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.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

gajjar ka murabba; a pakistani sweet carrot preserve

gajjar ka murabba; pakistani sweet carrot preserve
the long, languid days of the pakistani summer always remind me of vacations in lahore. when our schools would close, mama, m and i would take the coach to lahore to spend time with our extended family. lahore (also known as the cultural capital of pakistan) draws its heritage from the mughal and the raj era. its broad boulevards are bisected by the muddy brown waters of the lahore canal. in summer throngs of boys and young men swim in those muddy waters, their shalwars blooming into mud stained balloons. in winter, it is often shrouded by thick fog, the kind that severely obscures vision. the tresses of weeping willows that brushed the canal have long since disappeared, to make way for larger roads for an ever expanding populace. the city has changed so much since the days of my girlhood.

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.