Flavorsome and easy delights cooked from scratch in a home kitchen
- I believe that you don’t want to spend a few hours every day of the week on a complicated home cooked meal for yourself or your family and friends, because frankly, life is too short!
- I know that you are concerned for the health of your loved ones and want to serve them wholesome, delicious food with easily available fresh (or frozen) ingredients, and without the additives and preservatives that are prevalent in most ready meals or junk food options.
- I believe that we can take charge of our own wellbeing and achieve a balance between delicious and nutritious eating, without denying ourselves the pleasure of eating what we like, in moderation.
Ethical and Responsible travel that encourages local cultural connections
- I believe that the best way to learn about a people and a culture is through their food and food customs.
- I believe that every traveler has a responsibility to the environment and people that we encounter, to either leave them unscathed by our presence or to somehow add value.
- I know that travelling is not cheap or accessible to everyone but ‘a change is as good as a holiday’ as my father used to say.
Attentiveness and awareness about all aspects of a compassionate life, healthy mind and active body
- I believe that our health is inextricably linked to the foods that we consume and that many of the highly processed staples are making us less healthy than we could be.
- I believe that there is more to being happy and healthy than a number on a weighing scale and that our mental, emotional and spiritual health are intertwined.
In October 2006 I arrived in Dubai to take up a position on an exchange program for female executives.
Within a few weeks of my arrival I fell ill with bronchitis, and soon after I began to experience a painfully swollen forefinger and other joints, that were initially attributed to various causes. My Rheumatoid Arthritis was only diagnosed six months later and during that time I had mostly stopped cooking. You can read more about it here.
It became too painful to stand for long periods or even hold a knife to chop onions (never try that with a blunt knife, by the way).
The thought of cooking a meal, any meal, was simply too daunting, and after a while I stopped trying. Unfortunately, the imported unseasonal fruit and vegetables sold in the supermarkets in Dubai are overpriced and tasteless and did not inspire creativity. With the passage of time my taste buds became so desensitized by restaurant, take-out and delivery meals that everything tasted the same, and I lost any inclination for that too.
That is, until the organic farmer’s markets and stores began to bloom across the desert landscape with locally grown organic seasonal produce. It started with one little Friday market on the steps of a Baker & Spice café, and has grown to an assortment of organic markets and farm to table stores dotted across the emirates. I was inspired to recreate the smells, sounds and textures of my youth.
My years in the UAE have given me a better understanding of other cultures as well as an appreciation for my own Cape Malay heritage and it’s traditions… some of which were born out of the financial hardships of a marginalized minority who made ends meet in whatever way they knew how. A community that took care of each other, and where no one allowed their neighbour’s family to go hungry when their own children were fed.
The road to fulfillment and wellness
How do we find balance? Between our jobs, our obligations and responsibilities to family and our own happiness and contentment?
The basic building block of every successful business unit is every individual within the unit who works to make it a success. And to be successful, every individual must live up to their full potential and fulfill the requirements and expectations for their role. This is the same in a family unit, where every individual must be at their best health and fulfilling their potential for the family unit to be content and happy.
For me it means balancing my work life with a personal life that is as stress free as possible, and that includes hobbies and activities that bring joy. It also means ensuring that I keep my mind and body energized with fresh whole foods that do not make me feel ill or sluggish or that aggravate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
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Some say bon appétit, others say sahtein to wish someone a hearty meal… we say Bismillah – also as an invitation to join me to learn more about my connections to my homeland; my origins; and the culinary practices and traditions of my people.