MasterChef – Oman!

Recently, a well-known concept was introduced to the Muscat culinary scene, the first privately owned culinary school opened in Muscat – MasterChef Institute of Culinary Arts.   I had the good fortune to join them for my very own MasterChef experience in Oman.

 

Chef Ali Abusbeih

I have been following the MasterChef series avidly on television so I was very excited to join a Master Class at the MasterChef Institute in Muscat.

The theme of the day was Pistachio Infusion with several dishes all containing pistachio nuts.

Pistachio Cake, Pistachio Kunafa, Pistachio Milk Cake and Pistachio Basbousa Cupcakes were on the menu while I have heard of all the dishes before prepearing it was unfamiliar to me so I was very eager to learn all about the preparation of each of them.

When I arrived the kitchen was all prepped up and ready for MasterChef action.

Chef Ali Abusbeih and his team were very helpful and soon had me kitted out in an apron and chef’s hat, ready to start the morning’s Master Class.

 

 

 

First of all, was the Pistachio Milk Cake.  This amazing cake contains ingredients like Pistachio paste, Condensed Milk, Whipped Cream and Rose water. With ovens pre-heated, lined baking pans, sifted flour, blended eggs and sugar and finally mixing the cake batter, the MasterChefs were on a roll.

All the sweet tooths out there will eat this and think they have gone to heaven.

It is just sooo….. good!

The batter ready for panning.

Into the oven with the batter…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just to wet your appetite, take a peek at the final products below filled with pistachio, coconut, rose water, pistachio paste with a hint of marzipan and dried rose petals.

 

Pistachio Cake

 

Pistachio Basbousa Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pistacio Kunafa

We completed these four beautiful, tasty Pistachio Infusion treats in four hours.  The time flew by and I was sad to leave the MasterChef experience behind.  We had such a good morning and I am looking forward to the next MasterClass. I left with all the recipes in hand and I am ready to treat my friends to an Arabic cake morning.

Check out the MasterChef schedule and attend the MasterChef classes, it is truely worth the visit.

You can find MasterChef Oman on Facebook or email them for more information.

Aroma – the Italian taste

I just have to tell you about the latest addition to the Muscat Restaurant scene.

Yes, Aroma is the name and it is officially open since the beginning of July. When you go into the restaurant it reminds you of the Colosseum, Rome and Italy.

 

 

The Italian owners Ciro, Anna, Maria and co-owner Naif, all work in the restaurant and with their fabulous Italian chef, Fabio Amodeo, from Rome.  Fabio understands the love of food and he goes about it with so much passion.  I had the privilege to spend an early morning with him. Showing me a few of the sweeter Italian delights they prepare in this well organized open kitchen.  The hustle and bustle of early morning preparation and the smell of yeast hanging in the air was just amazing.

I am sharing just a sneak peak of a few of the decadent menu items that you absolutely have to experience.

Double chocolate cake…

prepared with so much attention to detail…

    

 

Then there is the Symphony!

 

You can also indulge in…

  

 

…a Frappe with a cup of Aroma coffee.  

Believe me, I am a coffee snob and this is one of the best coffees I have ever tasted.

And just as I thought it can’t get any better,  Fabio started making this beautiful coloured plate of fruit with “Crèma”.

 

 

Well,  need I say more?  Go and visit Aroma, the Italian taste at Al Muzn Mall, Street no.72, Mawalih North.

I haven’t even got to the starters, the pastas, the salads, the pizzas or the main courses, yet!

I promise to keep you posted, in the mean time, treat yourself to this Italian experience, it is well worth it.

Greek cooking class at a Local Bakery in Athens “Monastiraki” neighborhood July 2016

My husband and I went on a quick holiday to Athens and then on to the island of Samos with dear friends Braam and Florina.

We totally fell in love with Greece and its people and their food.

In Athens we attended a cooking class and were taught how to make classic Greek dishes by an experienced local chef at a much

loved bakery in the vibrant Monastiraki.

We met our host Vivian in the flea market neighborhood of Monastiraki, located in the heart of Athens old town.  On our way to

the bakery we passed many of the souvlaki restaurants.  the aromas of garlic, roasting meat, oregano, onion and lemon were just

amazing.

We arrived at the bakery and were welcomed by our chef Sam who gave us an overview of the dishes we were going to prepare and

an introduction to the mouthwatering and tantalizing Greek cuisine.

We were dressed in our cooking attire. Aprons and caps, hands sterilized and ready to roll.

We started of by preparing Spanakopita a Greek spinach pie with Feta.

mkh_1265-nef

First we prepared the phyllo dough, which is the traditional recipe from the chefs grandmother with whom she grew up.

With the rolling pins in hand we rolled and rolled the phyllo until it was paper thin.

mkh_1276-nef mkh_1279-nef

We gently picked the dough up with a thin rolling stick and placed it over a baking pan.

.mkh_1273-nefmkh_1329-nef

Now the spinach, dill, leak, dry onions and egg were combined to make the filling which

is rounded off with feta.  After spooning the filling into the baking pan, the pie is crowned

with a final topping of phyllo before being baked until golden brown and extremely appetizing.

The Spanakopita done, a delicious Greek salad using the freshest of fresh produce followed.

The earthy smell of  tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, green bell pepper, Kalamata olives,

homemade feta and Greek extra virgin olive oil was to die for.  Do not forget the dried oregano.

This is like “Life without Love”  without the oregano this will not be a traditional Greek salad.

mkh_1306-nef

.

The next mouthwatering dish to make was Papoutsakia, a delegate eggplant dish.

mkh_1308-nef mkh_1309-nef

Now onto making Tzatziki (An appetizing, savoury sauce that can be served with any

kind of meat and as a dip for vegetables) made from luscious cucumbers, strained Greek yogurt,

garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

mkh_1312-nef

Finally to my husband’s delight, we were taught how to make Galaktoboureko (a creamy custard pie)

with milk, sugar semolina, vanilla and phyllo.  A desert fit for a king.  We loved this creamy custard pie at

the end of our cooking class.  A perfect end to an unforgettable meal and experience.

mkh_1335-nef

During our cooking lessons a beautiful table was set on the rooftop terrace of the bakery by Sam.

With a glass of Greek wine in hand we enjoyed the views of the UNESCO-listed Acropolis

of Athens and sat down at sunset with Vivian and Sam to enjoy the lovely dinner we prepared.

Vivian and Sam taught us a lot about the Greek cuisine and their culture and we were amazed

by the stories the girls told us about how their grandfathers drank wine in their day.  Wine was

watered down before drinking as it was taken with breakfast and every other meal of the day.

What a wonderful experience hope to go back soon, loved the culinary journey in Greece.

mkh_1323-nef

Our tour was booked through Viator.