Raneen Joudah’s table full of tasty treats

Raneen Joudah’s table full of tasty treats
Updated 11 November 2016

Raneen Joudah’s table full of tasty treats

Raneen Joudah’s table full of tasty treats

Raneen Joudah started off as a businesswoman but quickly realized she wanted to do more than just be a dedicated wife once she was home after work. She was looking of ways to invest in her hobbies, something she thought she would enjoy.
Her love for photography made her start a freelance business using a quality camera to do photoshoots of people and products. Joudah later realized her business did not match her passion for high-resolution photos. She did not like the fact that she was always stressed out about clients and deadlines, and so her hobby turned into a full-time job.
Joudah later decided to end her photography business and search for a new path. She then discovered her love for food, not any food, but home cooked meals that are made with love. “I love cooking, I always make sure to provide my husband and daughter a quality meal that I enjoy cooking and they enjoy eating,” she said. “This then extended to small gatherings with friends and extended family, who recognized my quality of cooking and encouraged me to share it with the world,” she added.
She later decided to become a food vlogger and blogger by starting her own social media pages, which go by the name ‘Raneen’s Table’, to share her knowledge about making quality food and serving it. “I use my professional camera and light to deliver the whole experience to my followers on Snapchat. I cook live on my social media platforms every day and share inside tips with my viewers, encouraging them to do the same. They then send their cooking results to me,” she added.
Joudah’s Snapchat is not only centered around her kitchen, but she also takes her followers to the supermarket and fish and vegetable markets. “My goal is to show them how to choose their ingredients and how to be inspired by them,” she said.
“I want to inspire people, to try new things, to explore unusual flavors, and to give a twist to traditional food. Also, I want people to know that cooking is easier than what it seems to be. I am also focusing on cooking methods and techniques not just recipes, to help people to master them,” said Joudah.
Who doesn’t like a good piece of steak that is juicy enough to satisfy your tastebuds, and perfectly cooked? Arab News asked Joudah to share her secret recipe for the perfect steak.

Choosing your meat:
You might want to consider choosing a good piece of meat, I like beef tenderloins as they are the most tender section in a cow, and the fat around it is easily removed. Wagyu (from Japan) is definitely the ultimate choice with its beautiful marbling and of course, expensive price! You could also go with Angus beef, which is easily available in your local grocery shop, with a lower price tag and also good quality. Or you can simply choose the local variety, which is also a good choice and has the cheapest price among the three. If you want something that has more fat, go with the T-bones or sirloin.

Cooking pans:
For juicy steaks and easy application, I would recommend frying your steak, although you can grill it in the oven if you wish to. If you choose either method, you will need a non-stick heavy pan and preferably one that leaves grill marks. We need a pan that gets really hot — ideally to achieve a beautiful brown crust.
It is important not to over stack your pan with too many steaks as it will reduce the pan heat and you will end up with pale steaks that have no grilling marks.

I like to use olive oil or canola oil, you can use any other oil you prefer. Some people may use butter with olive oil, you can do that as well, but I prefer to finish the steak with a nice chunk of flavored butter — no guilt! One major thing you have to keep in mind is, not to place your steak on the pan until you make sure your oil is hot. If the oil and the pan are not hot enough, you will lose the brownness and the grilling marks.
Salt and black pepper, that is it! Easy and straight forward, right? Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper do wonders here!

Cooking the steak:
Here comes my favorite part and the most important one. It all depends on how you like the steak to be done. Most like their steak medium, some like well-done, and some like it medium rare. I will do my best to explain the method.
But before that, one important thing is that your meat should always be at room temperature.
Leaving your steak to cook once on each side or flipping it over and over? Well, both techniques are right. Choose the one you are comfortable with. I like flipping my steak and cooking it for about a minute on each side for a total of 8 minutes (that is for a 2 inch thick piece), I believe that cooks it equally and gives it the perfect grill marks without burning it.
You can always use a thermometer to check for the right temperature that will make your life easier.

55-57 degrees Celsius - Rare
60-63 degrees Celsius - Medium
65-68 degrees Celsius - Medium well
68-70 degrees Celsius - Well done

Resting the steak:
Resting the steak is very, very important! Cutting your steak too early without resting will cause you to lose all the good juices and flavors of the meat. Give your meat a good five minutes to rest before serving. Cover it in foil to keep it warm.
Cooking time: 10 mins
Preparation: 5 mins
Serves: 2 persons
2 pieces tenderloin beef (2 cm in thickness)
Sea salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
4 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 rosemary sprig

- Season each of your steaks with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season well with salt and black pepper on each side.
- Heat a cast iron pan over high heat for at least 2 minutes or until extremely hot.
- Add the remaining olive oil along with the garlic cloves, and rosemary to flavor the oil.
- Place your steaks in the pan, cook for 4 minutes on each side.
- Try to spoon some of the oil in the pan and pour it over the steaks to keep them moist and to flavor them, repeat this a couple of times.
- Turn the steak to the other side and cook for
another four minutes, repeating the oil spooning method.
- Remove the steak from the pan, let it rest for 5-8 minutes and serve.

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Traditional Arab cuisine makes entry into Kabul

Traditional Arab cuisine makes entry into Kabul
Updated 08 March 2021

Traditional Arab cuisine makes entry into Kabul

Traditional Arab cuisine makes entry into Kabul
  • Fine dining spots open in Afghan capital despite growing political instability

KABUL: An Afghan entrepreneur has opened Kabul’s first restaurant offering traditional Arab cuisine to high-end diners.

Launched on March 1 on the fourth floor of an upmarket shopping center in Afghanistan’s capital, Al-Arab Mandi offers a variety of dishes famous in the Gulf region and beyond, promising authentic flavors and ambience with Arab music, separate dining rooms for families and a place to smoke shisha.

The restaurant’s speciality is mandi, a traditional meat and rice dish with a distinctive blend of spices that originates from the Arabian Peninsula. The owner, Abdul Mujib Rahmat, who is in his early 30s, has brought over a Yemeni chef and imports the spices from the Gulf to ensure that the original taste is preserved.

Most of the staff are Afghans who, like the owner, have spent many years in the Middle East.

“Indirectly, we are offering a means of livelihood for some 250 people,” Rahmat told Arab News.  

He said he had invested several hundred thousand dollars in the restaurant, which would have been cheaper elsewhere, but he wanted to offer jobs at home.

“I could have built two restaurants with the same amount of money in Turkey ... but thought it would be good to offer an income for people here who are more deserving, regardless of any income for myself, as long as I make ends meet,” he said.

While several Kabul restaurants have Middle Eastern dishes on their menus, Rahmat’s is the first one in the capital focused entirely on Arab cuisine, offering, besides mandi, traditional delicacies such as lamb madfoon, whole lamb, different kebabs and traditional fish dishes.  

The restaurant is the latest of the fine dining spots that continue to open in Kabul despite growing political instability and security concerns, as foreign troops based in the country are expected to leave the war-torn country soon.

“We want our customers to feel comfortable, like a prince, to enjoy their time here and forget about the calamities that have been going on here,” the restaurant’s general manager, Elyas Walizada, told Arab News.

Although dining at Al-Arab Mandi is not a cheap experience, customers say it is worth the price.

“I had heard about Arabic food but had not eaten it before,” said one of the diners, lawyer Jawad Turab. “I personally found it delicious and healthier because they use less oil.”

“I think I may come at least once a month and encourage friends and others who can afford it to come here,” he said. “You really can relax and can enjoy the meal.”

Walking initiative to promote public health in Saudi Arabia

Walking initiative to promote public health in Saudi Arabia
Walking helps reduce bad cholesterol and excess body fat. (SPA)
Updated 06 March 2021

Walking initiative to promote public health in Saudi Arabia

Walking initiative to promote public health in Saudi Arabia
  • The ministry said participants should respect social distancing

RIYADH: The Ministry of Health has celebrated the National Day for Walking, which falls on March 5.

The ministry aims to promote public health, spread the culture of walking, increase the number of walkers and help more than 500,000 persons suffering from chronic diseases.

The ministry has announced the launch of a walking challenge on March 10, where participants will set a daily objective, walking no fewer than 8,000 steps. There will be rewards for those who walk the most steps each week.

People are encouraged to download the app “Sehhaty” and register and participate.
The ministry said participants should respect social distancing and abide by precautionary measures. The challenge will be featured on social media, on the Live Well account.

Walking helps reduce bad cholesterol and excess body fat, maintain the flexibility of joints and muscle power, reduce stress and anxiety and boost mood.

Walking can also prevent osteoporosis, improve balance and blood flow, maintain a healthy weight, improve physical fitness and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart diseases, hypertension and diabetes.

This awareness work is a continuation of the ministry’s efforts to preserve society’s health and safety and encourage healthy behavior.

What We Are Eating Today: O’Dolma

What We Are Eating Today: O’Dolma
Updated 05 March 2021

What We Are Eating Today: O’Dolma

What We Are Eating Today: O’Dolma

O’Dolma is an Iraqi restaurant in Jeddah that offers dolma, a signature Middle Eastern dish of vine leaves, vegetables stuffed with rice, and meat.
Dolma comes in a variety of styles and flavors, with many regional specialties. O’Dolma offers the Iraqi version, which is prepared by Iraqi chefs according to an original recipe.
It is an ideal warming dish to enjoy in winter.
The restaurant’s signature dish, dolma royal, consists of layers of rolled-up dolma and vegetables filled with rice and seasoning, covered with a layer of fresh lamb ribs.
Vine leaves fattah — a layer of yogurt sauce over rows of vine leaves — is another mouthwatering choice offered by the restaurant.
The restaurant offers some trendy twists in packaging, taste and presentation. Each order is packaged in a durable box, which can be put on your dining table as a main or taken on trips.
O’Dolma has three branches in Jeddah in the North Obhur, Al-Rawdah and Al-Safa districts.

Egyptian child with SMA receives most expensive medicine in world

Egyptian child with SMA receives most expensive medicine in world
Updated 05 March 2021

Egyptian child with SMA receives most expensive medicine in world

Egyptian child with SMA receives most expensive medicine in world

CAIRO: Egyptian doctors have succeeded in treating a child with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) using the most expensive drug in the world, Zolgensma.

Nagia Ali Fahmy, professor of neurology and director of the Muscular and Neurology Unit at Ain Shams Medicine in Egypt, explained that Zolgensma, which has a value of $2.125 million per dose, is the first gene therapy of its kind in the world given to a patient intravenously in a single dose.

The drug was approved in May 2019 by the US Food and Drug Administration.

She added that the manufacturer, Novartis, offers 100 opportunities to obtain the drug free of charge in countries where it has not yet been registered, setting conditions for choosing the children who receive it, including that they should not be over two years old, and their mutation should be in the first gene. Accordingly, Ain Shams Medicine made eight applications for cases under their care, and Novartis selected one, a boy named Rayan from Alexandria, who is turning two in a few days.

SMA of the first and second types leads to the death of the child during the first two years of life as a result of the failure of respiratory functions.

Zolgensma was first clinically tested several years ago, and the first child to receive it is now five years old.

The drug treats breathing functions and motor impairment, and puts the child on a path to normal growth.

But the improvement happens gradually, during which physiotherapy and pulmonary rehabilitation therapy are performed.

Hani Aref, head of the neurology department at the Faculty of Medicine at Ain Shams University, said that SMA happens due to a genetic defect, as there is a defective gene in the body that does not allow the secretion of proteins responsible for feeding the cells connected to the muscles.

“This disease results in gradual, severe muscle weakness and it is divided into three stages depending on the severity in the gene,” he said.

“The first stage affects children immediately after birth in which the child’s condition is very difficult and the atrophy affects the breathing muscles gradually, which leads to death.

“The second stage affects children six months after their birth, and the third stage affects the child at an advanced age and results in severe muscle weakness,” he added.

“Symptoms begin with great difficulty moving, and the child cannot acquire motor skills; if he gains some of them, he will gradually lose them. Most of the children suffering from the disease are put on ventilators, but they eventually die.”

What We Are Eating Today: Pita Pack

What We Are Eating Today: Pita Pack
Updated 25 February 2021

What We Are Eating Today: Pita Pack

What We Are Eating Today: Pita Pack

Pita Pack is a Saudi sandwich shop with a diverse international menu. From traditional proteins to fresh salads, Pita Pack offers the experience of a quick bite that is both wholesome and familiar, which you can enjoy alone or with friends.

The recipes are inspired by a fusion of western culture and Arabian flavors.

The shop has a lively approach to naming its orders — deploying pop-culture puns, energetic language and casual vocabulary.

The sandwiches are made with fresh, light, medium-size pita buns, tortillas and brioche bread.

In addition to the more than 30 options on the menu, including vegan, seafood, beef and chicken, their tender American Philly cheesesteak sandwich is one of the best.

If you were thinking of offering your friends in the office or your family a brunch or dinner on the go, the shop offers "Pita box," a family-size option that includes an array of 20 different sandwiches of your choice.

Each order has its special sauce to complement the ingredients used. The restaurant also offers a selection of internationally inspired appetizers and salads.

It is located in Jeddah, Hilmi Kutbi Street, Al-Zahra district.

For more information visit Instagram @pitapackksa.