Tag Archives: spices

Souks in Dubai

This morning, we had planned a guided walking tour of the gold and spice souks, but could never make contact with the local company to confirm, so we hopped on the Metro inside Mall of the Emirates and just enjoyed the walk ourselves.  It’s in the old part of Dubai, so a bit of history would have been helpful, but….

We hopped a 1 dirham  (about 27 cents USD) Abra Boat Ride water taxi ride to the spice and gold souks.

Few crowds maybe because it’s a weekday and it had been raining, not sure.  But there were plenty of vendors in your face plying their wares.  Roping you with cashmere scarves they are pushing (gently remove it and say ‘no thanks’) and an amazing number of young men stepping in front with photos on their phones of ‘purses, watches, sunglasses’  just step back here.  yeah, forget about it.

I really don’t like that aggressive approach at all, but Jessica and I smile and say, ‘very pretty, no thank you.’ It really stresses Dallas though.  His Aspergers  kicks in high in these types of situations, so i tend to limit his exposure – it makes him cranky.

Lots of pretty things, but i have no need for gold or spices and i’m not educated enough to haggle for any of it, so i buy nothing.

One of several spice souks in Dubai.
One of several gold souks in Dubai


First Day in Dubai, UAE

Typically cloudless and sunny, we were greeted to cloudy and windy with air infused sand and dust!

Up early, but slow start.  Jessica is off to work at her kindergarten teaching job at Dubai American Academy literally a five minute walk from her apartment to her classroom!  Today, (Thursday and the last day of the week) was parent-teacher conferences, so Dallas and I were treated to a real tour of her classroom, school, and met a few of her teacher friends.

After spending some time wandering around the area, we were back to the apartment for a nap.

Jessica returned in the mid afternoon and she had plans to walk our feet off.

First to Dubai Miracle Garden – the wind was wicked with sand and dust absolutely a challenge for eyes and throats.  Some people were wearing face masks.  Yes, the garden is touristy, but judging from the number of families,  I suspect many were locals looking for a bit of color and escape from the concrete jungle of everyday.  The air quality inside the garden was aided by tall trees surrounding the park.

Dubai Miracle GardenEmirates Airline has teamed up with Dubai Miracle Garden to construct the world’s largest floral installation through a life-size version of the Emirates A380, covered in more than 500,000 fresh flowers and living plants. When in full bloom, the aircraft structure will have an unprecedented total stem count of 5 million flowers and will weigh over 100 tonnes (take-off weight of an actual A380 is 575 tonnes).
Dubai Miracle Garden – small replica of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, surrounded by masses of beautiful flowers infusing the whole area with pleasant sights and smells.

Just before dusk, we drove then to Global Village – This park opens at 5pm, because truly it is best enjoyed after dark to appreciate the lights, sounds, action, and each country providing quality dance exhibitions all included in your ticket.  Mostly, this is a chance for countries to sell and promote their wares, but it was fun to peruse the stalls.  Bear in mind, we Westerners are not all that used to hawkers and they are in full force.  Just politely say no thank you (sometimes multiple times) and move on or jump in  for the thrill of snagging a great deal.

Big day tomorrow!


Brown Broth for Liquid Diet

So, why the liquid diet postings – well, my father-in-law just went through terrible pain and finally surgery to pull his stomach down through his diaphragm so that it was no longer in his chest cavity!  There were a lot of problems this caused, so we all hope that he will be able to heal now.  To start, however, he is on a 2 week liquid diet, so the challenge is to provide high calorie, palatable liquids so he can gain enough strength to keep going.  Especially when he doesn’t even have an appetite.

We had just butchered a beef and i had asked the butcher to throw all the big bones in sacks for the dog, but now I’m cooking them for bone broth before letting the dog have at them.  I  pack a 3 gallon stock pot with beef bones and fill with water.  Bring to a boil (be ready because this full pot will boil over and make a mess the minute you turn your back!), then turn down the heat for a slow boil about 5 hours.

Using tongs,  I remove the bones and place in one of those big popcorn tins.  The stock will be reduced to about 8 cups.  Let this cool overnight, so that the fat that hardens on top can be removed easily.  I’m not completely sure that removing all that fat is good, so i typically leave few tablespoons.  It sure is extra calories, which are needed, but sometimes too much fat can cause indigestion and i certainly want to avoid that.

Once this stock is made, it can be used to prepare different flavors or use it as is with maybe a bit of Real salt (which has minerals) to taste.

Here’s what i added to one quart and Jerry really liked it:

8 peppercorns

1 tsp powdered or 5 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp powdered celery

1 tablespoon Real salt

1 large onion, quartered

Bring to boil, then turn down heat and simmer about an hour.  Strain through doubled cheesecloth into a heat proof jar.  I use a regular canning jar which makes it easy to transport up to his house.  This way, he can pour out what he wants to warm up each time he feels he can eat something.

The report this morning was that he really like this combination!



Note that this broth is a far cry from broth purchased in the store.  When this broth is cool, it is very gelatinous indicating its source is more than water and flavour.  Our cattle are pasture finished with no grain or antibiotics.

Hungarian Beef Goulash (Bogracs Gulyas)

Years ago, I put together little ‘thank you for your purchase’ packets of premixed spices for dishes which could be utilized with our grass finished beef.  Customers who purchased a certain amount of beef or lamb from us would receive a packet or two.  Although, I no longer offer fully grass-finished beef and lamb at the retail level, I try to keep a few of these on hand for gifts and such.

Here is one of our favourites!

Hungarian Beef Goulash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2-2 lbs beef (stew meat, round steak, etc) cut into 3/4 inch cubes

2 cups water

8 ounces of chopped tomato or tomato sauce

3 medium onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon

1/2 teaspoon caraway seed

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 medium potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 green peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

Heat oil in Dutch oven or deep 12-inch skillet until hot.  Cook and stir beef in hot oil until brown about 15 minutes.  Add water, tomatoes (with liquid), onions, garlic, paprika, Salt, bouillon, caraway seed, and Pepper.  Break up tomatoes with fork.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 1 hour.

Add potatoes; cover and simmer until beef and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.  Add green peppers; cover and simmer until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.  Serve in soup bowls with chunks of French bread for dipping into hot broth.

That’s it!  My packet of spices makes it easy in that you don’t have to chop onions or garlic and there is no need to keep all those spices on hand.  Additionally, my packets only contain certified organic or all natural ingredients and no preservatives.  So these are best kept in the freezer for long term storage.

Recipe right on the packet!
Recipe right on the packet!

As with any recipe – be flexible with what you have on hand and what you like.  We aren’t keen on cooked peppers, so i replace them with green beans or peas.  It might accommodate sliced fresh okra as well, but haven’t tried that one.  I suspect using grass-finished ground beef would work, too!  Of course, you don’t have to use clean grass finished beef, but since that is what we raise, I tend to be biased that way!