Eat Live & Breathe

For Lovers of Food, Travelling & Life

About

I am a British girl of Pakistani descent, now living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

I had what many would call a traditional upbringing, but ironically I don’t see anything traditional about it or me at all. My parents tried their utmost to raise their five children (of which I am the last-born) in what they believed to be the best way possible. They wanted to preserve the Pakistani culture, and protect us as much from the western society in which we lived. A brave task on their part, with nothing but the best of intentions and love. But you can never cage a bird or stop it from from singing, and in my circumstances as a girl, the bars of my cage were that much thicker.

All cultural differences and conflicts set aside, there was always one language that I, and my family spoke fluently. And that was the language of food. When it came to what we ate at home, it was nothing but the best, and lots of it! I’m talking about big old pots – bigger than the size of your cooker – brimming with Lahori classics such as Haleem, Nihari, Paveh, Korma, Biryani, to name a few.

And we wouldn’t be making so much just because we were having guests over. Oh no, they were for us. My father wanted his children to know the joys of food. But most importantly, he wanted to make sure we all ate well. He didn’t want his children to go hungry or experience any of the hardships he and his siblings often had back in Pakistan in the late 40s/early 50s.

Another dream he had was to educate his sons so they could get the best jobs, and train his daughters to become perfect housewives. And every Pakistani housewife should know how to cook… so at a very young age (I think I was eight) I was forced to find my place within the kitchen to observe my parents as they prepared lavish meals and to help out where I could. A part of me today is glad I went through this ordeal, whilst another wishes I could have played more, spent time being a child and hang out with my brothers (who were allowed to relax in the living room and watch TV of course!)

So here I am today, a self-processed damn good cook, with my own father once rating my Alloo Gosht (Lamb with Potato Curry) 11/10, which put a smile on both mine and my mother’s face. And trust me, when it came to food, my father was and is very hard to please. I spent many-a teenage days crying over a pot of Channa Masala (Chickpea Curry) with my father yelling at me over my shoulder, in his endeavor to get me to make it perfectly. 

Ironically, though I broke free from the cage and am finding my power as an independent woman, and with so many mixed negative and positive memories associated with food, cooking and dinner time, I cannot help but come back to food and call it one of my life-long passions. So here I am today experiencing life, finding out who I am, traveling and enjoying the joys of the mind, spirit and body, including mouth and the belly. 

In this blog I will share Pakistani recipes that will rock your world, whilst I discover other recipes from around the world and celebrate them here for all to see. I will reveal my experiences with food, on many different levels, to share the knowledge I have with anyone who wishes to hear it, and to learn more myself in the process.

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