Tag Archives: Qatar

Happy 6th Blog Anniversary with a baked Mango Cheesecake

This is my 414th post.

Never realized that taking baby steps can take you so far. 6 years don’t seem so long but statistics on my blog tell me that it has been quite a while. There have been times I have celebrated this space and more than often I have neglected it too. But this space of mine has never really been out of my conscious. This blog gave me an identity in a foreign land and allowed me to express my thoughts in the way I wanted. Sometimes I  cared who read my blog and most times, I wrote only for myself. It has been in sync with my life objectives and most times a complete paradox. This blog is an extension of me. 

image1 (41)

This space has challenged me to attempt things I never thought I would do. I have baked a pavlova, kneaded dough to make bread, used ingredients in recipes I couldn’t really pronounce and written food stories my memories. This space which I call my blog, made me think about myself in a life that was always about what others wanted, it allowed to me hone my skills as a cook, a writer, a baker, a photographer and a food stylist. 

IMG_7660

It made me a social person, who was unafraid to meet people and face unknown situations. This blog gave me that confidence. It took care of me like I took care of it. It gave even when I didn’t- like the numerous opportunities to work with creative people of words and pictures. 

IMG_7653

 IMG_7681

Six years of all this wonderful moments can’t be encapsulated in one blog post and that is why I have several blog posts after this one where I collaborate with some wonderful brands to reward my readers for being with me for so long. Last year I had a world wide giveaway but this time I am going to restrict it to Bahrain as a way of saying thank you for all the wonderful opportunities you sent my way; whether it was restaurant reviews or connecting with my other blogger friends, recipe development, food styling assignments and so much more. Thank you, Bahrain.

So readers in Bahrain, over the course of the next few weeks, 3 of you would have would have won a generous hamper each from Lulu Hypermarket’s “good life” products and another 3 of you would have have an Italian buffet for two from Marriott Executive Apartments.  Thank you Lulu Hypermarket and Marriott Executive Apartments for collaborating with my blog and being so generous. More details to follow in individual posts.

Meanwhile, in this post, I would like to share a beautiful, flavourful, Mango cheese cake recipe. I believe a cheese cake is for all seasons and perhaps that is why I selected it to showcase on my anniversary post. My blog has been wonderful to me through seasons and only something as evergreen as a cheese cake would do to celebrate the 6th anniversary.

IMG_7709

Also, if you are wondering about this beautiful cake plate, I must tell you where I got it from. It was a gift from Silsal Design House – which is leading producer of home accessories, furnishings and light furnishings. Silsal Design House’s USP lies in its contemporary yet Middle Eastern touch in all its designs. They are based out of Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. I love this green cake plate for its elegant design and unique patterns. You can check out all the other beautiful creations from Silsal Design House and even order it online! 

Now for the recipe of the Mango Cheese cake. This is the first time I attempted a baked cheesecake and might I add that I was nervous about how it would turn out. Thankfully, it turned out wonderful and I feel excited about baking more baked cheese cakes in the future. 

Mango Cheese Cake
Serves 12
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 25 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  4. 4 large ripe mangoes, cubed and pureed
  5. 685 gm packages cream cheese, softened
  6. 1 1/4 cups sugar
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 4 large eggs
Instructions
  1. 1. Stir together the digestive biscuits crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl; press into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 325º/ 162.7 C for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool
  2. Puree the mangoes in a blender. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and vanilla essence until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, mixing it well and finally stir in the mango puree.
  3. Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake at 325º / 165 C for 1 hour and 25 minutes. After the alloted time, test if the cheese cake is cooked in the center. If find it is still a bit raw, allow the cheese cake to continue baking in the heat of the oven after you switched off the oven for atleast another 10-15 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

 All photographs courtesy : Sushil S

Fresh food counter at Lulu Hypermarket : Review

Off late, my schedule has been outright maddening. There hasn’t been any time to cook or enjoy a meal in peace. But I am glad that I have plenty of takeaway and home delivery options in Bahrain, that make my life easy. One of the reliable options is the hot food counter at Lulu Hypermarket. It also helps that it is dot opposite my home. 

Any time I feel I am missing home and feel a deep craving for home style food, I head to Lulu Hypermarket to enjoy my favourite sweets, snacks like pakoras, samosas. 

DSC_0026

 DSC_0023

 DSC_0024

DSC_0022

Lulu Hypermarket’s hot food section has a great selection to choose from as you can see from the pictures. 

When I was offered to the opportunity to review the hot food section, I preferred Indian food and this is what they packed for me as a takeaway.

DSC_0034

The menu consisted of – A spicy salad which we call “Kachumber”, my favourite kadai paneer, Lemon and spice chicken tikka, Kashmiri Pulao and a selection of Indian sweets. 

The Kashmiri Pulao was fragrant and delicious with long-grained basmati rice, vegetables, sweet red grapes flavoured in saffron and spices. Simply delicious!

The kadai Paneer was oily and very “dhaba” style – exactly how I like it. Indulging once in a while is good for the soul, I believe.

The salad was the right accompaniment as it served as a palette cleanser. 

The chicken was lemon-y and very appetizing but I preferred by vegetarian fare over the meat. 

The milk -based sweets hit the right note without being too sweet. 

All in all, the meal from Lulu Hypermarket’s hot counter was filling and scrumptious and comes recommended for that once in a while indulgence or every day meal ( where you should opt for the lighter dals and vegetable curries or grills for the meat eaters)

Restaurant Review : Cafe Venissa at the Ritz Carlton, Bahrain

DSC_0019Do you want to enjoy a piece of Venice in the heart of Bahrain?

Here’s your chance to step into the elegant Venetian set up called Cafe Venissa at the Ritz Carlton. The inspiration for Cafe Venissa stems from the famous Italian coffee shop, Caffe Florian, which is the oldest coffee house in Europe. I had the opportunity to experience this last week, thanks to the invite from the Ritz Carlton. 

 

DSC_0020

DSC_0021

The interiors and the decor are striking but then it is the Ritz Carlton that we are talking about. I wouldn’t expect anything less. The day we visited Cafe Venissa, it was particularly gloomy with overcast skies and a slight nip in the air. But it felt so perfect a time to enjoy some high tea type delights at Cafe Venissa.

DSC_0006

Upon entering the cafe, it felt like we stepped into a time and space far away from the one we were coming from. The walls of the cafe are flanked by renaissance -esque paintings, furniture is opulent and there is an atmosphere of elegance all around. We were carefully seated by the window which over looks the Ritz Carlton’s pool side.  Once seated, we were given the menu and a detailed explanation about the concept that was Cafe Venissa. The menu is not very extensive which I appreciate as it tends to get confusing. I expected the staff to help me choose which they did with great expertise. 

What you see here is the warm and inviting Cafe del Doge which is a delightful concoction of coffee, gianduja, cream and hazelnut. Just perfect for a chilly winter afternoon. I carried bits of chocolate in it which gave it an interesting bite. I could have done without the whipped cream but once in a while, I suppose it is fine.

DSC_0004

Someone was very happy with the hot chocolate and the marshmallows in it! 🙂 She even asked for extra helpings of marshmallows. Cafe Venissa has several menu options for children to explore and enjoy.

DSC_0013

It is not only the hot drinks that caught our interest. We were enthusiastic to try something cool as well. We opted for the Frozen Venissa. The frozen Venissa is a cold coffee cream with whipped cream. To me it felt like any other cold coffee with way too much whipped cream for my liking. 

DSC_0010

By this time, we were feeling quite ravenous and thought it was the right time to order for a few light bites.  As guided by the Marketing and communications coordinator, Carolina, we ordered for the Cafe Venissa’s signature salad – Insalata Venissa.  A refreshing bit-sized morsels of mozzarella, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, bresaola  ( air dried, salted beef) and very flavoursome, perfectly poached shrimps. The salad carries a light olive oil dressing and is a good sized portion for two. I can’t comment on the beef as I do not eat beef but my fellow diner was very happy sampling the bresaola. 

DSC_0011

The other recommended dish from the menu was the Salmon and spinach quiche. This was the highlight of our visit to Cafe Venissa. I know for a fact that so many fantastic restaurants get the simple and the basic quiche so wrong. Either it is too egg-y or too dough-y or quite heavy. There are very few places in Bahrain that know how to make the quiche taste really good. Cafe Venissa is definitely one of them! I am allergic salmon so I had to keep that aside and try the quiche which was absolutely delicious. We finished all the four quiche pieces in a jiffy!

DSC_0017

DSC_0014

By the time we reached our final course, the  day light was gone and the pictures began to get really blurry 🙁 I am particularly sad because the dessert – the colours, the texture, the composition, the presentation and not to mention the taste- was fabulous and my pictures do not do justice to this perfection of a dessert duo – Lemon meringue tart and raspberry sorbet. The flavours were fresh, tingly on the tongue and oh-so light! Highly recommended!

By the time we finished our food and drinks, we thought it better to skip dinner. Completely sated and delighted by the service given to us, I resolved about returning to the cafe very soon with friends. 

From November 27 until December 8, the spotlight will be on the renowned band Caffe Concerto Strauss that will fill up the cafe with their enchanting, live music. Caffe Concerto Strauss is the original band of Caffe Florian and will be specially flying in to round up the unforgettable experience of the guests. Guests that would like to be part of this extravaganza can visit Cafe Venissa from November 3 to December 31, daily from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. For more information, and for reservations at Cafe Venissa, please call +973 1758 6499 or email rc.bahrz.restaurant.reservations@ritzcarlton.com.

Enjoy the weather in Bahrain and a true Venetian experience, a specially crafted menu and Ritz Carlton’s elevated service at Cafe Venissa. You will be surprised at how much you will want to go back after experiencing it once. 

The Diabetes -Friendly Dessert Series with Aster Medical Centre – Baked Apple fries

Apple baked fries

With so many Indian diabetes-friendly dessert at one go, I began to miss baking. The mad baker in me started to get restless and I knew I needed to do a diabetes friendly bake for sure. I was  certain that the recipe that I would develop will also use something seasonal. The weather in Bahrain is just perfect now with the winters setting in slowly bringing with it mesmerizing sunsets and great vegetable and fruit produce. Apples are my absolute favourite when it comes to fruit baking and I wanted to create a dessert that was very simple, delicious yet low calorie. 

2

3

If you  are anything like me,  you must be someone who loves to munch stuff on the go. I need to eating something or the other while I am working, reading or even doing household chores. I try and steer clear from processed foods as much as possible and prefer munching on nuts, seeds and fruits. But sometimes even that gets boring, so I try and bake something that ticks all the boxes for taste, effort and makes for guilt-free munching. These baked apple fries definitely fall in that category.

4

Before I get into the recipe, I would like to introduce you to a very special ingredient –

Coconut nectar

It comes from the sweet sap that results from tapping the thick flowering stems of the coconut blossom.  This sap is further evaporated at low temperatures, producing a raw, low glycemic and nutrient-rich pourable syrup. Low glycemic sweeteners are better choices for most people, but they are especially good for diabetics and those wanting to lose excess body weight.  This is because they don’t create blood sugar spikes and don’t cause addictive eating behaviors and cravings soon afterwards. (source)

I bought my coconut nectar from Al Jazeera supermarket in Bahrain. I am sure all the other leading super markets may have it too. I add it to my oatmeal ( but sparingly), use it in my bakes and sweeten my yogurt when I am craving desserts at night. Even if you are not diabetic, I would highly recommend that you use this alternate sweetener.

5

This post is a part of the 7 , diabetes-friendly dessert series for Aster Medical Center. I have joined their campaign to halt the diabetes epidemic that seems to be striking anyone and everyone, regardless of age or lifestyle. To view my previous posts, click on the links. I created diabetes-friendly shrikhand, dates peda and protein burfi for Aster Medical Center to show my support. You can show your support too by following their campaign – #AsterAgainstDiabetes on Facebook, Twitter , Instagram

There is also a FREE diabetes check up happening at Lulu Hypermarket in Dana Mall on the Nov 19/20/21 Thu/Fri/Sat between 6 pm to 9 pm. Make sure you do not miss this opportunity and get a check up done by the experts at Aster Medical Center.

Cover

Now the recipe-

The Diabetes -Friendly Dessert Series with Aster Medical Centre – Protein -packed Burfi

I have a family history of Diabetes and that makes me extremely vulnerable to the disease. I am well aware of how diabetes can slowly degenerate the different organs of the body and makes it more susceptible to other lifestyle disease. Diabetes Mellitus , describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. 

My father has been a diabetic for 35 years and I have seen him struggle with it every single day. But what I admire is he has enjoyed his food yet kept his diabetes in control. I haven’t seen him a day without exercising or walking. I have imbibed that discipline from him, I think. Children take a lot from their parents without really being aware of it.

FullSizeRender (2)

Sometimes in the name of health, I tend to go to extremes with respect to my diet and exercise but with time and age, I have realized the importance of striking a good balance. Being happy is a big part of being healthy. Extreme diets put plenty of pressure on the metabolism, thereby skewing that balance which does more harm than good. I understood from my father, that it is okay enjoy your favourite treats once a while but compensate it later by eating light. There are a few tips that my father practices which I think can really help not only diabetics but also non-diabetics.

  • If you know you are going to have a heavy meal or a sweet, make sure you keep it light the rest of the day
  • Bite-sized sweets are the best in a diabetes household
  • It is best to eat and enjoy a sweet in the morning, rather than later during the day
  • If you cannot avoid sweets during festival seasons, try to eat the sweet little by little and enjoy it over one or two hours
  • Best is to share the sweet with someone so that you do not have to eat the entire portion
  • If you are making sweets at home, it is best to use natural sugar alternatives like honey, coconut nectar, agave nectar etc.

IMG_6314

The recipe that I share with you today is a special diabetes -friendly recipe in collaboration with Aster Medical Center. It is to support #AsterAgainstDiabetes campaign this November. To know more about Aster Medical Center’s Diabetes awareness campaign you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter , Instagram

Aster Medical Center is hosting a FREE Diabetes check up camp at Lulu Hypermarket, Ramli Mall, A’Ali on the 17th and 18th of November (6-9 PM). This is the best sort of opportunity to get yours checked!

To check out my previous recipes, you can click here and here
IMG_6324

This is a protein packed burfi which does not use any added sugar. I regularly have my protein shakes after my training session with my trainer and it occurred to me that the protein powder is a great ingredient to use in recipes.

Protein packed Burfi
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups cashew
  2. 1 cup vanilla protein powder
  3. 1 tbsp low fat milk
Instructions
  1. Soak cashews overnight
  2. Blend the cashew and vanilla protein powder in the food processor
  3. Add 1 tbsp of milk and blend well
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment and grease it.
  5. Spread out the cashew - protein paste and level it. Sprinkle it with nuts, saffron ( whatever you fancy)
  6. Put it in the chiller to set.
  7. Cut into pieces and enjoy
Notes
  1. There is no binding agent like butter or ghee which make this burfi melt very fast.
  2. Enjoy each piece but remember to put it back in the refrigerator
  3. If you think the paste of cashew and protein powder is loose enough, you can skip the milk
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/