Select a subject, and you can pretty much guarantee that someone, somewhere, is blogging about it. One of the most popular worldwide topics is food, and here in the UAE, we have our own burgeoning community of food bloggers – people of different ages and nationalities who share an ardent dedication to all things foodie, from tried and tested recipes to local restaurant reviews and essays on memorable gourmet experiences.
Sally Prosser mycustardpie.com
"I've always liked writing, and find my style and rhythm when writing about things I adore: food, eating and cooking for friends and family," says Sally Prosser, whose blog My Custard Pie offers a peek into the kitchen of a food-loving Dubai family. Prosser cooks attractive, inviting food, and peppers her posts with interesting observations in an open and conversational tone. The blog is updated regularly, with Prosser selecting recipes from her extensive collection of cookbooks, then adjusting them slightly to suit the demands of her family or the produce available in Dubai. She often accompanies the recipes with an anecdote, explaining why she has chosen them.
Prosser also has a quest to find "food with good provenance" in the UAE, sharing little nuggets of information about local food developments and detailed information on restaurants (not so much reviews, more descriptions).
Despite saying that she is still pinching herself over the positive response, it's easy to see why this blog has garnered numerous local and international fans. It is for good reason, after all, that Prosser is regarded as something of a local food guru by her fellow UAE bloggers.
Dalia Soubra daliaskitchen.com
When you are already the co-founder and head baker at a successful bakery (Kitsch Cupcakes), writing a food blog in your spare time shows real passion. Yet Dalia Soubra adds to her site frequently and says she was inspired to start blogging when customers began making requests for her recipes.
Now Dalia's Kitchen, which she describes as her "own little online food journal", is filled with simple, achievable recipes that have a fresh, modern feel to them. Soubra draws on her Syrian roots and her time spent in New York and Paris for inspiration, and the dishes featured range from healthy dinners to interesting breakfasts, with some seriously indulgent cakes in between. Each recipe is accompanied by a few lines of text and it seems that Soubra is something of a home food stylist; many of the photographs are stunning - clean, appetising shots, with a hint of Donna Hay about them. This blog is well worth a browse, even if you don't end up making a dish from it (although I suspect you might).
Laila el Baghdadi lailablogs.com
Spurred on by the belief that people underestimate Arab food, or simply don't look beyond the hummus and tabbouleh staples, Laila el Baghdadi started lailablogs.com two years ago. Originally from Palestine, but born and raised in the UAE, el Baghdadi has a wealth of knowledge to draw on, and her blog features recipes that have been passed down through the generations. The really impressive thing about this blog is its comprehensive nature. El Baghdadi posts pictures of each step of the cooking process, which is very helpful if you are making an unfamiliar dish for the first time. In a nice interactive touch, she also has a "recipe requests" section, which allows readers to suggest dishes that they would like her to experiment with and provide recipes for.
El Baghdadi has big plans for the future of the blog: "I'd like to translate everything into Arabic so that my site is fully bilingual," she says. "Over time, I'd like to make it possible for users to create a personal profile so that the site can predict their tastes and make recipe suggestions".
Arva Ahmed I Live in a Frying Pan foodonymph.com
The header on this blog reads: "Turning up the heat on my crazy obsession with the world of food" and Ahmed is certainly true to her theme. I Live in a Frying Pan reads like a diary of culinary experiences, featuring tried and tested recipes, restaurant reviews and details of the food sampled on her travels.
Having previously lived in New York, Ahmed says the experience opened her eyes to the multitude of ways in which food can be experienced: "not just eating and appreciating it, but reviewing, discussing, describing, debating, visualising, photographing". As a result, when she moved back to Dubai, she decided a blog was the best way to keep these conversations alive - "to chronicle them over time and share them with others".
She seems to have achieved her aim because her personality and dedication shine through. Her detailed posts are fascinating to delve into.
Rajani Mani eatwritethink.com
Rajani Mani describes her exclusively vegetarian blog as a means of sharing "food that tells you stories, food that's handed down by generations of grandmothers, happy food that revolves around conversations and laughter".
Although it does feature a fair few recipes (from a variety of different cultures), this blog is about far more than that. There are links to food-related articles written by Mani, photo essays and contributions from different culinary enthusiasts currently travelling the globe.
The blog has an intimate style: "With the food and the recipes came slices of my life laid out to be picked bare by people I don't know," she says. You learn about her reasons for being a vegetarian, or how a certain dish made its way into the family repertoire, and it is precisely these opinionated, personal snippets that make the blog so absorbing.
Anja Schwerin anjasfood4thought.com
If you are in search of interesting, inventive recipes, with the emphasis on health, then Schwerin's blog, Anja's Food for Thought, is a great place to visit. Motivated by a desire to eat more healthily, in 2008 the mother of two made a conscious decision to cut refined sugar and flour out of her diet. She began scouting the internet for nutritious, wholesome recipes and was inspired by the food blogs she discovered. With an increased desire to experiment with natural ingredients, Schwerin started her own "personal food journal and cookbook" and began posting recipes and pictures, often experimenting with vegan, vegetarian, low-sugar or raw food.
Her 15 years' experience as a picture editor are certainly reflected in the quality of her photography; dishes are beautifully presented and many of the photos are striking. She tends to add to the blog two or three recipes a week (estimating that each post takes around two hours, plus cooking time) and says that it is "a hobby that I really love". The blog has around 10,000 visitors per month, and Schwerin puts its success down to "posting healthy and tasty recipes regularly, together with mouth-watering pictures". It's certainly worth browsing through if you want to cook up some restorative, nutritious and unusual fare.
In this article we originally stated that Laila el Baghdadi, author of lailablogs.com was originally from Pakistan. In fact, she is originally from Palestine.