• Brunch,  Cheese,  Qatar,  Restaurant Reviews,  Restaurants

    Wonton in a Million – Doha’s new dim sum brunches

    There are very few things I love more than cheese. The list goes something like: ABBA Online shopping My family and friends My handsome man (he made me write that) And then, there is dim sum or more specifically, dumplings In Australia we call it yum cha and interestingly (OK maybe not), yum cha, which means drinking tea, is the older version of dim sum. In some parts of southern China, restaurants start serving these little morsels at 5am which would actually suit me fine, being an early riser. Dim sum/yum cha of whatever you call it, consists of bite-sized portions traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small…

  • Cheese,  Food,  Restaurant Reviews,  Travel

    That’s Amore – Revisiting Porcini at Ritz Carlton Doha

    In a galaxy far, far away, when I first arrived in Doha, believe it or not there were only a handful of five star hotels and dining options were more limited. I used to spend a lot of time at Ritz Carlton Doha. But you know how it is, as new properties opened and Doha’s traffic started to define Carmageddon, I visited less often in recent times. So when I was invited by the hotel to try an old favorite, their Italian restaurant Porcini, it was a bit like catching up with an old friend after so many years and picking up where you left off. That is not to say…

  • Cheese,  Middle East,  Travel

    Stringing Me Along – When String Cheese Goes Gourmet

    String cheese as it is known to most of us, is a fairly new revelation to me. Most Australians my age (cough) are unfamilar with the commercial string cheese we see in supermarkets now. When I was a kid, we did have Kraft cheese sticks, which were a different texture entirely. They were processed cheddar cheese, extruded into plastic and sealed with tiny metal rings. In hindsight, those metal rings were a choking hazard. Speaking of hazard, after four hours in the lunch box, these sticks had also turned nuclear, or mushy. Moving to the Middle East I discovered the commercial American string cheese, as well as the local variety…

  • Cheese,  life,  Love,  Qatar

    When the Words Just Won’t Come

    As many regular readers know, I generally take a little break from my blog every northern Summer. I get blog fatigue. This year’s has been longer than usual because, I just couldn’t find the words to write. Every time I opened the site to start, the words just wouldn’t come. Just a couple of weeks ago, my greatest supporter, the first reader of my blog, my Mum, passed away after brief and brutal battle with cancer. I still can’t believe those words even as I lived and wrote them. I’m not completely sure how I have been functioning the last few weeks, except for the love and support of family…

  • Cheese,  Doha,  Middle East,  Qatar,  Restaurant Reviews,  Travel

    Breaking the Fast at Eatopia

    Let’s be honest, breakfast for me is usually some toast, topped with maybe a slice of cheese or Vegemite scoffed down at 530am as I rush out the door, praying my car will start that morning. This is why I love weekends, when I can indulge in a decent breakfast, cooked by an expert and also catch up on all the gossip. Eatopia, which opened recently in The Gate Mall in Doha, seems to be all things to all people. Offering different cooking stations as well as a cafe, deli, fresh produce counters and a supermarket, they recently launched a new breakfast buffet and invited me along to test it.…

  • Cheese,  Middle East

    Cheese Really Did Change the Course of Western Civilization

    I don’t want to say I told you so, but this piece on the fabulous Quartz blog has confirmed what I have been banging on about for many, many years. That is…cheese changed the course of civilization. Long story short, the dawn of cheese apparently happened 8500 years ago less than a three hour plane journey from where I am sitting writing this post. In the Fertile Crescent (which stretched from Egypt to what we now know as Iraq and parts of Iran) over production of agriculture had depleted the  soil, meaning our Neolithic ancestors turned to raising sheep and goats. Meanwhile, some smart cookie also invented pottery. Throw into the mix…

  • Accompaniments,  Cheese,  Cheese in Cooking,  Cooking,  Doha,  events,  Feta,  Food,  Food Trends,  Greece,  Hotels,  Middle East,  Promotions,  Restaurant Reviews,  Restaurants,  Travel

    Got Greek?

    I realized a couple of things this week. One is how much I LOVE Greek food and miss it done well here in Doha. And the other is that at age 42 I seem to have forgotten to get married. One of those outstanding issues was resolved this week. No, there wasn’t a quickie wedding. Rather, the Sharq Village and Spa is hosting Greek Week. Being Australian kind of makes me half Greek anyway. Melbourne is said to have the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Europe, after Athens and Thessaloniki, Melbourne’s Greek sister city. Even in Sydney’s west where I was brought up, you grow up fluent in Greek swear…

  • Accompaniments,  American Cheese,  beer,  Cheese in Cooking,  events,  Fast Food,  Food Trends,  Hotels,  Promotions,  Qatar,  Restaurant Review,  Restaurants,  wine

    Getting in the Mood For Dude Food

    So it seems, Dude Food is a thing globally. And this phenomenon has arrived in Doha at an unlikely venue. Opal by Gordon Ramsay at St Regis Doha has embraced this food fad and introduced Chilli Dog Tuesdays. Apparently Dude Food is comfort food for those with a bigger appetite. It is not for the faint-hearted. Think burgers, burritos, big meaty things and hot dogs. The trend originated in the United States, with the street food movement of food trucks. It evolved from there, think junk food classics with a gourmet twist. This is what we have at Opal. Opal is the more casual brother, sorry “bro”, to the sedate…

  • Cheese,  Cheese in Cooking,  Cooking,  Doha,  events,  Food,  Food Trends,  Hotels,  Italian,  Italy,  Middle East,  Promotions,  Qatar,  Recipes

    A Touch of (Cooking) Class

    I consider myself a decent home cook. By this I mean I can joint a chicken, cook pasta to al dente and I also do a line in a good jus. But I can’t temper chocolate and frankly I wouldn’t even make the audition phase on Masterchef without threatening to cut someone. But like most home cooks, I like to expand my repertoire even if it is just in theory. What seems like a lifetime ago when I was a pre-teen, I was sent on some holiday cooking classes run by the local natural gas company (it makes sense if you are Australian). We learned how to make tuna casserole…

  • Artisan Cheese,  Cheese,  Food,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Sheep Milk,  Travel,  White Cheese

    Home Grown Heroes

    By now, three quarters of the free world know I have been growing tomatoes on my terrace. No big deal you say? Well, I am not known for my green thumb and also, I LIVE IN THE DESERT! So now, the tomato vines, tended with love during our short and sweet Doha winter, have started to bear fruit. What to do with this bounty? Today a friend passed by for coffee so I whipped up a quick Middle Eastern style bruschetta. I used one of my favorite cheeses, a labneh from Laiterie Jarjoura in Chtoura, Zahlé, Lebanon. It is a famous mountainside stop en route to Baalbeck and the Bekaa…