Chic new year

We brought in 2013 with a bit of elegance this year, by having an amazing evening at one of the most scenic New Year’s eve spots in Dubai. We arrived at the Al Qasr hotel (probably our favourite five-star hotel in Dubai) and headed down to Pier Chic, a seafood restaurant that’s been built a few hundred yards into the Arabian Gulf. Due to its prime location, we were directly in line with the iconic Burj Al Arab which is renowned for its amazing New Year’s eve firework displays. Not only did we have front row seats for that, but we had direct line of sight for the fireworks displays at Atlantis, the Burj Khalifa and over JBR.

A truly memorable New Year’s filled with great food, champagne and amazing fireworks.

Mars Jones Choco Class2

Spicy in Chocolate Heaven

So off we went to Jones the Grocer last night for the lovely Chocolate Cooking Class, which dad and Jacqui bought Mars as a birthday gift. It was a hot and humid night and we went straight from work so we were very keen to see what they had in store for us for the rest of the evening.

We arrived to a large café/deli, which is very nice indeed and filled with tons of various bits and pieces you can buy for your pantry from lovely olive oils to coffee grinders etc.

After sitting down to a long table with several other people on the course all anxiously waiting, we dug into the nibbles and hors d’ oeuvres that were on the table for everyone to share. Some very nice bits of salami and blue cheese with olives and crudités, where all snacked on while we got to know all the other people. There was a nice Arabic couple, a young girl about 12yrs all by herself with a keen interest in cooking, a single New Zealand woman in her thirties and a married American woman who was clearly a foodie, and then of course Mars and I.


Our rather charismatic pastry chef; Quinton came over and introduced himself and showed us over to the cookery area. We were to make chilli chocolate brownies and crème anglais. Quinton kept us all fully entertained with various mishaps and his over the top personality which was fun.


It was a really lovely night and we both had a few giggles, everyone was really nice and relaxed. The chocolate brownies, which Quinton insisted in putting two huge handfuls of chopped chillies, came out rather spicy to say the least, and when we all finally got to sit down and try them there were a few desperate calls for glasses of water. So think we shall either leave the chillies out of our version or replace it with something softer like lavender or rosemary.


The crème anglais with zest of orange was tricky and I have to say Mars excelled in this, whereas mine ended having to be saved at the last second from turning into scrambled eggs. But was very tasty all the same.


We shall keep you posted on the next instalment when we go back next week, to learn how to cook Veal rump!


Thanks to Dad & Jacqui for organising this Mars, it was a unique and interesting birthday gift and lots of fun.



A good day – a round of golf with Stuart at Yas Links, followed by a Metallica concert. Metallica were awesome. As a long time fan, they were simply awesome in concert playing an incredibly long set in front over 15,000 people. Awesome.



Two Birdies

After a stressful couple of weeks with some demanding clients, I got an early-bird round in at The Els Club Dubai yesterday to unwind. By the time I was wrapping up, the temperature was rising, as was the humidity, but it was my best round ever. As a casual golfer who plays 6-10 rounds a year, I was really pleased with the 84 (12 over par), which included two birdies and six pars.

The video below is the birdie putt on the 165-yard, par 3, 11th hole. Couldn’t miss that one, after a great tee shot.


Race to Dubai

A nice chilled out day at the Race to Dubai, where we go to see some of the world’s best golfers up-close, and not one shouted at Kirsten this year; but then again, Ernie Els wasn’t playing.

Soup Glorious Soup

Isn’t it funny that no matter how much you grow up, and how old you get (and start to feel), you still crave all those wonderful comfort foods you had when you were a kid? One of my old classics is creamy spinach soup, but no matter how many different ways I try and make it or how many different places I order it from, it never tastes as good as it did when my grandfather made it for me when I was little. A key ingredient was his oraganic home grown spinach which he grew each year, but there was something else, a secret ingredient which just made that soup ‘pop’. My next try will be to add a lot freshly ground black pepper and sea salt, because I remember it having a wonderful creamy spinach taste with a peppery after bite, and that really seemed to warm you up when you had a cold.