Recently, I attended an Iftar party at a luxury hotel in Baghdad. After I finished the food, I found a nice, sweet dessert there, called Om Ali — a simple concoction: bread and pastry are combined with raisins, pistachios, coconut and almonds, then drenched in sweetened milk. It’s not the story of a royal chef preparing an innovative dish at the behest of a discerning king, but of a murder and a rather cruel one!
Roasting small chunks of meat is a process dating back to antiquity. Evidence of hominin use of fire and cooking in the Middle East dates back as far as 790,000 years. In the end, it doesn’t really matter who invented kebab. What matters is that fire has touched meat, that the meat is good, and the company is even better.
In 1227 CE, the thirty-seventh Abbasid Caliph al-Mustansir Billah (reigned 1226-1242 CE) commissioned the construction of Al-Mustansiriyya madrasa in the capital city of Baghdad named in his honour. Construction lasted for six years and the school opened in 1234 CE. It was one of the oldest madrasas in the world. Al-Mustansiriyah Madrassa stands as a testament to Iraq’s resilience and endurance over the centuries and demonstrates that barbarism and terrorism of any kind, at any period, cannot prevail over culture and knowledge.
Winged genie is the conventional term for a recurring motif in the iconography of Assyrian sculpture. Winged genii are usually bearded male figures sporting birds’ wings. The genie symbolised both protection and fertility — its role was to safeguard and replenish the ancient kingdom of Assyria.
Truffles have gained widespread attention in the culinary world lately, becoming a favourite among chefs and food-lovers alike. Not to be confused with the chocolate confectionery of the same name, truffles are a type of fungus that grows near the roots of certain trees.
Archaeologists have made a first of its kind discovery of a rare couple’s grave — the skeletal remains of a young man and woman, interred with his face turned towards her — has been excavated at the Harappan settlement at Rakhigarhi in Haryana, about 150km from Delhi. Rakhigarhi is the site of a pre-Indus Valley Civilisation settlement going back to about 6500 BCE.
The Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina, known as Se Cathedral, is the cathedral of the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and the seat of the Patriarch of the East Indies. It is located in Old Goa, India. The word Sé is Portuguese for See. An episcopal see is, in the usual meaning of the phrase, the area of a bishop’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
Among the most popular forts in the country, Aguada Fort in Goa is also a lighthouse. The 13-metre high Portuguese lighthouse, which stands in the middle of Fort Aguada, was built in 1864.