Wednesday, 2 July 2014

on seasons and their flavours + a recipe for elderflower fritters

elderflower fritters
seasons have flavours. winter is citrus. i associate it with the bitter fragrance of seville oranges. these are the kind of oranges that require a generous amount of sugar to make them edible and are best preserved as marmalade. autumn is for apples, pears and quince. they love warming spices like cinnamon, cloves and star anise. spring is for rhubarb whose tartness loves sweet and crumble. summer is a combination of strawberries and elderflower.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

baby beets with a walnut rose dressing

baby beets and fennel with a walnut rose dressing
this recipe was developed for natoora who sent me some beautiful baby beets (candy and yellow) and fennel to play with. i paired them with a nutty walnut oil dressing subtly fragranced with rose water. it lends itself to becoming a full meal with the addition of chickpeas, labne and toasted walnuts. the recipe appears on natoora's blog here.   

chard with white balsamic + yoghurt and almonds

rainbow chard with white balsamic
i have guest posted a recipe for rainbow chard with white balsamic for natoora. head over to their blog for it.  

Saturday, 14 June 2014

a note to baba on father's day + crème caramel

crème caramel for baba
my paternal grandfather died before i was born, so my memories of him are derived from family recollections. my favourite is of him taking my baba for hand churned ice-cream when he was little. over the years baba and i have come to share rituals similar to those that he shared with his father.

these have included banana splits at yummy 36 in pindi. the ice-cream parlour was a sleek space with booths and large scale pictures of sundaes and milkshakes illuminated in light-boxes. in summer, the air conditioning would make the marble table-tops colder than the ice-cream itself. when i think back, i realise that this was my first brush with americana. baba and i would share a banana split served in a stainless steel boat-shaped dish. the lengthwise split banana sandwiched a trio of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice-cream; their bright colours boldly proclaiming their artificial colouring. it was decorated with a crown of whipped cream, sprinkled with nut debris and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

on how to eat watermelon the way baba does

watermelon with maldon salt
there used to be a fruit wallah at the corner of college and kohsar road in f-7 in islamabad. he displayed his produce in pyramids on his rehri. in the summertime roughly hewn crates holding cherries, apricots and mangoes would be added alongside. baba would stop to buy fruit from the khan after picking us up from school. the heat would encourage the produce to release its scents, leaving the air heavy with sweet. this would attract a colony of wasps and bees, their business lining sound with a constant buzz. i was afraid to roll down the window for fear of being stung. 

over time, i came to recognize the fruits by their fragrance. apricots were delicate like blossom honey. peaches like light caramel. mangoes were a collective of two and sometimes sickly sweet. hard skinned fruits like cantaloupe and lychees gave nothing of themselves. a trait they shared with watermelon contained by its green exterior. i always thought it reticent and secretive.