The United Arab Emirates celebrated its 43rd National Day on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. The holiday marks the unification of the seven emirates and founding of the country in 1971 after winning independence from the British. It was the first year I was in the country over the holiday so I wanted to partake in the festivities (for the past 2 years I had popped over to London for the long weekend).
We started off the day by walking down for lunch at Third Place Café. We then walked over to Corniche Beach to wait for the air show squadron to do their demonstration in the national flag colours of green, red, black and white. After the show, we walked back to our apartment and Corniche road had filled up with lines and lines of cars. People were honking, hanging flags out the window, and spraying silly string everywhere. We also stopped in for some complimentary chocolate fountain and dates at the Jumeirah Hotel that afternoon. We then went up to the apartment to relax before going out to watch the fireworks display that evening. It was a fun and festive day.
This year we both got 2 days off of work so the next day we made the most of our time off. Dan found out that Antonio Carluccio was performing a cooking demonstration at his restaurant in The Galleria Mall. We arrived just in time as he was starting to prepare his porcini mushroom risotto and stuffed lamb cutlets. Dan bought his “Collection” cookbook and had to try this recipe out for himself that evening. It was delicious!
We only had one day of work before our busy weekend ahead. On Friday night, we went to the annual Swiss Christmas market at the Beach Rotana Hotel and shared a Swiss cheese fondue with friends. On Saturday, we went to a cooking class at Jones the Grocer which I had gotten Dan for his birthday. It was a special Christmas class to cook a triple stuffed bird (chicken, quail and duck) with brussel sprouts and parsnip puree. It was a lot of work but we had a good time!
The next weekend we enjoyed Friday brunch at Pearls & Caviar restaurant and it was nice enough for us to sit outside and enjoy the weather. On Saturday night, we went to the Blue Planet in Concert which combined the BBC TV series and music by a live 78 piece orchestra, performed on a floating stage on the Corniche Breakwater. On Monday, December 15 we went to the Moscow City Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker at Emirates Palace which we both really enjoyed.
The next evening, we had invited a few friends over to our place for some Christmas Cheer. We served a festive drink called the “Northern Lights” which was made with a special ingredient, cranberry sauce, and we also made up a batch of mulled wine. Dan had prepared a range of Christmas appetizers including pizza digger spread, devilled eggs, cheese and meat platter, veggies, and the crowd pleaser, French Canadian Tourtière meat pies. For dessert, we had Christmas frog eyes cookies, whipped shortbread, caramel popcorn and another favourite from home, Nanaimo bars. With the Christmas tree up, pumpkin spice candles burning, fireplace tv on and Christmas favourites playing in the background, we think everyone felt the Christmas spirit. It was a great way to end the year in Abu Dhabi before heading back to Canada for Christmas and New Year’s.