Dubai Photo Workshop & Quinoa Cakes!

Dubai Photo Workshop & Quinoa Cakes!

In the kitchen, I am known to be adventurous.
Although a few years back I was totally the opposite. I used to follow recipes exactly ever since we were children and used to bake with our Scottish friend (who was years older than my eldest sister and I befriended her from the street while she was waiting for a taxi! – where did the “don’t talk to strangers” rule go)
One of the memories from baking back then was making Ghost shaped Meringues! It was so much fun!

My eldest sister was the one who taught me how to be adventurous in the kitchen. She would always say: “What’s the fun in following recipes?”

This was when I set myself free in the kitchen and this was when baking became a form of self expression for me.


Three years ago when I started blogging and everyone thought it was one of things I would do for a short while and stop (I proved them wrong), I knew my food photography was really bad. I tried to work on styling and lighting and I even started editing the photos as a means of improving them. Sometimes it worked and most times it flopped.

Just before our trip to Mauritius, my oh-so-generous husband fell for my pleads of needing a new camera and bought me the
Canon 5D Mark iii. He also kept telling me that I should learn how to use it the right way and not just use the auto mode! 😀

Well, I tried…


For the past two years, I have been wanting to take part in the Food Styling and Photography Workshop by Meeta K Wolff from What’s for Lunch Honey and organised Sally Prosser from My Custard Pie.

At first, my boys were too young and I couldn’t leave them at home for a long time. Then the location was too far from where I lived.
After that, I didn’t have the courage to ask.
Until a few months ago when Sally had announced the October workshop (and October seemed so far away), I expressed to my husband how much it meant to me to improve my photography and food styling skills and that I really wanted to participate. He agreed!

When the time came, I was too nervous.

This workshop was something that made a huge difference!

The location at the Miele Gallery is just amazing! (I’ve been thinking I should give some baking classes there in the future!)

The group of participants included food bloggers, professional food photographers, and of course food lovers!
It was a great mix because it gave you a chance to learn from everyone and see things from different perspectives.

Some of the people who participated are:
Tuba from Jar of Vanilla
Simone from Simone’s Kitchen 
Minna from My Naked Plate
Sitare from Str Kitchen (Blog in Turkish)
Affi from My Belle Don Full
and of course Meeta & Sally

The rest of the amazing group were Fatma, Rita, Kamel, Abdulla and Payal.

The special guests were Chef Russel Impiazzi from Lafayette Gourmet – Russel prepared our brunch on day 1.

Arva from Frying Pan Adventures (which I have missed) – Arva took the group to a  North African food tour.

Chef Dima Sharif  – Dima prepared Palestinian breakfast and lunch for the group on day 2. She also gave us some mouthwatering goodies,  a breast cancer inspired wooden spoon and basting brush.

The amazing Riyad (who I saw briefly before I left) from Balqees Honey  gave us some delicious honey
Hayley (who I also missed) from Be Super Natural. – Hayley prepared the raw dinner on the second day of the workshop.


Brunch by Russel - Day 1

Brunch by Russel – Day 1


Brunch by Russel - Day 2

Brunch by Russel – Day 2

Notice how my photography and styling skills evolve from the beginning of this post to the end. (Excluding the first photo which is there to catch your eyes!)

Meeta taught us things from basic camera functions, natural light to styling and photo editing tips. It was intense!

Meeta in action - Day 1

Meeta in action – Day 1


Meeta styling and shooting using the "tethered capture" feature!

Meeta styling and shooting using the “tethered capture” feature! Kamel & Rita are in the background


Final touches - Day 1

Final touches – Day 1


On Day two we were too overwhelmed with Sally’s Social Networking talk and overly excited to try Dima’s food and were too busy with hands on work that I didn’t take many photographs.


Dima's Goodies! - Day 2

Dima’s Goodies! – Day 2

Dima's wooden spoons and brushes all dressed in pink supporting Breast Cancer awareness! - Day 2

Dima’s wooden spoons and brushes all dressed in pink supporting Breast Cancer awareness! – Day 2


Dima's nibbles for breakfast - Day 2

Dima’s nibbles for breakfast – Day 2



Simone and Kamel trying Dima's Okra stir fry - Day 2

Simone and Kamel trying Dima’s Okra stir fry – Day 2


Sitare ready to pan fry her sea bass!

Sitare ready to pan fry her sea bass!


The pan fried sea bass we cooked Dima's way!

The pan fried sea bass we cooked Dima’s way!


Tomatoes - Day 2

Tomatoes – Day 2

Elie Saab Evian Water Bottles - Day 2

Elie Saab Evian Water Bottles – Day 2


My "Magazine Cover" Shot which Sitare, Simone & I worked on! - Day 2

My “Magazine Cover” Shot which Sitare, Simone & I worked on! – Day 2


Sally exhibiting the Giveaways! - Day 2

Sally exhibiting the Giveaways! – Day 2


Our giveaways were by:

Miele – The aprons we used were given to us!
Evian & Badoit – Water
Lindt – Chocolate
Lime & Tonic – Gift voucher
Frying Pan Adventures – Food Tour
Lafayette Gourmet – Photo Assignment Sponsor
The Toffee Princess – Toffee Tablets
Tavola – Kuvings Juicer which we used for two days
Arabian Wheatgrass Company – Wheatgrass seeds
Balqees Honey – Honey
Down to Earth – Ground Organic Turmeric
Crescendo – Oils, vinegars and spices
and me! I added some cookies and marshmallows into the goodie bags!



A few weeks ago I made some quinoa cakes which were amazingly light and absolutely mouthwatering!
You can eat them alone or make some dip for them. You can also have them as patties for a veggie burger. They will definitely impress family and friends!

Note: These photos have been taken before the Food Photography and styling workshop! 😛

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Quinoa Cakes
For the Quinoa: (If you already know how to cook quinoa, skip this section)
1 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
2 Cups Water
1/2 TSP Salt


In a medium saucepan and on high heat, bring water and salt to a boil. Wash the quinoa and then add to the boiling water. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa seeds are tender. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.



2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 Cup Chami (Can be replaced by any cheese of Cottage Cheese texture)
1/2 Cup Carrot, Finely Grated
1/2 Cup Zucchini, Finely Grated and squeezed to remove water
3 eggs
3 TBS Flour
2 green onions, Chopped Finely
1/2 Garlic Clove, Riced
1/2 TSP Sugar
1/4 TSP Black Pepper
1/4 TSP Cumin, Ground
1/8 TSP Salt
1 TSP Hot Sauce of your choice
Olive oil for frying

In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, chami (or otter cheese if using), and the rest of the ingredients.

Heat the frying pan with 3 TSP of olive oil over medium – low heat.
The quinoa cakes mix will be sticky so use a cookie/ice cream scoop to drop the mixture into the pan and then flatten slightly.

Pan fry the cakes until golden brown on each side. (Flipping them can be tricky so be careful.)




من صفاتي في المطبخ أني أحب أجرّب أشياء يديدة… مع أني كنت العكس تماماً أول ما بديت…

بداياتي كانت يوم كنت صغيرة … يمكن ٩ أو ١٠ سنين… خذت كتاب طبخ من معرض كتاب الشارجة أسمه My First Cookbook

مرة أنا والجود أختي سوّّينا ميرانج (meringue) على شكل “جنون” (جمع جنّي)

كنت دايماً بس أتبع الوصفات بالضبط لين كم سنة يوم أختي شماء قالتلي شي استوى قانوني في المطبخ. قالتلي: شو الإبداع في أنج تتبعين الوصفة… لازم تغامرين عشان تبدعين. ومن هذاك اليوم وأنا أحاول أنه أبدع في كل شي أطبخه.

قبل ثلاث سنين يوم بديت المدونة… كل حد كان يتحرّى أني ما بكمّل ولكن كملت. أول ما بديت كان تصويري للأكل وايد تعبان… مع الوقت تطورت ولكن مب للمستوى اللي كنت أباه…

من سنتين وأنا أبا أشارك في ورشة تصوير وتصميم/تزيين الأكل اللي تنظمها سالي من مدوّنة My Custard Pie وميتا من مدونّة What’s For Lunch Honey  … كانوا عيالي صغار وما كنت أبا أخليهم فترة طويلة أو مرّات يكون مكان الورشة غير مناسب لي من ناحية البعد.

هاي السنة أول ما أعلنت سالي قلت إن شاءالله بشارك. والحمدلله شاركت وحسّيت أنه هاي الورشة صدق ضافتلي أمور وايدة. حتى نظرتي لتصوير الأكل تغيرت.

لاحظوا الصور كيف تتطور من البداية لين النهاية.

الورشة مدتها يومين.

اليوم الأول تعلمنا عن أساس التصوير وطرق تصميم الصور. تعلمنا أساس النور وكيف يأثر على التصوير.

وتعرفنا على المشاركين اللي كان حد منهم مصورين محترفين، وحد مدوّنين وبعد كانوا ناس هواة للأكل والتصوير.

في هذا اليوم كان لازم نصوّر شي من الأكل بطريقة صحيحة مثل ما تعلمناها.

والعصر ساروا في جولة مأكولات من شمال أفريقيا في أرجاء دبي يالكلون ويصورون الأكل. (أنا ما سرت وياهم لني ماقدر أمشي وايد من العملية وبعد عشان كنت أبا أرجع عند عيالي)

 اليوم الثاني كان أكثر شغل فيه والظهر طبخنا ويا شيف ديما شريف من مدوّنة Dima’s Kitchen وعقب يلسنا نشتغل على صورنا النهائية. عقب تحليل الصور أنا روّحت وهم تعشوا هناك وروّحوا.

من فترة سوّيت كيكات (مالحة مثل البرغر) بالكينوا. كانن خفاف ولذيذات وطبعاً صحيّات!

ملاحظة: الصور مال كيكات الكينوا من قبل ورشة التصوير!


لطبخ الكينوا:

كوب كينوا
كوبين ماي
١/٢ ملعقة صغيرة ملح

 يضاف الماي والملح في قدر صغير لين يغلي، تُغسل الكينوا وتضاف إلىه.

تُطبخ لين تشرب الماي وتستوي ناضية.

مقادير الكيكات:

كوبين من الكينوا المطبوخة
٣/٤ الكوب جبن شيدر
١/٢ كوب جامي (أو جبن يشبه الكوتج جيز)
١/٢ كوب جزر مبشور
١/٢ كوب كوسا مبشورة (تُعصر باليد لين تنشف)
٣ بيضات
حبتين بصل أخضر مقطع قطع صغار
١/٢ فص ثوم مدقوق
١/٢ ملعقة صغيرة سكر
١/٤ ملعقة صغيرة فلفل أسود
١/٤ ملعقة صغيرة سنّوت (كمّون)
١/٨ ملعقة صغيرة ملح
ملعقة صغيرة فلفل (أي نوع يعيبكم. أنا استعملت بو طير)
زيت زيتون للقلي


تُخلط الكينوا المطبوخة مع الجزر والكوسا وباقي المكوّنات جيداً.

في تاوه للقلي، تُضاف ٣ ملاعق زيت زيتون ونخليه يحر شوي على نار متوسطة إلى هادية (لازم نحافظ أنه زيت الزيتون ما يفور عشان ما يتأكسد)

بملعقة الآيسكريم نحط خليط الكينوا في التاوه لين يستوي الويه ذهبي. (كونوا حذرين يوم تجلبونهن عشان ما يتفتتون)


  1. First of all, mabrook on the new camera!!! I know you wanted this for so long and I’m so excited for you!

    Your photographs were already very beautiful but the workshop made your work look professional, mashaAllah.

    The quinoa cakes look so delicious! Can’t wait for your next recipe!

    • Aww! Thank you Nadia!
      Yes this camera does make me feel good! Hahaha

      You’ll definitely like those quinoa cakes!

  2. As one of your former teachers I am so proud that you are continuing to learn and grow! The photos are amazing! I’m so looking forward to see ing what you and your new camera can produce. Let’s get together soon.

    • Your comment made me very happy; knowing how picky you are with quality! Thank you Xx

  3. It was really love to meet you Arwa and thanks again for spending the day with me on Saturday! And for all those dates.. 😉 I’ll be cooking lots with dates in the near future! Love the shots you took of the workshop. Although I don’t look like I am having much faith in that okra-dish! 😉

    • I can’t wait to read about all your date dishes! :)



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