IF YOUR FACE IS UGLY, YOU SHOULD LEARN TO SING.
After months, nay, years on my “want to read” list, I finally got hold of a copy of Minaret by Leila Aboulela. I am intrigued by the new genre of fiction that seems to have sprung up, all rreflecting young Muslim, Sikh, or Hindu lives in modern Britain; and this, Aboulela’s 2nd novel,
falls squarely into that category.
Minaret is the story of Najwa, twin daughter of a senior government official in
Without any warning signs to the politically naïve Najwa, there is a coup d’etat in Sudan; and she, her twin brother Omar, and their mother flee the country and end up in London. Her father is tried and then executed by the new regime.
This complex book has a delicate, almost dreamlike quality and, and Najwa’s yearning for a sense of who she is follows a journey from prosperity and pride to humility and eventually a sense of peace.
Oh hell. I’ve been tagged. And after months of avoiding such things. The evil tagger is aberdeenquinie whose blog Chez Teuchter is always worth reading. What I have to do now is list 8 random facts about myself that you may not know. How boring is that??
Well, sez she grumpily, I better get it over with:
1. I don’t like avocado pears – this dislike sprang from being served them mashed up between two slices of commercial white bread as sandwiches at boarding school. Yuck.
2. I broke my right ankle twice in the past four years – don’t ask, it was a long and sorry story, but I managed not to spill a drop of my G&T the first time, and the second time I drove home very, very slowly and only using the handbrake, letting out a scream every time I had to put my foot down. The orthopaedic surgeon was not amused.
3. I have the same colour and style of hair as my Cairn terrier, ie dirty blonde; only mine is from a bottle.
4. My husband is from
5. I love Country & Western music, the cheesier the better (my family call it Cry & Die music).
6. I hate emptying the dishwasher – I don’t mind stacking it though.
8. I have had a driving license for nearly 40 years, and until I did 48mph on a 40mph stretch of the A40 which is 3 lanes wide, I’d never had any points on it; now I have 3, boo hoo. Bloody speed cameras.
It's May; like the swallows, the first visitors from Southern Africa appear (in our spare bedroom). In this case it is one who shall henceforth be known as BFCT (my Best Friend in Cape Town) and who I am absolutely thrilled to see. Today we went to the Chelsea Flower Show, and tomorrow we will sit around doing a great deal of chatting and drinking white wine spritzers. To ensure we are not completely legless, I am getting up early to make something that can be dipped into whilst we put the world to rights. It is from somewhere in the Middle East,(I believe at least 3 countries lay claim to it) and is utterly delicious. My recipe comes from a small book of recipes by Claudia Roden the famous writer on Middle Eastern cooking; the book is one of a series produced for Sainsbury's in the 1980s. What can I say, this recipe is foolproof. Give it a go, you won't regret it!
1 large aubergine
Juice of 2 lemons
3 Tablespns tahini
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 Tablespns cold water
A few sprigs of parsley, chopped finely, to garnish.
Roast the aubergine under the grill, turning it a few times until the skin is black and blistered and the flesh feels very soft when you press it. Peel the aubergine, and using your hands (which you have washed!!) squeeze out the juice. Place the flesh in a blender or food processor with the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt to taste and the 2 tablespns of water and purée until smooth.
Put the Baba Ghanoush into a small, shallow dish and sprinkle with the parsley.
Serve with hot pitta bread or vegetable crudités.