There is something about Mutton; A Food Review.

 

I’m picky about my mutton & just HAVE to share that Samar Ataullah has just fed me the quintessential perfect roast mutton leg!! Utterly divine!!

Slow roasted for over five hours on a low heat to get to that perfect tenderness, Samar makes a Mechouia Style Lamb Leg with Cumin Dipping Salt. It’s roasted in garlic, cumin & rock salt flakes for what seems like forever and ends up being this stunningly soft leg with the most amazingly crusty masala. It really is gorgeous, to smell, see and taste!
It’s a Moroccan speciality and we all fell on it like beasts at the Iftar table today.
The crust is slightly salty with the garlic and roasted salt flaked cumin adding a great kick to the soft, melt in your mouth meat. It’s all so pure, simple & perfectly cooked, extremely tender, quite beautiful. No smell, no fuss, no millions of masalas killing the natural taste. Heaven.

She served it with this fantastic Persian Rice with Barberries (tiny round berries) topped with Paper Thin Sliced Fried Potatoes (which are actually apparently cooked under the rice) and a zingy, refreshing mint yoghurt.

The rice with its karori and the added crunch of the paper thin fried potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to the soft and succulent mutton and the mint yogurt the perfect, light, non obtrusive sauce to compliment the rice and meat.

It’s such a wonderful, simple, and comforting meal. The kind that has you grunting in pleasure, as you eat in silence. Cut a soft piece of well crusted meat, add the rice, barberries and crunchy potatoes to that fork, make sure your well dipped in the yoghurt and feel it all working to perfection in your mouth. The crunch of the aaloo, the soft meat, the yoghurt, the kick of the cumin. Wah! What a stunning orchestra of flavours and what a satiating, wholesome meal!

I thought it was over. Nothing could have made me happier after dinner. So the dessert was such an amazing bonus and surprise! I was ready to be condescendingly polite about it since the meal had been so amazing. But then I took one bite of her Mango Panacotta and nearly passed out in joy. Semi shocked by the thrill of what I had just eaten, I took my next bite after looking at the beautifully presented dessert carefully. It really is to good to be true. Jannat.

Samar’s Mango Panacotta is perfectly textured, soft, and Oh so light, with chunks of delicious fresh mango at the bottom of the pot, topped off with a gentle, smooth mango puree and a sprig of fresh mint. It’s thankfully not too sweet and you will close your eyes and probably moan out loud. Stunning!! Such a difficult dessert to get right, because people make the Panacotta to tight or tooooo soft or tooooo sweet, well, Samar has perfected it.

There is a simple, non pretentious artistry to Samar’s food and an understanding of respecting ingredients and flavours that I really have to respect and salute.

I can’t congratulate this young SCAFA trained Chef enough on the fabulous meal she served us today and am relieved and thrilled to have found someone who can cater a beautiful non desi meal for us now!

Samar Ataullah VOTTA discovery and treasure you are! This is just the beginning. The world is your lamb shank! Dig in and enjoy! Wooohooooo! Mubaraks to us foodies! A great mutton shank to order for the Eid table!

Samar Ata-Ullah
Samarataullah@gmail.com

(By Nadia Jamil)

 

The Empty Space (TES) Lahore

What is TES?

The Empty Space is a small holistic Imaginarium to learn, develop, evolve & grow under the tutelage of nurturing mentors who are both invested passionately in what they teach and the student they teach it to. It’s a place to let go, find kindness, laughter, love and a simple Empty Space to be whoever you want to be, in a time both children and adults are pressured to be full of stressful expectations that make one feel too busy, tired & make us forget what it felt like to sing, dance, play, speak from the heart, stretch, box, wrestle and laugh, and do it all brilliantly, just for the heck of it!

The Empty Space is yours, regardless of your age. It’s a space free of judgment. More importantly it belongs to the children and teachers of Lahore to find joy and empowerment in.

InshaAllah!

The Empty Space ( Children Art Extravaganza)

The Empty Space is holding some excellent classes in children’s Art with a brilliant Art Teacher Ann Kim. Ann and her little artists rocked the Empty Space with their excellent art work, which will be ready for presentation at the end of the duration of the course. Its an excellent opportunity to shine your young one’s artistic talents and allow them to explore their various skills in this wonderful field. It also also allows children to put their imagination on a piece of paper and share their ideas with their peer groups. An exciting and stimulating initiative by Nadia Jamil, who is always looking to cater for children’s development in social, communicable and academic abilities.

 

Dinner with Kanchas

What better way to hail in the wonderful month of Ramzan but dinner with The Kanchas.

Start off refreshing yourself with a chilled scunjbin. Not too sweet, just the perfect kick of lemon with fresh mint, utterly refreshing and delicious.

Then come an assortment of salads and appetisers, but it’s when the main courses start coming in that the floor is swept from under ones feet.

Stunningly cooked roast chickens with roasted garlic, beets and baby potatoes. Crispy on the outside and juicily succulent inside.

Palak gosht, masala kababs and pullao that I never got too because the three dishes I had I couldn’t stop having.

Ayesha Alis haath ka bana hua maghaz is one of the best you’ll ever have and it doesn’t hide the way it’s been cooked by being drowned in masalas. She leaves it chunky and full so you can feel the texture and softness of the maghaz and get a kick out of that beautifully bhuna hua masala.
The green Mirach, sliced ginger, the works. It’s a really an amazingly cooked maghaz and once you’ve had it, you want to keep having more!

Nobody and I repeat NOBODY makes payas like Ashoo Ali.
YGKH Payaas are an epiphany.
Smooth shorba with generous chunks of Payas and soft lamb shank. The shanks flavour the gravy to add a rich depth to it.
You can spoon the gravy into your mouth it’s so good.
Literally close your eyes and eat in a trance food. This is three Michelin Star level Payas happening here. I highly recommend them to everyone and anyone with taste buds. You got to have these at least once in your life.

Today I tried the Ayeshas desi ghee chicken qorma and it made me weep with joy and love. Tender, perfectly cooked desi murgh in the most fantastic masala I’ve had. Textured, rich, dark coloured perfectly pan roasted (bhuna hua) masala leaving you craving for more, when there is no room for more. The kind of masala you lick the plane clean for.

There was a wide assortment of desserts. Lemon curd meringue pie, chocolate Victoria cake and zarda.
I thought I would try them all. But then I saw the zarda. I more or less attacked it to make sure I get my share of the crisp karori!
And then I died and went to heaven.
Beautiful! Beeooootifuly cooked rice, the karori crunching with soft, generous chunks of khoya, small chams chams, roasted meva. And yet you get a satiating full spoon of the perfectly sweetened rice in every bite. Nothing is too much. Everything is perfect. I had to be removed from the table and peeled away from that zarda. And I’m not even a big zarda fan!

Fantastic company, wonderful, anth level home cooked food and a whole lotta love!

Ayesha and Mohammad Ali Butts Yeh Ghar Ka Hain dinners are a a paradise for food lovers of every age!! We are Blessed!
There’s a reason after all that I call Ashoo Ali THE Domestic Goddess of Pakistan.

Salam

Salam, such an important word! The movement towards peace from violence, in our language, our thoughts, towards ourselves and all Life/Creation, at the core of human survival, in fact, the planets survival. A movement towards respect/empathy.

I don’t think we die alone. I believe we take with us the consequences of all theses choices. We are born from the violent awesome experience of birth, attached to our mothers, we will die attached to our the energy created by the consequences of our choices.
From how we choose to respond to Creation around us, each other, to the animals & plants that keep us alive, to how we respond to violence.
Today, I’m asking you for a choice.

Please please speak out against sexual abuse of children in Pakistan. On Social media,in the papers, on TV, amongst friends, relatives, in schools, in videos. However.

Speak out against the child brothels, the beggars using kids, drugged on the pavements, against homeless children, child labour and all situations that leave children vulnerable to a life exposed to constant violence and sexual abuse.

All some of these children know is the most heinous, unimaginable violence. Many have never played, enjoyed nature, a maternal hug, have never known gentleness.Many don’t even feel any more. They are numb, with hate, with drugs and with violence.

Here in Pakistan, and I’m not saying ONLY in Pakistan, but surely they concern us Pakistanis first, seriously abused children are often abandoned to a hideous fate. Who is looking out for them? Speaking out for them? How honestly? With what agendas? What kind of men/women, parents will they turn out to be?

Our silence is a violent choice, leaving them to their currant state and worse.
Your voice can inspire more person to speak up till enough pressure is built and some real action taken.

Please Choose peace for these children, for our children, for all children. Salaamti.

Please Choose to demand from the State, the protection of EVERY such child. It is constitutional criminal negligence on their part to  allow the currant state of affairs to even exist.

You are all kind, philanthropic and do your part in making this a a better world as much as humanly possible. What can I say. Everyday I am exposed to new stories that leave me helpless. This is a shot in the dark hoping this word will spread.
These children need voices. Publicly. Today. Please.
Thank you.