Pandora`s Box
I have a deep love for pasta! As in I could eat it every day with a different sauce, and it would NEVER grow old. From hearty lasagna to delicate pasta salad, the possibilities are endless. Pasta is usually the one food that everyone can agree on. I have yet to come across anyone who dislikes pasta with a passion. It's so easy to make, and comes in a variety of shapes with very interesting names. 
When making pasta dishes, be sure to choose a pasta shape and sauce that complement each other. Thin, delicate pastas like angel hair or thin spaghetti, should be served with light, thin sauces. Thicker pasta shapes, like fettuccine, work well with heavier sauces. Pasta shapes with holes or ridges, are perfect for chunkier sauces. It's hard to believe that not so long ago, pasta was considered an exotic delicacy and was not as easily available as it is now. 
In fact, in 1957, the BBC played a great April's fool hoax on the entire nation by broadcasting a 3 minute documentary on how spaghetti grew on trees. The report was made more believable through it's voice over by a well respected broadcaster Richard Dimbleby.

Hundreds of people phoned the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this query the BBC diplomatically replied, Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.   You can watch the video HERE
Pasta has also been my savior when I was little. I was allowed to eat mac n cheese whenever landi was cooked in our house.
I remember the long snowy winters of Quetta valley. These are all happy memories, laced with long hot baths and bed time stories, while watching the snow fall softly outside the window.
 Winters also meant hearty meat stews like aab goosht ,and a never ending supply of warming delicious soups. One word which sent shivers down my spine as a child in wintertime was  "landi". I loathed it with all my heart, still do.
Landi is dried mutton meat, and a delicacy of the area. Commonly prepared during wintertime, sheep are specially fattened for this purpose.The meat is cleaned and then rubbed in with salt and a mixture of spices, which is then hung for a month or so in fresh air. 
I remember the days when it was cooked. I couldn't bear to be inside the house and spent the entire morning outside building an army of snowmen. The stench aroma wafted all through the house and probably the entire neighborhood.
The meat was left to boil on a low flame for 5 to 6 hours, and then served in a pilaf. When it was time to serve, I was made to sit on the table with everyone else. Mother's stare was enough to make me eat some of the rice. She never gave up, and always said, " At least make an effort to like it, it's a delicacy". 
How do you make an effort to like something that sometimes came in your nightmares, only now it had little legs, and chased you down the street. " I'm trying ammi" I never gave up too, and made a huge display of eating one rice at a time while kicking the chair constantly underneath, until I was excused to go to my room where I knew, a plate full of gooey mac n cheese awaited with cartoons. 
Even today, when I'm stressed, I really crave the comfort that only a bowl of mac n cheese can provide. Hmmm... I wont be surprised someday, if I lie down on a couch at some shrink's office, he will be able to trace all my demons and link it all back to.... horror...Landi!! 

I know a lot of people LOVE landi and would disagree with me. I have had arguments with my family over this for hours yes hours... This is just how seriously we take our landi.
All I have to say is... Thank God for Mac n Cheese :)
Here is my recipe for spaghetti with marinara sauce. I'm not sure if it's authentic, but it sure is easy to make when you want to prepare something in a hurry.
Lazy Day Spaghetti:
Roughly chop 5 or 6 tomatoes.
 In a small pan, heat some olive oil and saute a small chopped onion until translucent but not brown.
 Add crushed garlic according to taste. I love garlic, so I use 4 to 5 cloves. Saute it with the onions for a minute or so. Add in your chopped tomatoes, seeds and all (it's a lazy day sauce remember?) also add in half a tsp of dried oregano and basil. Leave to cook, covered, on a low flame for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile boil your spaghetti according to the directions on the box and drain.
In your simmering sauce, add a pinch of sugar, salt, pepper according to taste, and fresh basil if you have it. You can mash the sauce roughly if you like a chunky sauce or blitz it, if you want a smoother consistency. Serve over spaghetti with a drizzling of extra virgin olive oil,a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, and red chili flakes if you want a little kick.
Made this just last night...

Nothing goes better with spaghetti than bruschetta.
Slice some Italian bread or any thick crusted bread for that matter in a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Rub all the slices with a clove of garlic on one side. Pour some olive oil in a griddle pan, and toast your sliced bread . In a small bowl combine chopped tomatoes (seeds removed) basil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil. Plate your bread and top with your tomato mixture and serve. The toppings you can make for bruschetta are endless.

As a famous poet once said...
Spaghetti! Spaghetti!
You’re wonderful stuff,
I love you, spaghetti,
I can’t get enough.
You’re covered with sauce
And you’re sprinkled with cheese,
Spaghetti! Spaghetti!
Oh, give me some please.
- Jack Prelutsky

Image source: Blogger's own and google images.
Pandora`s Box
It was a near perfect afternoon. It rained the entire day. Not a depressing heavy downpour, but tiny, glistening drops, dancing in the wind. The air had that "rain" scent to it. Four of us friends got together after a long time to catch up and have lunch at a nice, cozy little restaurant called KC (short for kitchen cuisine) Grill.

I love coming here. You walk up a flight of wooden steps...

It was unusually deserted, that meant  having the entire place to ourselves.

And if you choose to sit outside, it's almost like being in a tree house....
Isn't the smell of freshly baked bread the best in the world? Call me a glutton, but the best part of dining out for me is that delicious, crusty warm bread accompanied by soft butter. 
More importantly, it seems we’re all nicer people when a bread basket is on the table. Carefully eating our share, and ALWAYS leaving the last piece for someone else.
We shared the warm breadbasket of tiny little melt in your mouth croissants and a variety of breads. Tutting at pats of butter but spreading it generously anyway amidst giggles. 

Another thing designed to be shared is of course, Fondue.
 We'd never tried it before at this place, but still, the 3 of us decided to risk it except "B" that is."B" went with an old staple that she always orders around here.
 I'm sure everyone has a "B" in their life. "B" is the kind of girl who likes things familiar. Has always been scared of  trying new things. She has the same hairstyle as long as I can remember. Always wears the same colors, and is the last one to experiment with anything new. The only time she didn't listen to her head was when she fell in love. The guy broke up with her last week. She is still not over him.
 Ok! back to the fondue.
We were expecting something like this
All hot meltey gooey cheese to dribble and share....
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But were served this instead....
 with cheese sauce on the side,
 And no fondue forks. No FORKS!!
No fondue dish, no little burning flame at the bottom.... these guys have sucked the joy right out of sharing a fondue *grumble grumble*
It still tasted good though.

"B" on the other hand, really enjoyed her sensible order of chicken with cashew nuts, which of course she haaad to share with the rest of us :)

After lunch we wandered down to the little bakery to take home some dessert.

In allegiance to "B", we decided to get this big fat Valentine's day cake, and pledged to slit the heart into tiny little pieces when we get home.
Time to grab some chick flicks and head home...

We kicked off our rain-drenched boots and entered my friend S’s home through the side entrance. No one was home and it was freezing cold. We lit up the fire toasting our hands, while"S" got us some plates and a STEAK knife.We kicked back on the floor and feasted on Rock Hudson, and of course...the sinful cake.
 A perfect end to a nearly perfect day.
I just adore Audrey Tautou...

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson