Newcomers to Dubai invariably put on weight – we’ve all watched the scales creep up after one too many brunches. Enter UAE resident Carole Holditch: originally from the UK, Carole runs local healthy-eating group Good Habits, and has launched a new recipe book featuring easy dishes she believes can compete with our favourite Dubai restaurants. Unlike restaurants, though, Carole says her recipes are ‘kind on your hips, and will save you money’.
Why is your new book specific to Dubai?
All the ingredients can be bought here, whereas other cookbooks often contain ingredients that are hard to find. All the recipes are calorie-counted so it’s easy to fit in with a healthy-eating plan. Dubai has high stats for obesity and diabetes, so all the recipes are low in sugar and fat and anyone can enjoy them.
What’s your favourite recipe?
Pasta arrabiatta. It’s quick and easy to prepare – you can even pre-cook the pasta (wholewheat of course) if you’re in a real hurry. It’s tasty, satisfying and filling, and will stop you wanting to nibble afterwards. The beauty is making double the quantity and popping it in the freezer for when you’re short of time.
What influences you in your recipe-making and how do you go about the creative process?
My aim is to find a healthy solution to people’s wants and desires. I take it as a challenge to find a solution that will work – how can you have your cake and eat it and not gain weight? Make healthy food and eat it in moderation, in the right portion size. Make it low-fat and low-sugar, increase the nutritional content using ingredients such as wholewheat flour and fruit, make it flavoursome using spices: the result is a yummy answer to your sweet tooth that won’t pile on the pounds.
What’s your best piece of advice about how we should eat?
Planning is the key: eat regularly and consume all the food groups in the right amount, and get organised with your shopping, preparation and cooking. Make the food interesting and add plenty of variety. Healthy eating is not a diet: it’s something you stay on for life, so find a way to enjoy it.
This is your second book. Are there any more in the pipeline?
I’m working on my next book, which is not only a cookbook, but a guide to healthy living in Dubai. It features practical tips and ideas, using all the experiences I’ve learned from Good Habits over the past 15 years.
Entertaining with Good Habits is published by q-link. Available at www.goodhabitsuae.com