Thursday, July 30, 2009

Givenchy does Middle East A/W 2009/2010

For it's autumn/winter 2009/2010 collection Givenchy's lead designer Riccardo Tisci
drew his inspiration from Middle East.

Stylized abayas, chador, traditional Palestinian red cross-stitching, black and white keffiyeh in men's collection and lots of embellishments.

Also, just for funsies, threw in pic of Megan Fox looking ridiculous and Cate Blanchett having a major bitch face at Armani Prive front row.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Yesterday, after i finished posting about Crown Prince of Dubai, i got rather an urgent craving for a delicious cupcake.

Hmmm, what gives?

Lately, cupcakes became all the rage in the U.S.
I blame Sprinkles, original cupcakes only bakery, that elevated this simple treat to the level of ridiculous (but delicious) fanciness.

Dubai has it's own version of Sprinkles, boutique bakery that only does cupcakes.
It's called Kitsch Cupcakes and located on posh Jumeira Beach Road.

I, personally, don't do fancy cupcakes. Mostly, because i bake my cupcakes for my kids and their little friends.
And let me tell you, kids are not into hoity-toity stuff.
Once i slaved all night baking delicious, low-fat swiss vanilla cuppy cakes with heavenly whipped cream topping, decorated with red hearts made with melted and cooled candy melts.
Oh, and it was flavoured with rose water!

They looked and smelled to die for!

Unfortunately, none of the kids in my daughter class liked them. It was not sweet enough, hefty enough, regular enough for the little ones.

So, now i just do simple vanilla or chocolate ones and top them with sweetest buttercream their young arteries can handle.

But, boy, do i decorate them! I think it's the funnest part; however, you really should not go heavy-handed with sprinkles - a little of shimmering flakes or silver pearl dragees on pastel coloured cream goes long way.

As i mentioned, i'm also a big fan of candy melts (or wafers), which can be melted in the microwave and then piped on the parchment paper as a beautiful flowers, or butterflies or whatever.

One of my fave books on all things baked and decorated is Whimsical BakeHouse book series by Liv and Kaye Hansen. Even if you don't bake, these are such wonderfully illustrated books that you might just want have a copy for your voyeuristic pleasure.
Both books are available on the amazon and you can also check out their website

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Salma Khan

Salma Khan is Pakistani born, Dubai based designer.
She attended Cavendish College in UK and hold a MBA from local university.
In 2000 she founded her own Fashion Studio.

And guess what?!!

Per her website she caters to "the Royal family and highly sophisticated European and Arab clientele."
Oh, how i wish i had a penny every time i read this line on local designers' pages!
I just might have enough to buy one of Amber Feroz's gorgeous dresses!

Anywho, Salma Khan specializes in bridal and evening wear, but i especially like her galabiyas or jalabiyas.

Galabiya is a sort of a house dress, a kaftan essentially, that covers one's whole body from high-neck to toes. They are roomy, usually bright and embellished with embroidery, sequins and rhinestones.
They look extremely loungy and comfy.

I want one pronto!


Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (nickname Fazza) is the second son of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed and his first wife Sheikha Hind.

He is 27 years old (born 1982) and has been chosen by his father to be a Crown Prince.
Fazza is a graduate of Sandhurst, British military college and also attended famous London School of Economics.

For such a young gentleman, Fazza is extremely busy statesman - he is heavily involved in emirate's business life and is on the board of most major business commissions and councils.

Additionally, Fazza is quite and accomplished athlet and horseman.

But, to me, personally, the most endearing thing about him is his penchant for poetry.
Just like his dad, Sheikh Mohammed, Fazza writes and publishes poetry.

Also, he is rather easy on the eyes.
Take a look-see.

Pix are from his official website

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Things I Covet

Yesterday i saw a girl wearing Blue Butterfly necklace from Sweet Alhambra collection by Van Cleef & Arpels.

I immediately got a severe case of "I Want What She Has-itis"! It looks adoooorable on the neck, not too big and not too dainty; the colour is fabulous and the shape is kinda funky.
Besides, it's by the legendary european jewelry maker - who wouldn't want it!

Sweet Alhambra Collection is below, and basically consists of 3 major shapes - heart, butterfly and Alhambra clover - all done up in white and yellow gold.

There are also ID bracelets and oval pendants (they're called "medals" by VCA)that can be engraved.
All the pieces from this collection are available in adult and child sizes.

Creme Caramel

Creme Caramel is like Creme Brulee's homely first cousin.
It's also delicious, but not as dashing and debonair as C.B. - it lacks the richness and decadence that comes with full cream, but it makes up in lightness and airiness.

This particular recipe is full of flavour, however it uses low-fat milk, so it's hips friendly.
I used to make this one a lot, it's even easier than Creme Brulee, and you don't have to wield a kitchen torch in order to make one.

Recipe is from my ancient (1998!!!) issue of Bon Appetit.

Here is what you need:

1 3/4 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

16 2 x 1/8-inch orange peel strips (orange part only)
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine milk and cinnamon stick in medium saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 30 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide orange strips among four 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflé dishes. Stir 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 8 minutes. Immediately pour caramel into custard cups, dividing equally.

Whisk egg, egg white, vanilla and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in milk mixture. Pour over caramel in custard cups.

Place custard cups in roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Remove from water. Chill overnight.
Run small knife around custards to loosen. Invert custards onto plates.


Now, if this is too ninny of a dessert for you, you can increase it's fat factor (pray for your hips!)by using full fat milk and 2 eggs instead.
But i think it's perfect the way it is!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Aly Fawaz

Unfortunately, i could not find any info on Aly Fawaz, other than his own PR page.
The page states that he studied in Paris (but where?), "joined the talents of Lolita Lempika, Christian Lacroix and Yamamoto. Participated in designing dresses for International Haute Couture Festival in Paris, and "Top Model Africa".

Anywayzzz, the collection that he submitted this past April to Dubai Fashion Week is below.

By the looks of it, seems that Aly Fawaz belongs to the local school of designers, who firmly believe that they'll have a hard time selling a dress,unless they slap couple of pounds of Swarowsky crystals on it.

Oh, yeah, he is based in Abu Dhabi, which is a capital of UAE and about 1.5 hours away from Dubai.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Aiisha Ramadan

Aiisha Ramadan is another Lebanese-born, Dubai-based designer. She is a graduate of the American University of Dubai with the degree in Fashion.

For such a young designer (born 1983), Aiisha has rather an impressive resume - she is a regular on Dubai Fashion Week, won some awards for her bridal collection and also a spokesperson for Hewlett-Packard's fashion line (designer sleeves for laptops and such)in the Middle East.

Clearly, this designer is not afraid of colours!
I do like her Jolly Ranger-y line of flowing gowns. Won't mind having the long pink one for myself.
She also tried her hand at designing bags, but i don't think she is pursuing this line of work now.

Check out her stuff below:

Pix are from her blog

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Banana Creme Brulee

A girl can't live on eclairs alone!

Sometimes, creme brulee is exactly what the doctor ordered! Heavenly combination of sweet, caramelized, crunchy, sugary top and smooth, cool creme create crazy amazing sensation in one's mouth.

Creme brulees are really easy to prepare and they look hella sophisticated at the dinner parties.
This particular recipe is from Williams-Sonoma website and absolutely fool proof. It's so easy, even a baby can make one!
Go on and try it! Your homies will be floored!

For a perfectly creamy custard, line the baking pan with a kitchen towel, and then add the filled ramekins and boiling water.

Here is what you need:

2 ripe bananas
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup plus 8 tsp. sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

Peel 1 of the bananas and cut in thirds. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, cut banana and the 1/4 cup sugar. Cook, stirring, until steam rises, 4 to 5 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and vanilla until blended. Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl; discard the cooked banana. Pour the cream into the yolks, a little at a time, stirring constantly until smooth; divide among four 6-oz. ramekins.

Line a 3-inch-deep baking pan with a kitchen towel, place the ramekins in the pan and add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover loosely with foil and bake until set, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the pan, cool to room temperature and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.

Peel the remaining banana and slice crosswise into slices 1/8 inch thick. Arrange 7 or 8 slices over the top of each crème brûlée and sprinkle 2 tsp. sugar evenly over each surface. With a kitchen torch, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar melts and lightly browns.
Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Now, i personally find these serving suggestion to be too generous. I actually divide the cream among 6, not 4 ramekins, as this is a very rich dessert.

Also, as you get more experienced with this recipe, you can flavour your cream with different things - throw in a couple of cinnamon sticks instead of bananas to infuse the cream, add some raspberry juice, or few teaspoons of espresso.

Possibilities are limitless!

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