Welcome to ‘My Custard Pie’
I’m Sally Prosser, a keen eater… of GOOD food…. and for me that’s about using the best, freshest, tastiest ingredients cooked from scratch. Draw up a chair at my kitchen table, come with me to the market, consider difficult choices about food (especially when you live in a desert), share my cheese obsession, my journey to learn more about wine and explore some of the wackier sides of life here and away.
So why might you want to stay and browse?
From the moment I wake up I’m thinking about my next meal, I count myself very lucky to be able to do that with optimism. It seems like I’m not alone and you may be similarly obsessed. So perhaps I can inspire you with a simple recipe, an idea of what to cook for you or your family tonight. With privilege comes responsibility, and I find the world we live in a very scary place sometimes – especially about who we trust to control the thing we all share…our food supply. This is never far from my mind, dictates my choices (not easy when you live in such an unsustainable environment as I do) and maybe we can swap some ideas. I love to know where food comes from, how it’s produced, the story behind it – I hope you do too.
I’m not about to do a hair shirt though and with so many food related opportunities in Dubai you’ll find an insight on some places that I had never imagined ever really existed when I moved here in 2000, from 7 star to street food. If you like to travel to unusual places …well you’ll find a bit of inspiration here too.
If you are a PR company, food producer or someone who has a commercial interest, you might like to read this.
From Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, UK, I’ve lived in the Middle East since 1995. Mother of two teens (one vegetarian) and two Border Terriers, married to KP (player of loud music and golf in equal measure). A walker (never happier than when my boots are on and I’m out in the British countryside), book worm, strong (slightly random) creative streak, inquisitive (nosey parker)…
A bit more…
Please believe me when I say again that my only qualification for writing this blog is that I’m a keen eater.
I am not a trained chef, cook or bottle washer. As my sister will tell you (and told all my food blogging friends last time she stayed), I wasn’t that interested in cooking when I lived at home. My Mum made it her mission to ensure we had three homemade, tasty meals per day (and lots of cups of tea in between). There was no reason to learn to cook (simple snacks like omelettes and cheese on toast excluded of course). I did fantasise about good food though, and as a complete book worm, my nose was always in some tome or other including my Mum’s Good Housekeeping cookery book.
Learning to cook and my biggest food influence
I did my Cook’s badge with Guides only because I had to as part of the Queen’s Guide award. It took me about three hours to make a shepherd’s pie. But once I left home there was an incentive. I wanted to carry on eating the way I’d been brought up. And my Mum did a good job; motivated by wanting us to grow up strong and healthy rather than a love of cooking, she did her best on a very strict budget. Most of our fruit and vegetables were from our own garden, the village shop provided meat, cheese and other staples. A bread van delivered what is now called ‘real bread’ and milk came in bottles on the doorstep. Cooking from scratch and not relying on convenience foods permeated my future cooking self.
Food blogging and living in Dubai
So fast forward many decades, and I started writing about food at the heart of our family life here in Dubai. We’re just a normal family (expats from the South West of England) but live in a place that’s home to people of so many nationalities (and food cultures) and of constant change. So one day can (and has) include walking my dogs and eating toast for breakfast, making a loaf of bread, working from home in the daytime, then drinking a cocktail made of gold by night, or eating the hottest, spiciest, crunchy thing known to man, or eating sushi on a beach in Fujairah.
Although I’ve written commercial copy for many years, I found my voice through food, and putting it all down on My Custard Pie is a relaxing, creative outlet. I read a lot for inspiration, plus I was lucky enough to attend two workshops with Dianne Jacob’s and one with Martha Holmberg. My work has been published on and offline and I accept commissions.
Being located in the heart of the Gulf has given me the opportunity to travel to some extraordinary places. Some have now changed forever since the Arab Spring and recent events in the region. You get to understand a place and its people better if you know about their food culture. I’ve documented a little here on My Custard Pie and some on Walking on Sunshine – there are still many stories still to tell.
Wine writing and tasting
I am qualified to talk a bit about wine having passed my Wines and Spirit Education Trust Advanced level in 2012 (with distinction). Which other subject combines agriculture, geography, languages, history, science, even politics, as well as sensory pleasures? There is so much to learn and understand about wine and it’s constantly changing. Regularly tasting different wines is essential and I share my experiences and learning journey here.
Food styling and photography
We eat with our eyes don’t we – and no blog about food can tell the whole story in words these days. When I started my camera was a Sony Cybershot (with a food setting). Taking the plunge into the world of DSLR with a Nikon D5000, I enrolled for a photography course at Dubai Ladies Club with the amazing Zahra. Beatrice Peltre (Cannelle et Vanille), David Griffen, Ellen Silverman, Penny de los Santos and Sarka Babicka have all been part of my learning curve through workshops. I’m into minimal styling as I want the food to look as though I’ve made it, but Emily Jonzen and Fiona Archibold have increased my knowledge considerably.
Another inspiration has been getting to know Meeta K Wolff of What’s for Lunch Honey? We first connected on Twitter and now hold annual food and photography workshops here in Dubai. You can sign up for our newsletter and information about the next dates here.
Find other food bloggers
There are lots of us here in the UAE from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds. Since Arva from I live in a Frying Pan reached out in 2010 and together we formed a UAE food blogger collective called Fooderati Arabia, my life has been enriched through meeting (and eating with) some wonderful, generous and talented people from all walks of life.
A pat on the back
P.S. My love of custard started at an early age and has never abated.
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Thanks for dropping by.