It has been an exceptionally busy month: my residency at Leighton House, the offal and baby goat dinner, a huge dinner for thirty Italian art collectors and cookery demonstrations at the Sharjah International Book Fair. Busy but fun, especially my spectacular breakfast with the lovely ladies at the craft centre in Sharjah. A lavish spread made up of various dishes the ladies had prepared at home except for Moza, the lady in pink, who baked khameer (a saffron-flavoured brioche-like flat bread) in front of us in an ingenious electric portable oven that doubles up as a hot plate. She first placed the flattened disks of dough on the hot top, brushed them with beaten eggs then after a couple of minutes, she lifted them off, opened the hot top to slide the breads inside the ‘oven’ where they puffed up and browned. Then another lady spread the breads with butter before giving them to us to eat with freshly made cheese (shami), date syrup or honey. Totally fabulous. Here are a few pictures to make you jealous!
The beginning of our breakfast with a large platter of fruit which is a must, lgeimat (saffron-flavoured fritters drizzled with date syrup) and shami (freshly made cheese).
Then the table filled to also include boiled chickpeas, balaleet (one of my favourites, sweet-savoury vermicelli flavoured with saffron and cardamom and served with a thin omelette on top, bathith (a mix of toasted flour and dates), Omani halva and m’halla (thin pancakes).
Moza checking on the khameer.
Some of the lovely ladies enjoying the breakfast.
One of the ladies serving me a huge plate of balaleet. Supreme hospitality and generosity are both a mark of Emirati life. Everyone is so kind and welcoming, it makes me want to move there! Would make a huge change from London, not to mention the gorgeous weather at least at this time of the year.
My plate of balaleet. I wanted to eat it all but I resisted. The kilos are piling on!!