February 28, 2012

Travel Tales: Dubai Part 2, Shopping...!!

I like my money right where I can see it - hanging in my closet. (SITC)

In most women's lives, shopping is a hobby and for some it is a must.

Women and shopping have a very deep bond. Some of us shop for what we need, some of us don't need an excuse and can actually shop till we drop. We don't need a special time or reason to shop but travelling definitely increases that urge!

(*Disclaimer* : Photos used in this post are property of Food-Shop-Travel and may not be used, reprinted, or published without my consent.)

As you all know DUBAI is one of the biggest shopping hubs in the world. People from all around the world come to shop there. The shopping festivals, duty free & the malls are amazing. Brands available are numerous and the options are abundant.

My personal favourites are Dubai mall & Emirates mall. But I will be reviewing few more of the good malls in Dubai which I enjoy going to while Iam visiting.

Travel Tip: If you are going to a shoppers paradise like London, Paris, Dubai, NY etc. pack light. Because there are chances you will shop a lot and end up carrying extra baggage especially when travelling with kids.

To begin with; will start off with Dubai Mall. I call it the 'Queen of malls'.

It is one of my most favourite hangouts when Iam in Dubai. I just love love love it. I can spend the whole day there because its not just a mall. Whether you want to eat, chill with friends, relax, watch a movie, want your kids to have some good indoor fun, shop, watch the majestic dancing fountain or go on top of the world! (Burj Khalifa)

It has it all :)

The Dubai Mall is the world's largest shopping mall based on total area and sixth largest by gross leasable area. Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, it is part of the 20-billion-dollar Burj Khalifa complex, and includes 1,200. Opened on 4 November 2008, with about 635 retailers, marking the world's largest-ever mall opening in retail history.

The Dubai Mall has recorded a visitor turn-out of more than 60,000 tickets sold for the Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre in the first five days, following its opening. The Dubai Mall hosted over 37 million visitors in 2009 and attracts more than 750,000 visitors every week. (Source: Wikipedia)

It offers more or less everything a family needs for a fun day out.

Dubai Aquarium and Under Water Zoo.

Dubai Underwater zoo has many species of fish, including sharks. This is one of the photos I clicked (the view inside the tunnel). Well, frankly my heart did skip a beat when I saw these sharks swimming right on top of my head.

Arabian Souk.

The Arabian Souk has a feel of Arabia. They have built an area which gives you the feel of a true traditional 'souk' with a modern kick to it. I especially enjoy the 'Gold Souk', if you're interested in gold shopping, this is a must visit.

Dubai Ice Rink

Ice Rink is inside Dubai Mall. With world-class multimedia system including a 20 m × 10 m LED screen. The Dubai Ice Rink hosts parties, Learn-to-Skate programmes, figure skating lessons etc. It is nice to watch young kids skate. You can send kids for lessons or take one yourself.

SEGA Republic:

A 76,000 sq ft (7,100 m2) indoor theme park. Visitors can enjoy over 150 amusement games. Includes KidZania, which is like a small theme park for children, as well as SEGA Republic, a spectacular games arcade.

Needless to say this is Bubba Rayyan's favourite part of the mall. He can spend hours in there and still leave crying! This indoor play area is beautifully made and has toys and games for all ages.

Another amazing must see is the world’s largest dancing fountain, on an artificial lake. Next to Burj Khalifa. Simply Beautiful. The fountain dances (literally) on western music, arabic etc sometimes slow & romantic and other times jazzy. After a long walk in the mall it is a very soothing sight.

Below is the view of the dancing fountain from top of the world! ( Top of Burj Khalifa)

Reel Cinemas:

On the second floor of Dubai Mall. Reel Cinema is a huge megaplex with more than 2,800 seats. It is the largest cinema in the region. It is mostly full on weekends especially for movies that are new and have good reviews you might have to reserve seats beforehand otherwise you will not get any availability. What we do is take tickets first, shop and eat and then watch a late night show.


Dubai Mall contains has Galeries Lafayette, Debenhams, my favourite Bloomingdale's and many, many more!

Mall of the Emirates:

This mall is also one of the largest malls in the world. Mall of the Emirates, the ultimate leisure, entertainment and shopping resort. Located in the heart of ‘New Dubai’, it offers a full range of shopping, leisure, and entertainment.

Mall of the Emirates features international brands, including department, fashion, lifestyle, sports, electronics and home furnishing stores and the largest Carrefour in the city.For kids it include a Magic Planet family entertainment area, a 14-screen multiplex cinema, the world-renowned Ski Dubai, a five star Kempinski Hotel, The Pullman Dubai Hotel, coffee shops and restaurants. (Source: Wikipedia)

Mall of the Emirates is most famous for having a giant indoor ski slope with real snow. It is a must go when you're visiting for the first time . It is great to see snow in the desert!

The mall is only a short taxi or metro ride away from the Burj Al Arab.

Ibn Battuta Mall:

The Ibn Battuta Mall is quite a long way out of town, past the Mall of the Emirates & past Internet City. But it is worth a trip if only to marvel at the architecture.

The Ibn Battuta is also a big mall, with different themes (China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia, Andalucia) based on the travels of a 14th Century explorer. Unlike other malls, the Ibn Battuta is all on one level, which makes it a long walk. The architecture is beautiful and worth appreciating.


Gold, Spice and Perfume Souks. During the Shopping Festival, a Night Souk opens from 8pm-2am, selling everything from clothes to cosmetics. The souks are perfect to find souveneirs and other traditional stuff. There are many other souks in Dubai, if you are tired of malls you can ask the hotel reception for the closest souk and enjoy a day out in one of the traditional market place.


Mercato is a small, Renaissance and Venetian-themed mall on Jumeirah Beach Road (JBR). It only has a limited variety of shops and restaurants. It is surely one of the most elegant Malls with its beautiful wall paintings of Venice and a complex facade. The look is Venetian and Tuscan. It has a very romantic, Eurpean look to it and the architecture would remind you of French, Italian and Spanish. Enjoy shopping or just have coffee and a long romantic walk.

Dubai Marina Mall
Right in the heart of Marina. Visited this mall while we stayed at The Address Dubai Marina. The hotel was attached to it and had a direct connection to Dubai Marina Mall. I enjoyed the whole day and beautiful scenic view. Like most big malls in Dubai its has lots of brands to offer including Bebe, Karen Millen, Juicy Couture, Guess, Bobbi Brown etc. It is a short walk from the nearby beach. Also has Waitrose Supermarket, a children’s play area called the Kids Zone, a six screen cinema.

Dubai Outlet Mall
I went to this mall aound 2 years ago. A friend of mine recommended it. It is also a big mall with baby sitting (play area) facilities. The mall is located in a portion of the Dubai Outlet City (DOC) located in Dubailand. It has shops to most major brands at very good prices. If you are looking for discounts and savings on brands this is the mall to go.

Dragon Mart

Dragon mart provides a gateway for the supply of Chinese products in the Middle Eastern and North African Markets, offering Chinese traders and manufacturers a unique platform from which to cater to the needs of this sizeable market. The 1.2 kilometre-long DragonMart is the largest trading centre for Chinese products outside mainland China.

The 150,000 square meter dragon-shaped structure has 3,950 shops engaged in the wholesale and retail trade of a variety of Chinese products including home appliances, stationery, office appliances, communication and acoustic equipment, lamps, household items, building materials, furniture, toys, machinery, garments, textiles, footwear and general merchandise.

With over 2,500 parking spaces, the shopping centre is divided into seven zones offering an array of high quality facilities for visitors and traders alike. They have everything from China including clothes, bags, household stuff, furniture, carpets, rugs, toys etc.

Having been to China numerous times, I never really shopped for anything from this mall but if you want good stuff at a good price: dragon mart is a must go atleast once!

No time for malli-ing? Dubai Duty Free offers an extensive range of quality products. From leather goods and clothing to gold and perfumes, Dubai Duty Free has it all. Last minute gifts, souvenir shopping, CD's, DVDs, Toys, Books etc. Who doesn't love Dubai Airport! :)

These are places where I shop when I am in Dubai. There are many more malls, souks, markets and places to shop from but these are where you can mainly go and focus on. Especially when you are short of time and have to 'choose'.

Happy Shopping!! :D

February 25, 2012

Recipe of the day: Icecream Sundae Pie.

Who said you can only get good looking, mouth watering sundaes and icecream pies at shops? Craving for one? This one is yummylicious and super easy peasy!

Most of the stuff used is in your kitchen pantry and fridge. Make one today! :)

All you need is:

4 cups cereal (grinded)- You can use coco pops, frosties, cheerios, honey and nut or even K bran

1/2 cup Peanut Butter

1/2 cup Honey (or Corn syrup)

1/2 to 1 tub vanilla icecream ( you can use any other flavour too)

1/4 cup peanuts/almonds

1/2 cup Hersheys chocolate syup or Hot Fudge.

How to make it:

Grease a deep dish/pie plate (preferrably 9 inch).

Mix together cereal, peanut butter and honey. Press in the pan.

Spread softened icecream on the crust.(not melted, just softened enough to spread easily.)

Garnish with nuts.

Freeze for 4-6 hours.

Serve with syrup/fudge/whipped cream.

Enjoy this sweet, frozen easy to make in minutes sweet treat :)

A Wintery Week In England

Hello! Hello! Iam back after a chilly week in England. Enjoyed lots and now missing the greens, the rain, the wind...Back to the desert couple of days ago and was welcomed by a dusty sand storm, Rayyan coughed all the way home (*sad mama*)

But the end of the day it is great to be back home, sleeping in my own bed, my kitchen, home cooked meals and ofcourse cleaning up the dusty house (well, that is the part Iam not exactly fond of...!).

Not to forget...good to be back to blogging! Dubai Part 2 (shopping) is coming up next along with a few pending recipes.

Hope all of you are doing great!

February 12, 2012

Recipe of the day: Fruit Tartlets

A tart is a baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry. The pastry is usually shortcrust pastry; the filling may be sweet or savoury, though modern tarts are usually fruit-based, sometimes with custard. Tartlet refers to a miniature tart. (Source: Wikipedia)

I simply adore tarts & tartlets. Especially for breakfast. I made some for friends for a breakfast at my place, few days ago and everyone loved them. They are easy and if you are into baking you will get them perfectly in the first go!

What You Need:

For pastry (makes 12)

200g/7oz plain flour (plus extra for dusting)

85g/3oz icing sugar

55g/2 oz ground almonds

115g/4oz unsalted butter (diced and chilled)

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp milk

For filling:

You can use custard powder (I used foster clark's-vanilla)

If you have a good from scratch custard recipe you can use that. Just make sure its not runny and thin. Make sure to cool and cover custard.

How To Make It:

To make the pastry, sift the flour and sugar into a bowl, then stir in the almonds.

Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the egg yolk & milk and mix to form a dough.

Turn out to a lightly floured surface and knead for few minutes.

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Roll out the pastry and use it to line 12 deep tartlet (or even separate tart pans)

Prick the pastry bases with a fork.

Press a piece of foil into each tartlet, covering the edges and bake for 10-15 minutes or until light golden brown.

Remove the foil and bake further 2-3 minutes.


Make the custard separately and put a spoonful filling in each pastry case.

Arrange fruits on top (I only used strawberries but you can use kiwis, berries and peaches too!)

Pipe cream to garnish and dust with icing sugar or brush fruits with a little apricot or any flavoured fruit jam to give it a shiny glaze.

Serve immediately.

Enjoy :)

February 10, 2012

Travel Tales: Dubai Part 1, Desert Safari

Finally it is here, my first travel log which I had been meaning to write for quite sometime now. Will be adding travel tips and logs more often from now on, but in parts.

I will also share my personal travel experiences, travel tips which worked for me and ofcourse photos.

A little over six years in the desert and we have travelled around 25 countries and over 70 cities. Both my husband and I enjoy travelling and exploring new places. I admit our choices and interests differ though! He being the adventerous type; more into climbing, trekking, snorkeling, scuba diving etc.

Whereas I am more intrested in the small shops, wandering around the streets and market place, picnics in the park, lazing in the sun, beach walks, antiques, collecting stuff, shopping & ofcourse eating!

My personal favourite Travel sites are:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ and http://www.lonelyplanet.com/

I search for hotels at
http://www.booking.com/, http://www.hotels.com/ and http://www.agoda.com/ etc.

and here comes Travel tip number #1: Always do your homework before travelling.

I know a lot of people who travel but they dont do any planning before hand. They don't know where to go nor what to do exactly. They are totally blank when they travel and they don't really make the most of it. Personally I always jot down important places to cover and things to do 'before' I leave for the chosen destination in my travel diary. You can easily find top attractions for couples, families with kids and elderly couples on the website. Where to eat and where to shop, what to do in leisure time, if you have everything planned your trip will be a lot more enjoyable. It will save a lot of precious time for you especially when you are short of time and have to cover many places in a couple of days.

Moving on to the travel post, this is Dubai: Part 1 (because I dont want the posts to get too long.)


With its ultramodern skyline, it's easy to forget that Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, was once a small town of Bedouin traders. Now the old mixes with the new: At the Nad al Sheba racetrack, camels race by day; thoroughbreds at night. High fashion and electronic stores are as popular as the gold souk. A sampling of the 400-plus restaurants gives you a taste of Dubai's ethnic diversity. Come enjoy the beaches, golf, historic sites, nightlife and renowned tax-free shopping of Dubai (Source: Tripadvisor)

Dubai city has a lot to offer. It is a shoppers paradise, the sandy beaches, the nightlife, fun activities for families and kids and ofcourse the amazing food! People are very friendly and hospitable.

My first trip to dubai was almost five years ago and it was only for a few days. Most of it is now a blur but I clearly remember how much I enjoyed the place and I fell in love with it instantly. How many times I have been there; frankly I have lost count. But everytime we visit dubai we find something new and happening to do and thats the beauty of the happening city!

Back in 2007, before Rayyan was born, we enjoyed Desert Safari in Dubai. It was first time for me and I had thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We have never attempted desert safari with Rayyan and I don't think I would even try that because even I felt a little sick after the bumpy ride.

Secondly it is not recommended for children below 3 years and the Dune bashing is quiet bumpy and not safe for infants and most don't offer any special seats for babies nor allow kids. Pregnant women and very elderly people are also not recommended to take this bumpy ride.

Having said that it is definitely a super fun experience. A must for everyone who is visiting Dubai. I recommend it highly.

The following activities are included in Most packages:

Pick up & drop back (any point in Dubai)
Drive through the desert
Dune Bashing
Dune Driving
Sand Skiing
Sun Set Photography
Camel Rides
Belly Dancing
Henna Painting
Hubbly Bubbly (Sheesha) & Arabic Coffee (Qahwa)
Traditional costumes
Buffet Dinner and B.B.Q

Drivers are usually quite friendly and they communicate throughtout the journey and takecare of your comfort. They ask if you are comfortable at a particular speed and even drive faster if you like the thrill.

After a full of fun bumpy ride, it is beautiful when sunsets and perfect time to click photographs & capture those moments, while standing on top of the slowly fading desert dunes. Then they head towards the main campsite where you can opt to take short camel rides.

You can purchase souvenirs before finally relaxing on a majlis (traditional low cushions). Dinner is mostly a buffet and BBQ with traditional Arabic cuisine. It is also very romantic, with bonfire and traditional cups of coffee and dates.

You can also dress up in the traditional Bedouin male or female garments,and click more photos. Also included is Henna (temporary tatoo) to decorate your hands, legs or feet and smoke flavored sheesha (hubbly-bubbly). And lastly dancing of a belly dancer to traditional Arabic music, right before they drop you off to your hotel (pick-up point).

Prices differ according to the package you choose. There are morning, half-day and over night safaris too. Most packages start from 50$ per person.

All in all it is a must do while in Dubai...!

(Excuse the quality of the pictures. At that time I was not very fond of photography and was more interested in making videos with my handycam.)

What more to do while in Dubai, where to stay, where to eat and where to shop. Coming up next time :)

February 9, 2012

Tweet! Tweet! It's Thursday!

Our weekend in the desert has started. After a very busy trip to Dubai and a hectic week of parties (thanks to all dear friends for the yummy breakfasts and lunches!)

Iam planning to just rest. Had a late breakfast (cinnabons-to be precise-I know bad! bad!). Watched a movie while Rayyan made a mess of his room. The room is full of cars and crayons. I am not even going there! It is "only sit back & relax" day for me. Just the other day cleaned up the whole place and got hold of stuff I didn't even know were in the house. Note to self- no more shopping for mama...(ahem!ahem!)

Lots of stuff lined up including my first Travel Post (the only time I get to type in peace is 12am....sigh!) and few recipes. Soon, Soon.

Hope all of you have a great day with your families, friends & loved ones.

February 6, 2012

Recipe Of the Day: Kashmiri Chai (Pink Tea)

Kashmiri Chai also known as Pink tea is very famous in Pakistan. Especially in winters. Kashmiri Chai is also prepared by using green tea leaves with a required quantity of milk. It is usually served with coconut, crushed Almonds and Pistachios.

Personally I have tried both recipes below with and without leaves.

Ofcourse the one without leaves is not really tea but it tastes kinda same.

You can say it is simply sweetened milk which we get in bottles in Pakistan at most milkshops. Just add a little pink colour and rose essence in it and it smells and tastes like Kashmiri Chai too.

It is a small cheat when you dont want to add tea leaves or you dont have them at home and I just love easy, shortcut recipes ;) Will share both recipes here.

Kashmiri Chai (with leaves):


6 tsp. green tea leaves
15-20 seeds of green cardamom plus 1-2 tsp. ground cardamom
1-2 tsp. bicarbonate soda (meetha soda)
1 litre full fat milk
Crushed pistachio/almonds
6 cups water
Sugar and salt to taste.

How to Make:

Pour water in a large pan. Add tea leaves,salt, seeds of green cardamom and soda.

Bring to boil reduce heat and simmer until it reduces to 1/2 of its quantity.

While it is still boiling pour in it about 2-3 cups of cold water.

Beat and bring to boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes.

Remove from heat, strain and keep aside.

Boil the milk with ground cardamom over low heat.

Pour prepared tea water (Qahwa) in the milk.

Bring to boil, add salt and simmer for 3-5 minutes over low heat.

Remove from heat and pour into cups.

Pour 1 tablespoon of cream or malai.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of pistachio/almonds over it.

Now the next one is "MY" recipe for sweetened milk. (which tastes more or less like Kashmiri Chai especially for us 'Pardesis' who yearn for it)

You need: (you can make it according to your need and adjust ingredients accordingly)

1 litre milk (full fat)
1 can evaporated milk ( I used Almarai Gold-thick)
1/2 to 1 can condensed milk (no need to add sugar but add if needed)
5-10 cardomoms
2 tsp coconut (dessicated)
2 pinch saffron
1-2 drops of Rose essence
A drop of pink color in each cup.
Almonds and Pistachios (crushed) also for garnish.

How to Make:

Boil milk, add evaporated milk, cardomoms and simmer till almost half is left in the pan.

Add condensed milk. Stir & simmer for few more minutes.

Add saffron, coconut, almonds and pistachio.

Cook for 5-10 minutes more. Milk will be yellowish in color.

Milk should be stirred to make it frothy.

Add rose essence. Pour in cups and add just a drop of pink food color in each cup (some people add roohafza but I don't like that)

Garnish with Malai (cream-if you like) and nuts.

Enjoy! :)

February 4, 2012

Giveaway Time!!

Yayyyy! I simply love giving and receiving gifts and it is here again!

It's Giveaway time folks.

This giveaway is Only for Blog readers in Riyadh.

All you have to do is join the Group and Like the Page. (If you haven't uptil now).

Like and Tag the photo on the page/group with your name.

Click here to join the group and stay updated :) Food-Shop-Travel

and the Giveaway is:

So? What you waiting for :)


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