Friday, March 11

Food Discovery Friday – Pink Grapefruit!

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All right so I have to concede. I am finding it incredibly exciting discovering the new and exotic variety of produce in Cambridge. It has to be one of the highlights in the initial phase of expat life. I can say with certainty, because I am enjoying it to the fullest!  

I love roaming around supermarkets and farmer’s markets like an Alice in wonderland. These places hold endless surprises for me, and I can happily spend hours browsing through fruit and vegetables and herbs and greens. It is hard to believe how much there is to see, and eat!
I have to say it’s a pleasant surprise for me, I did not expect to find anything exotic in the food department here. Unlike countries such as Italy or France, Britain is not exactly known for its cuisine. However, being a former colonial power, it has always been a melting pot of culture and food. Foodstuffs from all it’s colonies reached Britain’s shores and were readily adopted by the people - tea from China, spices and herbs from India and bananas from Bermuda which arrived as late as 1633. The country today is home to diverse ethnic groups and the huge variety of produce available, is a reflection of this multi-cultural society.

Also being a small island country it’s impossible to grow everything here so most of the food is imported. The supermarket shelves are stacked full of thousands of different ingredients from all corners of the world and I am having a wonderful time discovering all of them. One Friday at a time!

Each Friday I will write about one ingredient that is completely new to me – something I never ate, cooked with, or even saw before in my life. As far as possible I will try to keep it seasonal.

The Discovery for this Friday is a Pink Grapefruit! A fruit, which looks like an orange from outside, but inside, it conceals the most loveliest surprise - deep pink colored flesh. A color that will make you gasp – it is so gorgeous! I find myself cutting it open eagerly just to look at the color inside. Almost like opening a specially wrapped gift.
But for all it’s beauty the taste is a bit of a letdown, you would expect such a richly colored fruit to be extremely sweet, but it’s usually quite sour and takes some getting used to. The sourness does go away with cooking though, so many consider it the perfect fruit for baking. I decided to give that a go today morning. It was beautiful and sunny outside, after almost a week and I just had to match that with an equally bright breakfast. Yes, you can have it for breakfast on a weekday! It's one of the quickest breakfast recipes.I Promise.
The recipe is adapted from Sarai’s recipe for baked Grapefruit on her blog Sweet Sassafras that I really enjoy reading. I cut the Grapefruit in half, sprinkled some brown sugar, dusted a little cinnamon, chopped a few walnuts over the flesh and popped it into the oven. It was beautiful when it came out of the oven, better than I imagined. The earthy cinnamon tones add depth to the grapefruit while the brown sugar lightens the sourness. All the flavors complement each other perfectly. I am hooked is all I can say. In addition, It’s a gluten-free-feel-good start to the day, what can be more perfect than that?

Like a piece of the Sun on my plate.

Baked Spiced Grapefruit (Adapted from Sarai's recipe on Sweet Sassafras)


1 Grapefruit
½ tsp brown sugar
Sprinkle of Cinnamon powder
1 Walnut – chopped into small pieces


Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. Cut the Grapefruit in half then cut around each section so that it will be easier to scoop out later. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped walnuts. Put it on the top shelf in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday, March 9

A spring morning at the Orchard in Grantchester

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Friday: It’s a cold rainy evening and we are having dinner with some friends. Recenty back from a backpacking trip across China they are full of stories. As the waiter starts serving green tea, John tells us about tea gardens in China. Sitting for hours in a garden sipping tea, as your cup is topped with hot water. He considers these gardens the epitome of civilization. Poles apart from the drink and dash culture in the western coffee shops. There people have the sense to sit and reflect, laugh and talk with each other. You won’t find such a thing here, he says. Here people only like to show off the Starbucks logo on their coffee cup, who is interested in actual conversation.
Well actually we have a tea garden in Cambridge too, Jamie says – The Orchard at Grantchester! Everybody laughs, but I am intrigued. Let’s go to the Orchard I say to H as we drive home. No, let’s wait for summer! It is much more beautiful then, he replies.
Sunday: It is the second last day of February and the chill is refusing to go away. Little daffodils are valiantly trying to stand up straighter against the cold wind. Then one morning the sun decides to listen to the daffodils, and shine! In the morning we wake up earlier than usual, rubbing our sleep filled eyes in surprise. The entire room is awash with sunlight – bright, sharp and cheerful.
It is simply not a day for breakfast in bed! H and I scamper into our wellies and out of the house. It is a nice day to go to the Orchard he says, as we get on our bikes. I just raise my head to the sun and smile. Grantchester has decided to call me to itself!
So off we go, cycling along the river and across the meadows. I cannot honestly say that it was at its most beautiful. Two days of continuous rain had made the path muddy and slippery. The fields looked worn and tired but there were signs of spring everywhere - swatches of purple and orange daffodils and flashes of forsythia brightened the way for us.
The orchard itself is ideally located at the end of the cycle track, providing a perfect spot to rest after cycling all the way to Grantchester. And what a grand resting point it is! They have a collection of mouthwatering pastries, cakes and the famous scones baked fresh every day and served with an assortment of jams or honey. I decided to sample a fruit scone with Morello cherry jam.
Then of course there is tea, for which the orchard is famous in the first place. Taking tea is an old tradition at the orchard, started in 1897 when a group of Cambridge students made the excursion to Grantchester and asked Mrs. Stevenson to serve them tea under the blossoming apple trees. Unknowingly on that spring morning, they had started a great Cambridge tradition. It might have looked exactly like the picture below.
But the actual credit of making the orchard famous has to go the poet Rupert Brooke. He took up lodging at the Orchard House in 1909, wanting to escape his hectic social life in Cambridge. However, Brooke was so good-looking and popular that he attracted a regular stream of visitors. Adding further appeal to the orchard was its mention in his poemThe Old Vicarage, Grantchester which he wrote in a homesick mood in Berlin while remembering his idyllic time in Grantchester.

Tuesday, March 1

Contents: One Brown Memsahib

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Why do I call myself a Brown Memsahib?
I can struggle for ages and never be able to find the perfect words to explain my state of mind. Or I can just show you one image and you will know exactly how I feel. Like that in a split second!

Looking at photographer Gavin Fernandes’ work is as if somebody took a photograph inside my mind. Born in Kenya and originating from Goa in India, Gavin studied graphic design and photography in London and so the mixing of cultures is clearly visible in his work, specially his series – the Empire Line.
In Empire Line Gavin explores the powerful language of clothes and their ability to make political and cultural statements. He uses clothing to emphasize the conflict between class and caste in 19th century India ruled by the British Raj. And in the process successfully weaves the universal story of colonization into his images.
The images show women dressed in hybrid outfits with elements borrowed from both Victorian and native Indian styles. Conflict between the two sides is stark, with one style fighting to dominate the other. However, at another level, the styles blend and bleed into each other and you start looking beyond the clothing, and see the woman.

For more images from the collection visit
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