Friday, 30 December 2016

goodbye twenty-sixteen

clock tower park, caledonian road
the closing days of the year have you been revealing and concealing in equal measure. there has been glorious sunshine that has coloured london rose gold at sunset. and then there has been fog so thick it has consumed everything in its wake or made apparitions of architecture and moving figures alike. the weather echoes my sentiments on the year.

2016 has been uneven at best. it has revealed some very uncomfortable truths about humanity. many say that it is the worst year ever. but to say that is to repeat a phrase that has become common at the conclusion of each year. one observation that struck a chord with me deeply is how many of us reverted to parallels with history. we returned to familiar binaries, those of the haves and have-nots, of power and powerlessness and of the liberals against the conservatives to mention a few. i am not convinced by the readiness of these rehearsed debates. reality is complicated. life is untidy. experience and events rarely colour within the lines.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

a manifesto for preserving + a recipe for raspberry chambord jam

raspberry and bayleaf 
it is not enough for jam to just be sweet. a good jam is one where the fruit tastes more of itself, making it a true expression of the word preserve for jam is really the essence of a season in a jar. this is true even in this time of plenty when one can get strawberries in winter and oranges in summer. there is nothing quite like the taste of strawberries in high summer, when their plump little bodies and scarlet flesh is sweet with sunshine. or bright skinned oranges on a damp winter day that gently perfume the air around the fruit bowl. fruit outside its season is a fraction of its flavour, much like a watered down memory, scant on detail.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

on white + a recipe for pasta with labne, spinach and almonds

conchiglie with labne, spinach and almonds 
white is known for the absence of hues that are visible to the naked eye. this explains why some argue that it is not a colour at all. a (my sister-in-law) disagrees. she is an artist. she says that white is like light. it contains the full spectrum of colours that are sometimes visible, like when a rainbow appears in the sky.

Monday, 7 March 2016

gaajar halva; a cardamom laced carrot pudding

gaajar halva with a squiggle of milk pak cream
winter is the season of indulgence. it calls for the richness of butter and cream; of dark meats and root vegetables.

in england, my adopted home, winter is the time to eat roast meats with potatoes to sponge the juices. soft cheeses high on fat are eaten with sharp chutneys made from apples, quince and beetroots. desserts feature steamed puddings, deep dark ones heavy with vine fruits or soft sweet ones with delicate constitutions. both love a little cream or custard to mellow the heat and sweet. in pakistan, my erstwhile home, december is wedding season, so alongside the kormas, paalak and fragrant pilaus are trays of my favourite dessert. gaajar halva (carrot halva) is made from laal gaajar (literally red carrots). these are particular to the sub-continent. they are distinct from the orange ones that i use in england. they are crisp and sweet and an almost transparent red in hue.