What was dinnertime like while you were growing up? Was it a sacred process where you stood with your mum / dad and learnt the family secret to the perfect roast lamb; or did you pick up your own dinner on the way home? Peanut butter sandwich, maybe?
I know friends of mine who have been making their own lunch and dinner since they were in school. I was lucky enough to have my lunch made for me every day by my amazing mamma. Sometimes I even got leftover Sunday roast sandwiches, sometimes just bread and butter (where I’d wonder if she had dropped the ball on grocery shopping). Despite having a fabulously built lunch every day, the sight of my friend’s home made caramel slice, whose step father was a baker, would send my jealous green monster into overdrive, when I would plead…can I have a bite?’
It was only when I had numerous failed attempts at making my family dinner in my teens where my dad said the following dreaded words:
“No one will ever marry you if you don’t learn how to cook.”
Wow. Even in my pre-feminist years, this hit HARD.
Grumble grumble…”I’ll show you Dad…”
Taste.com became my favourite place to search for easy recipes. My mamma let me lovingly into her cucina and taught me the basics – like don’t mix tomato and soy sauce – and only ever intervened when I a) made a mess or b) was about to make a grave mistake that would mean dinner for six would taste disastrous.
And we have already established what my dad would have said.
So – ten years on, I’m well on my way (all I needed was a little push – thank you Dad). I treat myself to shiny new cookbooks with pretty pictures and I love the process of following a recipe and cooking for others. But it’s my Italian heritage, my love for the French lifestyle and my travels that inspire me every day. Often I’ll eat something at a restaurant while I’m away, or do a cooking class like in India, then come home and recreate my holiday through a delicious meal. It’s also a lovely way to share your memories with family and friends.
So, coming up on my blog will be a few of these recipes and I’m calling it ma cuisine. I’ll share with you recipes that take you places.
And the guy? Well I’m not yet married, but he does like my cooking 🙂
Page 1: Dubai date dots
This memory goes a while back. My special, special girlfriend – who by the way, is absolutely unstoppable and wildly successful – moved to Dubai to work for Emirates. Not only was I insanely proud of her but it also gave me a chance to explore the city like a local and make great use of a stopover between Australian and Europe!
Michelle took me everywhere in her new city.
…to sitting in major traffic jams for hours, to reaching souks by boat…
…to the hot HOT sand on the beach greeted by camels…
…there were dates, or tomoor in Arabic. Medjool dates, Mabroom dates Sagai dates, dates stuffed with almonds, dates covered in white chocolate, dates for breakfast lunch and dinner…I make a point of picking them up every time I make a Dubai airport stopover and they are also a delicious snack or dessert that as always, take me there.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Here’s the recipe
You will need…
· 200g dark chocolate
· 1 250g pack medjool dates
· ½ cup coconut
· ½ cup tahini
This is what you need to do…
· Split each medjool date lengthways, but don’t completely cut it in half. Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a microwavable bowl. A minute should do it.
· Spoon ½ teaspoon of tahini in the slot
· Dip the date carefully into the melted chocolate and let the excess chocolate drip away
· Spoon some shredded coconut over the dates
· Repeat with each date.
· Refrigerate once they are all done and enjoy.