So recently, I read an article in a local magazine about a group of women in Abu Dhabi who meet up once a month to celebrate and enjoy their love for baking. No guesses here, I was immediately intrigued to find out more about this band of happy bakers! I looked up the group online and found that the owner/ initiator / organiser of the group is a lovely lady called Jessica and her mission statement is simple and clear. She has had enough of the commercial, industrial, cookie-cutter (pun intended) version of baked goods found in luxurious bakeries all across Abu Dhabi that look tempting but don’t always deliver on taste and certainly don’t offer much nutritional value. She wants to taste the love of handmade, home-baked, old family recipes and new exotic and adventurous bakes, sweet or savoury. She invites like-minded, amateur (key word for me!) bakers who love to bake and share ;).
I registered myself on their Facebook page pronto – which, in case you are interested, is called Abu Dhabi Baking Lovers. As soon as I signed up I realised that this group meant serious business. I was invited to their next meet up and informed that the theme was mini bakes – lovely baked goods just in miniature size rather than their original version. And subsequently I got a schedule of all the meet ups planned till the end of the year with their themes. Wow! The rules – and there are jus two – for the meet up are simple. First rule: everyone bakes one item at home and brings it along to share with the group. Second rule: everyone is responsible for their own allergic, religious or otherwise dietary restrictions. No epi-pens available on site! No kidding 🙂
I had about ten days before the next meet up and I spent the entire time thinking, discussing and searching (in short obsessing) for recipes of what to bake! That too in a mini version! I bought ingredients for at least four different recipes. Mazhar will say probably more, but he really doesn’t know any better ;). I was excited and nervous and scared! Oh! I almost decided not to go when the day finally arrived! I tried to come up with excuses but Mazhar wouldn’t hear of it. He told me to get in the kitchen, bake something and get myself to the venue. But what really got me to my feet…he told me to go have fun! I know he doesn’t put much thought in to what he says to anyone in general, because he is a man! But I felt his words were genuine. I get quite bored sometimes just pottering around the house all by lonesome, day in and day out. And so I decided I would man-up (figuratively speaking of course) and make it to my first baking lovers’ meet up! Woohoo.
The meet up was last Saturday and when I got there I was greeted with a warm smile and firm handshake from the organiser, Jessica. I knew right then I had found my people! We went into a beautiful and luxurious meeting hall in one of the iconic architectural wonders of Abu Dhabi – Etihad Towers! But more to the point I was introduced to a group of lovely ladies of different countries, religions, age group, life stage, professional status, shapes and sizes! To say that we shared our baked goods would be an understatement! We shared stories and backgrounds, baking styles and baking stores, tried and tested recipes and new trials, sweets and savouries! Even though I had met all the ladies in the group for the first time it felt like we all just connected. There was absolutely no uncomfortable small talk. We dived right into conversations as if we had known each other all our lives. It was one of the best times of my life. I felt great and very glad to have overcome my nerves and made the effort to join this group . At the end of the evening I came to one conclusion, people who bake are people who are happy and sweet and just wonderful! I can’t wait till next month’s meet up اِن شأاللّة
I baked some mini Bougatsas, the recipe for which I have already shared in a previous blog. You can find it here. I’m sharing below pictures of all the wonderful and delicious treats I got to taste that day and trust me when I say that it is not my intention to make your mouth water 😉
If you are reading this in Abu Dhabi and would like to join this merry band of bakers please take a look at their Facebook page – Abu Dhabi Baking Lovers. The more the merrier!
Happy baking everyone!