French Pavilion at Gulfood 2014

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From the 23rd to the 27th February 2014, Gulfood - the world's biggest annual food and hospitality show is on to showcase the best and the biggest brands from around the world.

My friend and co-blogger Grace extended the invite from the French Trade Commission - UBIFRANCE to visit Gulfood. We visited the French Pavilion yesterday, which is actually divided into two - Food & Drink located at Sheikh Saeed Halls and Food Service & Catering Equipment located in Zabeel Hall.

Concentrating on the Food & Drink pavilion, we have seen, discovered and tasted some of the best products from France starting from organic juices, dairy and nondairy products, chocolates, milkshakes, frozen food and pastries, honey, mustard, sauces and vinaigrette's.

Let me give you a sneak peek of the French Pavilion Food & Drink. Some of the products are already available in Dubai market while some have high potential to enter the market that may fill the gap.

Pure Soda - a product of La Compagnie des Boissons Biologiques
A range of slightly carbonated soft drinks made from organic fruit juice and cane sugar with 4 flavors - orange, lemon, strawberry and grapefruit. Claiming as 100% natural and certified organic, you can offer this refreshing soda to your kids in replacement of other fizzy drinks.

Monbana - is an expert in chocolate drinks (aka- milkshakes) and leader in coffee accompaniment products.

The monsieur here prepared for us a lovely, uber tasty chocolate milkshake

Andros is a family owned multinational food company with four main know how's in fruit processing, dairy products, confectionery and frozen desserts and in one international brand : Bonne Maman.

This young Mr. from Indonesia is an expert mixologist and he prepared for us two different lychee drink, light and very refreshing, he blended it with basil herb and orange zest

Moving on, do you know that your favorite French macarons are available in frozen form? Yes you heard that right.

Tipiak Traiture Patissier - specializes in French culinary specialties, frozen and ready to use, for food service, retailers and caterers offers sweet finger food pastries like macarons and mini eclairs.

Pomone - is a family owned business specialized in frozen pastry - traditional french pastries

This insanely mouthwatering chocolate cake here was popped into the microwave oven for 40 seconds and was ready for serving. I remember baking something like this and it took me couple of hours in the kitchen.

Eurial Group offers a wide range of dairy products for French and export markets including goat and cow cheeses, pizza cheeses (including mozzarella) IQF cheeses, cream, butter and organic products Some of the strongest brands include Merci Chef, Maestrella and Soignon.They are constantly developing new products and solutions adapted to specific needs of consumers, caterers and food industry.

We get to taste this garlic and herbs and honey flavoured goat cheeses (spreadable type) and a brand of Merci Chef. Its perfect especially the honey flavor which I am sure my kids will love. Really tasty.

Naturalim France Miel and Miel et Miels belongs to an organization called Franche-Comte Conseil regional. They offers excellent, noble pure honey.

Grace and I tasted about 6 different flavors of honey and they are all natural made from different type of flowers where the bees take the sap starting from acacia which is the most common, lavender, spruce, champagne flowers, carrot, lemon, and rosemary.

Other products in the Franche-Comte stand are cheeses, oils and vinaigrette

Maille or Link International for mustard are also at the pavilion. I love their grainy mustard, I use it as marinade for meat and seafood recipes and for salad dressing. They have a legacy of 84 superb mustard and 120 vinegars.

Lastly Delifrance ME  specializes on rustic bread and crispy pastry made from flour and French noble ingredients.

Yes I know I said sneak peek but this has become a bit longish post. Any how you have seen it here already. all you have to do is to see it for yourself. Gulfood is until tomorrow, 27th February so if you are planning to go please don't forget to visit the French Pavilion at Sheikh Saeed Halls. It is advisable to take the metro and stop at Trade Center Metro Station, bringing your car will just stuck you in heavy traffic.

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À la maison

All through out the weekend, I was busy helping my eldest build her house project for her French class. Her teacher asked the students to submit a 3D house with French labels in it

l'entrée - the hall

la cuisine - the kitchen

la chambre (à coucher) - the bedroom

la salle de bains - the bathroom/washroom

la salle à manger - the dining room

les toilettes - the toilet, bathroom

le salon - the living room

Mommy's not an Architect nor an Engineer but she loves arts and craft so we ended up with a doll house.

I found some dollhouse inspiration from Pinterest

and Mica loves crafting and she always go here for her crafts tutorial. I enjoyed doing this project with her, the kid in me is happy. I ask her to bring it home after grading so she can play with it. 

The materials I used here are all recycled - card boards, shoe boxes, magazine cutouts for some pictures, used up toilet roll card board, some glue, scissors, masking tape, spare fabric, and gift wrap paper.

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Sonu Sood for D-man Perfumes by Giovanni Bacci

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Bollywood actor Sonu Sood is Giovanni Bacci's newest brand ambassador. The announcement comes with the successful launch in Dubai of its latest range of fragrances for men "D-man."

The D-man collection is inspired by Sood's strong physical appeal, charisma and daring attitude. The new fragrances launched to the D-man series is Denim, Gold and Wood, each defined by its individual scents from the freshness of wood, to sensual white musk to citrusy tangerine and lemon. The other fragrances part of the D-man collection by Giovanni Bacci includes Black, D-man Leather and D-man Pour Homme.

Speaking at the launch of D-man perfumes, the model-turned-actor said: "It is a great pleasure for me to be the face of Giovanni Bacci. The fragrances are rich and energetic, and perfect to carry on all day long."

Giovanni Bacci are exclusively distributed in the region by Shaik Mohd. Saeed Est., the Dubai based retailer and distributor of leading perfume brands from across the world.

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Teaching kids to do chores

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Our parents taught us everything we need to know about household chores and I am thankful that they did. I remember hand washing and pressing our clothes, sweeping the ground with broomstick, dusting furniture and removing cobwebs, washing and drying the dishes, making our bed in the morning and night, and even cleaning the fish and cooking the rice when I was young. It was all fun for me, I never thought of it as hard work. I grew up knowing everything about house keeping. I am now married with two kids and I am far from my mom but I am not worried because I know how to take care of my family. Every little things I learned from our parents, I thank them for it, and it is also good to mention that I have another mentor, my moms youngest and only sister taught me a lot of things too. I owe it to them and thank you because you prepared me for my future which is now.

Last weekend, I posted a photo in Facebook of the kids helping out in the kitchen.  My dear darling daughter requested some crispy fish fillet for lunch and she wanted to cook it herself, I was there to guide her. She was satisfied at how her dish tasted. 

We used white frozen fish fillet, thawed, seasoned with salt and pepper and squeezed with half lemon juice

Then dipped in egg, white flour and panko bread crumbs

In a frying pan, I added some olive oil and we fry the fish fillets in batches

Turning it after about 5 minutes or until sides are crispy

Here's Mica transferring the last batch to the serving plate

While me and Mica were busy with cooking, the little guy wanted to join the fun but he can't cook. He pulled a chair and climb to see what we were doing and then he found some dirty dishes on the sink. He wanted to wash them so I let him do it, of course I supervised and guided him to avoid mess and from breaking the plates and glasses

Look at how diligently he is doing it :)

Other than just washing the dishes, Prince also helps me in setting the table, I assigned him to put the fork and spoon after I put the plates on the table. He enjoys it a lot and he is a very helpful and cooperative. I know that it's like all play with him now but giving him a part of the responsibility makes him feel valued and part of the family and I am sure that he will benefit from it in the future as I lay for him the groundwork of good habits.

In the evening, I took them to the nearby park to play, say a reward for a job well done.

I am glad that at a young, the kids become aware of the things they can do to help at home, it teaches them responsibility and it is fun doing it together, our bonding time while our dad is at work.

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Balcony Gardening

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I was about to give up on my balcony gardening after my tomato and green bell pepper plants died but I just love growing plants and seeing something green on our balcony so I gave it another try. In my last post on my other blog Veggies On Air last November 22, 2013, I sowed some basil and pumpkin seeds. I patiently waited for them to grow and I am glad that they reached this point without dying or being eaten by birds and pests. It took time for the basil seed to germinate, I sowed many seeds but only one survived, I am closely paying attention to this baby because I wanted it to mature so I wouldn't have to buy basil from the supermarket anymore.

On the other hand, the pumpkin seed which I just got from a pumpkin I bought is looking very healthy.

And until recently, I got a surprise, it has flowers!

In addition, I again planted some tomatoes and chili peppers

During our last visit to the supermarket, I got a rosemary seedling, I already transferred it to another pot but I don't have a picture of it yet but it's looking very healthy right now. All the plants are looking fine and again fingers crossed, I am hoping to harvest something this time, maybe a tomato or green peppers or better yet a pumpkin.

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Can you please give us back Friday?

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Since Ferald started his new job, we rarely had a family day out on a Friday. DSF which is one of our favorite events in Dubai is almost over but we haven't seen any of its shows yet, I don’t want the kids to miss it, I want them to see at least one or two shows. For six years we have a fixed schedule of Friday-Saturday off from work and school but now the husband's work week starts on a Thursday while I am just about to finish mine.

I used to look forward to Thursdays but not anymore. It's been two months now but I just can't get the hang of it, it's driving me nuts. The weekend routine has change and we have to make big adjustments to our schedules. It's not just me; even the kids are adjusting to it too. My daughter once told me he misses his dad and it doesn't feel like weekend. Even my almost 4 year old son is the happiest when his dad's day off comes which is on Tuesday and Wednesday. he misses him too on Fridays and Saturdays.

We all miss him, I miss him, we get used to a fixed schedule for the longest time and it is very difficult to let go of it. I just wish he get a change in work schedule soon.

Can you please give us back Friday please please pleaseeeee?
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New Years Eve Celebration by the Beach

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For the second time around we ushered the New Year by the beach next to Burj Al Arab. The last time we were there was in 2009. It was a bigger event this time and more crowded because the people are also anticipating to witness Atlantis the Palm and the World Island break the record of Bahrain with the most number of pyrotechnics. And did they break it? Of course they did. Here's the vid

We left the house at eight in the evening, we reached the beach road after battling traffic jams and also faced difficulty getting a parking space because every inch and every corner are already occupied, we were able to park our car after an hour or so. Two hours to midnight, we got a good spot at the beach for viewing the fireworks display.

We had our packed media noche feast that I prepared myself and then we sit back and relax sipping some hot drinks while waiting for the countdown to begin. This is us all wrapped up in warm clothes because it was very cold, I love those pompom hats the kids are wearing, their dad bought it last minute because he was worried the kids will be too exposed to cold.

We had our ups and downs in 2013 and the worst part was when Ferald lost his job and the best part was when he found a new one. Mica on the other hand had her first confession and Prince is potty trained. I had some good things happening at work and was really thankful for it.

Then the countdown begins ...12:00 1/1/2014 Welcome 2014

This is also a good viewing spot to see the most awaited fireworks display of the Palm Island and the World Island, few minutes after Burj Al Araab fireworks display, it erupted and the shoreline was again illuminated with beautiful colors.

It was all worth the wait, we ended our 2013 and usher 2014 with a high spirit. We got home at about past 3 am. I woke up loving 2014, it feels like I am a new person just as the new year. I am looking forward to a good year ahead.

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