Box park

I looked up and found a lot of containers

Is it the harbour?

No its the box park.

Trust me dubai is really an amazing place. Everytime you look up you find something different and it never stops mesmerising one.

Once while passing al wasl road towards jumeira beach is when I saw this beautiful line up of shops with a container head. The interior and exterior is really unique to me. I sure have seen people living containers but never seen it been made to a modern architecture.  Only the the top is container the bottom is very beautiful shops with a very different design each one of them representing there concept

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Look Up

The box park has many restaurants in boutique style from ice cream to cold juices and cafes you can find many stores. Starbucks is one of them and all of them are very cozy that one can get lost in which to choose.

If you are travelling to dubai soon do put the box park in your “to visit” list.

It’s a nice place to hangout with friends and family.

Look up for the containers 🙂

Photographs are mine 🙂

 

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The Stroller blogger

I don’t have a picture of myself witha stroller so I drew it 🙂

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I started of cooking and posting then i moved on to sharing photographs.  Later it became restaurant reviewing in the meantime I did attend a few events that all had a great impact in my food blogging journey.

This is where my stroller came to light. I started off strolling over the blog with names that interested me and suddenly one day I thought all these names had no uniquenessin them. Then didn’t say a thing about my blog or didn’t reflect on myself.

This is where the new name “Explorewithmafaza” came up and I am sure everyone likes it.

I may have stolled from one name as a shopaholic travel diary to travel and food worldwide and then the recipe writer. But explore with mafaza is the real meaning of my blog. Yes, everything I post here is something I explore everyday or something I like you to explore with me. Explore is a word that reflects my blogger in me. I enjoy exploring for which I  need to travel and as a mother of 2 kids I have to either keep them and go or take them along. This is where my next stroller comes as a rescue. Yes I have attended the italian cuisine world summit in 2014 with eldest boy at age 1 believe me it was a challenge. I know some might have wondered why on earth did I bring a kid in to a masterclass but trust me I did manage him and the class. The people who attended were very helpful too and they all loved my kid. Then I did attend a restaurant launch with my eldest. Later I was perg eith the 2nd which made me take a break and again I attended  a restaurant review and media tasting with both my boys and the stroller was a great help to atleast kee one in place. I wish I had a twin stroller.

I strolled the streets of dubai with my stroller a “quiny zap extra” and now a “juniors” and Ilike the handle of the zap while the juniors is more travel friendly.

Well yes I stroll the streets and roads of dubai with my stroller. I enjoy it but 2 kids for travel is not an easy think to handle so I have limited my ling distance travel. I would go anywhere if i can bring my stroller along and if it’s not allowed I’d rather stay home and cook up a meal or watch some television or even create a blog post.

There have been instances where people used to ask in comments if it was me with a stroller.

Hahhaa

Don’t laugh

My kids love travelling as much as I do and I make sure they are comfortable.

To top it all my inspiration is the news that said a minister of a country bought her 10 month old baby to the parliament.

Stroll

Mamzar beach down memory lane

PicsArt_04-11-11.01.55It’s the beginning of summer here in Dubai and I am missing the winter muse. The hot chocolates and warm soups were mostly in the menu during winter. The last few days of the best time to BBQ Is almost here and the parks are less crowded during weekend mornings.
It’s time to stock up on those sun screens and shades while gather the comfortable summer outfits.

Whether it’s summer or winter the atmosphere is mesmerising her in Dubai. The little things are admirable. Dubai never stops pleasing those who are exploring and admiring .
Let alone the new additions I hoped into the mamzar beach park at 12 noon on Saturday. It’s massive and when explored by foot I passed by the information area just opposite the pool and came across 2 bicycles parked beneath a bush. The wall and the iron grill behind the bush created some pattern. I grabbed my mobile to capture the picture. Those are the pictures I’ve always seen online and have been wanting to capture someday.

The walk from the administration office to the prayer room was 1 km and as I entered the prayer room I was drawn towards memory lane.
The Arabian architecture with ancient history was evident in that small room which has blue carpets with red patterns. The windows and doors reminded me of my grandparents house back in negombo which was made of solid wood. The traditional lamps which had bulbs instead of candles reminded me of my grandma’s house. 15 years ago my grandmas house they used a lamp with kerosene and thick string. The light was dim but the surrounding was rather peaceful and warm. Those days have been replaced with rechargeable lamps and batteries yet I was happy to see the lamp.
The borders on the roof reminded me of my childhood spent in my grandparents house. Those patterns meant something special. I believe I have been spending my childhood lonely moments staring at those pattern along the ceiling. Oh the ceiling. The ceiling which was open and made the bottom of the roof visible was even a better view. Laying in bed and watching the ceiling is a meditation in my point of view. I remember the quiet peaceful nights at my grandma’s house where we sleep with the sound of the fan echoing in the clay tiled roof and around the ceilings. We never had television at our grandparents house the nature was our view.

The view through the window is even more amazing.
I just loved the place. The view through the window was like watching my grandpa’s coconut trees. We used to play under huge coconut trees and we were told not to go around a coconut tree. Sometimes we see coconut fall off the tree and the fear of having coconut knock us down made my grandma warn us of playing around a coconut tree.
The breeze from the wind at a house surrounded by a coconut tree is really healthy. Trust me it’s way better than air-condition.
I even got to take my dream shot a tiny bird seated on a lamp .

The birds chirping the wind from the beach and the palm trees made the place more comforting. Not just the prayer room the surrounding of this place was also the same.

I have seen the large branches of the coconut tree dried and fallen some people use it as a roof or fence, back in the towns of sri lanka ( not all houses, but a selected lot) The first time in Dubai I saw beach with dried palm tree branches put as a fence in mamzar beach Park. I just couldn’t stop myself from standing still and enjoying the breeze from the sea with the fresh dried palm leaf aroma mixed with sea water. My grandma used to add dried coconut tree branches with leaves instead of firewood and the entire kitchen smelled so good that I still can feel better when thinking about her kitchen. She even used coconut husk as a substitute for firewood which is really an eco friendly way I believe instead of cutting down precious trees.

Saffron, Atlantis the Palm jumeira

It’s been 3 and a half years since i moved in to dubai and i have experienced most of what dubai has to offer and as a foodie everything i see was foodilicious. Am not sure if that word exists in the dictionary but dubai is what brought out the food blogger in me. I have been to the ferrari world and taken the ride on ferrari rosa the worlds fastest roller coaster and i have had a very unforgettable experience at the wadi adventure park by going water rafting and almost drowning on the second round. As a person who knows no swimming it was a bad experience but a memorable one as am still alive 🙂 trust me it was not very bad finally. So the only place that kept me wondering and thinking was the atlantis the palm jumeira. I heard people say that you need to dine or stay in to have a look at the hotel so i was waiting for a chance to dine to have a look. Finally i was glad to have won a dinner at saffron from there instagram reposting contest and it was a complimentary seafood dinner for two. It was on a weekday and we drove in straight to the vallet parking area and entered the hotel. It was nice looking around. It was big and the saffron was near the pool side. Am not a restaurant reviewer and dont much enjoy dinning out especially with a toddler so we usually prefer take aways or cooking at home and don’t think fine dinning is a good idea at this stage.

We decided to go to the saffron dinner not just yo eat but to tour the atlantis hotel at palm jumeira. Saffron was huge and they had 7-8 stands of food.
A bread stand
A dessert stand
A salad bar
A sushi bar
A section for indian
A Chinese section
A section for main course
Another section for asian stuff
I was given a tour by a lady who explained what’s special and we were seated along the pool side door which was a bit quiet.
Yes they did have a bar for drinks as well.
I loved the bread stand which had a very delicious cheese manakish. The dessert stand was outstanding. They had candies to icecream and creapes to canape style desserts. I was tempted to try all the desserts. Loved the small cake like pastry stuff. My boy enjoyed the lolipops and marshmallows. He also kept some waiters entertained and had fun running around 🙂
I forgot to try the salad section but they had a wide variety of salads and they all looked beautiful and appetising.
I would say the price for this seafood buffet is well worth and they do have a good selection of food.
Thanks to saffron for having us and hope you can drool over my images 🙂

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Global Village 2014

This year the global village visit was just to have dinner and walk around. Ever since the global village opened for its 19th season this year I was aiming to make a visit. It’s always better to go in the first few months of its opening as there is a lot of happening and entertainment. Like the news headlines on papers this season was bigger and better than ever before. I have been to the 16th and 17th seasons and never got fed up or tired of walking around the global village venue. Something always pleases me there and one of those is the food, but this season it was a combination of food and entertainment. I tried my hands reluctantly on a few fantasy games and wasted my money but had some fun and returned with a cow and dog soft toy 🙂
We started off with having an Egyptian fatayer dinner which was very filling at a small shop close to the entrance. The weather was amazing and the global village is the best place to hangout during winter in Dubai. There is some kind of entertainment for all ages and it’s worth the walk. If you are a mobile phone photographer its best to visit between 4-6 in the evening as you can get some amazing photos during that time.
Recently a friend online asked for suggestions for a place to take her visiting friends in Dubai and I suggested global village. She said her friends like food and like to be somewhere they can try a variety, can there be a better place than global village? Ofcourse not. So whether you’re a foodies or a person who is looking for different experiences global village is a not to be missed when you visit Dubai in winter.

The Egyptian fatayer rotti was more like the Sri Lankan thin rottis which we call beach rotti. The fatayer was so thin and very large. A cheese was spread on the centre and a layer of chicken or sausage which was then folded and looked like a stuffed flat rotti. It was fine but the sausage was a bit too salty for me. I guess the sweet version would be good too.

Our next try was very confusing as we walked along the global village food court all sorts of flavors and aromas were calling my name as I drooled along trying to read the names of the restaurants and admire the newcomers and their interior. I hardly can remember their names as I was so mesmerized by their appearance. Somehow we managed to pass the food court without trying anything as we were stuffed with the fatayer. It was the fantasy games that drove us nuts by calling us play a few games and finally spent some money and walked out of the games section and again we were drawn towards this lovely tiny cart shop that sold hot dogs and it says it German hot dogs.
Their concept was really nice and the way the cart was looked very cute. I decided to try hot dogs because of the look of the cart and really wanted to see them use those lovely squeeze bottles of sauce which was hanging in the front. Really it is a unique concept not sure if it’s available elsewhere but never seen in Dubai, Sri Lanka or India.
There was nothing unique about the hotdogs though, they were same as the hot dogs you get everywhere but the price was reasonable and a nice experience.
I guess why they called it German hot dogs must be they were from German am sure the hot dogs weren’t 

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Our final spend was at a karak chai shop which served us a tea and am sure it was not karak chai. I just tasted milk, tea and sugar. That particular shop was closing I guess and we asked for karak chai they served plain chain. Karak chai is something has spicy taste with a few spices like cardamon and cinnamon I guess so this had no sign of any spices, not even a pepper flake fallen by mistake 

Ok that was not the last stop we also got some kunafa from a Turkish stall and wow I have never tried kunafa before and this was so delicious and authentic. Yes the kunafa was totally Turkish, I know you’re wondering how I can be so sure its Turkish when I have never tried it, but this particular thing has a good taste that is so perfect to its name And I have seen videos and recipes which say how a kunafa looks or tastes so that’s how am sure it’s the very original Turkish kunafa.
I have seen stores sell this kunafa pastry but never wanted to try thinking the pastry might be hard but this was so soft and tender at the same time a bit of crispy. They served it hot and in this winter it was the perfect dessert to end a weekend. The cream cheesy filling in the centre was delicious. Now I feel like trying my hands on making this kunafa.
Sadly we couldn’t take a picture as it was the last stop and we were hurrying home and ate it in the car.

Finally the global village season 19 is visited and experienced. It’s big. Its better. It is very awesome. The only outdoor place to eat, play, shop and hangout during winter and experience 70 different countries this season.

Stollen : German in my Dubai Kitchen

It was last year in December that I heard about stolen on Dubai one, I was in sri lanka at that time doing my masters in sugar flower and cake decorating from Knightsbridge university UK. It was a busy time with sugar flower making for the exams and taking care of a 3 month old baby. I heard the word stollen and was wondering if that an ingredient but I dint have the time to browse the internet and find out the meaning. It’s been a year since then and only a week ago I came across some posts and images of stolen, it’s the winter season and seems like stolen is a good that’s famous in December. They call the Christmas season but I call it the winter season. So finally I goggled for stolen and went through the Wikipedia which gave a brief detail on what’s stolen and where it originated. I learnt that stolen originated from Germany and is kind of a fruit loaf but it’s special and is not called a fruit loaf because of it marzipan centre. This bread is made with less sugar but dusted with excess amount of powdered sugar to give it that festive look and sweet taste. The marzipan also acts as a sweetener in the stolen.

Trying out a German recipe was really interesting and according to me if you can’t travel around the world you need to cook international cuisines. Talking about international cuisines, I believe international cuisines means atleast one dish from one country. Once I went for an international buffet and was very disappointed to find just a few selections of dishes which were mostly from the eastern part of this world and not even a sushi for it to be worth having on a sailing boat. Don’t you readers agree with me?

So I decided my blog needs an international touch while my taste buds were craving to experience different flavors from around the world and in no way am going to get to travel around the world to taste the traditional food of different countries so I cook and bake different recipes. This stollen is said to be a traditional German good especially done during the Christmas season and I here that some bakeries have started getting orders for stollen as early as November so you know how the good is on demand now let me explain how it tastes and the role each ingredient used played a role in my cooking life.

As I went through the recipe on my big book of baking the ingredients were very interesting. The dried fruits and peels were some of which I am familiar or had on my pantry while a few I had to substitute and adjust to make sure I had the perfect stollen from German. The spices used on the stollen were also were readily available on my pantry. The cinnamon powder and cardamon pods which I later pound and used the inside were some I have tasted and used on my cakes and desserts. One spice I have never tasted or used on a sweet dish was nutmeg powder, yes, I never even imagined of using it. I was so reluctant to use it though I was generous to use the said quantity amidst doubts if the nutmeg will taste good on a dessert or cake. So only way to find out if it’s good or bad is by trying it, that’s what my hubby always mentions every time I say something. So I take it as an encouragement and try different things. One other ingredient that was mentioned was dark rum. We don’t use those or consume them in any form so I had to substitute it with my favorite malt drink the one and only Bavaria pineapple flavor. The moment I poured it on my dry fruit mixture I heard the sizzle of the malt drink. This malt drink works wonders on substituting for alcohol.

So finally my dough was ready and I popped it into my oven in a couple of hours. The moment it was done I could not wait but glaze it with butter and powdered sugar. As soon as it was done I sliced it and started eating a few slices. Trust me the fear of how the nutmeg would taste vanished the moment is saw my final product the snowy looking loaf standing on my kitchen top with the winter breeze squeezing itself through my window making the atmosphere wonderful with the aroma of a baked stollen with all those spice mixed filling the air. The perfect winter treat in this December in Dubai can never be better than a German stollen.

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