Thursday, 27 December 2012

badam ka sharbat (almond cordial)

edible gift for christmas: badam ka sharbat
fruity and syrup like sweet sharbat’s are a staple refreshment in pakistan. from the mid-80s commercial companies like mitchell’s brought forth a range of fruit squashes the most popular flavours of which are mango, guava and mixed fruit. when guests would come mama would leave me in charge of making a ice-cold jug of squash with plenty of ice and a pinch of salt. a more traditional sharbat was rooh afza and jam-e-shirin. both of these are pink-red syrups that are made from a combination of fruits, herbs and flower essences believed to refresh and cool in the deepest days of summer. a hint of lemon and a generous pinch of salt really do make a refreshing drink.

Friday, 21 December 2012

l'as du fallafel, paris

l'as du fallafel
mark bittman on l'as du fallafel in the new york times "although you may find it done better in the southern or eastern mediterranean (i haven't yet), this is the falafel destination in paris, indeed in europe."

in paris’ fourth arrondissement on rue des rosiers in the heart of the jewish quarter is l’as du fallafel. l’as du fallfel has somewhat of a cult following with falafel aficionados that not only span the globe but also include celebrities and politicians alike. i will tell you more about the pita-wich in a moment but not before an important note – firstly, l’as du fallafel is not for the queue averse especially on a sunny sunday when the queue extended well down rue des rosiers with a minimum waiting time of forty-five minutes. secondly, it is not the place to bring a hungry spouse especially one whose hunger makes him stroppy. fortunately there are plenty of bakeries in the neighbourhood and so i got o a little something to line his tummy during the wait. 

edible paris: sweet

fouquet, artisan confectionery
o indulged his sweet tooth with careless abandon particularly on hot chocolate. that of course is natural given that paris is the land of patisserie, confectionery, bonbons and so forth. i treated him to hot chocolate and a chocolate degustation at jacques genin whom i came across on david lebovitz’s ‘living the sweet life in paris’. it goes without saying that french hot chocolate is thick. jacques genin’s was outstanding, a kin to a dark chocolate bar in melted form. the chocolate degustation was arranged in the order that they should be partaken off. i will always remember the grapefruit and vanilla truffle. the latter was assertive and strong in a way that i have never had before. it was what vanilla would be in a masculine form. i had never had grapefruit with chocolate. it is a delicate flavour and quite floral. the little squares of truffle were works of art having been decorated with fine geometric, filigree and floral lines. the pate du fruit were the essence of the fruits themselves. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

la bague du kenza, pâtisserie orientale, paris

the counter at la bague du kenza
do you like middle eastern or north african pâtisserie like buttery, honeyed and nutty baklava, makrout diamonds of syrup soaked semolina with a layer of dates and marzipan? if this is the case and you are in paris i would urge you to dispatch yourself to la bague du kenza. these sticky, sweet and fragrant delights are known as ‘pâtisserie orientale’ in french parlance but in fact bague du kenza is associated with algerian style patisserie. i walked the length of rue saint honore for a box of these delicacies (and some bread from julien).

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

edible paris: bistro dining

profiteroles concluded at cafe constant
the bistrot is a parisian essential. there is some contention to its history especially in nomenclature but as i discovered on this trip they are the place to enjoy simple and yet excellent lunches and suppers. this of course is to be qualified as not all bistrots are alike. my recommendations are drawn from food loving friends s and s. but do not despair if you have no friends like that as ‘paris by mouth’ has a very concise list of restaurants, bakeries, confectionary and pastry shops to assist you in your edible adventures. its mouths include my favourite parisian food blogger clotilde dusolier and dorrie greenspan.