School was a hop skip and jump away from Boat Basin, an iconic strip of food joints that had some of the best food Karachi has to offer. Most people will sit in their cars and order food from the servers who will come up to the window. You could get a burger from Chips, a slush from Mr. Burger, Chicken Tikkas from Tandoori Hut, Caramel Crunch Ice Cream from Rajoos and a Cold Coffee from Baloch all without moving an inch. Just thinking about it is making me happy and hungry.
My favorite Boat Basin memories are the early morning ones – the times where close friends and soon to be friends would show up long before the city was awake to sit on damp plastic chairs, huddling in to ourselves as we held our cups of chai tight and anxiously awaited our halwa puri breakfast. Now we call it halwa puri, but most of the times it was a ‘hold the halwa, bring me puris and aloo chholay” breakfast. I have blogged about this breakfast before and didn’t anticipate doing so again. But then I made a variation of this awesome recipe and I decided that with it’s extra everything it was just too good to keep to myself.
As it warms up we are out and about a lot more and I like to have snacks on hand that don’t have an unpronounceable list of ingredients. My last granola bar attempt was a total disaster and I ended up with a sickly sweet mess. Now thanks to Ninja Naan I have a recipe that works! It has a few ingredients and is so quick to make. The coconut flavour is subtle- it basically adds a wholesome chewiness to an otherwise crunchy bar. If you want to amp it up then use coconut extract instead of the vanilla. I halved the original recipe to make them in a 9*9 pan. Not sure why I keep doing that since I have made it twice in the last week!
Once upon a time my husband and I would go for brunch every weekend. When we were in Toronto this was easier to do because the options were seemingly endless. In fact I actually made little chits with names of places I wanted to try and threw them in a mug and we would pick one out every weekend and go. That obviously was before the move to the ‘burbs and the babes. Now a brunch out is an occasional treat so when I want something a little less ordinary I better make it myself. I have had a cornflake crusted French Toast at School Bakery & Cafe in Toronto and thought that perhaps I can put my otherwise abandoned box of rice krispies to use here. A little googling showed that this is indeed a thing. This small modification takes the same French Toast I have had a million times into the realm of fun, and who doesn’t want a little bit of fun? 🙂 Because it is so basic I hardly have an exact recipe for it, but here are ‘guidelines’, modify as you please!
Oh and not to sound corny, but I used a French Loaf for my French Toast and the combination of light-crispy-crunchy cereal and the airy loaf is a thing of beauty.
I heart cardamom – in tea, traditional desserts, or even on it’s own. It occurred to me the other day that I don’t actually bake anything in which cardamom is the main ingredient. I add some to my baked oatmeal, but there it is part of an ensemble and does not shine alone. When I saw Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Allspice Crumb Muffins I decided to adapt it slightly to fit the bill. My cardamom loving self may increase the cardamom next time, but my taste testers liked it as is.
Sometimes I really let my kid down. Like this morning when she requested scones and I quite foolishly asked her what shape. Turns out I don’t quite know how to make a train shaped scone. It really is something when a two year old looks disappointed in you. Anyway, turns out that by the time I made them she was quite over them. Probably because they weren’t train shaped.
These scones were easy peasy and quick. I made a pretty basic version, but I imagine you can make all sorts of variations on them. Next on my agenda? Lime zest and toasted coconut flakes, orange zest and white chocolate chips and lemon with crystallized ginger. I suppose there is a bit of a citrus theme here, but after a long fall/water of earthier flavors I am ready for a little more brightness.
When I was young we would spend the summers in Pakistan with my grandparents. My grandmother – well intentioned soul – would make us eat ‘porridge’. My memories of it may be skewed by the fact that I was a kid and by definition not open to anything new, but I remember it being a soupy gluey somewhat sweet mess. By the way, attempting to pour the oatmeal down the drain is not a good idea especially in a house full of people. Getting caught is far from pleasant.
The memory of that porridge/oatmeal stuck with me for a long time and even while I was in college at good ol’ Washington and Lee I did not touch the stuff. Now years later, being the responsible role model of a mom that I am (laughing as I type this), I have gotten over that and try to eat oatmeal on a somewhat regular basis.
This variation of it though is by far my favorite for obvious reasons. For one, who doesn’t like to have cake for breakfast? For another it is just so good and in a happy coincidence good for you as well. Lastly – and this is a big deal for me – all I need to make it is one bowl, one measuring cup and a spatula.
These days it is not in heavy rotation here, but when it is I dial back the butter by a tablespoon and cut the brown sugar down to 1/3 of a cup. The original recipe is from Joy the Baker and can be found here. I have made only one real change. Since Zara usually eats this and I often make it in mini muffin tins I find that using quick oats along with rolled oats helps it stay together. I also don’t mix anything into it – the original recipe calls for dried cranberries – but instead top it with whatever is handy. Oh and cinnamon and I are friends, but not best friends so I usually put closer to half a teaspoon. Feel free to put a whole teaspoon 🙂