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Visit to Kerala (Part 2)

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Kerala’s herb and spice trade dates back hundreds of years and even today the international market for these ingredients is a key driver of the regional economy. Locally grown pepper, cardamom, turmeric, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, tamarind and curry leaves are highly prized both for their flavour and beneficial medicinal qualities.

Everywhere we went we had to reassure anxious waiters that, contrary to popular belief, many Europeans do like spicy food, so please bring it on! Tasty, with spice, rather than hot with chilli was our experience of the Keralan vegetable and seafood dishes we tried. (more…)

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It’s Showtime!

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It’s a year since we started our expat adventure in Dubai and in keeping with my general aim of making the most of this fast moving experience, I will be making my entrance on the Dubai stage in the Short and Sweet festival this weekend.

Short and Sweet is the largest festival of ten minute plays in the world and the buzz around it is really exciting. Over six weeks, talented writers, directors and actors will present more than 80 bite-sized plays to packed houses and much applause. (more…)

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On the Indian food trail

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Dubai is full of glitzy, expensive restaurants but there is another side to this food-loving city that is easy to overlook. Old Dubai, is crammed with Indian street food sellers, artisan food producers, family–run restaurants and ethnic grocery stores, offering authentic regional specialities at bargain prices, but where to start? We have made tentative inroads to this other world but knowing where to go and what to order requires some serious insider knowledge. Enter Frying Pan Adventures, a small, local tour company started and run by two food-loving sisters, Farida and Arva Ahmed. (more…)

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It’s beginning to look a little like Christmas

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It was about this time last year that we had a conversation about what our Christmas in Dubai might look like. Should we take the Christmas decorations with us? Surely not. Likewise, the oversized fake tree that comes down from the loft every year? No, that would be ridiculous too. Wise decisions. Without all the familiar festive paraphernalia to hand it is easier to break away from convention and adopt a fresh approach. Deep down, I think the attempt to simply replicate what we usually do in this very different location would make me feel a bit sad.
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Pick and Mix Christmas

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I never dreamed that I would be able to achieve my idea of a perfect Christmas whilst living in Dubai but it is shaping up nicely to be just that. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the rest of the hideous panic buying that makes the countdown to December 25 a nightmare in the UK, is not happening here. It probably is at some level but that is my point, really. You don’t have to take part in all that if, like me, you hanker after a calmer lead up to Christmas. (more…)

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Remembering Rose

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The lovely young woman looking so confidently into the camera only had a few more years left to live when this photograph was taken. I am guessing this formal, studio portrait marks a milestone age, maybe a 21st birthday. Her name is Rose De Haan and her death certificate states that she died at the age of 25. Three days earlier she had given birth to a daughter. The baby was my mother, Sylvia Rose. (more…)

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