Tuesday, 27 August 2013

carrot cake; the western cousin

a slice of ilona's carrot cake
when it comes to cake making, some vegetables are self-conscious. the courgette for instance has a proclivity to immerse itself leaving only softness and moisture as its imprints. but then there are root vegetables like beetroot and carrots that are not cowed. they give cakes an earthiness and are not shy of spices like ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

i have always loved carrots. the pakistani carrot is terracotta orange. i would often eat them raw when mama or my dadi would slice rounds to add to a mixed vegetable bhujia. when i was six i discovered gajar ka murabba, a candy sweet condiment of thin carrot batons gently simmered in a simple syrup infused with whole green cardamoms. the sugar would permeate the membranes and make the carrots limp. this condiment is preserved in a memory as the flavour of a carrot caramel. i helped myself to one too many and felt quite poorly afterward. perhaps this is what explains their absence in my life after that brief encounter in my phoopi’s kitchen.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

//guest post for dishoom// eid al-fitr, the celebration of breaking fast

a guest post for dishoom
i am delighted to have written a guest post for dishoom, a bombay café in london. it would be fair to say that it is a steadfast favourite for o and i. i am particularly partial to their egg naan rolls. they are a genius combination of perfectly fried eggs anointed with chilli jam and cream cheese encased in a soft pillowy naan and a little spring onion for freshness. today's post is not about breakfast or brunch though. it is about their special eid feast. i write from the memory of many eid's celebrated with family. now having settled in london i am still struck by the unity of eid customs across continents and cultures. and so i wrote, "i am always struck by the comforting unity of eid customs – the gathering of family, the new clothes, the giving of gifts, the generosity of spirit and of course, the plentiful food. the devotion with which families prepare each iftar feast, the care taken on each sumptuous dish for the tid table, the extra jalebi sneaked onto the plate however much you protest that you’re full – these are all tangible expressions of love."

you can read the full post here.