Our life in the UAE day to day is not that much different than life at home.
I get up every morning, do the same things I would have done at home, eat the same breakfast and always enjoy (at least) one cup of coffee before heading out the door.
But there are some things that snap you back to the reality of living 10,000 kms from home.
Like the weather- it just doesn’t get old. Andrew and I went out for a walk last night around our apartment complex and it was 29 degrees. We actually commented about how cool it felt. And as we walked, I looked over at Andrew and said “I will not miss the snow this year…not even one bit.” Sorry family and friends that are digging out of the first big snowfall.
And how is it possible that I went on a boat cruise the first weekend in November? AND WENT IN THE WATER? Sigh…life is just too good.
We continue to make our micro apartment our own and yesterday Andrew tackled our *ahem* “laundry room” project. We had lots of wasted space above our washer and in an 800 sqft apartment you cannot afford to have any wasted space. So we did what every good UAE expat does. We went to Ikea and bought something for cheap to solve the problem. I’m sure we alone are keeping the Ikea here in Abu Dhabi open for business between all the house stuff, ice cream and shawarma we buy. Thankfully our new friend Hassan is opening our eyes to all things shawarma and we are realizing that Ikea does not make the world’s best shawarma (gasp!).
Andrew borrowed a drill and got all the right screws and attachments for drilling into concrete and set down to work. There was a lot of math involved all to find out our walls are not actually straight or square…
Oh well, I think he did a great job and now we have double the shelf space we had before. It’s amazing how much the little things make a difference.
The other big thing I am missing is my stocked pantry and kitchen utensils. I mean I am getting by and making due but every now and then I wish I had this or that to make my life a little easier. Tonight I decided to tackle a new recipe in order to use up some lentils that I bought and free up some more cupboard space.
I started by cooking some sliced leeks in a little oil on the stove. Leeks have become my go to replacement for onions and green onions. They are super cheap and abundant here and they have a nice mild onion/garlic flavor that I quite like.
In a separate bowl I mixed together the sauce
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Once the leeks were soft, I poured in the sauce and 1 cup of green lentils. I know the original recipe called for red lentils, but I thought “hey, a lentil is a lentil right?” Green ones should work just fine. Wrong.
1 hour later my lentils were still a bit firm and I had to add another 1/2 mixture of sauce in the process to try to soften them up.
If it called for red lentils, use red lentils. Clearly they are not as similar as I first thought.
I served this with green bean and rice and there was plenty left over for my lunch.
The Verdict- other than the fact that the lentils could have been a touch softer, the flavor of this dish is so incredibly good. I will definitely make this again, but will make sure I have the right lentils on hand for the job.