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Review - Pantry Cafe, a gourmet neighbourhood cafe


The exuberance of Dubai is infectious. The excitement in the air, the buzz on the streets and the action around you, envelopes you. It prevents a shy one to hide in a cocoon. Rather encourages everyone to step out and mingle. To get introduced to different cultures, and to experience the diversity.


Thanks to being a mum and a blogger, I get to see this diversity of Dubai from various perspectives. And I keep discovering great places to be with friends and family.

One such new place that I discovered last weekend is Pantry Cafe, a friendly gourmet cafe. After the popularity of its Al Wasl branch, Pantry Cafe launched this new cafe, in Business Bay, Dubai. And they invited the blogger community for a taste of their vibrant menu and delicacies.



I visited the place with my family, which included my two kids, aged 6 and 3. And what I loved about the place, was the friendly warmth that it exuded. The cool ambience, the open kitchen and the cheerful smiles, made it all the 'friendly cafe' that it promises to be.

The tasting menu was elaborate and interesting. The kids loved their “Mango lassi” and “Cookies and cream” milkshake, along with the 'margarita pizza”. And as they got busy, relishing their treats, we got to trying their “Taster Menu”.



For starters there were some interesting options. From 'Savory Mushroom Waffles' with feta cheese, semi dried tomatoes and rocket, “Open Eggplant Sandwich” with sriracha, ricotta, roasted red pepper & tomato chutney and “Smokey tomato scramble”.

Then there was the middle eastern delight Shakshouka' - eggs cooked in a sauce of fresh tomatoes, red peppers, onions & spices, topped with crumbled feta & served with toasted pita bread.






The main course dishes kept the menu as interesting with “Baked Brie” and “Green Tea Noodles with smoked salmon”, “Mexican Chicken” and “Katafi Prawns

For us the highlight were the eggplant sandwich and the green tea noodles. With fresh ingredients, and nice flavour combinations, the dishes were light, fresh and delectable. In fact with every dish, one could see the thought process that had been put into, making the dishes unique, fresh and cafe – style. Perfect for the weekend brunch or weekday bite.



And of course the menu would be incomplete without some yummy desserts. Pantry Cafe lived upto this challenge of giving the final course, a delicious flavour. The dessert menu included – bittersweet chocolate cake, churros, pecan nut tart, lemon curd shortbread and blueberry cheesecake. Yes sinful indeed. And quite a task, to find your favourite from such gorgeous treats. Still for me the cheesecake was like the icing on the cake.




You know you enjoyed your meal, when each member of the family, had their own favorites and loved the place equally. Would definitely recommend this “gourmet neighbourhood cafe”, if you are looking for something beyond sandwiches and wraps. And to enjoy good food in good company.

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Eggless Orange Cake


Whisking a cake, is more than creaming butter and sugar. For me, it is equal measures of indulgence, fun and absorption. The thought of that elusive perfect cake, keeps lingering in my mind and occupies all the space, in my tiny mind. And I search for 'that' recipe. Everytime. 


Once the recipe has been settled for, the fun part of making the cake starts. Seeing few simple ingredients to come together to form a creamy sweet batter, is a pleasure. And then to see the evenly baked, perfectly done cake, emerge from the oven, is a mix of relief and delight.

After the cake, gets its due rest, it becomes my canvas to have fun. With sketchy ideas of the final look or even flavour combinations, and with even sketchier skill sets to decorate, I still jump into the game. And soon the game is won, with something simple and pleasing.


This time, the eggless orange cake became a "sunny" ground, with fluffy peaks. Inspite of it not at all being perfect, I loved this one - I guess, has to do with the bright color. Just made me feel happier and brighter. Yes, we all need some sunshine in life. And this one had some tiny butterflies also taking flights in the sun...as my friend described it :)

This cake was also my first cake on order. Felt good, doing it and hence I ensured that all requests were met: eggless - check, no chocolate - check, less cream - check, and no - butter too. Wow seems like a keeper of a recipe for easy eggless cake.



Eggless Orange Cake Recipe
Recipe Source: Here 
(Easy eggless cake, flavoured with fresh orange juice. Makes an 8' inch cake)

Ingredients:
All purpose flour - 1 1/4 cup
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Condensed milk - 1 can (400g) sweetened
Orange Juice - 1/2 cup
Oil/ Butter - 1/2 cup (I used oil)
Vanilla essence - 1/2 tsp
Powdered sugar - 1-2 tbsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Orange zest - 1 tsp

Method:
  • Preheat oven at 180C. Line an 8" pan
  • Sift together, all purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda, to mix
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together - condensed milk, orange juice, powdered sugar, oil or butter, vanilla essence and lemon juice, till all mixed
  • Add this wet mix, to the dry ingredients and combine, till no lumps remain
  • Add orange zest and fold it in the batter. 
  • Place batter in prepared pan. Tap to remove air bubbles and bake for about 25mins, till tester comes clean
  • Keep aside to cool, before cutting it
Note: If using fresh juice, check for the sweetness level. For me even 1tbsp was more than enough. Or you can use packaged juice, and skip sugar, all together too.





For Vanilla Frosting:
(Its a very light and not very sweet frosting, so works great to make cakes bit lighter)

Ingredients:
2 packets of Dream whip frosting
1/2 cup cold milk
Yellow food color
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
Add milk to the dream whip powder, in a bowl. With a hand blender, whip them together, on high speed, till it forms soft peaks. Add food color and vanilla essence and whip again. Put in piping bag, and use as desired.

Note - Adjust consistency, by adding drops of milk, if needed.













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GRANOLA BARS - Guest Post BY SHREYA


If there is one topic that will not evade the discussion of mums, it has to be about "eating concerns". Its kind of a bond that unites us all moms. A wave of emotion, that a mother of every origin, experience and character would relate to. 

And with 2 fussy eaters of my own, I know its so hard to keep a combination of taste, variety, ease and nutrition in their meals. One "online group" that surely helps me to get inspired, after "PInterest" is the "Nutrition for kids" on Facebook. With almost 8,000 mums sharing their tips and recipes, it gets easier to sail though the "lunchbox mania" Hope you are there too.




Not just the recipes, I also get to interact with some fabulous mums. And such lovely lady is -Shreya Brahme, who is a trained dietician, specialising in "child care nutrition" and "Sports nutrition". Also a a yoga and naturopathy practitioner. Wow, just the kind of person, you would love to discuss about your child's health concerns. Right? So I thought it would be great to share her wisdom with all of you. You can know more about her at her website or her Facebook page. Over to Shreya............

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Hey all!! This is my first time sharing my blog with you, feeling really wonderful! Since 5 years, I’m working as a dietician, as wife and a mother. I’m always trying to keep my family healthy and happy. Cooking, making healthy choices from smart food is my hobby. 


My views and tips about today's kids and mums: 

According to me many times we are only one responsible for kids' eating habit and our self too (I mean mother too). Healthy food introduction is very important at this age (3-6 yr). It is not good to feed something junk just because he did not have his or her meal properly and he must have to eat before going to sleep. Please don't do this, dear mothers remember it is not only about food it's all about appearance, taste, colour. Please try to understand what your child's actual demand of that time, which colour, taste or food she attracts. 



For mother specially newly mother, who tries to manage her job, baby, and housework, in this chore she forget about her meal, don't do this. If there is too much gap between two meals, it may lead to weight gain. Have proper balanced 4 meals in day, it will keep you happy. My funda "Happy mother, healthy child". If you are happy you will be in a good mood to cook healthy food and feed your kid patiently, and kid will healthy.



Tips which I personally follow and tell to my clients too



  • The best way to manage all this plan your weekly routine.
  • Spend time with them, educate your kid at their level.
  • Take them when your are going to shop vegetable, fruits or grocery.  
  • Educate them to read labels.

Kids love granola bars, but store bought ones, will have too much added sugar and preservatives. By making it at home, you will give your child a healthy snack, that is easy and tasty.So presenting my new recipe with you all hope you all find it helpful for you.



Health benefits of this homemade energy bar


 Contain good complex carbs, which releases energy slowly slowly, this will help you stay    energized for longer hours.
 I added Oats, which gives good amount of fiber
 Ghee- gives healthy fat to your body.
 It is best pre exercise and sport bar.
 Ideal for Growing kids.


Oats Nutella Energy Bars Recipe:



Ingredients:-

Plain Oats- 1 cup (I use Kellogg’s) 

Muesli- ½ cup (I use plain Kellogg’s)
Honey- ½ cup
Nutella- 2 tbsp
Brown sugar- 1 tbsp
Ghee/ homemade butter- 1 tbsp (I used ghee)
Water- 1 tbsp
Vanilla essence- 1 tsp
Dry fruits- 1 tbsp (optional)
Butter paper

Method:-

1. Heats a pan, dry roast the oats until they are slightly brown n colour.
2. Now add muesli, roast for 3-4 mines.
3. Switch off the gas and keep aside
4. Now again heat a same pan with ghee once ghee melted, add honey, sugar, Nutella, vanilla essence, and water. Boil the mixture for 2-3 mins.
5. Now add oats and muesli, dry fruits mix well coat all with honey mixture.
6. Take a plate place a butter paper, spread the above mixture on paper, 
and make square or rectangular shape.
7. Cover this with another butter paper, put this into refrigerator for 5 mins
8. Take out from refrigerator, remove covered paper, cut into your desire shape, again cover with same butter paper, refrigerate for 15- 20 mins. or until it becomes crispy

9. Now remove both papers, your oats Nutella bar are ready to eat.

10. You have to store this into an airtight container.


11. Complete the meal with glass of milk.



Please try this recipe and let me know your feedback..Thank you hope we will meet again.
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Please note that the granola pics in this post is from the earlier Granola recipe and the bar pics are from this recipe.

Thanks Shreya for the wonderful tips and yummy recipe. We also hope to see more of you.

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