It feels wonderful to be blogging again. We welcomed our precious baby boy Ali a little over three months ago. This tiny human being has changed our lives forever. Ever since he’s arrived time is being defined by him. His first smile, his first laugh, grabbing our fingers for the first time. His arrival has also brought new relationships – two doting sets of grandparents who are going to spoil him silly no doubt, an ecstatic father, a plethora of aunts and uncles and cousins and then there’s me. Ali has made me a mother. It’s made me appreciate my own Umma ten times fold. All her sleepless nights, satisfying our endless requests, cooking and feeding us with nourishing meals with no fanfare. The emotions and responsibilities that stem from the word mother cannot be accounted for. This post is for my Umma, for everything she has and continues to do for me and for all the mothers who devote their lives raising children. I’m sharing a recipe my Umma enjoys every time I bake it. A simple banana bread.
Happy New Year you guys! I’ve taken over my husband’s duty of moving the marker on our calendar every day for the past few months. Last year there have been days where I’ve been waiting for hours to pass by and a few where I wanted to sit down and capture time. There is a reason behind my anticipation, my impatience and why I have been posting less than usual. We’re expecting our little one to arrive later this month. Apart from losing a battle to nausea and all day long ‘morning’ sickness in the first trimester, it’s been a beautiful phase. After doting over baby cousins, nephews and nieces and possibly every chubby baby being wheeled in a pram, it still has to sink in that we’ll be having one of our own.
What’s your favourite season of the year? Is it spring which welcomes a bevy of flora in its brightest colours? Is it the summer and its golden rays that translate to impromptu ice-cream parlour visits? The fall with wilting leaves that provides a respite from the warmth of previous months? Or the winter which has you wrapped in layers and nestling a warm beverage in your hand?
This is a post that I have been waiting to share with you. Have you watched It’s Complicated? If you have, I’m sure the scene which had inspired us to cook together has come to your mind. Meryl Streep’s kitchen Country Style kitchen has such marvellous details that it’s hard to believe it is actually a movie set. Floor to ceiling exposed shelving hosting dainty ceramics, terracotta tiles and that heavenly marble island (that must be Carrera) for hurried breakfast.
The blessed month of Ramadan has is nearing to an end. It is a month of restraint, reflection and submission for one’s heart and soul. Being visited by the altering weather flu, coupled with a severe sprains, my wavering health had my blog going more quiet than usual. I started fasting at a young age.
I feel blessed life has given me yet another reason to cherish. It was a Friday Family lunch but not with the usual members. The gathering was the same, family trickling in after the Friday prayers, Umma’s fabulous Biriyani wafting through home and the little ones running amuck in the lawn under cloudy skies. It was my mothers family, her siblings and their children all gathered to welcome my maternal grandmother. Veramma has finally joined her family in the UAE.
Baking has become an addiction. The slightest indication of a family gathering, armed with my iPad, I’m ready to crank up the oven. It’s a routine I love setting myself into. I do wish I had more occasions to bake bookmarked bread, turnover, quiches, and flat bread pizza, but it’s cakes, brownies and puddings that are made often. I would attribute this to my native cuisine. The aforementioned savoury recipes would be best served for tea, never as a meal. The trinity that would complete a Keralite Muslim meal would be meat, either lamb or beef, rice and rice-based breads. The dessert course is my playground and the trend has been that I bake more than cook dessert. Last October for Eid, it was not different.
Pick up the English alphabet book and the chances you won’t see a bright red gleaming fruit are unlikely. I steer away from Green Apple being too tart for my taste. A variety I love having is the Fiji Apple. Its skin has faded tints of red and yellow and look quite large for an apple. The flesh crumbles in your mouth like shortbread and it’s mildly sweet.
A few months earlier this year, I received an email from Reem Falaknaz, an Executive Producer from Noor Dubai TV. To date, it is the most exciting email I have received from a visitor of my blog. She was planning on producing a series of cooking videos under 3 minutes, featuring desserts. These series were to be aired during the Holy month of Ramadan and the theme was desserts with a Middle Eastern take. I was boiling with excitement and called my husband at work right away. With his green signal, I promptly replied saying I would be thrilled to be a part of her project. I started devising ways to spin classic desserts the Middle Eastern way focusing on ingredients integral to Arab cooking. Walnut, tahini, rosewater, honey, figs – the list was endless. I proposed three desserts and Reem had the final say. She chose the dessert I had hoped she would – a dessert with dates.