal puff pastry the frozen one you find is any grocery store.

After you caramelize your apples, lay them inside your baking cups make sure you squeeze them in, because you will flip them after they bake, when apples are in top it with your puff pastry dough, bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

Simple as that,

Bon Appétit

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes

  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 sticks 1 Cup Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Water, Boiling
  • 18 whole Hershey's Kisses, Unwrapped

For the Ganache

  • 8 ounces, weight Bittersweet Chocolate
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 6 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract


 Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 18 muffin cups with baking spray.
To make the cake batter, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate container, combine buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir to combine and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and stir to combine. Add boiling water, allow to bubble for a few seconds, then turn off heat.

Pour chocolate mixture over flour mixture. Stir a few times to cool the chocolate. Pour buttermilk mixture over the top and stir to combine.
Pour 1/4 cup cake batter into each muffin cup. Lightly set one kiss in the middle of each cupcake; do not press down.

Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove cupcakes and allow to cool on a baking rack.

To make the ganache, heat cream and corn syrup over medium heat. Chop chocolate and add to a bowl. Add vanilla to cream mixture, then pour cream mixture over the top of the chopped chocolate. Whisk together until melted, smooth, and glossy.
Dunk cupcakes in ganache. Allow to cool and set before serving.

Posted by on January 29 2010

I added some strawberries to the recipe, more color & flavor.

Bon Appétit
Shaikha xx 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Meat Pie

Ingredients for the crust :
3 cups white flour
200g cold butter
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup water ( depending on the humidity )

Ingredients for the meat filling:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
2 carrots (shredded)
tsp thyme
1 cube beef stock ( or 1 cup if liquid )
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
For the filling: add oil to a hot pan then cook your garlic, add your onions cook for few minutes then add your ground beef , thyme, beef stock cube and carrots. Add salt & pepper to taste, let it cook until the mixture is browned.

Crust: Place in the bowl flour, butter (cut in cubes) beat for a minute of so. Then add egg yolk and cold water until the dough holds together. 

Cut the dough in half, roll the dough to your baking sheet size. Lay the dough on the baking sheet and add your beef filling and add your other half of the dough on top of the mixture. Brush the pie with egg wash and sesame seeds on top. 
Bake in the oven 375F for 30-35 minuets. 

Bon Appétit
Shaikha xx 

Friday, 22 July 2011

Tomato Risotto

I'm obsessed with risottos, I just love it. I can't remember exactly when was my first time to eat risotto but let me tell it, it was a very long time, I recall that my eldest sister made it with cheddar cheese (not so original). She taught me how to make mushroom risotto and from that my love for risotto grew to obsession.
I tried to experiment different kind of risottos, I once made corn risotto with apple juice and broccoli. Anyways, you won't regret making this risotto.

Tomato Risotto 
Enough for 4 as an entreé.

- 1 1/2 Cups Arborio (or Risotto) Rice
- 1 Cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped finely
- 1 Cup cherry tomatoes, halved and roasted
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 6 Cups chicken stock, hot.
- 2 Tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh dill for garnish.

Chop your cherry tomatoes in half and toss them with some olive oil and sprinkle salt. Then lay them cut side up on a baking sheet in 325 degree oven for about 1 hour, check on them ever 15 minutes or so to make sure they aren’t burning.

Pour all  your chicken stock in a large pot and get it simmering.  It has to be hot when you add it to your risotto later. Mince your garlic, chop your onion, and mince all your sun-dried tomatoes.

Start with a heavy pot, put it over medium high heat and add your butter and oil, once the butter is melted, add your onions to the pot.  Let them cook down for a few minutes (you don’t even want them browned).  Then add your garlic and cook for another thirty seconds or so.
Next, add all your risotto rice. Let the rice cook with oil, butter, garlic, and onions for no longer than a minute.  Stir it constantly during this time so the rice doesn’t stick to the pan. Then add your chopped sundried tomato.  Start adding chicken stock and once you add the stock to the rice, stir slowly.  When the rice starts to get dry, add another ladle and keep stirring.

Taste the risotto regularly to test the texture.  The final product should have a very tiny bite to it.  You don’t want it mushy.  But you also don’t want it crunchy it may take 30-40 minutes or so of cooking.

Bon appétit



Thursday, 21 July 2011

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Lu Lac D'Annecy

Lake of Annecy, steals your breath. This has been my favorite place on earth, light air, wind chills that really comforts your inside. The sight of the famous french mountains, I've seen similar beauty, but this time it was different. The smell of hot baked crossiants to the smell of roasted peaches in different forms. This, I felt it.

Some of the random shots

Those aprons didn't leave my mind since I saw them, found them in a small shop which is filled with floral printed item, from pots to mugs, dolls, signs, magnets & aprons ♥

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