Lara Darwaza

Founder of

Born and raised in Jordan, Lara Darwaza left to the UK to study music, before settling down in London to head the music department at The international community school in London. The 38-year old moved to Dubai in 2004 to teach music and classical piano at various schools and cultural centres, and now lives in Dubai Marina with her husband and two-year old daughter. Along with a good read, Lara enjoys going to the movies and a hearty chat with her girlfriends. She is now in the process of launching a Music and Dance centre, to cater to her passion for music, theatre and flamenco dancing.

About the blog

‘A life on a plate’ documents and reveals family recipes that have been passed down for generations, from my grandmother to me. I launched the blog in January 2012, and it has since been a great way of communicating my passion for food and cooking! I love reading people’s personal stories and the history behind recipes on other blogs, which has inspired me and my blog in many ways. All good recipes have a story behind it, and the blog is a great way for people to see these stories and try new recipes as well.

Catch me dining at…

  • Bateel for the Levantine breakfast that includes grilled halloumi, foul (fava bean with lemon and oil) and labneh.
  • Certo in Media City for the pear, pecorino and rocket salad – it’s the best I’ve ever tasted – for lunch.
  • Pai Thai for a delicious dinner of my favourites such as the papaya salad and the fish in curry sauce or Thai green chicken curry.

  • Food luxury:

    I can’t live without Maldon salt and Madagascar vanilla extract.

    My culinary icons

    Television presenter Mohamad Orfali, as he has a sophisticated approach to cooking and gives Arabic cuisine a refreshing, modern twist. I also like Ina Garten as her dishes really stand out – she’s just a pleasure to watch – and Ellie Krieger, who lures viewers with her appealing healthy dishes.

    Favourite food memory

    When I was a kid, I used to eat a heavy, indulgent breakfast with my grandmother. One of my favourite breakfast items was the butter and homemade apricot jam that she used to smear on a thin piece of Arabic white bread – I loved it!

    A foodie personality I would love to dine with…

    is Nigella Lawson. She seems like the kind of person you could have a nice conversation with. I would cook my grandmother’s Circassian chicken – a chicken dish in creamy walnut sauce.

    Top cooking tips

    *Add dark chocolate to chilli con carne to give the dish great depth, without the taste of chocolate.

    *A teaspoon of dark brown sugar balances the acidity in a tomato-based casserole dish.

    *To keep chicken from drying out, I always wrap boiled or roasted chicken in foil. This keeps the juices intact.

    Foodie inspiration

    I get all my inspiration from international blogs, cookbooks, television and the delicious recipes my grandmother cooked for me, when I was growing up.