6 Things to do in Doha

And here we go again, hello from Doha!

I have to be honest with you guys and tell you when I first arrived to Doha, I thought that I am going to get bored in here and leave very soon, but somehow this city has managed to change my mind. Just like any other city around the world there is a charming side to Doha, and i can say I was lucky enough to find that part and explore it.

Here I am writing this while enjoying my half hour bus drive to work sharing with you my list of the main 6 things I think you should do if fate ever brings you to this city. Hoping it will help you finding your own way to enjoy staying here in Doha.
1- Early morning breakfast.
This might seem common, and you might think that this could be done anywhere in the world, but trust me in here the options are endless! Mainly because of all the people from different backgrounds and countries who live here and have managed to bring with them all their authentic food which means you can be in so many cities all at the same time and the options vary widely from strict vegetarian to fish or meat.

My favorite place is a South Indian vegetarian restaurant Sarvan Bhavan! I simply cannot get over their food especially the vada, masala dosa and their fresh filtered coffee.

2- Night at the souq!!
Whenever you feel lonely at any time of the day just head to Souq Waqif, you will find shops that open 24/7 and you will always find people there. I always go to the same shop, Tajin, a Moroccan restaurant and cafe where I enjoy the Moroccan mint tea while smoking shisha!

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Sunrise from the souq with the spiral Mousque in the background

3- Wild Doha !!!
Not so wild though :p. For me the one and only issue with night life here is that the law requires that all the bars, clubs and I guess any restaurant that serves alcohol must close at 2 am! Other than that there are so many options! Basically each bar or club has its own atmosphere and regular crowd.
I suggest you try Lava club in Intercontinental Doha, and try the terrace at the Double Tree, those two are my favorite.
4- Late night – early morning walk
Recently this has been my favorite activity to do. And since my workplace is a walking distance from the Souq and Corniche I always find myself ending up walking there alone. Especially at this time of the year when the weather is so refreshing, nothing

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Sunset at the harbor

can beat this. Do this walk and you will see Doha like you never did before, I guess this is what helped me to fall in love with the city.

5- Shopping!
Well, just like many other cities shopping here is crazy! The number of malls and shopping arcades you have is uncountable! In every mall you go to you will find a couple of shops that you want to buy things from (at least that’s me, I am on my way to become my family’s shopaholic). So while doing shopping you would end up visiting 5 to 6 different malls going home with dozens of bags and yes and empty wallet and credit card!

6- Photography (to the photographer side of you)
It is true that I’m only an amateur, but I still like to go from time to time to take new pictures, try new features.¬†And here in I found so many places that you will never get over. Just for example if you head to the Souq I guess you would need a whole day and might not be enough to capture images of all the allies and streets there.

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Always carry your camera with you, you never know when you will find a cat waiting for a picture.

As I said these are my top favorite things to do in here, but there is still way more things to do, for instance going to Katara, or hiking in the desert and much more, have you found your top things to do in here yet?

Sincerely an orange,
KJ

Moving to Doha

Marhaba from Doha !!

Moving to Doha! Sounds easy, no? For some people it is so easy, they get on the plane, sit for 5-6 hours or so, and they are in Doha enjoying their life one day at a time. Well, I wish I was one of these people.

Anyway preparing to move here took me a couple of weeks, the hardest part was to find out what to bring with me and what to leave behind. Believe me when I tell you, that it was not an easy task as I didn’t know what I would need here, how the weather is like, what I would not find here that I need to bring with me and so on . Personally, I searched and looked around the web none of the blogs that I came across had the information that I was looking for.

VISA

Issuing the visa will totally depend on your sponsor, the more they need you, the faster they will follow up with the authorities, and the harder they will try to get it as fast as possible. However, sometimes the process would still take some time. I personally was lucky enough to get my visa in one day, however one of my friends here had to wait 3 months till she got her! So if your visa is taking time be patient and don’t worry, it is just a matter of time ūüôā

PACKING

Summer is super hot, but I have to admit that it is not as humid as other gulf countries. I personally prefer the weather here rather than the weather in Dubai for example. In winter the weather gets cold during night times and early mornings so a sweater is needed. Make sure you bring a couple with you, and during some nights a light jacket would be a must. So make sure you get light clothes for summer and get ready for the heat waves, and don’t forget sweaters and light jackets for winter.

GETTING HERE

Don’t pay attention to any of the stereotypes that you here about the Middle East. People don’t live in tents and they are not riding camels and they also are not the characters portrayed with Jack Bauer in 24!! People are friendly and you will find everything when you arrive, everything is available at the airport. You can get your SIM card, exchange money and what have you. The only thing you won’t be able to get is alcohol, as here in Qatar in order to buy alcohol you will need to issue your own alcohol license which will allow you to purchase and enjoy your alcohol, a license valid only for you!

GETTING AROUND 

There are buses that have a schedule online and taxis that are available all the time. A subway is currently under construction.

“Karwa” is the official company that is monitoring all the transportations, taxis, public buses and even limousine services. All the official taxis have Karwa written on their doors. And when I say official I mean it, as you will find here that wherever you go and while waiting for a taxi, you will be approached by strangers asking you if you need a taxi. Be aware of scammers!

This is not an official transportation method and your safety now is in your own hands. That being said, there are some drivers who operate on their own and you’d find that some would actually be very kind and helpful, and would pick you up anytime of the day or night for that matter. Just make sure to ask your friends for a driver that they trust or deal with. Otherwise, always use a Karwa taxi.

Karwa’s official website http://www.mowasalat.com/en/portal

  

These are some of the basics things that crossed my mind, but feel free to comment below if you have any questions and hopefully I’ll have an answer for your questions ūüôā

Welcome to Doha, and enjoy.

Salam from an orange !

Kj

Milk chocolate cashew nut cookies 

Hello from Doha, Qatar!

It has been a while since I blogged, as I was busy moving to start my new work here in Doha. Moving to Doha was not an easy thing to do !!! Not at all !!!

Anyway on the night before flying to Qatar, I baked a couple dozens of my favorite cookies, cashew nuts and milk chocolate. I got this recipe while doing my apprenticeship in Hong Kong from my French pastry chef. It is simply delicious and very easy to make. Just make a batch and freeze them. Once you need some cookies take them out of the freezer, cut them, and bake them. It won’t take 10 minutes. The best part of it is that you can simply decide whether you like it chewy or hard by following a simple trick you that would give you the texture you want.
Ready?

Here we go :Milk chocolate cashew cookies

  • 300 g ¬† Butter
  • 525 g ¬† Brown sugar
  • 180 g ¬† Eggs
  • 600 g ¬†Flour
  • 5 ¬† ¬† g ¬†Baking powder
  • 5 ¬† ¬† g ¬†Salt
  • 5 ¬† ¬† g ¬†Bicarbonate soda
  • 500 g ¬†Cashew nuts
  • 500 g ¬†Milk chocolate

*For soft and chewy cookies use dark brown sugar. Since it has more molasses, it will leave your cookies moist and soft. And for harder cookies I just use light brown sugar!

Method:

  1. Beat the butter and the sugar together then add all the ingredients following the order.
  2. Weigh the dough and divide it into 450 g portions, roll the dough in parchment paper and freeze.
  3. Once you want some freshly baked cookies, remove your roll from the freezer leave it for a couple of minutes till it is softer to cut but still firm to get nice identical cookies.
  4. Bake at 180 C for 6 minutes, et voila!

Happy baking,

KJ

 

Just Chocolate Cake

While studying, working and traveling you come across Chocolate Cake many recipes; some of which you keep, others you discard and some you treasure.

This is definitely one of the recipes that I don’t only treasure but more. By far¬†this is one of my favorite recipes, which also could be made in a gluten-free version. This is the recipe that never failed me, whether I bake it in a professional oven or a simple house oven.

Ingredients: (20 cm cake pan)

  • 200 g ¬† Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 200 g ¬† Butter
  • 4 Pcs ¬† Egg
  • 150 g ¬† Sugar
  • 60 g ¬† ¬† Flour ( for gluten-free 40 g Almond powder, 20 g cocoa powder)
  • 7 g ¬† ¬† ¬† Baking powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C, grease and flour the cake pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or on a double boiler.
  3. Add the butter to the chocolate and mix till butter is melted and a homogeneous mixture.
  4. Using a whisk, mix the eggs with the sugar till fluffy and double in volume.
  5. Add in the flour and baking powder gradually.
  6. Fold in the chocolate and butter mixture with the eggs.
  7. Pour in the pan and bake for 27-30 minutes.
  8. Leave the cake to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
    The cake cut to o bite-size and served with Canelé
    The cake cut into bite-size and served with Canelé

    Bon Appetit,

KJ

Fried rice recipe 

Fried rice Let’s say that when you are staying at home looking for a new job, you won’t be the happiest person in the world, and in these cases you need your¬†own comfort food and one of my comfort food items is fried rice. It is true I am not originally from Far East Asia but Asian and Indian food comprises¬†the largest percentage of my comfort food.

Anyway fried rice is a very easy dish to make, and lots of people love it as you can use all your leftovers. Leftover rice, meat or chicken, adding to it leftover steamed vegetables or fresh; both would be perfect.  There are so many ways to cook it as every region and area has its own way and touch. But here I share my most favourite one.

Ingredients (4-5 servings):

  • 20 g ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Vegetable oil
  • 350 g ¬†(2 cups) ¬† ¬† Cooked white rice ( steamed, boiled) any would be good
  • 2 pcs ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Meduim size carrot cut into julienne
  • 1PC ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Zucchini cut into julienne
  • 1PC ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Onion chopped
  • 2 cloves ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Garlic roughly chopped
  • 30 grams ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Premium dark soya sauce ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†
  • 20 grams ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬†Oyster sauce
  • 10 grams ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Chinese spicy sauce
  • 15 grams ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Sesame oil
  • ¬†1-2 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Spring onions (scallions) roughly chopped

Method : 

In a wok heat the vegetable oil, add in the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add in the carrots and zucchini and sauté for couple of minutes till preferred tenderness is reached, I prefer my vegetables crunchy so I only sauté for 2 minutes. 

Add to the wok your cooked and cold rice and stir for a minute. 

While sautéing add in your sauces. Keep tasting while cooking, the quantity of the sauces could be adjusted up to taste. When it is done drizzle the sesame oil over and garnish with the green onions.

regards,

KJ

 

Spontaneous Breakfast

So I woke up at 6:30 today. It’s a beautifully cold Sunday morning and what better way to enjoy the weekend than make a batch of pancakes. It is also the day after Mother’s Day, so I thought I’d make a special breakfast for today. 

So for those pancakes you’re going to need:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup or 225 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup or 140 grams all purpose flour
  • Vanilla extract (I use homemade, and will show you how to make it in a future blog post)

Whisk everything except for the flour in a large measuring cup. That way you can measure and mix in the same container (read: do less dishes). Slowly add the flour into the wet ingredients. It’s ok if you have lumps. They make the pancakes more airy when it’s time to cook them. Once you’re done, wrap the mixture and put in the fridge until ready. I recommend cooling as it rests the mixture. This makes enough pancakes for 3-4 people. 

Tip time:

  1. You can mix the pancake batter in a squeeze bottle for easier handling. Do the same as above by shaking everything except for the flour then add it gradually and shake well. 
  2. If you make double the amount of this on Saturday and keep it in a squeeze bottle you can use it on Sunday as well. 
  3. Add fruits of your choice: blueberries, strawberries, bananas, saut√©ed apples and cinnamon. The possibilities are endless. 

Happy Mama Day everyone (mostly the mothers and maternal figures out there)! 


Hong Kong local and street food !

Well, living in Hong Kong was definitely a life time experience for me. Many things changed while staying there, what I eat, the way I eat and definitely the amount of food I take.

Before moving to HK , and naively whenever Chinese food was mentioned all what used to come up to my mind was sweet and sour chicken or sesame chicken or something close to that. Needless to say that by moving there I found out that most of what we consider as chinese food is actually not the real thing but an adapted version. And the adaptation differs from one place to another. As for example in europe it has a little western touch and in the states it is adapted to satisfy the local customers in there.

Egg puffs
Egg puffs

I won’t be able to write everything about Hong kong food, as I myself couldn’t try everything in 6 months. But I will certainly¬†¬†mention my most favourite food items. Either eaten in food markets or in the street.

For the street food my favourites are:

  1.  Eggs puff ( gai dan zai),  HK style waffles, double-sided grilled that is soft and chewy, that should be eaten only hot and fresh.
  2.  Fish balls, curry (ga lei yu daan),  made of corn starch and low quality fish. This mixture is shaped into balls to be deep fried and then served curry sauce.
  3.  Iced milk tea, it is nothing more than a strong tea, and the way it served it hot tea with ice and some ( or plenty) condensed milk. My favourit tea base was earl grey.
  4. Egg tarts, which is basically a puff pastry dough that is filled with egg mixture, made of eggs cream and cinnamon.
  5. Moon cake, is considered as one of the most traditional Hong Kong desserts as apparently there is a really deep ancient story behind these cakes that are exclusively made to celebrate for mid-autumn festival. Traditional Moon cakes have two stuffings, either red bean paste or lotus paste, whith salted egg yolk or two in the center.
  6. Egg Custard buns (Lai wong bao), which are steamed buns that is stuffed with custard, there is also another version that is stuffed with red bean paste which is as popular as the custard one.
Moon cake with two egg yolks
Moon cake with two egg yolks

Apart from street food, and on special occasions, I used to go to have a “family dinner” with the whole restaurant crew in one of the traditional food markets. Where you actually get to eat everything you could think of: from fried rice to duck intestine, and maybe some stir fried frog legs.

We almost ordered the same thing every time we went out. Century ¬†egg( thousand-year old egg) was a must, which is basically pickled eggs ¬†(just for couple of weeks) that is served with pickled ginger!! And this is considered as a delicacy. Hong Kong style fried rice, which had eggs, chicken or ham and definitely some scallions. Razor clams, (those are ¬†my favourite) but not my chef’s as he had to pay as these were quite expensive. These clams are cooked with some bell peppers and dark thick soya sauce. Fried soba noodles where also something important on that round table. Deep fried tofu and¬†deep-fried squid.

If you think that eating on a round table is a nice thing, you actually need to rethink as that is not so true at least not always. It is true that on round tables you can reach everything by just turning the glass center which rotates and makes it easy for everyone to reach, but the problem is  if the person in front of you was a chopsticks expert, and was eating in a speed that you have never seen before. If that person was there, that means he is going to eat so fast and he wants some from everything on that table. So while you trying to take some of the food and struggling with those chopsticks, he would be rotating that table non stop. Now the only way for you to eat that night is either to use your hand to stop the table from rotating, which is considered rude or simply attack the food and try to grab it before you find the center of the table moving again.

 

For more Information about HK street food follow this link for an article in HK magazine:

http://hk-magazine.com/restaurants/article/z-hong-kong-street-food

Cheers from an orange ,

KJ

 

 

 

 

 

Dubai Internship Part 1 of 2

When it was time for me to decide where to apply for an internship, I had no idea where to start because honestly I wanted to go anywhere. One day I was talking to my friend and he expressed his desire to work in Dubai. The second he said Dubai I loved it and whatever he said after Dubai I honestly did not pay attention to.  All I did was mumble some words and move my head back and forth. Anyway, fast forward to applying, doing an interview and getting accepted for a 4 month internship. The adventure can begin.

I arrived at the airport, and was taken to the accommodation. The next day I signed a few documents, got my schedule and got introduced to the Head Chef. I was excited and nervous but I was ready to be exposed to the culinary world. The first couple of weeks I was at the breakfast buffet, basically starting from the first meal people would eat to start the day till the afternoon when obviously people would also eat their lunch. It felt really good because I thought of it as a cycle starting point being breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Later on during the internship, I loved being introduced to the pre-preparations and preparations of the industry. You learn some things about yourself you never thought you carried in your arsenal whether it was personal or professional i.e. waking up very early and by early I mean 3-4am, and anyone can relate to this because really no one wants to wake up at that hour but I actually enjoyed it and it made me look forward to the next day.

After completing the first couple of weeks I was transferred to the main kitchen. The main kitchen consisted of 5 different kitchens: Hot, Cold, Pastry, Meats and Poultry Butchery, and Fish Butchery. The main kitchen was specifically for the room service orders and I started out in the hot kitchen to once again know how it all ran. Most of the orders are sent out from there. Only one chef would work per shift so it was only him and me. I felt like I had a little more responsibility when it came to work, I had to push myself mentally to help out as much as I could. Whenever there were a lot of orders the chef form the cold kitchen would come to join in the “battle”. Sometimes I had the opportunity to actually observe how they would function efficiently when it came to little orders, which I enjoyed since I was just standing doing nothing. I learned a lot in the hot kitchen and I felt it was my biggest challenge in that area of work. Overall when it came to the hot kitchen I pushed myself in terms of responsibility, teamwork¬†and work efficiency.

Well this is the first part of my brief Dubai internship I hope you enjoyed reading, I will continue it in the second part when I get transferred to the Butchery and Bar and Restaurant outlet. One thing I forgot to mention is when I got moved to the Main Kitchen I started waking up late for the afternoon shift.

Sincerely from an Orange,

CT

Vienna: Sacher torte, Schnitzel, and Frankfurters.

Back in November of 2014, I had the pleasure of going to Vienna, Austria for a much needed vacation from work. And to this day I still wonder why I came back. Vienna undoubtedly ranks high among the most cultured cities in Europe. From its musicians, museums, and opera houses to its restaurants, cafes, and shops; everything in this city makes you feel alive. The focus of my trip was to enjoy as much food and culture as my budget allowed. I went to the famous Sacher Hotel Cafe, the well renowned Figlm√ľller¬†restaurant that serves the famous Wiener schnitzel, the Stephansdom, and countless other places. I visited several museums including the Belvedere (where I got the chance to see a temporary exhibition of famed artist Claude Monet’s work and of course the works of Gustav Klimt)¬†. Only one word can describe that place: spectacular. ¬†I also got the chance to attend a Strauss and Mozart inspired concert at the Kursalon. Best of all was when the opera singer started singing O mio babbino caro¬†out of nowhere as part of the last minute opera picks. Being in Vienna meant that I¬†had to go to the Vienna State Opera. And coincidentally the ballet Romeo and Juliet was having its last show that night. One other thing I do recommend is taking the horse drawn carriage tours through the city. They’re parked around St. Stephen’s cathedral and it’s a great way to unplug and put your phone away (sort of) and just enjoy your beautiful surroundings.

It is¬†pretty easy for a tourist to understand Vienna’s public¬†transportation.¬†They have one of the most complex public transport systems. You can take buses, trams, trains, and the metro; but best of all you never need to take a taxi because the other methods are so detailed and they get you everywhere. While the U-Bahn runs inside the city, the S-Bahn runs outside the city borders. and if thats not enough there are trams and buses running above ground.¬†Vienna also has a special train that runs between the city and airport. It takes less than 20 minutes and it connects you to other U-Bahn lines for intercity travel.

Shopping in Vienna is a true joy because everywhere you go you will find something you’ll want to buy. The shopping squares around the city are so beautiful I even enjoyed walking through on Sunday, a day where everything closes. If you’re looking to do some culinary shopping, Saturdays will be your best days to do so as they have weekly Farmer’s Markets with fresh produce and home made goods. I scored some black truffles at one of those markets, so keep your eyes open. The Naschmarkt is a treasure trove of shops and restaurants combined from all over the world. You will find every possible ingredient along with any restaurant whose food you might be craving.

Since I was there mid November I missed the Christmas markets by a week. But that didn’t stop me from searching for places that were selling ornaments. And I found this tiny shop that sold all sorts of Christmas tree ornaments. The lady there had every possible ornament you could think of. Fruits, vegetables, baby Jesus, adult Jesus, santas, snowmen, birds, bugs, and even pickles. It was a true treasure to have found a place like this. Ask the lady, she sure was happy swiping my credit card after I was done there. I even went twice.¬†This shop happened to be right next to the Figlm√ľller. I went there with a friend (aka, Chris) that was briefly working there. We ordered the only thing you should order there. The Wiener schnitzel.¬†It was so big, it was overhanging the plate. A true delight, I recommend you order some jam to go with the schnitzel. Now, I do feel obligated to warn you that the schnitzel is pork. So beware. I also treated myself to a lunch at this very cozy restaurant called¬†Zum weissen Rauchfangkehrer and I bet you’re thinking, WTF, well in english it means the white chimney sweep. It was the best restaurant experience I had had in a while. I ordered a set menu and you can find the courses and their pictures in the gallery below.

Sachertorte, contrary to popular belief, is not a dry crummy chocolate cake with jam inside. It is the exact opposite. But only if you eat it at the original Sacher hotel cafe. I went there one afternoon and the place was buzzing with people from all over. I ordered their foie gras terrine and although what i got looked like a dessert, it was a true masterpiece. The flavors were so well balanced and delightful i didn’t want to stop eating. I washed it down with a glass of prosecco, and then proceeded to order the sachertorte. It is served with the best whipped cream you’ll ever eat. I also ordered the sacher kaffee.

One last culinary delight I forgot to mention are all the frankfurters being sold out of tiny kiosks on every block. Any place you go to will have something delicious. Some are stuffed with cheese, some are sweet, some are salty. All i know is that these piggies will make you go to town. These kiosks exist even after all the other shops and restaurants have closed so you can get a fixin’ for your munchies. Ask my friend Chris, he’ll tell you all about it.

I’ve been to Vienna twice in my life and I sure would not hesitate to go again. That is how amazing that city is, not to mention Austria as a whole. My best advice? Get yourself a good map of the city and don’t stop walking around, because exploring a city is best done on foot and not inside a car or bus.

Helpful Website links: