"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Posts tagged “Cooking

We Need To Talk About Dalila…


While I am happy a hen has adopted us,
Dalila is positively delighted.

But is her joy maternal or culinary…

Picture shows Dalila, my amazing cook, walking through the house with our hen

The Cook, The Trip, His Friend and Their Driver

We were off to Tsomoriri, a high-altitude lake 15,000 ft above sea level, and over 200 kilometres from Leh.
The problem was finding somewhere to stay.
At this time of year nowhere is open:
the tourist season starts when the climate has improved.

Our tour organisers rose to the challenge by providing us with a cook,
and the hope he might find a local family willing to play host.

So, after an almost indecently early breakfast, we set out once more across the bleak Himalayan landscape,
stopping for hot tea, hot-sulphurous springs and a hot lunch.


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Broadway Calls Again!


The lure of Broadway is undeniable.

This time, for something called a “chappati cutting board”.

Although not having a clue what it is, I am certainly not going to argue if Dalila says we need one!

The shop in Broadway is filled to capacity with various kitchen utensils including, it seems, an appropriate chappati cutting board.

We make our purchase and then,

Passing all manner of imponderable wares,

Head back to our taxi.


Just a few hours later Anu, my trusty houseboy, is using the new chappati cutting board to prepare our supper.


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Ginger Snaps

A Trip To Fort Cochin’s Ginger Market

Yesterday we visited Fort Cochin’s ginger market, tucked away in the back-streets of Mattancherry .

Entering through an arched alleyway,

You arrive in the large open courtyard, which is given over to thousands of drying ginger roots.

As the sun moves across the sky, and the shadows from adjacent buildings shift around the yard, the colours of the ginger fades from browns to greys.

In the warehouses which surround the courtyard, women shake the now-dry ginger and sieve it,

So that the rooms are filled with ginger dust, which tickles your throat and produces a momentary, dry cough.

Surprisingly, the smell of ginger is not overpowering but subtle.

The ginger is then sacked and weighed, ready for dispatch

To the domestic and international markets.


“Money cant buy you love, but it can get you some really good chocolate ginger biscuits.”   Dylan Moran


History of Ginger*

Ginger has a long history. It was grown originally in Asia probably about 5000 years ago, where it was used in food and also in medicine. In China, Shang dynasty rulers from before the 8th century BC had identified Sichuan as the site where the finest ginger was grown and Marco Polo on his travels reported seeing vast plantations of it growing in Cathay, as he called it.

By the first century AD it had been brought to the Mediterranean by traders and by the Middle Ages, ginger was highly valued, one pound of ginger buying a live sheep. In the sixteenth century, Henry VIII was recommending its use as a remedy for the plague while his daughter, Queen Elizabeth, is credited with the invention of the gingerbread man. The Spaniards took ginger with them to Mexico and the West Indies where it flourished, especially in Jamaica. In the nineteenth century, ginger ale was first made by adding powdered ginger to beer and stirring the mixture with a hot poker.

* Reproduced from Ann Burnett’s article on Ginger on Suite101.com