Friday, February 09, 2007

IF MOSES SUPPOSES HIS TOESES ARE ROSES, then Moses supposes erroneously;

For nobody's toeses are posies of roses, as Moses supposes his toeses to be.*
Well, I don't know about poor old Moses, but MY toeses are roses - I've just had a pedicure!

*(old English tongue twister)


The Curry Mile is a first novel by Zahid Hussain. For non UK readers of this blog, I should explain that Wilmslow Road in Rusholme, a suburb of Manchester, has more Asian restaurants than anywhere else in Britain, and is known as the Curry Mile . All the time I was reading this I kept wanting to rush out to the nearest ‘Indian’ restaurant and order a lamb pasanda, tarka dall, and sag paneer, together with a peshwari naan, and some somosas on the side.

Hussain has written a behind-the-scenes view of the cut-throat competition between the restaurant owners in this famous street, and a family story of the conflicting demands faced by the children of migrant parents.

The two main characters are Ajmal Butt, known as ‘The Curry King’, the aging head of a successful restaurant business that is going through hard times, and his twenty-something daughter Sorayah who has become estranged from her family as a result of moving to London and having a relationship with a young man. When she returns to Manchester for the wedding of her best friend Yasmeen, daughter of her father’s arch rival, her father tries to bully her into coming back and working for him but she insists on going her own way. Ajmal has been locked in a feud with another local Muslim restauranter for many years, and both he and his enemy expect their offspring to continue the feud into the next generation, as would have been done in Pakistan.

Hussain dishes up a tale of contemporary British Asian life that is just as spicy as the dishes served in an Indian restaurant, and I found it entertaining and informative – I feel sure that there is a sequel on the way, and that we haven’t heard the last of Sorayah Butt.

I do have one small niggle about the book. In what I am sure is a very accurate representation of the way many British Asians speak, Hussain has included many Pakistani, Urdu, and Arabic words, and a glossary would have been very useful. Publishers take note!


I am just about due for a check up at my dentist, and I hope to goodness I am not faced with these. When reading Charon QC's blog today, I discovered that Colgate have had loads of these face masks printed and are supplying dentists with them. Are they mad? the last thing I want when my mouth is being approached by a man wielding an electric drill is that he be sporting bloody silly cartoon grin.


Amongst the jars of pickles, pesto, peppadews and anchovies in the fridge I found a jar of mincemeat left over from Christmas mince pies- ok, I realise I wouldn't win the housewife of the year award for leaving it there for so long, but what the heck. I used it up in this recipe which I usually make with dates or dried apricots. Everybody liked them, and they vanished in a flash.


100g wholemeal flour
125g plain flour
100g porridge oats
75g brown sugar
150g butter, melted

350g Dates or dried apricots or figs, chopped fairly small
90ml water
Grated rind of ½ lemon
OR: ¾ jar of mincemeat

Two tablespoons icing sugar

Grease and line a baking tin (27cms x 18cms) with baking paper.

Pre-heat oven to 200°C

Prepare the filling, by placing the chopped dried fruit, water and lemon rind into a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring occasionally until the mixture is soft. If using mincemeat you don’t have to do anything to it.

Combine the other ingredients and mix well together. Sprinkle half this mixture into the tin, spread out and press down well. Spread the dried fruit mix or mincemeat over the base, then sprinkle the remaining oat mix evenly over the filling and press down firmly.

Bake in the oven at 200°C for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Leave to cool in the tin, when cool sift a little icing sugar over the top, turn out from the tin and cut into slices.

Makes 16 slices


Reluctant Nomad said...

Those masks are completely ridiculous! A dentist needs to look kindly and reassuring, not as if he/she is a wannabe street-performer.

Jag said...

Saag, daal, pasanda and naan; now that's a feast! Making me hungry now. :-)

violetforthemoment said...

Christ. Those masks make me glad I haven't been to the dentist since 1998. Those aren't wisdom teeth, I tell myself, the pain will go away in a few days...

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