We are back again with another dose of Haute Arabia Ramadan Recipes. Today we have the lovely Gemi of Dubai Fit Foodie. Gbemi is a recent graduate with amazing cooking and food photography skills, not leaving out the fact that she is a fitness enthusiast.
Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and how you started Dubai Fit Foodie?
Well, my name is Gbemi Giwa, I’m Nigerian, I’m 21 years old and I love food. Although Dubai Fit Foodie is fairly new, looking back it seems like a natural consequence of my childhood. Growing up my mum was your typical African mother, my sisters and I had to learn certain things so we could become “useful marriageable women” and cooking was one of them. Now I definitely don’t subscribe to the notion that knowing how to cook makes you a woman but I remain grateful to my mother for the lessons. Through cooking I’ve found an inexplicable love for food. You know how you get excited when you go into a clothes store? I get excited when I walk into the grocery store. Groceries get me excited. When I moved to Dubai for university, I generally had more flexibility in what I wanted to cook, as I didn’t have to follow my mum’s rule anymore (they were good rules though). With my newfound freedom, a budding interesting health and fitness and flair for design and creating Dubai Fit Foodie happened. It is a platform where I document this process, and I am loving the journey.
You lead an active lifestyle, what advice would you have for someone who wants to or has recently decided to adopt a more active lifestyle?
Discipline. I’m not going to fool anyone, staying fit is tough. To remain committed you need to outline your goals and keep working at them. Don’t be bummed if you don’t lose 10 pounds in 3days, it’s a whole process and it doesn’t happen overnight. I always say being fit is a lifestyle choice; you’re in it for life. Yes, the squats will eventually work, trust your process, remain happy and remember even rest days count and always have fun with it.
A balance diet is important, especially during Ramadan. What would be your advice on having a balanced food pattern during the month of Ramadan and beyond?
My top tip is to avoid overeating. Yes I know you’ve been fasting all day and it feels like the entire buffet can fit in your stomach. Please don’t do it.
Break your fast with some dates and hydrate with water or freshly squeezed juice. This will immediately soften the hunger pangs. In most cases you’ll find that you were actually more thirsty than hungry. Use the time to think about what you’re going to feed your body.
Make sure you fill up with a good portion of whole carbs, clean proteins, healthy fats and lots of fruits and vegetables. Control your portions and always make sure you can see some white space on your plate. When you feel full stop eating. If you feel hungry later on at night opt for a simple meal of yogurt and fruits, some nuts, maybe a light sandwich.
Indulge wisely in your cravings balance is the key to happiness. These tips really carry on beyond Ramadan. Keep your meals healthy, light and control our portions.
Could you please share two of your favourites foods to have for iftaar?
Gbemi was kind enough to send give us three recipes instead of two! They are the Hawaiian Pizza with Quinoa Crust, Coconut pancakes with Caramelised Oranges and a Citrus Cooler. See below for the recipes.
Congratulations on you recent graduation. Please tell us about the current projects that you are working on?
Thank you. Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve graduated myself. I’m searching for a job so if you know anyone that needs a Design manager/ food and fitness blogger please send him or her my way. I’m really excited to finally be able to put myself completely out there and I have a few personal projects underway. I’m also working on expanding Dubai Fit Foodie; I’ll be launching Dubai Fit Foodie services so do stay tuned.
Hawaiian pizza with quinoa crust (Serves 4)
3/4 cup quinoa, soaked for 6 – 8 hours (or overnight)
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons flour (optional)
A handful of chopped pineapple
A handful of spinach
A handful of pineapple, diced
¼ cup pizza sauce
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
1 tomato, sliced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a pizza pan and set aside. Thoroughly rinse quinoa, and then add to a blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend on high until smooth and creamy. You should have thick dough. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove, flip and return to oven baking for another 10 – 15 minutes until browned and edges are crispy. Top with sauce, cheese and any other toppings you’d like and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until cheese has melted and started to brown. Remove, let cool for a few minutes in the pan, transfer cutting board and slice.
Coconut Pancakes with Caramelised oranges (Serves 4)
½ cup Gluten free flour
¾ cup coconut powder
½ cup plant milk (I used soy)
1 medium egg
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon orange zest
Coconut oil – For frying
4 tbsp. coconut cream
1 tsp. orange Zest
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
Topping – Caramelized Orange slices
Filling – Stand your tin of coconut cream in the fridge overnight. Open and pour off the extra liquid at the top, you should be left with a dense cream. Scoop out four-table spoons and whip in the rest of the ingredients, leave to set in the fridge.
Pancakes – Simply add everything in a blender and blitz till you get a smooth batter. This is a gangster pancake recipe. Heat up a nonstick griddle to medium high. Grease lightly with the coconut oil and ladle about two tablespoons at a time for the perfect mini pancake. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Stack pancakes and with coconut cream intermittently. Sprinkle some coconut powder and top with the orange slices. Serve and enjoy.
Citrus Cooler for when you break your fast (Serves 4)
A sprig of mint
Wash the fruit, cut in half and juice. It’s a really flexible recipe, if you like sweeter drinks you can use more oranges, if you like it tart, use more lemons. Simply mix the juice in a large pitcher and serve with crushed ice and mint. Enjoy.
We would like to thank Gbemi for her time, wish her well with Dubai Fit Foodie, and her future projects, and hope to have her again on Haute Arabia in the future.