Category Archives: The Abu Dhabi Diary

Quarantine Cooking !!

What I’ve been cooking for the past three and a half months, seems like a whirlwind project. I am rest assured, it must be the case of almost everyone, handling a full house, during these testing times.

When I sat back and saw the clicks, my daughter wanted me to write continuous posts, under the title ‘Quarantine Diaries’. NO worries.. No diaries… this post consolidates the several dishes, those were rolled out of that sacred place in my house, called ‘Kitchen’. Later, let’s analyse a few recipes in the coming posts.

I started the month of March, with a Blueberry Jam – just two ingredients, berries and brown sugar, and of course, juice of lemon for longer shelf life.

blueberry jam

With a routine of including Millets in the diet, Millet Idlies always occupy a special place on the dining table. Samai (Little Millet) Idlis are true substitutes in colour, to the regular white rice Idlis. But these millet idlis are a healthier version, not to forget.

samai idli

Like the Samai Idli, Kollu (Horsegram) Idlies, are awesomely light, steamed cakes packed with the lentil flavour.

kollu idli

Don’t forget the different chutneys, that were made for the idlies. A few of those, I have highlighted in the end of this post.

A chocolate cake- with whole wheat, cane sugar, olive oil, dark chocolate and toasted pistachios. The urge to cut and eat, was more compelling than a good click to post.

chocolate cake

Next, came 50-50 Whole Wheat Buns, tried from an old book, I had. Though, the recipe demanded eggs, this is an eggless bun.

buns

Black Chick Pea Burger with the Buns

Next, for the benefit of online learners, to munch some traditional sweets, with longer shelf life…

Coconut Burfi with Cane Sugar

and Black Sesame Burfi with Jaggery

April, started with Whole Wheat Raisin Bread – wouldn’t term it the best, but full of flavour.

raisin bread

Time for a spicy powder for the health freak. Sesame and Flax seed chilly powder, to go with rice, idli or dosai.

flax seed podi

April, was also a month to try Pizza, the healthy way. Home-made whole wheat base, tomato spread from scratch and variety of toppings .. Pizza that was dreaded for the white flour, the meagre amount of veggies or meat to be searched for- in store bought frozen ones, or the branded /door delivered ones, used to be a half-yearly affair. Truly, we might have ordered pizzas twice a year.

The ill effect of making fresh pizzas at home, with loaded vegetables and with constraint on cheese, pizzas are almost a weekly bake now.

fish pizza

paneer pizza

chocolate pizza

Till date, I haven’t been quite successful with cookies. They used to be consumable, but not perfect. And I have always baked whole wheat cookies, never with white flour.

But, May started with this exception. A Good Whole Wheat Cookie!! Got the recipe from another blog, but as usual converted all purpose flour to whole wheat. It turned out to be so light and crispy.

whole wheat sesame cookies

When the need for a hot snack, with less work to fry, stir fry or sauté arose, tried baking these yummy potato wedges. Cut the potatoes, sprinkled some oil, baked for 30 mins or so. Took out from oven, sprinkled salt and spices of choice and, the baked wedges were ready.

Potato Wedges baked healthy

Who said Papdi Chaat needs Papdi or the crisps made of white flour. I chose to combine Papdi and Chole into a Chaat, but with a healthy twist. No matter you like it or not, its a whole meal. When I had my Methi (fenugreek leaves) Paratha dough in hand, I rolled a big pizza base out of it, and baked till crisp. That became my Papdi to go with the left over Chole curry. Add ons – home made green chutney, tamarind chutney and yoghurt.

Methi Paratha (Papdi) Chole Chaat

Time for a nice cake – Sticky Date and Walnut Cake – obviously with whole wheat flour and cane sugar, and eggless too. This time, I topped the cake with caramel whipped cream. With my home-made caramel, I could limit the sugar in the frosting.

Eggless Sticky Date and Walnut Cake

Next came in, Gooseberries. Lucky me, the super market had some new and fresh stock of gooseberries. The great berry, loaded with good nutrients, rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, is highly popular for its anti-ageing properties. Let’s also do a gooseberry chutney series shortly. Great plans that arise as I write..

Gooseberry Coconut Green Chilly Chutney

Gooseberry Coconut Coriander Chutney

Gooseberry Coconut Mint Chutney

Gooseberry Coconut Red Chilly Chutney

Gooseberry Tomato Red Chilly Chutney

The long list of ingredients, written on the bottle of the world’s most favourite Chocolate spread, or a Peanut Butter Spread, creates a lot of stress and anxiety. But a good chocolate spread, to go with healthy whole wheat or millet pancakes, or home made bread or buns, can be a positive change in routine. So, tried this simple chocolate spread, with a combination of 80% and 72% dark chocolate with very little cane sugar and milk. Stores well in the refrigerator, for at least couple of weeks. Choose your dark chocolate, that has no margarine, but cocoa butter.

Home made Chocolate Spread

Those were a few different, yet healthy stuff that went into the tummy. I am satisfied, I could put in some thoughtful creativity, to indulge in the above stuff.

48th National Day of the UAE – 02/12/2019

I am still in awe, absorbing the fast pace of growth of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. More closely of Abu Dhabi, because this is where I live. I watch Abu Dhabi’s coastal beauty and desert sands alongside the high raised buildings and their manicured landscape. Who said desert is short of greens? – Abu Dhabi has more than enough green for one’s eyes with neem and banyan trees to name a few, grass patches and many more plants and trees, alongside the tree of the soil – Date Palms. The credit of turning Al Ain and Abu Dhabi turning green undoubtedly goes to the Father of the Nation, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Malls and Shopping seems to be the foremost attraction. But, the land has so much more to offer…. Malls are just one huge part of tourism and weekend retail therapy. The brainwork that has gone into engaging tourists in vivid activities in the region is mind blowing.  Exploring into those attractions would follow in future posts in this section.

On December 2nd (which is almost today in the UAE), the UAE celebrates its 48th National Day. The day marks the formation of the UAE – which is a Federation of the seven Emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm al Quwain.

The facts that I learnt from various articles and visits to important historic places in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are listed here –

  1. The collection of independent Sheikdoms in the Gulf were called the Trucial States, after signing a Treaty with the British in the year 1892.
  2. The first oil well was discovered in 1958, off the coast of Abu Dhabi
  3. The leaders – Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Dubai, visualised a great future for their respective Emirates, and focussed on the development of the Gulf Region at large.
  4. The British announced their withdrawal on 16th January 1968. Very quick to react, Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Rashid of Dubai, established a Federation between the two Emirates on 18th February 1968.
  5. Sheikh Zayed, the Visionary, always sought a Federation of the seven Trucial States, along with Qatar and Bahrain to become 9. His relentless efforts were the key to the formation of UAE, which stands as a well developed Federation of Seven Emirates.
  6. The British protectorate treaty expired on December 1st 1971. The very next day, on December 2nd, the Union of Six Emirates – the UAE – was formally established. Ras Al Khaimah joined the federation on 10th February 1972.

(https://www.government.ae/en/about-the-uae/founders-of-the-union

https://gulfnews.com/lifestyle/community/how-the-uae-was-born-1.1610731)

National Day Celebrations 2018

We are all set to watch the air show in the afternoon, dancing fireworks show and the laser and light show at night tomorrow today. But I couldn’t resist posting the pictures I enthusiastically clicked last year, while we witnessed our first national day celebrations in the UAE.

The well lit streets were glittering. These are pictures from Al Ain, a garden city and oasis town, which is an hour and a half’s drive from Abu Dhabi. 

Abu Dhabi Corniche was a glorious sight to walk and click. Here are a few pictures-

Falcon – the national bird of UAE

The Fairmont Marina, Abu Dhabi displays 47the National Day

The emirate of Abu Dhabi got to see some of the finest performances on air. We were among the luckiest to have captured the air show from the Balcony of our tall raised residence.

Here is a glimpse of the colour filled Air show before the Sun set and the Fire works in the night,  that lightened the skies of Corniche  – the beautiful Beach of Abu Dhabi.  We truly enjoyed our first National Day in Abu Dhabi.

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Beach with spectators and rowing boats

Air Show in the Evening

After showering colours the planes on their way back…

The beauty of Corniche, Abu Dhabi and the light and laser show at night…

This is sheer display of Pride for the Nation, its Visionary Leaders and the Focussed Development that the country portrays to the rest of the world.

I am waiting for the splendid show today, this year’s National Day Celebrations. Shall update soon.