Gourmet Inspiration

From Mother’s Day to St Patrick’s Day, Saba Wahid shows the way
Monday , 12 March 2012
Saba Wahid
Saba Wahid

March is for mums
March is a special time of year when we commemorate one of the reasons we’re on this planet – our mothers! I’m a firm believer that you should appreciate your mum every day of the year, but if we need a special holiday to remind us of that, then so be it.

Mum’s are so special that they rarely ask for material things – they’re more fond of the sentimental. This year, put mum on that pedestal, and make her feel like a queen! Start by making her a meal at home. Brunch is always a great and simple way to show your love. A glass of freshly squeezed juice, an omelette with all of her favourite ingredients, and a fruit platter to complete the meal would make the perfect breakfast in bed. It’s simple, healthy and you don’t have to be a professional chef to pull it off. Next, present her with a small gift. Sneak her favourite photo albums out of the house, scan the contents and load them onto a portable digital photo viewer. She’ll be delighted to have them with her to share at a moment’s notice. If you go down the iPod route, preload some of her favourite tunes, too!

Don’t forget that mums also love flowers, no matter what time of year. If you’re uninspired by the generic storebought bouquets, why not jazz up a bunch of flowers with a creative touch and wrap or present it in something unique. Tin flowering buckets filled with long stemmed lilacs and hydrangeas can have a very rustic feel. Or try using a long platter and filling it with water for a floating candle and flower display, using small shallow bowls to hold the flowers and glass votives for the tea light candles for effect and ambiance. If you want to step things up, use tall glass jars and fill them with sliced citrus fruits, leaves or colourful stones to add an additional accent of colour to the display.

Anything you do to make your mum feel special will go a long way, just make sure you plan ahead. Last-minute shopping is always a drag, and the choices are limited.

St Pat’s with a twist
March is a month that stands out on every Irish calendar, when we celebrate the ever-popular Saint Patrick’s Day! Other than going ‘green’ with celebrations, why not enjoy this unique holiday with some authentic Irish fare. Irish cuisine focuses on the staples available from their local resource, including potatoes, beef, cheese and leeks. These simple and earthy products are versatile and the resultant meals are well worth the celebratory calories that come along with them!

Why not go for a gorgeous thick cut roast beef topped with buttery leeks, served with cheddar mashed potatoes; just the right culinary compliment to enjoy on such an exciting day. The roast is easy to do, so long as you have the right cut of meat. I’ve found Prime Gourmet in the Gold and Diamond Park on Sheikh Zayed Road has a great selection of meat perfect for the job!

The buttered leeks are also easy to make – simply sauté the sliced leeks in the melted butter, season with salt and pepper and finish with a touch of cream.

Lastly, cheddar mash might sound indulgent after all the other decadent items, but an Irish meal wouldn’t be complete without some spuds. Simply mix in shredded cheddar cheese into a traditional mashed potato mix, then top with thinly sliced spring onions and parsley.

What’s bloomin?
During the Dubai winter months, plants and herbs are plentiful. A great idea for all this fresh produce is to use it in non-traditional ways. Fresh herbs can be used as a beautiful centrepiece for your dinner table, as can certain fruits and veggies. If you have a herb garden of your own, then no doubt the basil and mint have slowly taken over the green space outside your house. Pick the prettiest bunches and use them as décor inside your house. Not only will they add a touch of colour to the table, but they also offer a delicious aroma that is sure to stimulate your appetite.

Marrow is one of the most abundant vegetables found in the region, but so often people don’t know what to do with it. Try a sweet alternative and prepare a delicious marrow cake; you can even make extra and freeze it in individual slices for a treat later on.

INFO: Saba Wahid is writing her very own cookery book – find out more at www.sabawahid.com

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