Gahwa and date and ginger cake

I’ve always liked Arabic Gahwa coffee but never actually tried to make it for myself. Today was my first time! Hasan and Sarah kindly gave us a Dallah pot, some Arabic coffee, (which is green unroasted ground beans) and some crushed cardamom when we visited them earlier in the week. So, having all the ingredients handy I tried to remember the recipe I’d been told by Sarah with the help of her son. Just to confuse me even more I checked out a couple of recipes on the Internet and then decided there was no point in procrastinating any more and to get on with it! So just for the record this is what I did- 3 spoons of coffee in a pan with boiling water; bubble away for 20 mins; decant into a jug; add half a spoon of cardamom; pour back into the pan and bubble for 2 mins; decant into the serving pot; allow to settle for a couple of mins; then serve. It wasn’t the best Gahwa I’ve ever had but it wasn’t too bad. A few more attempts and I might just be happy with the result! We enjoyed a couple of small cups each sitting on the bench outside before lunch.

In the afternoon I made a date and ginger cake- a recipe I hadn’t used for many years. I remembered about it a couple of weeks ago and thought it would be a nice change of cake for a desert trip. I seemed to remember it was a bit ‘Christmassy’ so as it’s the 1st Dec tomorrow and we’re planning a trip next weekend I dug out the recipe, was pleased to find that except for bicarbonate of soda I had all the ingredients and the shop fortunately had baking soda ( American name ) so the cake got baked and is now cut and ready in the freezer for next Thursday 🙂

Social week.

Usually, I don’t have much contact with the local people but this last week has been an exception. It started last Thursday with the company ‘away day’ at a horse riding centre on the outskirts of Tabuk. Many of the Saudis Paul works with turned up with their families and we spent a very pleasant few hours chatting, looking around, watching the children play, drinking Gahwa and enjoying a lovely buffet of food. I met Hasan’s wife and before we left he told me his wife wanted to invite us to their house.
On Sunday evening we attended a company presentation evening for people achieving awards and some others for long service certificates. Paul was receiving his 30 year certificate and also a Spencer Tart framed print of a Saudi Door. It was a very pleasant evening and again there were some Saudis present to have a few conversations with.
Our invitation to Hasan’s house was for Monday evening. It turned out a truly memorable time. In 26 years of living in Saudi I have never been to a Saudi family home and I was both excited and a bit nervous.

20121128-180600.jpg

20121129-214910.jpg

20121129-234258.jpg

Desert and results.

Really good week. Started off a bit stressful as I was suffering from a bad cold and had my first OU assignment to complete. Sent it off not feeling very positive about it and just couldn’t believe it when 2 days later my tutor sent back my result- 85%!! Unbelievable but it was a rel pick-me-up:) after that I was really relaxed and looking forward to the weekend and a trip in the desert. Thursday started a bit fresh 9degs C headed down Bajda road and at the petrol station turned into the desert and drove to a rocky ridge with some old graves on top. Really interesting dry stone type walls and tumuli. Looked at little double arch close by as well. Drove on to a beautiful green bushy enclosed rocky area and had lunch there. Spent quite a while scrambling around and just enjoying the scenery. A really lovely day spent in an area that is visited by Saudis but I think I’m probably one of the few privileged westerners to have ventured here:)