2.28.2014

Social Standards That Are SO Last Year & Fool-Proof French Onion Soup


Lahore Grammar School’s legendary “Defence branch,” has it’s 35th year celebrations coming up soon and even though it’s been over a decade since I graduated, there’s no denying high school was hard! The crews, the cliques, the competition to be cool. Fans and followers aren’t just a Facebook phenomena, friends.

Almost everyone wanted to be a part of the wolf-pack, but the commandments of cool were constantly evolving and consistently cruel. I commend the kids who had the capacity to cope and keep up. 

For the rest of us, foolish feats were the fast and fool-proof way to fit in.

Back in the day, it was all about being aboard the band-wagon back in the day and because peer pressure was is powerful and persuasive than any parent on the planet, I pulled some seriously stupid stunts. 

Who hasn’t, right? 

Of course, said dim-wittedness had to be precise degrees of dumb and dangerous to dignify any kind of acknowledgement from the upper crust, but I missed that part of the memo and totally botched my bad-assery.

Some of my most mortifying moments include insanely embarrassing experiences like crank-calling a crush after the invention of caller ID and getting caught, feeling fabulously fashionable only to come home to the horror of finding out my fly had been open the whole time, or my personal hallmark of humiliation, being pulled over by a pissed off uncle amidst an enthralling egging expedition.

Oh, the trials of being a teenager! 

In a time when image was everything, it was all unbearably awkward and terribly tragic. 

Fortunately, fifteen years is plenty of time to put things into perspective and forget these faux pas as a painful, but passing phase. 

Or was it? 

See, one of the confounding assumptions of adulthood is that it’s easier to keep the buffoonery at bay because, obviously, we’ve grown up, gotten over the high school hunger games and are completely capable of putting the past to bed.

But I had a weird winter and it made me wonder, does the drama ever end?

Here’w what happened: thanks to the time-honored tradition of dumb december decisions I made the mistake of designating “Do More, Dammit!as my mantra for the twelve months of 2013 and, damn, did it bite me in the butt!

P.S. The sting was still sore so this year I played it safe by praying for the power to poop Paulo-Cohelo-esque profundity because, clearly, that’s more of a spiritual request than a resolution, right?

Really, who knew resolutions were woeful regrets waiting to happen, huh? More on that in a minute. 

Gratitude before gripes, babies. 

So, on the upside, it was a year full of firsts.


I broke a vow to never get behind the wheel and dared to drive. Granted, it was a golf-cart, but still gutsy by my standards. I finally caved into fashion and conceded to rock red lipstick and, really, it was revolutionary. I made more desserts than I have in the last three decades without any fiascos or the feeling of impending doom. I also managed not to miss a single second of MasterChef and finally ditched delusion and denial and dropped those pesky pounds that made my pants fit funny. 

However, if you ask the husband, the real highlight of this hallowed year had to be my willingness to head out on a (semi)regular basis without being a perpetual pain in the a** about it.  

That’s right! Contrary to custom and as a nod to my complete commitment to that nagging new year’s resolution, I skipped my annual hibernation and had a seriously hedonistic holiday season instead. 

My only comment on the craziness: fun times, but I’m not fit for the fabulous life.

The reality is, any activity that has me end up the Just-Took-Four-Finals-After-Popping-Fistfuls-Of-Pills-And-I’m-A-Crazed-Maniac-Who’s-Slept-Sixty four-Minutes-In-Five-Days-And-I’ll-Be-Crashing-On-My-Couch-For-The-Rest-Of-The-Forseeable-Future edition of exhausted is against my religion.

BUT, and the husband will probably experience genuine joy when he hears this, partying really isn’t the problem. Who doesn’t love to dance?

And for the most part, people aren’t the perps either. Frankly, there are some fantastically captivating characters milling around in the mix. 

The soul-sappers are those sneaky little suckers known as social standards. I’m not implying that all edicts are evil or equal. Seriously, ’don’t pee in public,’ is a splendid societal precedent. Clearly, it hasn’t caught in our country, but that’s a separate story. No, I’m speaking specifically about those snarky pillars of preposterous pretensions stipulated by the snotty set, presumably for the purpose and pleasure of seeing “outsiders” squirm. 

Listen, lovelies, all I’m saying is I suspect Lahore is a parallel universe and the legendary laundry list of dos and donts lives on and lives large. 

11.12.2013

Going for Gold: Whining & Dining Part Deux



Whining & Dining was the first rant I ever wrote for Hunger & Haw Hai and, really, the pressure to perform was ridiculous. I was pumped, I was petrified and you have no idea how long I put off pushing that “publish” button. Back then, I never thought my nitpicking would make national news!

Hunger & Haw Hai has had a big year and it came to a close with a big bang when Whining & Dining Part 2 was picked up for publishing by Dawn newspaper.

Last year, my list was limited to the top 10 food scenarios that make my skin crawl. This year, thanks to my incredible editor, the list is bigger and badder than ever before and I’ve collected eleven more absolutely absurd food related faux pas that completely creep me out. 

I’ve also left you a little love-note for later

Now, I’ve said it before that if there's one quirk all food enthusiasts share, it's this: peeves usually come before praise. And I'm no different. In fact, when it comes to the complaints-before compliments policy, I have a complainer gene no man, woman, or wild beast can compete with. The thing is, even though I’m not fussy about my food, I’m easily irked.

So, time for a flashback, my friends! 

By the by, the photos featured in this piece are my personal favorites from the past years posts. 


Whining & Dining Part Deux: Hunger & Haw Hai’s Top 21 Food Peeves

  • Restaurant reviews:  Free food in exchange for writing a review? Sure. Because there’s no pressure to pen praise about an establishment that’s just paid for my meal, right? Take my advice: if you really can’t live without writing reviews, be all Bond about it i.e. operate undercover.

  • Fishy fish: This one is guaranteed to trigger my gag reflex. It should smell of the sea, not stink of it.

  • Waiters who won’t wait: Have you ever been watched like a hawk when you’re trying to chill out and chow down? Sure, waiters are trained to turn tables, but it’s bad manners trying to terrorize me into eating a mile-a-minute meal.

  • Baking: That kind of precision is too authoritarian for my taste. What happened to the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of adapting recipes with reckless abandon?!?


  • Complicated garnish: Save the curling, twirling, and swirling skills for the origami class.

  • Dodgy delicacies: Extreme dining doesn’t do much for me. Care for a mouthful of Casu Marzu? FYI, it’s rotten cheese riddled with a writhing mass of maggots. How about a bowl of bird’s nest soup, made mainly from bird saliva and spit? Insects, anyone? Let’s leave that kind of bravery to Anthony Bourdain.

  • Over-saucing: Say it with me: less is more. Drown my food in a river of sauce and prepare to drown in a flood of my wrath. Seriously, Hell hath no fury...

  • Pretentious menus: So let me get this straight: the harder it is to pronounce the higher the price?


  • Sad sides: Mysterious mounds of curly-fried something or the other, tired trios of boring blanched veggies, retro tomato rosettes, bread so stale it’ll stab you in the mouth before you can swallow it, forgotten-in-the-fryer fries.  We’re all victims here.

  • Limp lettuce and soggy salads: Come on, I think we can all agree that limp anything is rarely attractive. And a soggy salad is just sad.

  • Faux fine dining: White plates can work wonders, but it’s not nearly enough to make a memorable evening. Britney and The Backstreet Boys blaring in the background are a big-time buzz-kill.

  • Atrocious food imagery: Dear Pakistani food channels, I have it on good authority that the appeal of edibles is directly proportional to the awesomeness of its appearance. Translation: humans eat with their eyes. Stop assaulting them with sloppy serving suggestions and appetite-killing close-ups of ancient ingredients.


  • Innards, Offal, Guts and Gizzards: I'm not a vegetarian, but there's something very Hannibal Lecter about gorging on animal guts.

  • Obscure ingredients: No, my local supermarket does not carry salt made from fairy tears or fine cuts of unicorn meat. 

  • Laugh-out-loud lingo: Okay, I’ll admit I secretly enjoy some of these slip-ups, but a) I’m a stickler for spelling and b)I don’t enjoy Da Vinci Code style explanations of what I’m about to eat . “Beef tornadoes”, “profit rolls”, “absolutely adorable yellow, yummy, scrumptious sauce”. What? WHAT?

  • Tiny portions:  If you're going to be a Scrooge about my food, I'll remember to be a Grinch about your tip.

  • Up-sized portions: I'm not a beast. I don’t want to eat like one


  • Self-proclaimed foodies and food snobs: “Foodie” is just hipster for "food nerd." And no, I don’t get the fuss over foie gras, I’m not crazy about caviar and I’ve never eaten eel or emu.

  • Fast food that costs a small fortune: Really, Rs. 800 for a B-grade burger and fries? Close to a thousand rupees for a thin crust pepperoni pizza? All I can say is show me the shawarma!

  • The frozen yogurt frenzy: First, unless you’re fifteen, refrain from referring to it as “fro-yo”, forever. Second, I’d applaud your whole-hearted attempt at making healthy diet decisions if you’d stop acting so smug and superior about it.

  • Going gaga over gluten-free: Up until thirty seconds ago you weren’t even aware of gluten’s existence and suddenly you’re convinced you’re going to die a slow and painful death if you continue to consume it? Quick, name three foods that contain gluten! Yeah, I didn’t think so. 


I told you not to doubt my complainer DNA. Happy eating, food fiends! And remember to read that little love-note

11.11.2013

Big Birthday Love & Luscious Lemon Panna Cotta Trifle


Wow. Fifty two weeks since we first started this conversation. Wow.

Back in the day when Hunger & Haw Hai was a wee baby I made a mental note that if the blog made it to the one year mark I’d knock your socks off with a Sally-Field’s-at-the-Oscars style speech. My other options were a sappy song or poem that seemed like it’d been slapped together by a pre-schooler. But thirty posts, half a dozen published features, and over twenty five thousand hits later and, seriously, I’m sort of speechless.

All I can say is the whole experience has been incredibly humbling.

Piecing the first post together, one of my deepest, darkest fears was that no one would be interested in reading my ramblings. It’s something that still gives me sleepless nights - really, you never know when you’re going to piss people off, right - but I’ve been ludicrously lucky so far.

Believe me, this blog would’ve been a total bust without an amazingly awesome audience and you all are absolutely unbelievable! Bravo, boys and girls! You are beyond brave and seven kinds of super cool. I salute your senses of humor and I’m proud of your patience! Big bear hugs to each and every one of you for stopping by, sassing it up, luring me into letting go of my lazies and making me feel far less misunderstood.

I’m all over the entire moon and my therapist will be thrilled! Two birds…BOO-YAH!!!

So from the bottom of my babbling heart, I love you much, my lovelies. And as always, nothing great goes down at Hunger & Haw Hai without a helping of my *HAPPY DANCE*!

XOXO


My Lemon Panna Cotta & Mulled Strawberry Trifle was first featured in HELLO! Pakistan’s anniversary issue and since we’re celebrating it seemed to fit the occasion perfectly. Panna Cotta, which literally translates to “cooked cream”, is a classic Italian custard. On it’s own, it’s an incredibly indulgent dessert, but when silky smooth panna cotta is sandwiched between syrup soaked strawberries and pillows of soft sponge cake, I swear, it’s an other-wordly experience. 

Lemon Panna Cotta & Mulled Strawberry Trifle (6 individual servings)
Adapted from Lemon Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis, by Danny Boome

Ingredients Lemon Panna Cotta & Mulled Strawberry Trifle

Mulled Strawberries

¼ kg strawberries, hulled and sliced

¾ cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons caster sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Lemon Panna Cotta

4 cups cream

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

2 small lemons, juiced

1 loaf Pound Cake, sliced

TIP: If you’re planning on making a multi-tier trifle just remember that the first layer of the trifle needs to set before the second layer can be assembled so, it’s best to prepare this dessert a day before you plan to serve. Simply prepare the Panna Cotta in two batches by dividing the ingredients in half and only cooking the second batch once the first layer is set.

In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, orange juice, sugar and lemon juice. Cover and chill in the fridge.

In a medium saucepan, over a medium heat, gently heat the cream.

Sprinkle the gelatin and sugar into the cream and stir gently until the sugar and gelatin have dissolved.

Add the lemon juice and grated zest and simmer the cream gently for 10 minutes. This allows the lemon to infuse the cream with a bright citrus flavor.

Once the cream has thickened slightly, remove from the heat.

In a glass tumbler, spoon in an inch of sliced strawberries, pressing down to flatten them slightly. Top with a slice of Pound cake. Finally, pour in 1 inch of the Panna Cotta cream. Place in the fridge for 4-6 hours, until set.

Serve chilled.

10.16.2013

Pakistan's Legacy: Children Of The Damned by Anthony Permal

How do you handle hate? Personally, I start to panic and suffocate simultaneously and then proceed to pass out. Intolerance and ignorance cut me to the core and, really, I’m shocked at the prejudiced shit-show we’ve been running lately in the Land of the Pure. Equally appalling; the participation of otherwise intelligent and educated people in propagating the problem. Anthony Permal steps in to set the record straight.



Anthony Permal is a Pakistani Christian theologian writing and blogging about Christianity, Pakistan and other cool stuff like marketing, comics and pancakes. A self-proclaimed Jesus-freak, his pieces on minority issues and intolerance have been published in The Friday Times and The Express Tribune. You can catch more of Anthony’s awesomeness at http://digitaljesus.wordpress.com and on Twitter @anthonypermal.



Kill them all.

Hang them ‘til death.

Do whatever it takes to succeed.

The Muslims hate us. 

Never be friends with Christians. 

The Ahmadis are liable to be killed. 

It costs Rs. 5,000 to get a passport. Add 5,000 more to get it on the same day. 

Those poor Shias. 

Those poor Hindus. 

Those poor chaprasis. 

Those poor atheists. 

Gays deserve death. 

Terrorists are reacting to drones. 

Drones are because of America, which is the enemy. 

It isn’t our war. 

This isn’t our religion. 

This isn’t Constitutional. 

This IS Constitutional. 

Pakistan ka Allah Hafiz. 

Pakistan ka matlab kia? La Illaha Il Allah. 

Pakistan ko kia ho gaya hai? 

Jinnah ka Pakistan kahan gaya? 

Talibanistan. 

Saudistan. 

Ye Hum Naheen! 

Liberal Fascists/Pseudo Liberals/Fake Liberals 

Mullahs/Mullahgardi. 

RAW/MOSSAD/INDIA/ISRAEL/JEWS/CONSPIRACY 

Balochistan humara hai. 

Kashmir humara hai. 

Palestinian Muslim brothers. 

Burmese Muslim brothers. 

Kaafir kaafir Shia kaafir. 

Qadiani haraam khor. 

PTI trolls. 

PML-N scum. 

PPP chor. 

Red light hai toh kia hua? Doosri tarf se gaarri arahi hai? Naheen? Nikaal gaarri! 

Bacchii! 

Rainbow Center se li teray bhai ne! 

Sold out journalists. 

Sold out activists. 

Sold out NGOs. 

Sold out soldiers. 

Chorr na yaar, kaun poochay ga! 

Teri maa ch*** doonga bhan***. 

Rand**. 

Yaar atay waqt apnay bhai ke liye gutthka to laitayway aana. 

Quaid-e-Azam ne farmaya, tu chal mai aya. 

Rape to hona hi tha, kis ne bola tha wahan jaanay ko? 

Rape to hona hi tha, kapray daikhay thay uss kay? 

Rape to hona hi tha, barri liberal bani rehti thi.

********************************************************************

The stuff written above? This is what your children hear you saying. This is what they’re growing up listening to in this time of chaos in Pakistan.

This is what they will repeat.

Now go back to the start, and imagine your son or daughter saying the exact same lines.

To you.




CONNECT WITH HUNGER & HAW HAI: 

9.17.2013

The Bad Boy's Bible & Devilish Dark Chocolate Zeppole


In Light there is Dark, and in Dark there is Light.”
― 
Kami GarciaBeautiful Darkness


I know, I know; I’ve been MIA for months! And I obviously owe you an explanation.


Already on it.


See, at the start of every summer, I ready myself for an annual ritual; a couple of quiet months of meditation. Sneaking off to a secret destination, I settle down for some deep soul-searching. The idea is intense introspection; some down-time to deal with demons and drama. I chant and chart my chakras, I learn to live on lettuce, and water becomes my wine.  And as I step in my sanctuary of solitude and serenity, I surrender to silence.


That’s right; on the path to inner peace and purification, I vow not to verbalize any venom. Talk about a tough time on tricky terrain, huh? But it’s cool. Call it a cathartic spiritual cleanse.


All in all, it’s a rough retreat, but a girl’s gotta recharge the ol’ batteries, right?


I imagine you’re insanely impressed with my discipline and determination. Allow me to bask and bathe in the glorious glow of your adoration! Ahhhhh! Dare I take a moment to dance like a delirious deer in a meadow? Indeed, I shall! *prance* *prance* *shake-dance*


Totally kidding.


As much as I’d love to live the lie, you and I both know I’m not cut out for yoga!


Summer is supposed to be about endless afternoons spent lazing and lounging and soaking up the sun. So, from May through the monsoons, it’s customary that I commit myself completely to being footloose and fancy-free; my days dedicated solely to sun-kissed leisure and loosening up.


This year, because I’m a fatally flawed being, maker of monumental mistakes and debilitating-ly dumb decisions, I flipped this philosophy on its head. The consequences of turning turbo were brutal; crash and burn.


Honestly, it was unintentional and unexpected. I suppose I should also add that it un-exciting and uneventful, but I have a feeling you frown upon fibs.


Rest assured, though, there was no relaxation involved; only rude awakenings.


Frankly, I don’t have a flowery excuse for disappearing; I do, however, have unstoppable 1 year old and a husband who’s home all day, every day.


On the bright side, the beauty of being around my boys is that accounting for age is absolutely unnecessary. Almost everything works across the board. Fresh food, clean clothes, periodic play-time; cake-walk!


But then there’s the terrible truth.


Take it from me: toddlers are tireless! They’re jacked up on some juice adults just aren’t equipped to compete with.


Trust me, I’ve tried.


In the process of trying to poop my puppy out, I’ve become a master multi-tasker with an incredibly impressive repertoire of rhymes and riddles. Also, I’m fairly fluent in six sorts of gibberish and I can eat a meal in under a minute.


I am still, however, incapable of exhausting an excited infant.


Oh, did I mention the husband’s hiatus?


He’s got grad school on his mind so, he’s taken time off to tackle the green-eyed monster of all entrance exams; the GMAT.


It’s been interesting so far. A real revelation.


Okay, it’s like an alien invasion. It’s unnerving having him hanging around the house so much.


I create my own complications, though.


Call me crazy, but despite the fact that T is far from conventional, I feel compelled to cater to him when he’s home. I swear there’s no slavery or servitude. I’m just oddly old-fashioned…and a sucker for his smile.


Anyways, the bottom line is, I blame my boys for my absence. If it weren’t for men, there wouldn’t have been any need for this mea culpa!


There also wouldn’t have been such an amazeballs opportunity to observe the opposite sex.


Listen up, ladies and gentlepeople; there are lessons to be learned.


Now, not to be nostalgic, but I like to believe the husband and I are a heady love story, riddled with romance, happiness and humor. He makes all the marks on my checklist - chilled out, charming, champion of cheesy –picking up extra points for being polite, passionate and progressive. He also happens to be hilarious.


What can I say? We have a winner!


FYI, though; letting love light the way is one thing, but being in each other’s face 24/7 can breed a sort of fury that, I’m certain, is fueled by the fires of hell. It’s in these heated moments of too much togetherness that the husband morphs from man to maniac


Repeat after me; distance is divine!


Between you and me, I’ve never been aboard the bad-boy bandwagon. I’m not shy about admitting that chivalry gives me the shivers and when it comes to boy vs. beast, there’s no denying I dig dorks. Aggression doesn’t amuse me. Trivia, however, is a total turn on. In other words, I’d pick “periodically funny” over “perpetual fire-breather” any day of the week.


But I feel a little lonely in my battle against badly behaved brutes.


Of course, because I don’t like to base my complaints on conjecture, I took to Twitter to get a general opinion about the Average Joe.

7.07.2013

The Verdict on Veranda Bistro

Dear Veranda Bistro,

As a rule, I don't write restaurant reviews, mostly because I'm not even remotely qualified for culinary critique. Also, because chicken tarragon is chicken tarragon is chicken tarragon. And because handing out hate is horrible and karma is cruel. But every now and then, I’ve been known to bend, or better yet, break my own rules and make rare exceptions.

Congratulations, you’ve made the cut!

I’m going to take a moment to make it clear that I delay creating drama until the chaos warrants me to wake the demon inside. In other words, I realize that running a restaurant involves a ridiculous amount of pressure, but beyond a reasonable point, I don’t believe in doling out the benefit of doubt.

And after last night’s experience, I think I’m exceptionally lucky to have lived to tell the tale.

I’m sure plenty of people peg Veranda Bistro as some of the finest of Lahore’s fine-dining scene. Call me crazy, but I’m not convinced.

Why?

We’ll get this going with a word about the wait-staff.

6.25.2013

HELLO! Pakistan June 2013: Orange Glazed Chicken Poppers

Hunger & Haw Hai's feature, Smokin' Hot: Orange Glazed Chicken Popperscommissioned for HELLO!Pakistan's June 2013 issue.
"Lightly coated chicken is pan-fried to crisp perfection and then tossed with a heavenly fragrant citrus glaze. Honestly, I’m usually afraid of citrus-based sauces because they tend to have an over-powering sweetness, but this one is a beautiful balance of tart tang and savory sweetness. You could always serve this with a bowl of rice, but there’s nothing like picking them off plate with a pack of pals."

Get Hunger & Haw Haw Hai's recipe for Orange Glazed Chicken Poppers (click on image to enlarge)

6.09.2013

Khalis Food Market: Cooking Up A Storm & Causing A Stir!

June 9, 2013: Setting up shop at Lahore's second Khalis Food Market; an amazing experience and undoubtedly worth the exhaustion!

"I have to say my absolute favorite by far was The Pantry by Hunger & Haw Hai."
- Lifestyle blog, FabYummyChic

For the full feature, click here.


For the full feature, click here.

6.02.2013

Praise for The Pantry by Hunger & Haw Hai

June 2, 2013: Over a month of prepping and almost a week of close to non-stop kitchen slavery brought The Pantry by Hunger & Haw Hai to life for Lahore's second Khalis Food Market.

"The Pantry by Hunger & Haw Hai was the best planned stall by FAR."
- Lifestyle blog, Siddysays

For the full feature, click here


5.25.2013

HELLO! Pakistan May 2013: Thai Chicken & Rice Noodle Salad

Hunger & Haw Hai's feature, Salad Days: Thai Chicken & Rice Noodle Saladcommissioned for HELLO! Pakistan's May 2013 issue.
"I refuse to settle for a bowl of bland or boring. I’m looking for a burst of bright, fresh flavors and frankly, this salad is fantastically fool-proof. Nestled in a bed of noodles, the heat of the chili relaxes against the cool freshness of the herbs and the crunch of the peanuts adds some sass to the soy-glazed chicken. Couple these ingredients with the signature savory-sweetness of a traditional Thai dressing and trust me, your taste-buds will be left tingling. All the spice without the sizzle!"

Get Hunger & Haw Haw Hai's recipe for Thai Chicken & Rice Noodle Salad (click on image to enlarge)

5.06.2013

How To Spot A Social Climber & Chili Con Carne with Honey Cornbread

Belligerent Buddies: Me and B play party posers!


Oh! My! God!  Does it feel good to be back and blabbing! Taping the trap shut has been traumatic, I tell you! Have you noticed the exclamation marks?!? Intended to illustrate how excited I am! May I begin with how much I missed you? I was this close to curling up cocoon-style and crying. Okay, that was a tad OTT, but there was a tinge of truth to that. The grapevine’s been gushing with gossip, guys and gals, and God, have I gathered some juicy, jaw-dropping gems! Now do you get why I was so desperate? I’ve been dying to dish! I’ve also been dying to sleep like it’s going out of style, but that’s a separate story.

On a side-note, I swear I’ll stop adding exclamation marks to everything...soon!

Honestly, this hiatus was like being hit by a hurricane. I’m weak and worn out and want to whine. The upside is I have an amazingly awesome alibi for going AWOL. Come to think of it, there’s a couple. Care to count?  

Let’s begin with my best friends wed a week apart, which obviously entailed attending at least a million events. And what is a shaadi without some shor-sharaaba, right? Cue the music and move over Maroon 5 ‘cause I’ve got the moves like Jagger. Courtesy Kallu the choreographer, I am capable of cutting a rug to over a dozen desi dance numbers. Also, blatantly badgering my brother-in-law to get betrothed finally bore fruit.  He traded his freedom for a fabulous fiancĂ©e! In other news, the husband and I hosted a pre-nuptial party for our pals. And an extremely exciting Elmo-themed event for our baby’s first birthday. Oh, and there was our anniversary. And dare I forget that daunting deadline. The pressure of putting Hunger & Haw Hai’s first published feature was fierce.

UPDATE: Between the time that I began typing this out, till now, I’ve also hosted a laugh-out-loud ladies night. Now, I generally don’t gush about my girls, but I’m going with my gut and saying it anyways; I have a great gang! Hilarious, hot-headed homies! Additionally, I’ve attended another engagement, followed by an afternoon affair to applaud the affianced. Shout out, Juggan Kazim; may you always be blessed and beautiful! For the record, I’ve resolved to remain under the radar for the rest of the year. 

You know, the husband asks me the same question every weekend. Stay in or step out? Pardon me, my prince, but you're well aware that that's like asking me to pick between poison and Parisian pastries. A no-brainer. Slacking off is higher on my to-do list than socializing. Seriously, I’d sooner have my throat slit than spend Saturday night at some snotty soiree.

Here's why; I am in utter violation of several sacred social standards. For starters, I'm probably doomed beyond redemption for recycling clothes. Also, I'd rather have a hernia than go through the horror of having my hair done. And blah-blah banter makes me want to say bye-bye before I can blink.


But back in the day, I was the master of March madness and so I made a highly unprecedented move. I committed my calendar to being social and on the scene.  

By the way, this time was a brand new ballgame. The thing is, at my best, I’m elusive; at all other times I’m almost impossible to track down, but Section 1.1 of my crew’s Code of Conduct frowns furiously upon flakiness. And if my calculations are correct, I have a grand total of five friends and, frankly, I’d like to keep them close thus, blowing off besties was not an option. And so I sucked it up, spazzing at the sudden switch from wet-blanket to wild-thang.

I felt like I was perpetually primping for a party.

On the other hand, and I honestly don’t know how he does it, but the husband has this enviable ability to transform into a teenager at will. And nothing ups the ante like being aided and abetted by an entire entourage of Aitchisonians. Even I’ll admit their energy can be quite infectious.

I must also mention that my man was so moved by the moment, he managed to get his hands on a mic, making himself the MC at multiple mehendis.  Hype, humor, hullabaloo; he hit it out of the park. In fact, he did such a raging job that one reviewer raved he could give Ryan Seacrest a run for his money.  Of course, my counterpart is clueless about who Ryan Seacrest is, but somehow that’s not a shocker. Bless your innocence and enthusiasm, baby. Boo-Yah!

Anyways, at long last it’s over. I shall now head back to hibernating and being a hermit.

Oh wait, something slipped. Something saucy, something scandalous! I spy, with my little eye, something that starts with an S.

4.24.2013

Hello, HELLO! Pakistan: Employed at Last!

Hunger & Haw Hai’s break from blogging bears fruit! This piece, No Trifling Matter:Lemon Panna Cotta & Mulled Strawberry Trifle, was commissioned by HELLO! Pakistan for their April 2013 anniversary issue.



And at last, I am employed again! *HAPPY DANCE* *MAKRANI DANCE* *SHOULDER SHIMMY* Being back in business is beautiful! Hallelujah, for I am whole!  I will spill this, though; putting the pieces together was stressful, it was sweaty, it was surreal, but God, it was great! Also, I want to take a second and say that, seriously, none of this would’ve been possible without the support and sass of my incredible editor, Mehvash Amin. I revere women with razor-sharp wit and the reality is she's a rockin' roller!

Do you know how fantastic it felt  having the freedom to pick a festive favorite? Freakin' fabulous! Not, to mention having my photograpghy featured too. It's all too much, I tell you!

And what would Hunger & Haw Hai be without you, boys and girls? I’m eternally indebted to each and every one of you for humoring my hysteria and saving my sanity. I love you, my lovelies! P.S. I’m proud of your patience. 

Get Hunger & Haw Haw Hai's simple, but spectacular recipe for Lemon Panna Cotta & Mulled Strawberry Trifle (click on image to enlarge)

3.19.2013

Bowled Over By Outrageous Brownies!

March 19, 2013: Hunger & Haw Hai surprised SiddySays with a super special delivery; a basket brimming with Outrageous Brownies

"Not only can the girl talk food, she sure as hell has me as her number one fan!"
- Lifestyle blog, SiddySays

For the full feature, click here


For the full feature, click here

3.07.2013

Who Wants Meet A Millionaire & Chicken Schnitzel With Lemon Butter & Garlic Potatoes

Ross: Well umm I, I just never think of money as an issue.
Rachel: That’s ‘cause you have it.
-  F.R.I.E.N.D.S Season 2, Episode 5: The One with Five Steaks and an Eggplant



There’s this argument the husband and I get into all the time where he claims that I conceal key information. I don’t paint the whole picture. I keep him in the dark. In other words, I deliberately delay dishing out details.  My answer to that is this: bear your own burden, buddy! I’m not an external hard-drive, memorizing the minutiae you’re too lazy to log.

Put plainly, my policy is that even if I do possess poignant pieces of information, I will make them public when I please.

Plus, in my defense, he has a habit of barging in right while I’m basking in a bit of blank brain-time to conduct a quick Q&A. That isn’t cool.  It’s crazy.

But it’s been almost 4 months into blabbing and blogging and it’s just hit me that I have been holding something back. Don’t roll your eyes. I know that seems strange coming from someone who’s squawking 24/7, but when it comes to spilling saucy little secrets, stealth is more my style. Frankly, I find that awaiting the ideal opportunity to unload amplifies the intended effect of the information, but that’s a separate story.

Also, I’m a sadist who likes ceaseless suspense. P.S. I loved Scooby Doo, but, man, the blatant bad-guys were such a buzz-kill!

Anyways, in light of where this litany is leading, I think it’s time to divulge the dramatic little detail.

Or not. Told you, I’m a little twisted.

Some things are better left unsaid, right?

Jokes aside though, I’m absolutely enamored with the inappropriate. It says so right there in the title of this blog. The “Haw Hai” is a heads-up that I don’t really care for clamming up and I’m definitely not shy about sharing. And yes, tittering over taboo topics -jaw-dropping jokes, crazy confessions, bungling bloopers,  eww-inducing experiences - might be a tad *tsk* *tsk*, but it totally tickles my fancy.  

By the way, in case you’re interested, nothing makes people uncomfortable like a little honesty.

Anyhow, in the spirit of spilling all, I feel the need for full-disclosure.

Brace yourselves, besties and resties ‘cause I’m ready to reveal the real me.