Arhama Siddiqa

Arhama Siddiqa

The author is a LUMS and University of Warwick Alumnus and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). She calls herself a bibliophile,a dreamer and an avid foodie. She also has a food website at www.chakhoous.com

Gooey filling you want to scoop out with your fingers – Relive your childhood with these delightful lemon tarts!

If there is one thing in this world that can make me forgive and forget everything and start from scratch, it is lemon tarts. If anyone ever wants me to erase the memory board and wipe the slate clean, all they have to do is present me with these beauties! I love lemon tarts so much I believe they should have their own emoji! The tangy flavour of sourness, playing around with just the right amount of sweetness, can change anyone’s mood around. One of my favourite childhood memories would be my mom driving me home from school, stopping at the local ...

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This Valentine’s Day, spoil your loved one with some perfectly chewy and gooey red velvet pancakes and cinnamon rolls!

This time around when I was writing this blog, for some odd reason, the only thing that kept coming to my mind was the phrase “spreading love”. Last year when I visited the UK, I had a chance to watch the Lion King musical – an absolute breathtaking experience, which can never be replaced and is one of the highlights of my life. “And can you feel the love tonight? It is where we are It’s enough for this wide-eyed wanderer that we got this far And can you feel the love tonight? How it’s laid to rest It’s enough to make kings ...

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Nothing screams meetha like this delicious gajar ki barfi does!

This year, I wanted to start things off with something sweet. Maybe I wanted to hint at my guardian angels to make the next 12 months as sweet for me as the desi dish I was about to make. Desi desserts are always full of flavours, with each bite one floats off to a sweet paradise. Plump with refined butter and glistening with syrup, these delicacies are not for the faint-hearted. It is hard for me to walk past a shop where slabs of Sohan halwa topped with almonds, or newly fried bright orange jalebis sit enticingly in the window, and not find ...

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Culinary pioneer Zubaida Apa has left us but her totkas and bestselling Hyderabadi biryani and Sujji/Besan halwa will be with us forever

 Zubaida Tariq, aka Zubaida Apa, was a lovely woman. Her talent of inspiring people to cook just through her words and the way she carried out everyday chores was extraordinary. If you look at TV chefs nowadays, they lack the magic that Apa possessed on screen while she cooked up a storm in the kitchen. However, her magic show has come to an end. On January 5th, a little bit of Pakistan died – a little piece that will never be replaced. Her passing was incredibly sad and an unfortunate loss not only to the cooking industry but to the entire nation ...

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Move over, turkey and pudding! There’s a new Christmas feast in town!

Most of us are familiar with Christmas carols. We have either grown up listening to them live or on television. “Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la la la la!” is a tune not unknown to many of us, hence the beauty of globalisation. The holidays are not only the perfect occasion to spend time with loved ones while eating your weight in cookies; they’re also the ideal opportunity to sing your heart out. And most of us are familiar with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, an instant bestseller, published almost 173 years ago. In a nutshell, Christmas is ...

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With its lingering scent of cinnamon and fresh sweet apples, this easy apple crumble is the perfect winter fix!

Winter is finally here! This weather provides the perfect setting for the perfect dessert: apple crumble. A few weeks ago, life landed me in the picturesque town of Salisbury, home to the Salisbury Cathedral. At 404 feet (since 1549), the cathedral has had the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom – I can attest to that having climbed all 330 steps to the top! It is here where my friend Alice grew up and where her family still lives. After the descent from the spire, her mother Lucy was kind enough to host us for a classic English tea, which ...

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Celebrating the Queen’s platinum anniversary with delicious and easy traditional English scones

Since it was Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 70th wedding anniversary two days ago, a friend (read royal family enthusiast) asked me why not serve up something traditionally British! Clotted cream with scones, frilly raspberry tarts, lashings of lemonade are all the things that come to mind when I reminisce about Enid Blyton’s world of afternoon tea, picnic lunches and midnight feasts. Moonface and Silky the elf are familiar names to those of us who grew up on a staple of her books – The Famous Five, The Wishing Chair, Malory Tower, to name a few. The British ritual of afternoon tea ...

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Nothing screams easy and hearty comfort food like these lasagne roll ups do

Back during my Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) days, if you asked anyone what two of my all-time favourite food items were, their prompt reply would be roghni naan and pasta. Give me these two items and I will devour them happily, at any point in time. I have been in hiatus mode for quite a while now. I literally walk into the kitchen and eat whatever I find due to zero motivation to cook whatsoever. This lull was broken over the last weekend (thankfully), when the weather in Islamabad turned a full 180 degrees. Now such weather demands warm comfort ...

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Ditch the pulao and nihari, and spruce up your Eid feast with mince capsicum, steak with Mushroom sauce and some divine creme caramel

Eidul Azha, also known as the feast of sacrifice, is an Islamic festival commemorating the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) to follow Allah’s command to sacrifice his son Hazrat Ismail (AS). Muslims around the world celebrate Eidul Azha in full fervour as it is considered one of the most important religious events on the Muslim calendar. A cow, sheep or goat is typically slaughtered during the celebrations as a symbol of Prophet Ibrahim’s (pbuh) sacrifice. Just like each year, staggering sums will be spent on sacrificial animals this time around as well. A memory that stands clear in my head even now is from the ...

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‘Tis the season to mango it up, with these sweet, delicious and easy desserts!

It’s that time of the year again when we find ourselves replacing wholesome meals with the indulgent sweetness of mangoes. A delicious variety of Langra, Sindhri, Anwar Ratol, Chaunsa, Desheri, Himsager and Sammar Bahist, to name a few of the desi aams (mangoes) are readily available in Pakistan. These mangoes become a delicious addition at breakfast, lunch and dinner. In his book ‘The Last Mughal’, William Dalrymple quoted the following, defining our love affair with mangoes aptly. “For Mirza Ghalib, the late evening was the time for indulging in mango related pleasures, especially the exquisitely small, sweet chaunsa mango, a taste he shared with many other discerning Delhiwallahs, past and present. At one gathering, a group of Dehliwallahs were discussing what qualities a good mango ...

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