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    Um Safia

    Member since Jun 2007

    Chef #510313

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    About Me

    ABOVE: My eldest, Talha with his 'Zaar Star!

    I'm 31 years old and have been cooking since I was old enough to wield a wooden spoon! My Mum is a fantastic cook and both my Grandmas were great cooks too.

    I've also had the pleasure of working in two commercial kitchens - one which I ran and the other I was second chef of.

    You can find me lurking in the NA*ME (North Africa / Middle East) Forum where I am a host:

    and also in the Cooking for Kids Forum where I am co-host:

    I am fortunate enough to have 2 children of my own now and enjoy cooking with my eldest who is almost 10 years old. My daughter is almost 5 & has now started joining me in the kitchen & 'helping'. She likes to stand on a chair next to me, give instructions & stir.

    We eat food from all over the world and you will find many Algerian recipes as I spent 10 years cooking Algerian and Maghrebian cuisine because of my Algerian husband. We are currently living in the UK after living in Algeria for a while. You will notice that I have posted quite a few Algerian classics.

    If I had the time and the money, I would spend all day every day trying new recipes! 

    Other than cooking, I love anything arty-crafty and enjoy painting when I get the chance, which is rarely these days. I used to sell a lot of my creations and do things to order but just don't have the time at the moment.

    I have a passion for gardening almost as strong as that for cooking. I tend to have 90% of it in pots though as I can't bear to leave it behind when we move - therefore we don't have a lot of stuff that we'd like to have as it wouldn't like being confined to a pot! I take great pride in my garden and love the summer months (the few that we get in the UK) when we can eat outside.

    By the way; I'm on a mission to re-educate people about soaking cous cous for use in North African recipes.,,just so you all is traditionally STEAMED & not soaked!

    Most of the North African recipes I have have been taught to me by my former mother in law, sisters in law etc. A few have come from very old cookbooks. It has taken me a long time to get the dishes into some kind of recipe form as basically we "eyeball" the majority of the ingredients. Bear with me whilst I try to get the rest of the recipes in order!...  

    I have a thing about being polite and having good manners - they don't cost anything after all. Something that bugs me is when you hold a door open for someone and they don't even acknowledge you or if you need to go through a door and they won't hold it for you but let it slap you in the face!

    I think we should all smile more - myself included....

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    2009- Events:


    Favorite Foods

    Algerian - Chakhchoukha, Svetti, Batata Kucha, Rechta, Tli-tli & Dolma... hard to choose one really.

    Moussaka, lasagna and various canneloni. My special aubergines and rice, All kinds of salads, especially nice crunchy ones with fruit and nuts in! Fresh bread - outside crusty, inside fluffy....

    Lebekuchen, tiramisu, chocolate ice-cream, any danish pastries, my cherek, and Jaffa cakes

    My former SIL Nawel's Algerian Spinach dish (I'd pay her air fare just to have her cook it for me sometimes!)

    I also love indian food - especially curries and a lot of chinese food.

    I reckon I could pretty much eat my own weight in M&Ms (the peanut ones) too.

    I am the type of person who will give anything a whirl and relish new taste experiences. In Portugal when I was just 3 years old I wouldn't leave the snails in garlic butter alone (even went as far as to start helping myself to other peoples!)

    I am pleased to say that my son seems to have inherited my love for trying new foods and couldn't wait to try the Algerian favourites of sheeps head, feet and stomach - I don't care for them but he seemed to enjoy them!

    I don't have a favourite cookbook or chef really but if I had to name the most influential chef to me so far, then it would have to be Michel Roux Jnr

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