Thursday, December 31, 2009

My favorite desert and Tea Time snack

Asalam Alaikum,
Jelebis are my absolute favorite sweet snack. They are sort of like a funnel cake that you find at a fair, but after being fried they are immersed in a cardamom flavored sugar syrup. The outside stays crispy but the inside soaks up the syrup. Sometimes they are a light brown color and sometimes food coloring is added to make them a bright orange.

When we were still in the US it was possible to find jelebis but they weren't always very fresh(although I couldn't tell, they tasted great to me). When we got to Abu Dhabi it was a bit easier to find them but the Tariq kept saying to wait because the jelebis in Pakistan were better. The first time I had a jelebi in Pakistan I couldn't believe how delicious it was. Here in Karachi jelebis are freshly made in the afternoons just before Tea Time, so when Tariq brings them they are crispy and hot.

Here is my favorite Tea Time snack-a hot cup of chai, some poppers(another day another post, InshAllah), and of course jelebis-

Monday, December 28, 2009

Flowers on our Anniversary

Asalam Alaikum,


Yesterday was our official Third Anniversary. To celebrate we went out to dinner, then went for ice cream. On the way from dinner to the ice cream parlor Tariq stopped at one of the flower shops and bought me some gajra for my wrists, and a rose. The scent is wonderful! The white flowers in the gajra are jasmine and the red are roses. The ice cream was delicious, chocolate swirl with chocolate coating MMMMM!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mutti Ki Handi

Asalam Alaikum,
A mutti ki handi is a clay cooking pot. In our house here in Pakistan we have two, and strangely I am the only one who uses them. My family sees them as old fashioned and prefers to use a regular steel pot. I think they are very pretty. They usually have some sort of design painted around the rim, the top half of the outside and the whole inside is glazed. Here is a picture of one of our handi-


The mutti ki handi has three pieces. The main cooking pot has a round base, and comes with a stand to rest it in(bottom right) so that it doesn't roll around, and also a lid(bottom left).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

FINALLY!

Asalam Alaikum,
I have been working on the DHs socks for almost a year and a half, and just finished the first one.


Part of the problem is that it is just so plain, I can only work a couple of rows before getting bored. Also the yarn is finer than most sock yarn that I have seen, and he has really big feet.

Any bets on how long the second will take?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Some really quick FO's

Asalam Alaikum,
Here are three little projects that were finished in almost no time. The first was a hat for the DH-
He wanted a beanie that was fairly tight, with a greek key pattern. I couldn't find any pattern that fit right, so I just charted up the greek key and made up my own pattern(I am thinking of writing it up and posting it, we'll see though because I have to make another to test it)

The second was a pair of mittens for the baby-
Pattern-Mitered Mittens
Yarn-Plymouth Yarn Encore Colorspun Worsted
Time-about 3 hours total

And third was a hat for the baby to match the mittens-

Pattern-The Ganomy Hat
Yarn-Plymouth Yarn Encore Colorspun Worsted
Time-about 4 hours total

Whats Up with all the Shouting?

Asalam Alaikum,
When I first came to Pakistan, all during the day I heard men walking up and down the street shouting all sorts of things. I thought it was pretty strange at first, and every time I heard someone I would ask my husband or my SIL what the man was saying. It turned out that they are like door-to-door salesman. They walk up and down the streets shouting out what ever food/service they are selling, then you come to your door and buy what you need.
There are fruit sellers, "Kayla, Seb wala!"(Banana and apple seller)-
Vegetable sellers-"Sabzi Wala!"

"Timatar aur Khira, pandra rupe kilo!"(Tomato and cuccumber, 15 rupees a kilo)
The Milk Man, or Dudh wala, he doesn't shout, but goes only to those houses on his route and rings the bell. You give him your milk boiling pot, or a jug and he gives you a kilo(or however much you normally get) and he brings your bill at the end of the month.
There are Snack Wale-They also don't shout but usually have a tape playing, kind of like an Ice cream truck. This is a popcorn wala-

And this is a Gol Guppa(pani puri) wala-

I have learned how to make these at home, but rarely do, because it is a lot of work to make enough puri for the whole family!

This is the "Teen Dubba Wala!" -

He is like the neighborhood recycling man, he walks through the streets and you give him old newspapers, plastic bottles, old dishes, tin cans(basically anything reusable/recyclable) and he gives you a couple of Rupees by the weight of whatever you give him.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Birdwatcher?

Asalam Alaikum,
One of the things that I enjoy very much about being in Pakistan is going up to our roof and watching the birds.
I am so used to seeing American crows that are all black, but this type is mostly black except for the neck and chest which are grey(Firefox tells me I spelled that wrong, but Google says its OK)

These are some sort of Hawk that like to hang out on a nearby cell tower.


This is a bird that landed on a roof across the street from us, and I thought that by the time I turned the camera on he would be gone, but he stayed for a couple of minutes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Updating the Wips

Asalam Alaikum,
I finally made myself sit and take some picture of a couple of Wips for a little update.
First up, the Forever Socks that I am knitting for the DH-

It has been more than a year, and I haven't even finished the first sock! The excitement of Socktober helped a bit, but in the end I think that I am just going to have to accept that these are a LOOOOONG term project. I will just keep chugging away when ever I get the chance.
Then the Tasha bag from Knitty-


And finally I just cast-on a new hat that the DH has been bugging me for-

The colors are all off, I am going to try to get some decent pictures tomorrow in a natural light.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Knitters Crack

Asalam Alaikum,

Really I am so addicted to this pattern and the variations of it. For my FOURTH BSJ I decided to do the Stockinette version. Although I LOVE the original pattern, I am not the biggest fan of garter stitch and usually prefer the flat look of Stockinette.
Almost completed sweater(only missing buttons)-

Completed sweater modeled by my two year old-

Really, I just can't seem to stop my self, I already have plans to start another.

Details-
Pattern-Stockinette BSJ
Yarn-Plymouth Encore Colorspun; 1 and 1/2 Skeins(roughly half)
Needles-24 inch Addi Turbo Circular
Total Completion Time-About two weeks(Only about a week of actual knitting time)

Paan and Cheez

Asalam Alaikum,
One of the first things that I saw when I got off of the plane in Karachi the first time(I got a picture when we came back again) was this-


Personally I find Paan really really gross. I have the same reaction to chewing tobacco(some people put this in their Paan also). The Gori Wife wrote a really good post on Paan and its results here.

An alternative to Paan is Cheez. Cheez is what some people here call any type of small candy or small prepackaged snack.(This can mean hard candies, gummies, supari, etc.)
Here are some examples of Cheez-

the top(Elichi plus) and the top right(7 Star), both contain chalia(one of the things that is chewed with Paan).

Shahi Meva is my favorite kind of cheez(it has NO chalia, I don't like the stuff). It does contain-almond, dry dates,coconut,fennel, and sugar. Cheez generally costs PRs 1, and sometimes I give the DH a bunch of Rs and ask him to bring a handful of cheez for the baby, who now says "Cheez Please"

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eid Mubarak From Pakistan!

Asalam Alaikum,
In Karachi we celebrated the first day of Eid al-Adha on Saturday.

We had bought the goats a couple of weeks ago, because the DH said the longer that you wait the more expensive the goats. For the past two weeks or so this has been a pretty common sight on our street-

I took this picture from the roof of our house. When I heard the jingling from the bells and things on the goats I had to run to get the camera. These two men were herding goats down our street, heading for the main road in our little section of town. Just about everywhere we went were men with small herds of goats or sometimes cows, just standing on the side of the road so that people could buy them for the Eid. This produces a lot of related businesses that spring up next to the goat sellers-some people set up stalls selling food for your animals, and some for animal jewelry. I am totally serious about the jewelry. They have bangles that jingle for the feet and necklaces covered in beads, bells, and sometimes ruffles.

Here are some examples of goat jewelry-

Goat necklace

Jingling goat bangles

Alhamdulillah this is the third anniversary of the day I took my Shahada(In the Hijri calendar). It was on Eid al-Adha in 2006 that I went with my husband to the Masjid, Prayed my first Eid, Took my Shahada, and had my Nikah. As it is also Thanksgiving(sort of, I know I am a bit late on this one also), I just want to say that I am so thankful for -
my Faith
my husband who brought it to me
my son
my family and friends
and the opportunity to have the experiences of living here and in Abu Dhabi. Even though at times it has been very difficult, it is amazing to see the variety that life in this world holds.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Then, Then, and Now

Asalam Alaikum,
Then(two days old)

Then(one year)-


Now(two years)-




Time just flew, and before I realized it he turned two. My baby is not a baby any more. He feeds himself, goes up and down stairs, asks for things in little sentences, he can dress himself, and is mostly potty trained. He is getting so big, and he makes me so proud!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Off to Pakistan

Asalam Alaikum,
We are going for our second rip to Pakistan. As I do not know if we will have internet this time, I maybe a way from blogging for a while.

Monday, October 5, 2009

No Knitting here folks

Asalam Alaikum,
A couple of days ago, instead of knitting I was brushing up one of my lesser used hobbies. Shuttle tatting, my mom learned when I was maybe 10 or so and I picked up a bit from her. I never really used it for anything or completed anything except the odd butterfly or two. Recently I have been lurking in a tatters group on Ravelry and I was fascinated by the dragon challenge, so I pulled out my shuttles and got to work practicing so that I will be able to make one of these.

Here is a picture of my practice pieces.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chadars...Shawls

Asalam Alaikum,

In Pakistan, many women don't use the abayas that I have become so used to seeing in the U.A.E., instead they use a Chadar. It is similar to the duppatas that Pakistani women use in their homes but is larger, and usually of a heavier fabric. Some are very plain, only a very large piece of printed fabric, and some are very detailed with fancy embroidery and sometimes tiny mirrors are sewn on.

I have three chadar, and to give you an idea of the size, here are all three(folded in half over the line), with my 2 year old son in front.
The one in the middle is plain only printed fabric, the right one is a little more fancy and the motifs have mirrors. The one on the left is the fanciest of the three, with a heavy border and individual motifs both of which contain mirrors.
Close-up of border design.
Close-up of motif(left side chadar)
Close-up of motif(right hand chadar)

When we go to visit extended family or have guests over to our house, I usually take a chadar along with me. It gives me more coverage in front of non-mahrams(unrelated men) because sometimes the dupattas are just too sheer. On a funny note my SIL tells me that chadar has another meaning- bed sheet.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Al Ain Zoo

Asalam Alaikum,

We finally got the chance to see the Al Ain Zoo, and it was a lot of fun.
Saad really loved seeing all the animals. The only bad thing was that we went rather late and they closed the area with the big cats at 6:00 so we didn't get to see most of the lions/tigers.
We saw these flamingos first-

Then Saad had a nice climb on the meercat exhibit-

The meercats were very cute!

African Painted Dogs-

Cheetahs-


Ostriches-

Wildebeest-

Checking out the giraffes with daddy-


Zebra-

This lion just would not sit still and was pacing back and forth.

This little guy has nothing on the ones that we saw on our honeymoon when we went to the Alligator Farm