am was invited to speak at TEDxWaterloo on March 27, 2013 – you can read more about me here. The video should be up by end-April.
I write a blog inspired by my heritage. I am a published food writer and photographer. For my published work, see here.
Accolade- My blog was recently selected as one of Top 50 food websites in the world by The Independent, UK.
Wage slaving- I love my job –
I am an economist by profession and work full-time. but am currently blissfully on maternity leave.
Nomad- Born in Lahore, Pakistan, I grew up in Pakistan; the USA; Nigeria; Kenya; Bangladesh and the UK. My career took me to Rome, Italy, where I spent 6 years working for the United Nations.
Last year I moved from Rome to Toronto, Canada four years ago.
Why Heritage Cooking- My mother-Ami, my aunt and grandmothers are fascinating cooks. Like most women from our part of the world, they cooked intuitively, by method of ‘loose estimation’ or as we refer to in Urdu; andaaza. I learnt to cook in the same manner.
In our part of the world cooking techniques and recipes are almost invariably passed on through oral tradition. This inspired me to start putting pencil to paper to document and quantify some of the dishes I love to prepare at home, which I have learnt from my mother, aunt and grandmothers.
Given the current milieu in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, I would like to think and hope that my stories provide readers with a much needed antidote of humanity and romanticism about our peoples and cultures.
Gratitude- This blog wouldn’t be possible without the endless encouragement of my husband.
Random Fact- When I come home from work, my snackette of choice is a sharp, smelly and firm cheese with bread or crackers.
Weakness in life- Anything fried and savoury- a packet of crisps; crisp shrimp fritters; aubergine dredged in cumin-laced chickpea-flour batter, fried and eaten straight out of the pan; sizzling hot kibbeh; or those bronzed and crunchy fiori di zucca with creamy mozzarella and earthy anchovies tucked deep inside them.
Chocolate Cake- If you haven’t had the Dolly Sin cake which is sold at Balducci’s in Washington DC, you have not lived…Layers of soft, intense muddy chocolatey sponge with a whipped ganache frosting. We make an excuse to have it every year in my family- for a birthday, to welcome in the New Year or for Eid. It’s been a family tradition since 1996.
Typical Brekkers- Two slices of toasted pumpernickel or whole wheat bread with a smear of tahineh and a slathering of homemade jam, preferably fig. Pot of sencha green tea to go with.
Simple pleasures- I’ll take a plate of pasta with Sicilian ciliegine (tomatoes), olive oil and parmesan with a glass of Falanghina- any day- over a fancy Michelin star restaurant with a tasting menu.
Cannot abide- Mayonnaise. Not even homemade. Not even if it has been made at my friend’s farm in Tuscany using farm fresh eggs. And I will have to say no to your kind offer of a glass of mango lassi. Please don’t be offended. It’s nothing personal. And unless you’re making a flaky pie crust or a sludgy chocolate cake, please don’t add butter to my food, especially not to my vegetables. Olive oil all the way, (well, I’ll take duck fat, too). And please keep desiccated coconut away from me.
Thank you so much for visiting The Spice Spoon: cooking without borders.