Meal Time Magic

by Eddie Rayner

It’s back-to-school time, and we’ve got two quick and easy recipes to keep your kids happy during their lunch break. Fahmim Arif, a Dubai-based food stylist and photographer, shares her favourite lunch recipes.

Butternut Squash Pasta


Preparation time
15 minutes

Cooking time
25-30 minutes


  • 300 grams butternut squash, diced
  • 400 grams pasta of your choice
  • 8-9 pods garlic, diced
  • 1 onion
  • ½ a cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 11/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil


For the sauce:
Start by heating the oil in a pan. Once it sizzles, add the diced garlic and onion. Cook until they turn soft.

Add the diced butternut squash along with chili flakes. Cover and let it cook for 5 minutes over low flame. Add a little water if needed.

Once the squash is cooked through, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Then turn off the flame and let it cool.

Once it comes to room temperature, blend to form a sauce. You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week and use it as a dip!

For the pasta:
Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet. Drain the pasta and add 6-7 tbsp of sauce to the pasta. Mix well. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, basil leaves, and more Chili flakes if your kids like that extra spice!

Beetroot Waffles


Preparation time
15 minutes

Cooking time
15 minutes


  • 150 grams beetroot
  • 80 grams flour
  • 400 grams coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp honey


Start by grating the beetroot and cooking it over medium heat until all the water evaporates.

Blend the cooked beetroot with half the coconut cream. Add a little water if required to smoothen the mixing.

In a bowl, add the flour, and the beet and coconut cream mixture. Mix until everything is well combined. Then add the eggs, oil, vanilla, baking powder, and baking soda.

Preheat the waffle maker and cook the waffles as per the instructions of your waffle maker. When you’re ready to serve, you can use maple syrup or any other sweetner over your waffles. However, I personally love pairing these with leftover coconut cream combined with honey!

Fahmim Arif is a Dubai-based food stylist and photographer. She has a doctorate in Agriculture, specializing in plant nutrients, and has forayed into creative cooking since 2016.

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