Rongali Bihu will be celebrated the world over by the Assamese community on Sunday 15th April. Rongali Bihu is one of three major cultural festivals from Assam, the North Eastern state of India from where my family originates. This festival marks the beginning of spring and celebrates the harvest season with a wide range of festive treats including Til’or Pitha and Narikol’or Laru (do try out the recipes for these by clicking here).

But today’s post is not going into depth about Bihu. Proudly Assamese, I wanted to take advantage of this upcoming special occasion and share a beautiful piece of Assamese folklore with you. Every culture has treasured ‘hand me down’ fairytales that have been whispered down generations, and the Cinderella-style struggle story that has a prominent part in Assamese story-telling is that of Tejimola

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On a recent trip to India, my husband had a chance encounter with Dalia. No need to get excited, this clandestine affair is strictly one of gluttony (or rather, the need to stray away from it). Dalia is not a pretty young lady, but rather a form of broken wheat. It is near identical to the Middle Eastern Bulghar (although I couldn’t find any articles online that confirmed the two to be the same).

Dalia is high in fibre, low in fat, and its slow absorption keeps you fuller longer and even stabilizes blood sugar levels.

Being so high up in terms of health benefits, you’d think it tastes pretty bland too. However, my husband came home with a super tasty (and super simple) recipe that is ideal for a wholesome breakfast or lunch. 

Le Petit Belge is a wee slice of Belgium right here in Dubai. The original branch is in a cosy little town called Maasmechelen, and we now have not one, but three in Dubai.

The JLT and Dubai Motor City branches have been around for a while now, and I was recently invited to try out their brand new branch in Double Tree by Hilton at Bay Square.

The restaurant cum bar is beautifully spacious, and the interiors are done up with classic wooden accents and dim mood lighting. You can choose to sit by the bar, the outdoor terrace, or as we did, a cushy corner that’s perfect for foodies.

I recently got introduced to Boscia, a brand new skincare range that is debuting the shelves of Sephora Middle East this spring. The brand is new to our region, but has been around for a while and has a fan-following across the globe.

The main premise of the brand lies in the belief that the best skincare can be sourced from plants. Their plant-to-bottle formulas are loaded with good-for-you ingredients sans any chemical nasties. Sounds like my kinda brand!

I was therefore very excited to receive a tube of their best-selling mask, the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask. 

The main ingredient in this mask in activated charcoal. As you may be aware, I love activated charcoal. Read my earlier post on its benefits by clicking here. Activated charcoal really does act like a magnet to pull out debris from the skin.

Friday is mask day for me, so what better way to rejuvenate than with a mask that promises to deep-clean with the added bonus of luminosity?

I love all things Shabby Chic. The pastels, the attention to the finer details… the French have immaculate taste for interiors, as they do for the art of cooking. Both elements come together in newly opened ‘Maison de Juliette‘, a home-grown concept now open in La Mer Dubai.

The interiors here are so Instagram-worthy, and even the staff here are immaculately dressed. We got there one breezy weekday, and decided to make the most of the beautiful weather by seating on a table outdoors.

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Last week we had an office barbecue party. The weather was perfect, and a day out with work-mates proved to be a great way to unwind after a long week.

Our colleague Umair Ahmad, who is the Finance Manager in our team, is an exceptional cook. He took charge of the menu of the day, and we enjoyed a smorgasbord of grilled delicacies including Masala Salmon, skewered kebabs that had the rustic aftertaste of charcoal, and a very delicious Peshawari Mutton Karhai.

This mutton dish was by far the highlight of the evening, and I coaxed Umair to share his special recipe with us. Do try it, its super easy and I’m sure it will soon become a favorite on your family table!

Last Saturday, I was invited to try out the Infinity Brunch at The Address, Dubai Marina. Always on the run and all over the place, I graciously accepted without really doing a background check. I assumed that as it’s at The Address Marina, I could go all out ladylike in my new Vero Moda lacy black number, and top it off with shit-loads of bronzer.

And there I was, high-heeled and astute, till we got ushered into Shades, the restaurant where the Infinity Brunch takes place every Saturday from 2 pm onwards. Shades is a poolside restaurant. The place was flooded with sun worshipers in scantily-clad swimwear, and there I was all dressed up and made up.

With the advent of International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day in the Middle East, March has officially been declared the month of women.

To commemorate the celebrations, Cadillac, the world’s leading luxury automotive brand, has taken a bold, fashionable step by collaborating with Saudi entrepreneur and fashion editor Marriam Mossalli by launching  a series of photographs that have been included in a book titled Under the Abaya: Street Style from Saudi Arabia.

Indian cuisine arguably has an even stronger fan following across the globe than does the glitzy world of Bollywood. Butter Chicken has also been considered the national dish of the UK, and Indian Chefs today are enjoying celebrity status thanks to the reach of social media.

Well before the likes of Zee TV star Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Master Chef stars Vikas Khanna and Kunal Kapoor, Chef Satish Arora took humble Indian dishes to fine-dining status. With a career expanding 50 years which was catapulted by his success as the world’s youngest Executive Chef of a five-star kitchen at a mere 26 years of age, he has been the inspiration for many in his industry, and has also been a role model for his kin.

I had the immense pleasure of meeting the legend in person at Mahec (Le Meridian, Airport Road Dubai) which he has recently taken over. Here is an except on Chef Arora’s trailblazing career, his undying passion for food, and advice for the next generation.

There was a time I’d pass by the colorfully quirky facade of Sugar Factory and mistaken it to be a candy store. The rainbow of candy options are enough to make Willie Wonka go green with envy, and for my little girl to get a major sugar high with just one look.

And then I discovered their soulfully delicious Laksa. Very few menus in Dubai offer this coconut milk based noodle soup, and who would have thought an American chain (in the guise of a candy store) could do such a good job?

That was in their Dubai Festival City branch, and they have since opened up in La Mer Dubai. I was invited for a review there, and took it as a great opportunity to catch up with a friend.