RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Gordon Ramsay

Dubai in 24 Hours


I’m on a fabulous pre-Christmas trip to the northern hemisphere to explore food, culture and theatre! On the way to the UK I stopped off in Dubai to visit my friend and colleague the delightful Ms G, who is currently resident there teaching in an international school.

Ms G treated me to a whirlwind taste of Dubai in 24 hours! Way too short but enough of taster that I know I will return to investigate more Emirati delights.

So here’s the highlights:

Checked in to Ms G’s apartment with its stunning views of some iconic skyscrapers on  Dubai Marina Walk.  See headline photo!

Visited  Ms G’s school in the desert with its fascinating multicultural mix of students and buzzy vibe.

Lunch on the terrace at Jumeirah Beach Hotel with its views of the spectacular sail shaped Burj Al Arab Hotel (pictured below). It was 30 degrees C and we ordered roast Wagyu beef with horseradish and Yorshire pudding!


Then an urgent nail appointment at The White Room Spa. I had got on the plane straight from work so no time for a manicure – those who know me, know that as a cook my hands are always in flour and sugar making pastry etc and need a lot of TLC!

Off to Atlantis, The Palm, photo below, to see this amazing man made island, and to gaze at the Atlantis, pictures of which have fascinated me when featured on television cooking programs. We had cocktails at Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay.  An enormous venue –  less cosy kitchen then colonial bar – think Somerset Maugham and empire days. One of the house specialties is gin. They have  an amazing variety. Not usually a gin drinker, I did succumb to a couple of wonderfully refreshing cocktails. The Floradora and the gin martini were delightful.


Last stop was dinner at the highly acclaimed La Petite Maison in the Dubai International Financial Centre, a mix of the south of France with Italian overtones.

The venue was ritzy and glitzy, the clientele a mix of ex pats and Emirati, and the vibe was opulent. Not so the food, which while beautifully cooked, was the kind of cuisine that could be eaten in a few mouthfuls. This hungry diner needs a little more to wrap her chops around. A portion of a small sea bass fillet meunière, a tiny green salad, one piece of baguette, and a little pistachio cake were all charmingly served, and no doubt suited the elegant, waif like female diners draped languidly over dining chairs for maximum viewing potential. Oscar Wilde’s Gwendolen would have been impressed!

But I was in Dubai not just to eat, but to experience the vibe, and to whet my appetite for a further visit, so people watching definitely took precedence over food, on this occasion.

And finally, as a reminder that Christmas is a cultural as well as a religious event, the Christmas tree at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, pictured below.

I love Dubai and I will be back. The best part was spending the day with my friend, the ever optimistic, wonderfully organised and always, always, so kind, so caring, Ms G.

Ms G, thank you!

XXX Miss S






White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondies Revisited

IMG_2671 iphone

This is what I was cooking this time 3 years ago, in May 2013. It’s an ultra rich blondie inspired by a Gordon Ramsay recipe. I thought it worth revisiting – it’s easy to make, really fudgy, and the cranberries give a nice, slightly tart note to offset the caramel sweetness.


1 cup dried cranberries
2  x 100g white chocolate bars
225g plain flour
226g butter
1 pinch of salt
300g sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 free-range eggs


Line a 23cm x 23cm tin with baking paper.

Melt butter, add sugar to mixing bowl. Add salt to sugar.
Add melted butter to sugar and whisk well. Add vanilla and eggs, whisk well.
Add baking powder and bi-carbonate of soda, mix well.
Whisk in half the flour. Once incorporated (no lumps), add the rest of the flour and mix well until there are no lumps.
Add the dried cranberries, changing from a whisk to a spoon.
Slice the bars of white chocolate into  thick matchsticks and mix in gently, trying not to break up the chocolate.
Spoon into baking tin (previously lined with baking paper (butter or non stick spray the tin to hold paper in place).
Spread mixture into the tin, using a spatula to make sure the mixture is even.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 35 -40 minutes.
Leave to cool, then remove from tin.
Cut into squares. Blondies will keep for a week and also freeze well.




Caramelized Balsamic Figs


Figs are in season in Sydney now and are beautiful, plentiful and well priced. Green figs are the most common variety found but you can sometimes get your hands on those beautiful black figs which looks so spectacular on their own, or caramelized with sugar and balsamic vinegar as I did in a post last year.

I cooked them again last night  – using green figs this time. I ate half for dessert and I am looking forward to finishing the rest with muesli for breakfast.

Here is the original post.

The recipe is based on something from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course. The caramelisation of the figs comes from creating a toffee syrup and adding butter and balsamic vinegar.


4 firm black figs

2 tbs icing sugar

2 tbls balsamic vinegar

4 tbs caster sugar

20 g butter, divided into knobs


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.

Place figs in a bowl and sprinkle with icing sugar. Drizzle over 1tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Roll the figs in the icing sugar and balsamic to make sure they are well covered.

Melt the caster sugar in an oven proof dish or frying pan over a low heat. The sugar will melt and turn a deep caramel colour. Be careful not to stir the sugar as it will crystallize.

Add the knobs of butter, stirring carefully to amalgamate. Add the other tablespoon of balsamic and 1 tablespoon of water. Carefully taste – the sauce is hot – and add a little more vinegar if the sauce needs more piquancy, or a little more water if the sauce is too thick.

Add the figs and gently baste with the liquid.

Place the dish in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Baste the figs a couple of times during cooking.

Serve warm or at room temperature with thick cream for dessert or yoghurt for breakfast.


Gordon Ramsay’s Halloumi, Zucchini and Herb Cakes

IMG_3905These interesting halloumi and vegetable cakes are delicious and a nice vegetarian option to make for a simple lunch or supper.

The recipe is based on Gordon Ramsay’s recipe from his app:

Gordon Ramsay Cook with Me:

I used 250g of halloumi rather than the 500g in the recipe for a more “vegetable” cake.


2 medium carrots, peeled and grated

1 zucchini (courgette), grated

250g halloumi cheese, grated

2 spring onions, finely chopped

1 tbsp chopped coriander

1 tbsp chopped mint

2 free-range eggs lightly beaten

2–4 tbsp breadcrumbs

Olive oil, for frying

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Put the grated carrots and zucchini (courgettes) in a colander and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt to draw out the moisture.

Place over a bowl to drain for 5 minutes, then tip into a clean tea towel and squeeze out all the excess water.

Put the haloumi, carrot mixture, spring onions, coriander and mint into a bowl, season and mix together. Add the beaten eggs and mix well, then stir in 2 tbsp of the breadcrumbs. The mixture should be firm enough to form into patties, if it’s not, add some more breadcrumbs. the moisture content from the vegetables can be variable.

Shape the mixture into 6-8 large cakes or smaller of you prefer. To help shape the haloumi cakes place a large spoonful of the mix onto a spoon and press against your hand and squeeze out any excess liquid. Leave in the fridge uncovered for at least half an hour to firm up.

Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add a dash of oil and fry the haloumi cakes until dark golden and crisp on either side.

Serve with some coriander to garnish and a dash of sweet chili sauce.IMG_3922


%d bloggers like this: