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  • Accompaniments,  Cheese,  farmers cheese,  Food,  Hotels,  India,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses,  wine

    A Dosa the Action in Mumbai

    Six women board a plane to go to Mumbai, India. What happened next will shock you. It’s a wonder we all actually made it to Mumbai. With visa and immigration hassles and the copious quantities of bubbles consumed in the lAl Mourjanounge at Hamad International Airport, I was pretty sure there was some kind of black notice issued by multiple authorities. I will admit, there was a moment when I thought this trip would never happen. It was when one of our crew was forced to get her visa at the very last minute. This required the speedy skills of our driver Shafi and many Hail Marys. Many dosa, samosa…

  • Accompaniments,  Cheese,  Food,  Hotels,  India,  Restaurants,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses,  White Cheese

    Paneer to My Heart

    There was a seminal moment on my recent girl’s weekend to Amritsar, India. When, at a famous local restaurant, the Brothers Dhaba, we ordered two more parathas. This is a flaky Indian flatbread, buttery and oily in that perfect way, served hot from the oven and irresistible. The waiter, stared at the already heaving table before our party of four, and said “but you heave two more dishes coming”. Shoveling food into our mouths, we barely breathed, in unison we said “We don’t care!”. He backed away from the table like a man who had seen something very, very alarming. There is something about India. I do love visiting –…

  • Cheese,  Mexico,  Restaurant Review,  South American,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses,  White Cheese

    South of the Border…Doha Style

    I admire the people of Mexico and their devotion to all things cheese-related. I mean, what’s a taco without cheese? But I am stereotyping this great country and its’ food. It’s much more than tacos and enchiladas. That said, it is hard to find authentic Mexican food in the Middle East, or anywhere outside of Mexico and the US.To make authentic Mexican food, you need a Mexican chef. Which is why I am hightailing it down to The Sheraton Doha tonight to check out a Mexican chef, Demian, in his unnatural habitat. For one week only, the Sheraton is hosting this chef for a Mexican Gastronomic Week, with a special…

  • Cheese,  France,  French,  Goat Cheese,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses,  wine

    Baguette About It – French Cheese Wrapped in More Than Bread

    I don’t know about you, but I love eating things that are wrapped in something else. Be it bread, pastry, cheese or even bacon. It’s like getting two tastes in one bite. Cheese has been wrapped in things besides bread (ahem baguettes) for centuries. At a recent cheese and wine night at Grand Hyatt Doha I came across this beauty – Banon à la feuille, it is an unpasteurized cheese made from goat’s milk. This pungent uncooked, unpressed cheese consists of a fine soft white pâte that is wrapped in chestnut leaves and tied with raffia prior to shipping. It hails from the region around the town of Banon in…

  • Cheese,  European Cheese,  Food,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses

    Girl on Grill (Cheese) Action

    There are very few things in life that cannot be improved by a good grilling – meat, men and democracy being ones that spring immediately to mind. And of course, cheese. A friend and colleague had brought back this cheese from Saudi Arabia for me. Yes, an Eastern European cheese bought in Riyadh and delivered to me in Doha. International yah? Kashkaval is a yellow cheese hailing from Eastern Europe, specifically Albania, Romania and related countries. It tastes similar to cheddar cheese, and this one was laced with cumin seeds, giving it a unique flavor. It can be made with sheep or cow milk and I suspect this one was…

  • Cheese,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses,  White Cheese

    Like a Paratha – Adventures in India Part 1

    When I tell people how much I like India, their faces often screw up and they hold their stomachs. I may be jinxing myself, but I have never had a dose of Delhi Belly that originated in India. Pakistan is another issue. Visiting there back in 2008, I was so ill I lay on the floor of my hotel bathroom in Karachi wrapped only in a towel in a pool of sweat and started to write my will on hotel stationery. I stopped because I realized all I had was a German car the bank mostly owned and a nice handbag to offer my loved ones. Back to India. I…

  • Cheese,  Middle East,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses,  White Cheese

    Feeling Ropey – All Wound Up About Shelal Cheese

    Something had me doing a cartoon-like double take in Spinney’s supermarket this week (and it wasn’t the bill, altough I do tend to leave this place feeling violated and not in a good way). While cruising past the olives and nestled next to the pickles in the deli area I found this interesting sight – Closer inspection revealed it to be a cheese of some description, but the guy behind the counter was unhelpful – “It could be a cheese, I don’t know”. So I took a punt, bought a hunk and set off home to investigate. Turns out this is shelal cheese (Jibneh Shelal), known now amongst hipsters and…

  • British cheese,  Cheese,  Food,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses

    Up Hill and Down Wensleydale

    So this week just past I turned 42. Apparently 42 is not just the number after 41. It has “pop culture” significance. It is the angle of degrees at which a rainbow appears. The three best-selling music albums – Michael Jackson’s Thriller, AC/DC’s Back in Black and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon – last 42 minutes. Titanic was traveling at a speed equivalent to 42km/hour when it collided with an iceberg. The world’s first book printed with movable type is the Gutenberg Bible which has 42 lines per page. On page 42 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry discovers he’s a wizard. And of course….In…

  • Cheese,  Food,  Sweden,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses

    Baby I was Bjorn This Way – Cheese, Meatballs and ABBA in Stockholm

    I am going to be brutally honest. I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. The main reason I went to Stockholm was to visit Abba – The Museum (and visit friends NOT called Benny or Bjorn) and pay homage to the supergroup that had a significant impact on my childhood, and yes, my adulthood. Australia was the first country outside of Sweden to really embrace ABBA and all its campness. ‘Australia was the first country that took ABBA to heart and we never forgot about that. We always felt a lot of love from audiences there,’’ Bjorn Ulvaeus once said. I was not immune. I had their albums,…