Sunday, January 25, 2015

A pot of Akhni

My Daadie used to make the yummiest akhni ever. With melt in your mouth butteriness. 

Here is my mums recipe, which I converted into a lactose free version. 

You will need: 

2 onions finely sliced
3 ( of each) cloves, garlic and cinnamon sticks 
6 potatoes  ( I add sweet potatoes as well) 
8 pieces chicken 
1/3 cup of oil
4 tbsn garlic and ginger 
2 level tspn chillie powder 
1 tspn tumeric 
2 cups rice
4 cups water

In a large pot, let the onions soften in oil with the whole spices. 

Prep the chicken and potatoe while this softens. 

Once onions are tender and have adopted the yellow in the oil, add the spices and g&g. Burn it a little (this is called vagaar). 

Add your potatoe and chicken. Boil for a few minutes. 

Then add your rice with 4 cups of water. Let it cook on low for an hour. 

Serve with yougurt, peas, atchar and beetroot in a jar. 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Rice crispies

It was yet again another peaceful evening with the house empty and the smell of chicken curry simmering. I had just returned from a walk with my friend Sam, with the sun having set already in the winter time months of July. Alone at home, I turned on the alarm and closed all the windows.   My little kitty, "KFC", falling over her oversized paws tumbled into the kitchen. I switched on a David Icke DVD, to end the silence which seemed to only emphasize the buzzing sound of my mums inherited fridge.  

Twenty minutes into the DVD, I see a flashing light shine through my bedroom window. Naturally, I walk towards it. 

I  see the large eyes of a foreign creature before falling asleep on a white bed, in a white room, with an unfamiliar smelling substance being fed to me through an inhaling mask. 

My alarm goes off promptly at 6 am. KFC has made herself comfortable on my neck in my bed.

Standing in the shower, I reach for my argon oil shampoo only to see three strange diamond shaped scars on my left arm. I know they are scars because after ten minutes of exfoliating it does not seem to remove the assumed marks. 

The rice crispies seemed to lack its usual " crackle and pop". 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The filing cabinet

4 days after my Dada’s passing, my younger sister and I were tasked with job of unpacking his dressing table. It was a varnished wooden construction, with the edges indented with years of wear and tear. The mirror was covered with newspapers and would only be unwrapped after the forty days. Some said the reason for this was so that you don't see your own reflection and the sadness in your face. Others said so that you could not see any of the spirits that might be visiting to help with the transition of this world and the next with the recently deceased. 

On the top of the mirror hung a few tasbeeghs that my grandfather had collated over the years from family and friends who had gone on Hajj. When I was about 12 my Naanie and Dada had gone for Hajj. What commotion. I remembered all the people and family coming to visit. My grandfather returned with his full crop of hair shaved off but his salt and pepper beard still in tact. He wore a scarf on his head, a turban for the Raja that he was. 
The drawers are filled with Kitaabs (holy books), and TDK audio cassettes of half recorded old indian songs he got off Lotus FM. There were scatterings of crystallised sugar cubes that he would randomly pull out of his suit pockets after attending a thikr on a thursday night. A half empty bootle of attar that still smelt like my grandfather and echoed through the room. 
At the bottom of the draw next to some stray unsharpened pencil crayons was a rather unassuming ordinary silver key. My sister discarded it without a notion of what it was. But I knew. This was the key to our childhood dreams. This was the key that opened the steel grey filing cabinet, that stood next to the safe that seemed impenetrable. 
The key opened the four draws in the rectangular cabinet. The first two draws didn't concern me too much. It was the third draw, that contained he special treats my grandfather would magically pull out of our ears out of nowhere. Those small blocks of Cote D Or chocolates which did not taste like Dairy Milk but of Belgian wonderfulness. Chocolate coins which still fascinates me. And then most importantly those novelty chocolate squares wrapped in foil and covered in paper printed with the costumes of people all over the world. I used to keep those wrappers in a book, imagining what its like for those people in different lands. 
Upon opening the draw, I was invited with the smell of Wicks bubble gum. Underneath was a chocolate heaven. Obviously, at that point my mother comes in, just before Ayesha and I are about to loot the draw. As she drags Ayesha away after gobbling her third Cote D Or, I stash the chocolate with costume prints in my cargo pants, and plant a big piece of sticky pink Wicks gum in my mouth. 
Every night I ate a chocolate block, and thought of my Dada. Until there were no more blocks to be eaten. But I still have the book, filled with wrappers.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

So I might be...

A stationery addict, unable to resist pretty patterned paper, colorful pens that are like gel, and don't let me start on any cute card sets. These are just a few notebooks and washy tapes on my desk. Just a few.....

I've always wanted to draw believing that I have a tiny minuscule amount of talent. Well practice makes perfect they say. I find that drawing books really help and give such pointers. Everything in life is like a muscle that you need to grow. There is a general assumption that with article things, it just somehow happens without realizing that everything in life requires hard work. 

In the end all we have are things we like doing that can make us happy. I get a tad annoyed when people find things we enjoy as obsessive, and immediately start thinking hoarder tendencies. I've had a few raised eyebrows, but only a few. The people that know me, usually have some or the other quirky passion as well. 

You need to be passionate ( obsessive on the boarder of being called a lunatic) about what you love doing. 

That's my wish for everyone, to do what that love in whichever big or small way they can....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dreams ...realized. Now what?

For years I had saved up my cash, bonus money, well any money in general and then spent it on things which I "ought to" spend it on. I had registered for courses which I didn't want to do, but thought I ought to do with very little persuasion to finish them. 

The thing about being in your thirties is this, you need to get off your bum, and do the things you spoke of, otherwise you are going to have a real monkey on your bag, growing and aptly whispering in your ear, " regret...regret...regret". 

This is by no means a philosophical piece or opinion one. But while buying the thing I really wanted, I felt something gnaw at me, and not a sexy nibble but more a feeling of discomfort. 

It made me think, of how often, we are not kind to ourselves. We are taught to be kind to everyone else, but to ourselves, we should hide, shy away...Ware afraid to say something nice of ourselves to others because what if others think we think highly of ourselves? It's a female thing and before this turns into a feminist piece, I say, buy things that make you happy. It's your hard earned money so stop feeling you need to validate your purchases. 

Mine was a Iced Rasberry Kitchen Aid (KA)  which is modeling with My Gingerbread Man. Also, is a pic of the cookbook,  of the fabulous deli in Woodstock, the Kitchen. I tested my KA, by making a Ginger and Yoghurt  Loaf, which turned out deliciously. 

I had lamented and fought furiously with myself convincing me that a cheaper and equally good mixer would do the same job. But it's not about just getting the job done, it's the romance,  it's the feeling of awesomeness when I glimpse at my deep metallic pink machine sparking in the distance, whispering, "Turn me on and together we can bake amazing things". She has not disappointed to date:)

The Pink Mermaid

Tuesday, July 02, 2013


As a child, Sunday mornings were occupied by three kids earnestly watching an outdated Bollywood movie with the utmost concentration and diligence.

A movie that was recorded on a VHS tape, but was watched repeatedly enough to damage the quality so that intermittently it was covered with lines, scratches and snowy effects. The irony was, that none of these kids could even understand Hindi and relied heavily on the inaccurate and poorly translated subtitles.

I won't even bother elaborating on the storyline. It includes an evil advisor who coincidently happens to be a satanist. There is a dapper prince who must save the day, a princess needing saving, and of course flying carpets and lots and lots of songs replacing any potential love scenes.

My 4 year old brother pretended to be Ajooba, a cheap Zoro type masked hero who had the dance moves of Justin Bieber.

My sister chose the fair, straight haired delicate princess.

I chose Rukshana, the unruly haired fiery puppeteer, from the city of Hind, in search of her father who was a magician and falsely accused of murdering the royal family.

We watched the movie till it was so damaged that it eventually went into the pile of VHS tapes, that were half recorded with episodes of Pound Puppies and Mrs Pepperpot, all now obsolete.

Over the weekend, my brother on route to get a chicken tikka at the local Pakistaani chicken stand, sees Ajooba's masked face peek behind the latest Bollywood hits. He had to get a copy.

He had passed it onto me after he had watched it. I had to watch it in batches over the space of three evenings.

It's five hours long, but the memory of Ajooba will linger in my mind, forever.

Ajooba Zindabaad*!

* long live Ajooba

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Quick apple and cinnamon muffins on a busy Thursday eve

I tasted a A&C muffin for the first time a few weeks ago and it was soo yummy. So I have been searching the website to get the exact same one. With a soft centre and a crunchy sticky topping.

Firstly, I had no eggs, so I will give you the improvised version which turned out quite fine! Actually, I might even compliment myself and say that they turned out bloody good considering...

I also managed to get three Jamie Oliver magazines for the price of one, CNA has a special one. I love his stuff, so this weekend I will try his tray bake, stay tuned!


2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tspn cinnamon
1/2 tspn ginger fine ( I just added mixed spice)
2 tspn baking powder

Sift all of the above in a bowl

2 tablespoons oil ( I used olive)
2 tablespoons butter ( I substituted this with olive oil)
1 cup milk ( I had no milk, so used about 1 1/2 cups Greek youghurt
1 tspn vanilla essence

Mix by hand in a separate bowl

4 apples , use 3 peel, core and cut up

Then add bowl 2 to bowl 1. Mix. Add the apples.
Mix again.
Fill a cupcake tin with casings and fill it all up. Fill the batter up about 3/4 up of the cup cake casings
Then slice the remaining apple up, into thin slices.
Place one slice on each muffin.
Take 1/4 cup brown sugar ( treacle) and mix it with some cinnamon(1/2 tspn). Place a bit on each muffin.

Bake in the oven for a 20-25 minutes at 190 degrees cel.

It's yummy warm cause the sugar caramelizes and is gooey!