My Piece for The Carton Magazine

The Carton is a wonderfully unique and eclectic independent publication exploring the culture of the Middle East through food. Each page is a beautiful portrayal of recipes and stories that weave culinary traditions of the region. To learn more about The Carton browse on to http://www.artandthensome.com.

The latest issue of The Carton covers the concept of “asrouniyeh” or afternoon food culture of different regions in the Middle East.All across the Middle East are different versions of “afternoon tea” involving unique dishes and refreshments. I was given  the opportunity to explore the Turkish experience based on a lovely summer spent with family in Antalya. Turkish afternoon tea will usually involve a savory pastry known as borek that is usually filled with spinach and cheese or meat. Alongside the borek will always be traditional Turkish tea and lokum (also known as Turkish delight). I wrote a memoir of that summer and the food that brought us all together during those afternoons. I also prepared, styled and photographed my own version of the Turkish afternoon meal inspired by my travels.

I have uploaded my piece here (I promise to upload a more readable version soon) http://www.nonisplace.com/press/ ‎

I just wanted to share a few of my favorite shots I had prepared and photographed for the piece:

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Teatime at Home

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Summer in New England, nothing like it. I am back home in Rhode Island for the summer and enjoying every moment of it. From the fresh warm summer breeze, attending to our herb garden, long walks in the forest, weekends in Newport next to the salty ocean I am just so happy to be home. Dubai in summertime can be a bit unbearable with the high temperatures, I love being outdoors so being inside the air conditioning all the time isn’t my idea of summer!

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I just love being at home, surrounded by the green forest and the birds chirping everywhere. It’s such a relaxing escape from my normally hectic city life. Every afternoon I will chat with my mom and catch up on life as she asks about five hundred questions about life in Dubai. I will also go through all her cabinets and the hutch to see which items I can steal. Somehow I always stumble upon the best blog props! We always have this chat over a nice cup of tea. I love making my own infusions with fresh herbs, it is so easy and versatile. You can make almost any concoction you would like. I popped into the herb garden to see what looked good and plucked some sage leaves, mint, and lemon thyme. Using a cheesecloth and some kitchen twine I made little sachets which I let infuse in hot water. How’s that for the easiest homemade tea ever?

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Details of Noni’s Place

I love the little details. The nooks and crannies that make a home. The cozy corners full of character, stories and memories. Every home I have lived in has had its’ own version of me. From the country home I grew up in in Rhode Island, to my little apartment on Hinman Ave in Evanston as a graduate student, to my current place in Dubai. Each place holds a fond spot in my heart. I have spent so much time in furnishing our current apartment and paying attention to all those little details. I am always so conflicted over interior styles, sometimes I love modern, sometimes ethnic, sometimes New England, rustic, contemporary, art deco, it goes on and on. I’d like to think of our home as an eclectic mix of styles that represent us best. Here are a few of my favorite details of Noni’s Place.

IMG_1365hydrangeas on my dining table

the never-ending teacup collectionthe never-ending teacup collection

fox bar detailsfox bar details

bowls galore from my travelsbowls galore

industrial kitchen shelvesindustrial kitchen shelves

le creuset le creuset

I call it the "blog drawer." It has almost ever craft supply you could think of!I call it the “blog drawer.” It has almost ever craft supply you could think of!

coffee tablecoffee table

arabesque arabesque

Afghani vases in my entryway consoleAfghani vases in my entryway console

Suzani throwsSuzani throws

the little detailsthe little details

bone in-lay bedroom side tablesbone in-lay bedroom side tables

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A Food Video

I always catch myself pretending to be on a food television show whenever I am cooking. I’d like to think there is this fictional audience watching me, even though I know there isn’t! I wanted to do a food video for awhile, but wasn’t too sure how to go about it nor knew if it was even something I would be good at. I worked with a very start-up wedding film company here in Dubai in creating this video. They had never done a food video and neither had I, so it was completely unchartered territory for all of us. The video is a look at the preparations for brunch at my place including the cooking and setting up of the table. At first I started with speaking into the camera explaining steps, but as I heard my hardcore American whiney accent I couldn’t bear the sound of my voice! I decided to not include any voice and have it be more of a silent viewing. Truth be told, it didn’t turn out how I wanted it to. The lighting was all off and unnatural. I still have no idea why we kept the kitchen lights on creating this yellow lighting which I can’t stand. I had no plans of ever posting this video, but it’s just been sitting on my desktop for a couple of months and I finally thought to myself to just bite the bullet and share it! I am hoping to try another video in the near future where I can fix all these mistakes I made in this first one and hopefully include more detailed steps and a voice over. It’s such a learning process! Click below to view my amateur, not so proud, makes me feel so silly every time I watch it food video. Enjoy.

Brunch at Noni’s Place

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Cherry Hand Pies

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Pies. They remind me of home and summers during the 4th of July and an abundance of summer fruits. Every season has its pies. Autumn is about warm cinnamon apple, while summer is about berries. I used to love going berry picking and bringing back baskets full of sweet and ripened berries. Making jams and pies was always the best way to make use of the fruit. This brings me to cherry pie. It’s tart, yet sweet and has a comforting feel that I will always associate with New England summers. I had picked up a large bag of cherries at the grocery store the other day to snack on, but over time I was itching to do something with them. Hence the cherry pie. I love making hand pies because they are a little less daunting then making a whole pie, they always look just a bit more rustic and cute! Cherries develop a wonderful texture when made into pie filling. The sourness works with the sugar and lemon creating a tangy, rich and almost creamy texture.

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Recipe (makes 4 hand pies)

1 cup of cherries, pitted and sliced

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbs lemon juice

1 tbs cornstarch

pinch of salt

your favorite pie crust recipe (I use this)

egg wash

demerara sugar for sprinkling

confectioners sugar for finishing

Preheat the oven to 400F/204C. Combine the cherries, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt together. Set aside.

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Roll out the pie dough until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Using a knife, pastry cutter or pasta cutter make one large neat square.

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Next cut the square into 8 even rectangles. Place 4 of the rectangles on a lined baking tray and spoon the cherry filling onto them.

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Place the remaining rectangles on top of the 4 with the filling. Brush the 4 sides with egg wash and use a fork to seal and crimp the edges. Brush egg wash on top of the hand pies and cut a slit to help with trapped air.

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Sprinkle the demerara sugar on top.

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Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving and finish with a dusting of confectioners sugar.

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