Stories about milk

The original king cake – the pound cake

 “Beta! Mehmanon kai liye bakery sai plain cake lao!” (Grab a plain cake from the bakery for the guests.) Who hasn’t heard this line? In fact we have grown up hearing this! Plain cakes or pound cakes, span over generations. They were made by our ammis (mothers), our nannis (grandmothers), and our par-nannis (great-grandmothers). The name ‘pound’ was given to this cake because the original recipes contained one pound of butter, one pound of sugar, one pound of eggs, and one pound of flour. Sometimes while baking cakes, you just want something plain and simple with no added frills and fuss. Especially now that winter ...

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I partied at 1am… with these delicious chocolate chip and peanut butter cupcakes!

I love birthdays, whether it’s mine (preferred) or anyone else’s. I get very excited – the countdown to the day type of excited. I’m basically five-years-old again with my level of excitement, but I figure it is one day of the year that is entirely yours, so enjoy it. Get as much as you can out of it and have fun with family and friends. So in the spirits of birthdays, a friend recently celebrated his 30th – big deal and all of that. It was a great reason to bake something delicious (though one doesn’t really need reasons to bake other ...

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Firni: A Pakistani rice-pudding that is a must have this Eid!

Rice puddings are part of quite a few cuisines around the world. Be it Thailand, UK, Iran, Bangladesh, Norway, Egypt, Puerto Rico or Pakistan, everyone has their own versions of rice puddings prepared with local ingredients. In Thailand, they make theirs with coconut milk and serve it with mango. In Iran, it is made with saffron infused milk. The Danish add butter and cinnamon to their rice pudding and serve it on Christmas Eve and the Egyptians make it with nutmeg and rosewater. It seems joyous occasions in Pakistan, as well as all around the world, are celebrated with some version of rice ...

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My massive love affair with these mini quiches

When I was hosting some friends over for an afternoon tea, I had already thought of having scones and a chocolate tart. I needed one more dish! Growing up, it was always important to make sure that there was enough food to feed all your guests and more; always more, than less. Since it wasn’t a lunch or dinner, I wanted to have little bits that people could pick on while hanging out. Dips, chips and all of that is the easy part. I needed something else that I could make over the weekend and freeze easily since I would have had to make ...

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Say hello to these delicious and heavenly aromatic cinnamon rolls!

Evenings hold a sacred bond with tea. It is a tradition that has been going on for years and as is the case in my household as well. Just when the light blue clouds cover the scintillating sun, my parents rush to the lawn to commence their tea party. And, of course, my love for food serves as an advantage to them. Every few days, I like to put on my apron and experiment in my little food laboratory, commonly known as a kitchen. So I stir up some dish and that usually ends up as their hi-tea snack. Their latest favourite is my cinnamon rolls. Even though I sometimes get ...

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Appeasing the meat-eater in you with this Pakistani styled stir-fried spicy minced meat

As a kid I was never a mutton, beef or milk fan. I was scolded a tonne by Ammi and Nana (maternal grandfather) for that. I was told that I would never grow tall enough or excel in class or be physically fit. Turns out, I achieved all of that without eating much meat protein throughout my adolescent years. However, something else happened as well. As I became an adult and moved away from Pakistan, the flavours and tastes that I took for granted came back to me as a longing. I missed eating the very things I despised as a kid. And mutton was one of ...

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Warming up the winters with Sooji ka Halwa and chai

Sooji (semolina) halwa was amongst the first few things I learnt to cook primarily because it took less time to cook and I loved its mild sweetness. I was never much of a halwa puri breakfast fan as the deep-fried puris don’t sit very well with my tummy. The halwa, however, if homemade, was my favourite with some tea during cold winter afternoons. Sooji halwa is especially cooked in Pakistan on Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) birthday and distributed amongst neighbours and poor households. Given the fact that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was born and passed away on the same day, the sweet halwa is cooked in the morning to mark the celebration of his birth. In the ...

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This Eidul Azha, go Kheer a la mode!

For me, there can’t be an Eid without the ravishingly delicious Kheer – the ultimate sweet indulgence. A new twist to this traditional delight will surely bring a smile to your lips and, while the tongue revels in its milky glory, its creamy decadence will keep you entranced and craving for more. Food aficionados like me are fascinated by the Mughals who brought their rich, aromatic food culture, and thereby refined cooking to an art form. The exotic use of spices, dried fruits and nuts makes Mughlai cuisine undeniably unique in style. Extravagant connoisseurs of beauty, they left behind an enduring legacy of culinary ...

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Fruity summers and mango treats: Desi mango lassi

Even though the temperature is rising every day, the best part about summers is the amazing variety of mouth-watering fruits in season, mangoes being the most favourite of them all. So, I decided to beat the heat with a simple yet refreshing mango and yogurt drink. Not only does it taste delicious, with the sweetness of the mango and the tart flavour from the yogurt, it’s immensely refreshing and super healthy. Mangoes are enriched with vitamins A, B and C, which when combined with protein packed yogurt or milk, turns into a delicious nourishing beverage that will keep you energised the entire day. It’s a great ...

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Four cups of tea: Bringing people together for years

“If you want to thrive in Baltistan, you must respect our ways. The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time, you are an honoured guest. The third time, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die. Dr Greg, you must take time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated but we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time.” – Three Cups of Tea. Last week became a little strange. First, the Express Tribune blogs team asked if I would be ...

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