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Culinary bucket list 2013

January 6, 2013

Are you a list person? I am. It helps me feel in control of things and a great sense of satisfaction when I’ve ticked items off. I use a lovely online device called Workflowy. Shamelessly stealing this idea from Charmian Christie, I’m making a list of culinary stuff that I’d like to do this year. Inspired by Amanda of Glamorous Glutton and Tracy of Shutterbean I’m going to keep a beautiful notebook too; here’s how (will appeal to the neat freak).


Places I’d like to visit:

  • There’s a fish restaurant in Sharjah where they only serve the best of the catch of the day, grilled on charcoal. I think it’s called Sanobar.
  • I’m hankering after another food tour of old Dubai from Frying Pan Adventures. Ready for another taste bud awakening.
  • And on that note, I need to visit the momo place in Bur Dubai so I can compare to the ones I ate in Kathmandu.
  • Georgia – the one where Tbilisi is the capital (rather than the Atlanta one). See why here and here.

Lemon curd

Things to learn/blog more about:

  • Finding out exactly what my Vitamix can do.
  • Custard. Yes, the quest for custard perfection continues.
  • Emirati cuisine. I’ve got a great book to help me do it and a lovely friend who I hope will give me advice when I need it.
  • My most visited post of 2012 was one I wrote in 2011 A jar of sunshine – home-made lemon curd which includes 10 uses for the yellow stuff. I’m planning more of this kind of thing.
  • Bread. My baking journey of the last few years continues. I hope you’ll join me.
  • Sour dough – long-term readers may notice that this resolution is not a new one.
  • Perfecting pastry is another long-term goal. This is a great place to start.
  • Sri-Lankan food. I had a great lesson in 2012 (to be written about) and it would make KP so happy.
  • Wine.  Any excuse to taste different wines to stop my WSET knowledge from fading.  It’s a challenging but inexhaustible topic to write about.
  • My new iphone – for learning about, not blogging about, that is. Already loving Snapseed app for images. Thanks to David Griffen’s tips. Plus do you want to know some secrets?


Ingredients to use more often:

  • Sumac – this lemony, bright red spice shouldn’t just be reserved for fattoush
  • Fish – my teens won’t eat it so I cook it less often than I’d like. Learning about the different fish available here in the UAE is an ongoing voyage of discovery.
  • Bzar – Emirati spice mix (the garam masala of the Gulf)
  • Pomegranate molasses – the new ‘in’ ingredient that people are scouring London for since publication of the latest Ottolenghi book (see below). In every supermarket here and infinitely versatile. I might even try making my own.
  • Vegetables – ok, I know…but with food bills going up all the time, and meat increasingly expensive it makes sense to focus on the leafy stuff. Plus with a teen who has been vegetarian since the age of 7 it means I only have to cook once.

Recipes to try:

Salt Sugar Smoke

Cookbook and culinary reading list:

Books on my shelf that I’m going to explore in more detail in 2013:

  • JerusalemYotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi; The first two Ottolenghi books are some of the most well-used books on my shelf but I haven’t explored this one properly yet (except the hummus recipe which, combined with my Vitamix, is the best ever).
  • Sherbert and Spice – Mary Isin; I’ve been sent this Complete Story of Turkish Sweets and Desserts to review. It’s going to take some concentrated reading.
  • Sugar Salt Smoke – Diana Henry; I’ve pots, jars and bottles all over my kitchen due to this book. Much more to explore in 2013.
  • Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share – Paula Wolfert; 2013 is the year I brave Satwa and find some clay pots
  • Short and SweetDan Lepard; my ‘go to’ baking tome with get more use this year. The bread recipes alone are sublime.

Blogs to visit:

  • The blogs listed to the right in the side bar are just some that I visit regularly and there are so many talented bloggers out there. I’m going to make sure I visit the ones that make me smile (or laugh out loud) a bit more in 2013:
  • Dinner in 1972 – a new discovery recommended by….
  • …Jen of Silver Screen Suppers who cooks from old film star’s recipes. Vincent Price’s goulash anyone?
  • Shabby chic – based in the Cotswolds (where I’m from)…sigh
  • Glamorous Glutton – written by Amanda of the oh so stylish notebook fame (see above)


And some personal ones:

Would love to know what you’ll be cooking up this year….

  1. January 6, 2013 8:02 am

    Yes, the fish place is Sanobar. Easy to find – take the first major left as you enter the traditional start of Sharjah on the Dubai/Sharjah highway, signposted as ‘Al Khan’. Then just drive straight, leaving exhibition centre on your left, going over the Venetian style bridge, past the large white mosque on your right (turning right here would take you to the fish market and wharfs) and then, a couple of hundred yards from the roundabout by the beach, you’ll see it on your right under the trees. I’ve been going there for 15 years and it remains a delight. Around 80-100 dhs a head for more than you can eat. Good to go now when you can sit outside and be driven crazy by the smell of the grilling…

  2. January 6, 2013 10:03 am

    Thanks Dave – I actually thought about mentioning you in this post as I was pretty sure you were the ‘brand ambassador’ for this restaurant. One to explore very soon.

  3. January 6, 2013 10:38 am

    Why didn’t such an inspiration come to me? It’s lovely Sally! Maybe, I’ll follow you bucket list and add a few of my own to it!

    • January 6, 2013 10:39 am

      Sp mistake… follow your bucket list! Sanobar – do give a shout if you intend to visit the place.

      • January 6, 2013 9:26 pm

        Would love to go with a gang; usually an intrepid traveller but Sharjah floors me.

  4. January 6, 2013 10:45 am

    I love sumac and use it quite often. Love this list – I think I might try and do one as well.

    • January 6, 2013 9:26 pm

      Oh do – I’d love to read your list.

  5. January 6, 2013 10:47 am

    Thank you Sally for sharing your bucket list, I have now stolen your list of places to visit 🙂 and the notebook creation ideas, I am notebook keeper, even with fancy apps I still like good old handwritten notebook. I use pictureNote app to snap photos of ideas on magazines or things to buy.

    We say in Finland “One should not go farther than the sea to fish”. Blowing my own horn here. We have lovely fish-seafood in Dubai at SeaMood Restaurant, ask their seafood tajine, samak bil radda, grilled shari eshkeli and soups. I like also that there’s sustainably fishes on menu. I am “meat-eater” but have fell in love in their Samak bil radda grilled with charcoil have authentic taste, fish is loot (dont know in english). I am from Finland, country of thousands lakes, for me right way is fresh catch grilled fish on campfire, Loot made with radda is exactly that. (

    Started my own foodie bucket list, thank you for inspiration 🙂

    • January 6, 2013 9:28 pm

      Great Finish saying and thanks for the recommendation Minna. Happy New Year.

  6. January 6, 2013 11:11 am

    Oh Sally, you always make me smile! What a great list! I love the notebook too.. 🙂

    Thank you for the kind linky, and I’d love to hear what you think about Jerusalem – I’m struggling to justify another cookbook. And you know I adore clay pots, so I can’t wait to see what you come back with! 🙂 xx

    • January 6, 2013 9:29 pm

      I’ve had it September Celia and barely had chance to look at it, let alone cook. To be remedied…

  7. January 6, 2013 12:05 pm

    Fantastic post. i feel like doing a culinary bucket list post on my blog now. That would give my blog a purpose I feel. Happy New year!!

    • January 6, 2013 9:29 pm

      Happy New Year to you too Anita – would love to read your list.

  8. Redawna permalink
    January 6, 2013 12:40 pm

    Love your list idea, I may have to borrow it as I am feeling inspired!

    Happy New Year Sally! I hope 2013 is amazing for us all.

    • January 6, 2013 9:30 pm

      I borrowed the idea from Charmian Christie’s blog! I should have added ‘making pysanky’ to this list.

      • Redawna permalink
        January 6, 2013 10:38 pm

        That is the great thing about lists! They can be modified. I have been busy making Pysanky the past few weeks to celebrate Christmas. One can never have enough.

  9. January 6, 2013 1:20 pm

    Beautiful cheerful photo of sun flower fields Sally. Will definitely try the Sonbar restaurant. Sounds amazing. We use sumac a lot on fish in Jordan. Just sprinkled on top like you would with salt:) I have so much in my pantry. If I happen to see you I would like to give you some as the Jordanian one is wonderful.
    I always learn new things from your blog:)

    • January 6, 2013 9:33 pm

      The fields were just over the Swiss border in France – I made my friend stop the car so I could take pics. The next day I took a little mountain train to France and there were sunflower fields all the way up the ascent. I’d love to taste the difference in your Jordanian sumac – the quality of fresh produce in Jordan was so good when I visited.

  10. January 6, 2013 1:34 pm

    Love this post! So much stuff to read about 🙂

    • January 6, 2013 9:33 pm

      Thanks Nassaurus – given myself a lot to do haven’t I!

  11. January 6, 2013 1:35 pm

    This is inspirational – I’m not normally a fan of these type of lists but yours is thoughtful and interesting. Happy 2013 Sally and I look forward to meeting you in July!

    • January 6, 2013 9:34 pm

      What a terrific compliment Mardi – thanks so much. And me too, very much looking forward to meeting at last at Food Blogger Connect.

  12. January 6, 2013 1:53 pm

    A wonderful list! I’d love to learn more about Sri Lankan cuisine. It is so understated.



    • January 6, 2013 9:36 pm

      Cheers Rosa, I was lucky enough to stand in the kitchen of a very good Sri Lankan cook for a whole afternoon while she prepared a most amazing feast. Must try her wonderful recipes in 2013.

  13. January 6, 2013 2:10 pm

    I love your list its very inspiring!

  14. January 6, 2013 2:29 pm

    I almost always write a culinary bucket list but this year I just haven’t had time. I’ve also got the Ottolenghi and am looking forward to exploring it. Great list.

    • January 6, 2013 9:36 pm

      I prefer the bucket list to resolutions….it’s a would like to do rather than a have to do.

  15. January 6, 2013 3:21 pm

    This is a fabulous wishlist which I may well have to steal from! Had never heard of Bzar either – you learn something new every day!

    • January 6, 2013 9:40 pm

      Oh do steal away. There’s more about bzar and Emirati cooking here

  16. January 6, 2013 3:33 pm

    Love this post Sally! so organized!! I was in Tblisi on business but met up with a local family (my aupair’s parents and brother) for some of the most amazing food I have ever eaten and so fresh!! It is an interesting place to visit – and they LOVE wine there too.

    • January 6, 2013 9:41 pm

      Oh lucky you; you’ve whetted my appetite even further.

  17. January 6, 2013 5:09 pm

    Love this post, I’ve been making my list and schedule of things to see, eat, do and write about since christmas breack! I am also a fan of the Salt Sugar Smoke book and I’m also figuring the Vitamix out 😉
    I wish you a creative and happy foodie trip this year!

  18. January 6, 2013 5:10 pm

    And thans so much for the mention, I hope you’ll like my cake 🙂

    • January 6, 2013 9:42 pm

      Can’t wait to get into the kitchen to try your recipe.

  19. January 6, 2013 7:22 pm

    Great post — so full of inspiration. Can’t wait to click on all the links and see what else I discover.

    • January 6, 2013 9:44 pm

      Cheers Joan – Happy New Year

  20. January 6, 2013 10:08 pm

    Looks like 2013 is going to be an exciting time from a culinary point of view. I have an open book at the moment and waiting for me to start my Masters in Gastronomic Tourism before I get all wildly optimistic. Look forward to following your adventures over the coming year.

    • January 13, 2013 9:28 pm

      Wow – good luck with that qualification – how fantastic.

  21. January 6, 2013 10:41 pm

    You have a great list. I got the Diana Henry book for Christmas, and can’t wait to dive into it too. You sound like you have already tried some of the recipes, how have they been?

    • January 13, 2013 9:29 pm

      Her recipes work well – Diana is not just a joy to read but meticulous in her research and testing too.

  22. January 6, 2013 11:22 pm

    Wow, you’re giving me ideas! I might steal a leaf or two out of your book. Talking of Books, I got Salt Sugar Smoke, on your recommendation, and love it! And here’s a recommendation for you: Sugar and Spice by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. Bought on the strength of a Guardian Top 10 Cookbooks of 2012 list. Fab! Pastry, by RIchard Bertinet was on that list too. Sounds like that might suit you too 🙂

    • January 13, 2013 9:30 pm

      Euan – you are leading me astray!

  23. January 6, 2013 11:34 pm

    I love writing lists and reading other people’s list. That said, I am not making any this year because I am sure I wont be able to check anything off (and that’s the best part!), I’ll do things the spontaneous way until things calm down. I have Clay Pot Cooking and love it. Burma is on my cookbook list.

    • January 14, 2013 6:56 am

      I discovered Paula Wolfert through a post of yours Sarah.

  24. January 6, 2013 11:39 pm

    Love this post Sally, great ideas with something for all tastes 🙂 Georgia’s on my travel wish list too. Have a bubbly year! x

    • January 14, 2013 6:56 am

      There’s the germ of a plan there….:)

  25. January 7, 2013 12:16 am

    Ahh yes, I love lists too and have enjoyed reading yours. I started a blog notebook a few months ago and have found it invaluable – it’s full of lists. Sumac and pomegranate molasses were completely new to me when I attended a middle Eastern cookery day at the Vegetarian Cooking School in Bath a couple of years ago. I am so pleased I discovered them and ahead of everyone else it seems 😉

    • January 14, 2013 6:58 am

      Interested to hear about the vegetarian cooking school in Bath – my daughter would love to do a course.

  26. January 7, 2013 12:46 am

    Brilliant list. Re the Sri Lankan cooking try Ceylon Cookery by Chandra Dissanayake. I bought mine in Sri Lanka after spending some time in the kitchen of the hotel we were staying in. I was so intrigued about the food and the staff kindly tolerated all my questions and let me hang out in the kitchen. They all learned from this book. Very few pics but I guess she is the Eliza Acton of Sri Lanka!

    • January 14, 2013 6:58 am

      That’s a great recommendation Urvashi – googling it now.

  27. January 7, 2013 1:23 am

    Fab list. I want to try more recipes from ‘Jerusalem’ too – so many enticing dishes. And momos reminds me of a trekking holiday we had in Nepal years ago, they’re deliciously memorable. Thanks lots for the mention. Andrea

    • January 14, 2013 6:59 am

      I only managed a short trek on a weekend in Kathmandu – but we ate a lot of momos!

  28. January 7, 2013 8:18 am

    I am completely a list person! I have lists for everything, otherwise I forget stuff! I tried getting organised by posting tasks and reminders on my phone, but somehow I always snooze them or end up just not looking at them! Strange how scribbling on a piece of paper has commitment tied to it lol
    Well I would say you have got your work cut out for you this year, very interesting and inspiring 🙂

    • January 14, 2013 7:00 am

      I agree completely about writing it down. I have workflowy on my phone as well now but a written list seems to permeate the brain better.

  29. jamielifesafeast permalink
    January 7, 2013 2:08 pm

    Happy New Year, Sally, and I, too, should steal this fabulous idea! I think many of us are afraid to write down lists in definitive black and white, fearful we may actually have to keep our own promises to ourselves. And I, too, want to bake more bread and get better at it, bake more complicated pastries and…. write more and more often about more topics than just food. Cheers to us and our projects!

    • January 14, 2013 7:01 am

      I second that toast Jamie – and look forward to reading your non-food work as well as your usual fabulous food-related posts.

  30. January 7, 2013 2:52 pm

    I would not get through a day without my lists and being able to tick things off when they are complete.
    Sally, you have the most wonderful year planned for yourself. I look forward to reading about when you can tick them off the list.
    Mandy xo

    • January 14, 2013 7:02 am

      Your blog is meticulous Mandy – not surprised you are a list person. Thanks for the nice comment.

  31. January 7, 2013 5:45 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out for Dinner is Served 1972. I wish you grand success on your 2013 list!

    • January 14, 2013 7:03 am

      Most welcome – it makes me smile.

  32. January 7, 2013 10:23 pm

    I am very much a list person, as well. Perhaps not as organized as I’d like to be, but my moleskin calendar is littered with weekly and monthly to-do list. In fact, I have a separate journal specifically for photography to-do goals. Methinks I should have a separate culinary journal as well. Thanks for the inspiration and Happy New Year, Sally!

  33. January 7, 2013 11:01 pm

    My resolution is to stand on the highest diving board, bounce a few times to pick up momentum and then leap head-first into that jar of lemon curd! How beautiful it looks, Sally. I’m inspired by your plans for the year ahead, although I fear that sourdough may slip off the end of my list.

    • January 14, 2013 7:03 am

      What a wonderful mental picture I have now Charlie. Let’s try and encourage each other on that sour dough resolution.

  34. January 8, 2013 8:22 pm

    your book of lists is a good idea….but seriously…I’d have to get a bigger purse. Ughhh
    maybe a good app that combines pinterest and if I ever figure out workflow on samsung maybe my life would be easier. it’s enough trouble just to remember my key, my small purse, my phone. my shopping bag that fits in my really small purse, …
    if i can store it on the phone …and keep that away from my g’kids and their idiot games….i’m good to go

    • January 14, 2013 7:05 am

      Pinterest is great as a to do list too – and tell me about kids and phones….I get twitchy if my teens go near mine.

  35. January 9, 2013 7:13 am

    Happy New Year, Sally, and best wishes to you and your family! I’m definitely a list person: apart from keeping me organised, lists give me an enormous feeling of accomplishment – of course, my favourite bit is when I get to cross items off the list!

    • January 14, 2013 7:06 am

      Happy New Year Assia – that’s a lot of crossing off in your case. I don’t know how you do it all.

      • January 14, 2013 8:15 am

        Thank you, Sally! You’re an inspiration in every way!

  36. January 10, 2013 7:36 am

    I’m loving the idea of a culinary bucket list, what an inspiring way to start off the year!

    • January 14, 2013 7:06 am

      Really appreciate your comment Sylvie – your beautiful blog inspires me.

  37. January 10, 2013 10:23 am

    Hi Sally! I’ve just found your blog and I love it! It’s so positive and interesting 🙂 I’m a Polish food blogger and I can send you my recipe of Polish apple cake – Szarlotka, which is also very good 🙂 I’ve just moved to Dubai, so I hope to meet you one day. I wish you success on your resolution list!!! Asia

    • January 10, 2013 11:22 am

      I would LOVE your apple cake recipe. Also check out Fooderati Arabia – there’s a whole world of wonderful food bloggers here in the UAE. – link to private facebook group on the about page.

  38. January 10, 2013 11:27 am

    Happy New Year Sally – wonderful post! I’ve done my own bucket list over at Silver Screen Suppers inspired by yours. Here’s to wonderful food and drink experiences in 2013 xx

    • January 14, 2013 7:07 am

      LOVED reading your list Jenny. Cheers – I’ll drink to that too.

  39. January 10, 2013 11:16 pm

    Your lists look wonderful Sally and it looks like you are going to have a delicious year ahead! I would love to be as organized as you! I write lists… but not always in the same note book! 🙂

    • January 14, 2013 7:08 am

      That’s been my problem too – I’ve bought a special new one and I’m going to get rid of all the others!

  40. January 11, 2013 10:35 pm

    An awesome list and post. I read it on my phone but just re-read and came back to comment. I read the iphone secrets link and leant loads about my phone! Thanks for that. I really love everything your’ve included and all your sections and thanks for wanting to make my Polish Apple Cake. All the best for 2013 x

    • January 14, 2013 7:09 am

      It’s my way of connecting to far away family….through food Ren. Have a successful 2013.

  41. January 26, 2013 8:40 pm

    Crikey what a list! You are going to be one busy lady 🙂

  42. December 9, 2013 4:02 pm

    Hi Sally,
    I adore your blog, as a matter of fact it’s your blog that inspired me to start my own. I think I can help you check one item off your culinary bucket list – Sri Lankan food. I have just started blogging about it so do drop by sometime and good luck with your list!

    • December 10, 2013 10:00 am

      Bless you – hope you enjoy blogging as much as I do.


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