Ice Cream for Suhoor

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My wardrobe is not properly equipped for hot weather, but what is the proper attire for desert adventures and camel-back riding? I booked my ticket to Dubai last week on an impulse and everyone who knows me is busy LOLOLOLing because I can barely handle an English summer … what will I do in Dubai?? I don’t want to imagine the struggle.

But after the year I’ve had I felt as though I deserved a break, and after my Aunt made a week-long surprise visit home last week I needed very little persuasion to join her there in June. My cousin will be joining me – we’re both nervous fliers and don’t do well in confined spaces, nor can we sleep whilst travelling. Our 8-hour flight will be interesting.

My plans for the next few months can be summarised as follows: Dubai! Ramadan! Summer vacation! New career!!!!!!!!! The blogging goes without saying, of course. And the excessive use of exclamation marks entirely appropriate.

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Love has no respect for questionnaires + Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe


I’ve never been in love but I’m pretty sure finding my perfect match will not be as easy as filling in a compatibility questionnaire.

Still, I went ahead and filled in my answers to Don Tillman’s questions at the end of  the novel The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. You know, just for fun. It consisted of 24 questions and, according to Don, should have taken me no longer than 7 minutes and 9 seconds. Unless I didn’t understand a question, in which case I should consider myself ‘unsuitable‘ and not bother at all.

Let’s see…

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Engagement Party Vanilla Cupcakes + Big News + My Love Life

Eds. Note: Please welcome our newest columnist, London-based Nazia, who will be sharing her food column Your Sunny Side Up the third Thursday of every month!


It was just a few short months ago we were dancing at her engagement party, stuffing our faces with these cupcakes, and later indulging in a midnight feast of pizza and cookie dough (what wedding diet?). Fast forward a few weeks and we’re walking her down the aisle dressed in white to start the next chapter of her life. And now my beautiful (I-can’t-believe-how-grown-up-she-is!) little cousin-sister is expecting a baby(!!!), and I could just burst with joy for her. She is going to be an amazing mother. Naturally, I am so excited to take on the role of baby’s uber cool and fun aunt, who bakes shit and enjoys life.

She made the most beautiful bride. For privacy reasons I can’t share pictures, but just take my word for it. The wedding was small and intimate with just the closest of friends and family. My Granddad flew back to London especially for the wedding, to watch the first of his 21 grandchildren get married (if he keeps that up for the next 20 grandkids then his air miles are going to be insane!). It was the first wedding in our family in 10 years and it was pretty damn special.

So often Asian weddings are not about the happy couple. Instead, it turns into a matchmaking event where the focus is on all the singletons in the room, followed by an excited phone call the next morning from an ‘auntie‘ who noticed that “so-and-so looked beautiful” and wouldn’t she make a great match for her neighbour’s friend’s second cousin? As the eldest granddaughter, everyone automatically assumed I would be first in line to get married. That’s just the way it works in Asian circles. There were probably a few surprised faces when people learned it was actually my cousin (who is three years younger than me) who walked down the aisle first.

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And In The Morning, I’m Making Pancakes!


It’s a rare experience in our adult lives for us to think, “Oh, I’ve never had this food before!” But the childhood memories I have of that novel sensation survive for good reason.

I remember the first time I tried popcorn. I didn’t like it much so I fed it to the fish in the lake. I also remember the sweet, tangy sensation of my first sip of lemonade. But neither of these compares to the first time I tried the best breakfast food known to humans: Pancakes.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but I didn’t have pancakes until I was four-years-old. Seriously. My family emigrated from India to the US around that time and prior to that, breakfast food had simply meant eggs with toast, cereal, or aloo puri.

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No Utensils Required


Amman, Jordan – 1998

I joined my family in the dining room, noticing immediately that there were no chairs at the table. Where did they go?

Pondering, I became distracted by the center of the dining table, mesmerized by a massive, round dish, called sider, towering with rice and lamb. It was time to feast. Everyone took their spots surrounding the sider, waiting to begin.

Standing next to my father, I asked him where all the plates and cutlery were.

He smiled and said, “We eat mansaf with our hands, habibty.”

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