Saturday, 11 October 2014

naan khatai, pakistani biscuits with a melting texture

naan khatai
i always remember our house being well stocked with biscuits. there were the regular and perfectly shaped ones from cardboard boxes that included peek freans peanut pik with slightly soft peanuts; cumin laced click and the plain jane marie. lu brand biscuits were crisper and more interesting – the scalloped shape of prince chocolate sandwiches was a kin to laser cut paper doilies. a snack pack of these often graced my school lunchbox. candi, a brown sugar biscuit had little bits of caramelised sugar. gala usually made an appearance when we had guests as they had a dainty design and a richer brioche like flavour. salt flecked tuc was the lone savoury classic. sometimes, there would be a blue tin of royal dansk’s danish butter cookies with an aroma of freshly baked pound cake.

Friday, 3 October 2014

pakistani spiced apple chutney + o's boarding school tales

m's pakistani spiced apple chutney
before i met o, much of what i knew about boarding school was from books that i inherited from mama’s childhood collection. there was roald dahl’s ‘boy’ with its rambunctious descriptions of boarding school. it spoke of a world inhabited by strict headmasters, stern matrons and care packages from home brimming with nostalgia and longing. enid blyton’s ‘malory towers’ was a detailed sketch of a british all girl’s boarding school and was much more gleeful than coolidge’s american ‘what katy did next’. as much as i loved the books, they did not inspire a love for boarding school. i could not conceive of being away from home in an environment of abysmal school dinners and strict teachers. it is perhaps the reason why i never understood o’s love for his boarding school days until i met andrew maclehose, his headmaster.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

edible genoa

tortelli with octopus ragu
we drove to genoa stopping en route in pisa to see the leaning tower. the expanse of grass that surrounds it was heaving with people trying to position their hands at an angle that would make it appear as if they were leaning against it. few stopped to admire its angled stance. after having looked at it, we returned to our journey. the landscape lining the autostrade varies, dipping into shallow hills and bends with splashes of green. every so often fields of sunflowers would appear on the horizon as rows of gold. the drooping posture of the large flower heads looked like sun bonnets curtsying in the breeze. the descent into genoa is on a circular road much like a ramp in large car parks. as the car descends a city of steps comes into view with the sea shimmering in the background. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

edible florence

ricotta and lemon tortelli at ristorante del fagioli
on our first evening in florence the sun set over ponte vecchio colouring the sky flamingo pink. the duomo was bathed in strawberry blonde and the river arno changed colour to ink blue. florence is much more compact than rome. but like rome it is marked by history and grandeur. piazzas with fountains, churches and old buildings punctuate its narrow cobbled streets. the ascent to piazzale michelangelo affords a panorama of the city and even here the duomo reigns supreme.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

edible rome

aperol spritz at ai tre scalini
rome displays the passage of history through her architecture, a wealth of art and culture. her timelessness is expressed as her being the eternal city. her streets and alleyways lead onto piazzas and fountains or fortified walls and monuments that hold the secrets of her past. it is these secrets that whisper to people all over the world, drawing tourists in hoards. even in the enervating heat of july, queues of people snaked around the walls of the vatican and the curvaceous structure of the colosseum. there were moments when both o and i were swept into tour groups feeling like cattle being herded by sheepdogs. at others, we had to wait to see pieces of art that were being admired through the click of a lens. i would have loved to have the leisure to be present in rome’s past without vying for space with those who had the need for constant preservation in pixel form.