When in Monal

Hello to everyone traveling to Islamabad – the great city of green beauty. Whoever decided to make this the capital of Pakistan should be honored because its never-ending greenery is the perfect representation of a country that screams nothing but peace. If you have a day to spare, drive up the Margalla Hills to Monal Restaurant where you can eat, relax, buy beautiful artifacts and take in the beauty of Islamabad. Even in scorching summers, Monal will cool you down and with a plate of grilled chicken Kababs and tea, you are bound to forget all your troubles.

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Monal Restaurant is at about a 20 minutes drive up the hills. They have great seating and the best view. The best time to visit is Continue reading

Chessboard Cake [Checkerboard Cake]

My brother calls it the make-shift Battenberg and I guess you can call it that. It has no marzipan on it. It is simply a deliciously moist chessboard cake covered in luscious chocolate icing. So easy to make and what a delight for the eyes.

Looks complicated? It’s as easy as the Victoria Sponge. Here’s what you’ll need: Continue reading

Home-made Pizza

Ever since I can remember, we have been making Pizza at home. There’s something so gratifying about a slice of pizza that is personalized to your flavor. I love waking up the next morning to find a cup of tea and leftover pizza. This recipe has evolved over the years and I am happy to be sharing it with you.

This is for everyone who has asked for this recipe since I started this blog. Here’s what you’ll need Continue reading

Banana Cinnamon Bread

THIS BREAD IS BANANAS. B-A-NA-NA-NAS. GEDDIT?!
For reference:

Here is my re-appropriated version of the generic banana bread. It is no secret that I’m a fan of cinnamon; in fact, I have taken the Cinnamon Challenge and made it quite far. I also love bananas (I really love bananas, arguably the most versatile fruit on this planet) and apples – two fruits that can be married beautifully with cinnamon to add a brilliant flavour to your favorite baked goods.

My go-to banana bread is actually an amalgamation of two different recipes and has the extra dimension of cinnamon. It’s a perfect snack to go along with your late night coffee/tea breaks and a great way to get those rotting bananas off your dining table. Continue reading

Afghani Andaa [Egg Bake]

Are you tired of the same old sehri/sahoor every Ramadan? Want to try something new? I have Afghani Andaas for you. You get a fried egg and the aroma of a khagina in one dish. So simple and so good to eat. You don’t necessarily have to bake it even though baking is relatively quicker, there’s an easier way to go by.

Here’s what you’ll need: Continue reading

Rainbow Cupcakes with Royal Icing Animals

Holaa! I love birthdays. Partially because I love making treasure hunts. Don’t worry, I haven’t made one in a long time BUT I did make these lovely cupcakes for a one year old’s birthday party.

Psst . . . there’s a rainbow inside. Want to try this recipe? Here’s what you’ll need.  Continue reading

Chicken Carbonara [Guest Post]

This is one of the perks of having siblings who love food just as much as you do. This one’s from Eissa . . . read on.

This is by far my favorite go-to pasta recipe for when I need a quick pick-me-up that tastes good. Now this recipe from the queen of 30-minute-meals Rachael Ray tastes good, really good in fact, and it’s not healthy by any means but it will leave you licking your plate.

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Here’s what Rachael has to say about it in her book Cooking ‘Round the Clock:

Continue reading

Fruits You Must Try Before You Die

We’re such processed-food junkies that we forget to enjoy the most natural flavors around. I keep telling myself I will eat healthier and well, this is my attempt. I have explored new flavors and these are the Top 3 Fruits you MUST try before you die.

3. Dragon Fruit

Locally known as pitaya, it gets the lovely name from its beautiful fire-like colors. You cut them open and inside there is a soft flesh covered in seeds that look much like Nigella seeds. The flesh color can range from a bright white to a deep purple, quite like the color on its outer skin. A  knife easily slits though it and the flesh just peels off the skin. They are sweet in flavor and you get a little crunch from the seeds.

I can at best relate their flavor to a lychee.  But in fact, they are far from a lychee. This beautiful exotic fruit belongs to Cactus family. They grow on Cactus like trees and if you have ever seen one, you’d realize they also look a little like banana trees. Right?

I think they would taste great in a piña colada; I might just try some. Up next. . .

2. Sindhri Aam

This breed of Mango is by far the best one I have ever tasted in my life. Every year, we wait for summers to enjoy the dense flavor of a Sindhri Aam. I have said it before and I will say it again: you have never really tasted a mango until you’ve tasted a Sindhri Aam. Best word for this fruit? LUSCIOUS! It is lusciously sweet and leaves you a happier person than ever before.

It is found mainly in the Lower Sindh areas of Pakistan and they can be bigger than the size of your palm. They are ripe when they turn a beautiful yellow and taste best when chilled. To eat a mango, run a knife 1/3 of the way length wise; right above the seed. Then slit in a few horizontal and vertical lines.

and pop out the flesh. After that you may use a spoon to scoop out the chunks or just dig in with your teeth.

I am drooling as I type this. I will go have some for breakfast. If you have never tasted this one before, you’re missing out on one of the true pleasures of life.

1. Mangosteen

Ugly on the outside but sweet heaven on the inside. This one tastes nothing like a mango. In fact, I have not quite figured out what it tastes like. The flavor is so vibrant, fresh and unique. At best, I can relate the flavor to a pineapple and maybe a peach  and hint of an orange but from miles away. The many times that I have tried this fruit, I have been lost for words. This fruit is high in iron content and apparently, foodies around the world are really enjoying its juice. Someone needs to package some and ship it to me.

This tropical fruit originated from Indonesia and will always be found in a wet tropical land. How to eat it, you ask? Run a knife through it’s circumference; the fresher it is the easier it will cut. And just pull off the hard exterior.

Let your eyes feast on that beauty above. You can pull out the orange-like wedges and if they are really fresh, they will melt in your mouth. Sweet bliss!

What are you waiting for? Go out and hunt for these fruits. If you have tasted any other unique fruit that you think I should try, let me know in the comments below.

Fish Fingers with Lemon Garlic Dip

I love fish so much that when I go to a restaurant and I don’t feel like having pasta, I always order fried fish. I love the crisp exterior and the perfectly moist fish inside and my my, the garlic and lemon dip to go with the fish makes it all so worth it. Of course, this means that I don’t miss out on an opportunity to fry fish at home.

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These fish fingers make the perfect afternoon snack. Here’s what you’ll need: Continue reading