LiterEature 101: The Scorpions of Zahir

coverThis particular book has been on my agenda for months. I’ve read tons of books in the past few months, but I desired to craft this one into something tasty simply because it takes place in Morocco. Hence a chance to delve into Moroccan flavors! Something new for everyone. And yet, upon completing The Scorpions of Zahir by Christine Brodien-Jones, I had a deflated sense of excitement. I couldn’t quite pin it down; certainly there was mention of the aromatic marketplaces, and phyllo-wrapped chicken with almonds and spicy roasted plums. But, the title should indicate there were some unpleasantries as well. Like a plethora of scorpions. And an abandoned soul in the desert feasting on fried purple locusts. *sigh* Nevertheless,I fought against the insects to bring you this new post. Please enjoy. With a side of spotted lizard if you desire (I assure you, I do not). (FYI scroll to the bottom if you just want the recipes) Continue reading

Advertisements

Blueberry Spinach and Chocolate Cake… What?

What with books upon books upon articles upon blogging upon events upon books upon trying to drum up the courage to speak up more in class, it’s no wonder I’m under a wee bit o’ stress. Also hasn’t helped that the husband has been away but he shall return in the offing, so at least that bit is solved. Now, what to do with all the other stress… I know! Sweets! Sweets and cakes and cookies and fruits and ice cream and brownies galore! Well, it surely hasn’t been a dining extravaganza the likes of Willy Wonka around here, but I have had my fair share of comfort food in the guise of delectable goodies. But since my regular running regimen isn’t quite up to snuff yet (ok regular has become thrice weekly? That’s improvement from nil eh?), I figured I ought at least try to make something semi decent without a thousand pounds of sugar and other monstrosities for my health.

And so… I googled. Naturally. And sure enough came across a recipe that was easy (and easily adaptable) and which I already had all the ingredients. Don’t be alarmed by the … well, the blues and greens. Trust me, this cake is all chocolate by the end of it. If you like richer or sweeter cakes, you might not go for this. But it turned out perfect for me, fluffy but with the right amount of density to lend a rich factor, not overly sweet but that can be adjusted to your liking. And best of all, not a scant hint of spinach whatsoever. I might try just a berry mixture or something next time, just for kicks. But for now, if you or someone you love won’t eat his or her veggies, you might as well try this. No harm. And Really, it soothed my soul. Continue reading

Superb Spinach Patties

Here’s something I did a little while ago but have decided I might share with you out of the kindness of my heart. We loved this recipe so much for its tastiness, versatility, and simplicity that I intend to use it over and over again.  I’ve already thought of a few new combinations and presentations for it actually.  This recipe came up because I was making shrimp and didn’t want to serve it alongside some basic starch—I try to make rice only once a week, and I lost a lot of weight curbing my bread intake so eating pastas or pita breads/rotis/naans all the time isn’t on my agenda either.  I don’t mind warming some up for the husband but even he wants to explore healthy alternatives occasionally.

So what about something that seems like a tostada, has a solidity that combines well with saucy shrimp, and utilizes the random ingredients in my fridge?  That sounded good to me, so I decided to dream up Spinach Patties. Continue reading

Aloo Palak

Writing has become a little difficult as of late because of a raging battle inside my head.  Not a mental struggle, or an emotional tug, or an intellectual challenge, although those run their course all the time as well.  No, I literally have been plagued with headache after headache after headache for a week or more now.  The consistency reached full momentum a few days ago, but it had been building up—and thus simple things like typing have become quite cumbersome and mind-numbing at its worst.  Nevertheless I sit here now to share a few thoughts and exploits, in a brave attempt to conquer the pain and oust it from its reign.

And with that battle momentarily won, I move on to another battle I fought full-fledged, and also emerged the victor.  My opponent: spinach.   I admit I haven’t had the most loving relationship with the leafy green; for some reason I am very particular about overpowering or rather completely evaporating the raw spinach flavor, but I always end up unsuccessful for some ridiculous reason or another.  But not this time!  Yes, I regale in even the smallest of victories, and minutest of accomplishments.  For most people, spinach, or Palak, is a straightforward dish–to those people, I stick out my tongue.  My relationship with palak just needed some extra attention and effort, that’s all. Continue reading