August 10, 2015

Friends or Fauxs with Mini Bresaola, Pickled Radish & Watercress Tarts


Sorry, I know I jumped the gun, but I’m assuming it’ll be quicker if I cut to the chase before you ask where I’ve been and why I fell off the face of the earth completely unannounced. 

I’ll be brief.

Basically, some women have this neat ability to sail through building and bringing forth 8 pounds of human being into this world like it’s no big deal. They laugh in the face of hormonal horrors and epi-less labor and emerge from the rigors of child-bearing like champions; energized, refreshed, and ready for a round of high-fives, because pushing out a pot roast was the most pooped-their-yoga-pants ethereal experience ev-ver.  

Unfortunately, I am not one of those annoying a-holes. 

I’m your average zero-zen, fifty-shades-of-frustrated bun-baker and pregnancy puts everything on pause. 

I’m frazzled, I fuss, I complain, I cry…constantly, I obsess over the inane, and my automatic response to unpleasant situations is a red-hot over-reaction. 

No lies, I’m only open for low-level brain activity. 

I kid you not, in the past couple of months, the most strenuous mind-game I played was trying to find a comfortable position to sit, sleep, or stand in.

Sadly, all my attempts failed spectacularly and I was forced to settle for second prize: awkwardly reclining in positions that were neither lady-like nor fit for public consumption and periodically cursing T for putting me through this torture for the sake of more spawn.

Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me, okay? You’ve never had a yeti residing in your uterus.

Shit Just Got Real

In the bigger pregnancy picture, though, physical discomfort was such a frivolous dilemma.

What totally took its toll was the staggering impact of social isolation.

November 11, 2014

Wok's Cooking: Eating Your Way Around China

Photo Credits: Taimur Rafiq aka The Husband

What’s not to love about Chinese food, right? The heat, the spice, that divine fragrance of fried garlic and ginger, the chopsticks (which I still frequently stumble and fail to use with any sort of finesse or elegance), those adorable little white cardboard take-away containers; love at first bite, I tell you! But there’s bad news, babies…we’ve all been duped. 

Now why on earth would I say such a horrible thing? 

Well, because Chinese food, at least as most of us know it, is so far from the real deal, it’s hard not to feel a little disillusioned. 

See, believe it or not, trying to order off a typical (read: traditional) menu in China means you’ll probably be hard-pressed to find familiar favorites like Chicken Manchurian, Sweet & Sour Prawns, or even a simple American Chop Suey. That’s because most of these dishes didn’t originate in China at all. Instead, they’re the love-children of local culinary influences on the global Chinese diaspora. 

So what should you know about eating authentic Chinese cuisine? 

Well, first and foremost, it’s all about location, location, location. The kind of food you’ll find varies vastly from region to region in China and it can leave the uninitiated’s head spinning. Sichuan, Hunan, Cantonese; the list goes on and the options are incredible and endless, but they do have one thing in common — while the locavore movement might have only recently started regaining traction in the western world, in China “eating local” is centuries old tradition and plain common sense. That means everything from the climate, to the availability of ingredients, and of course, local preferences determines what could end up on your plate. 

Take Zhejiang cuisine, for example, which is native to sea-facing eastern China, and you’ll find it heavily features both fresh-water and salt-water fish, prawns, crabs, lobster, squid, octopus, and all sorts of other underwater delicacies, often live and on display in large tanks at many restaurants. That’s right! You can pick your prey and request the chef to cook it to order, guaranteeing fabulous custom culinary delights at their absolute freshest and finest.

By the way, while a lot of Chinese food is simple fare — think soft steamed dumplings and plenty of fuss-free stir-fried vegetables and meats — don’t underestimate the amount of care and deftness that goes into prepping and cooking ingredients using authentic Chinese cooking techniques. Seriously, have you ever tried creating those curious little creases that seal wontons shut? How about having a hand at trying to recreate the devastatingly delicate beauty of Dai fruit carvings?

Didn’t think so. 

The point is, don’t be fooled into believing that Chinese food comes without its fair share of flair and drama. In fact, in some cases, the crazy-quotient can be so high, it is definitely not recommended for the squeamish or faint-of-heart. Hairy crabs, anyone? How about some deep-fried duck heads? No? Perhaps some snake soup or a sniff and taste of stinky tofu will do the trick? Jokes aside, though, what’s important to remember before wrinkling your nose or making a beeline in the opposite direction, is that the untrained palate could (and probably would) have the same reaction to a number of our own local delicacies such as brain masala, or curried goat testicles, or barbecued chicken hearts, so it’s mostly a matter of being an acquired taste for the adventurous eater.   

Finally, what’s most important to remember when eating your way around China is this: though the food culture of the country is as wide and varied as it’s regions and it’s people, and what lands on your plate might leave you in shock and awe, no matter where you go, it always entails giant and equal doses of warmth, generosity, and camaraderie, especially if you happen to be a guest of one of the locals.

Much like in Pakistan, a hosts hospitality is directly proportional to their propensity to force feed you and meals tend to be long, loud affairs where everything from the conversation to the food and the drinks flow freely for what seems like forever. No complaints here, though. Only happy campers. A wee word of warning: you’d be wise not expect a stingy sandwich-and-soda scenario at a traditional Chinese table. Portions are likely to be large, plates are usually shared, and yes, double-dipping is absolutely acceptable, so unless you’re a genuine germo-phobe, just keep calm and keep eating ‘cause it’s not common for people to cringe and complain about cooties in China. 

Happy eating, babies!

October 15, 2014

Crisp Autumn Apple Crumble

There’s something about the fall that is absolutely fabulous; that slight chill, those snug socks, and the endless cups of chai and coffee paired served with something sweet to warm your soul. Honestly, all that coziness and comfort food makes a killer combination.

On an average day, I’m far from a die-hard dessert fan, but the second that heater is even close to switched on, my hankering for some sweet seduction starts to sneak up on me.

Frankly, I don’t consider fruit a confection, but if you place an apple crumble in the picture, I’m sold. Seriously, that heady scent of cinnamon-spiced sugar is heaven sent. The crumble is crisp, buttery and studded with walnuts and tucked beneath the topping, beautiful autumn apples bathed in sticky syrup.

Warm, wonderful and well worth the trouble!

Crisp Autumn Apple Crumble (4 servings)



3 large apples (1/2 kg)

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons water

½ cup raisins

½ cup brown sugar

Crumble Topping:

1 cup whole-meal flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

75 grams butter, chilled and cubed

½ cup walnuts

½ cup brown sugar

Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius/ 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

To make the crumble topping, in a medium bowl, combine the whole-meal flour and cinnamon.

Add the chilled butter to the dry ingredients and, using your fingertips; gently rub the butter into the flour until mixture starts to look like coarse breadcrumbs.

Stir the walnuts and sugar into the butter/flour mixture and place in the fridge.

For the apple filling, peel and quarter the apples and remove the core and seeds. Slice the apples 1/8 of an inch thick lengthwise and toss in a bowl in the lemon juice, sugar and water.

Butter an oven-proof pie dish and layer the apples inside the dish. Pour any excess liquid left in the bowl over the apples.

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apples and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the crumble is crisp and golden brown.

September 30, 2014

Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata

It’s that time of the year again! Party people are beginning to prep for the wave of winter holiday hoopla - a time-honored tradition amongst the trendy. The food and drink flows, conversation comes easy and the meet-and-greet lasts for months. And while it’s all incredibly exciting, it does leave you a little drained! That means if you’re in mood to make the most of the upcoming months of madness, upping the energy is essential.

Frittatas are a fabulous way to fight both post-party headaches and hunger; rich, filling and positively packed with good-for-you ingredients. This frittata turns average breakfast eggs into something exceptional with sautĂ©ed spinach, fragrant garlic, and the chewy tang of sundried tomatoes. Baked until fluffy, the frittata is beautifully light and festively flecked with green and red. The best part: it’s delicious served warm or cold.

Spinach & Sundried Tomato Frittata (4 servings)

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
4 whole eggs
4 eggs whites
8 sundried tomato halves, softened in hot water and chopped
1/3 cup up grated parmesan (optional)
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground


Heat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius/ 425 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Thinly coat a 9 inch pie pan with some olive oil and set aside. Glass pie pans are ideal because they heat slowly and evenly, resulting in a perfectly cooked frittata. 

Over a medium flame, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic, cooking until the onions are soft, but not brown, and the garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes..
Add the chopped spinach to the same pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. 

Remove from the heat. 

In a bowl, lightly whisk the whole eggs and egg whites together. You could use 8 whole eggs, but the use of egg whites results in a lighter, airier frittata. 
Gently stir the chopped sundried tomatoes, parmesan and the spinach mixture into the eggs and season with salt and pepper. 
Pour the mixture into the pie pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm in the center. Serve warm or cold.

September 2, 2014

Aunties & Aaj Kal Ki Larkiyan and Dazzle 'Em Beet-Pickled Deviled Eggs

Some of the most misogynistic men I know are women  -  Sarah Silverman

#truestory #justdiscoveredhashtags #hashtagsarehip #rainbows #blessed

What do you do when a sighing, swooning eleven year-old girl dramatically declares that she can’t wait to get married so she may finally have the freedom to do what she wants, whenever she wants?  

Well, if you’re me, mum’s the word. 

I know, I know, complete cop-out, but, come on, having that particular conversation with an adolescent would’ve been kind of weird and awkward and probably age-inappropriate, and I didn’t want to sound cynical, and laughing like a lunatic wasn’t an option. #isuck

Plus, pissing on a little girl’s parade is not a part of my life-plan. 

Yes, I have a life-plan and I happen to be pretty passionate about it.

Probably because I’m a pro at planning. #justsaying

Honestly, assign me any activity and watch me work OCD wonders, because fun knows no boundaries when you’re faultlessly organized, right?

Spontaneity is for suckers, yo! #imbringingboringback

So what if the survey says the actual success rate of my magic-making is kind of murky, and sad, and really can’t be confirmed. Daring to dream is half the battle, right? 

The point is, planning might not make it perfect, but, it definitely downs the probability of f***ing up and freaking out, dramatically

That being said, even though hurdles and hassles are inevitable, some curveballs are so insane beyond your imagination, it’s impossible to account for the craziness coming your way, so crashing and burning is somewhat of a standard reaction. 

Like, before T and I got hitched, I had painstakingly planned a two-part fairytale life in which neither of us would burp or fart and we sure as shit would never share a bathroom. We were going to “talk” through tough times because tempers were for tools, and he was going wake up at the butt-crack of dawn to whip up a gorgeous gourmet breakfast and serve it to a still-sleepy me in bed, and we were going to be beautifully balanced and blended beings, just like JayoncĂ©, but better. #crazyinlove 

Part two of Project Perfection was equally exciting and glamorous; we were going to grow up and embrace adulthood and become unquestionable commanders of our combined destiny, goddammit! #roseandjack #kingoftheworld #sharethedamnboardyouselfishb*tch

I felt a wise woman and completely in control as I readied to sign some paperwork, put on my big boy pants, and roll out Plan Potty-Free Future. #whatafeeling

Five years later, flatulence isn't funny, it's a fact of life, and the annexation of my bathroom has been brutal. Bonus: I’m a regular bathroom-barista attending to requests for mineral-water-bottle refills when traveling to countries where the muslim shower hasn’t caught on.

Speaking of bathroom behavior, how many couples other out there feel compelled to announce an oncoming bathroom break to their counterpart? Why? What is that? A word of warning? A goodbye? An invitation? 


“Talking” turned out to be a cute concept, but mastering maturity is still a struggle. Confession: when the gloves come off and it’s go time, it’s almost like I’m allergic to logic. 

Oh, also,  the only dude dishing up my breakfast is the baira and his expertise extend as far as the fanciness of fryee andaa and aamlette. #masterchef

So, yeah, for future reference, I really need to shut my loud face and listen to my Mom more, because that particular scenario didn’t pan out according to plan…at all. 

But I blame myself for the monumental bust. Those doe-eyed delusions were destined to doom. Fortunately, f*cking up and freaking out didn’t follow. 

Because big girls don’t cry. #FergiethePhilosopher

Unless, of course, the cruelty and injustice of an act is so OTT it straight up kills your mojo, which was exactly the case when Part Two of my plan for a fabulous future — being all out badass adults, and redefining the rules, and laying down the law, and doing some serious decisions — fell apart. 

Consequences? A catastrophic collapse of composure followed by some serious flipping and spazzing. 

Going from girl to a grown up is crazy complicated in this country, okay!

Again, must lace up lips and listen to Mom.

To tell you the truth, I’m still sort of hazy about how unfettered adultness is achieved, but what I can confirm is — and pay close attention ‘cause this pretty important — for us lady-folk, living in a prehistorically patriarchal society can be a super pain in the butt, but nothing and no one in the world has the ability to undermine and interfere with the process and progress of your evolution like an aunty. #couturecurveball

February 28, 2014

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

My school 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 and because peer pressure was more 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 a precise degree 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 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 my fly hanging wide open, 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? 

It's assumed that as an adult 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’s what happened: in the time-honored tradition of dumb december decisions, I designated “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 the 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. 

In other words, I suspect Lahore is a parallel universe and the legendary laundry list of dos and donts lives on and lives large. 

November 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

November 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*!


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.

October 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 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? 



Ye Hum Naheen! 

Liberal Fascists/Pseudo Liberals/Fake Liberals 



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! 


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***. 


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.


September 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.