Of Black Lipstick , 1997 and Creamy Cucumber Sandwiches.

Posted on April 1, 2012


One day in 1997 , I made a friend .We went to college together back in my hometown , Karachi. We were 17 and thought black lipstick and ouiji boards were cool ,we were tripping on the likes of Celine Dion and Aerosmith and prank calling boys on their home landlines hoping against hope that ” the one ” would pick up. Back in the days when that sort of stalker behaviour was considered normal , text message stalking was unheard of and life was simple.

I don’t quite remember the circumstances in which we became friends , ( perhaps she does ? ) but what I do remember clearly is her cheerful , infectious personality . Her bubbly banter , candid and honest , her heart warming smile ( recent Skype interactions suggest nothing has changed ) . I remember shopping sprees at the local cloth market and stuffing ourselves with roadside pani puri ( crispy hollow deep fried papadum like balls served with tamarind and spiced water ) generously garnished with potatoes , onions and coriander. She remembers chutney sandwiches I made in college (to this day thinking they were cucumber ). And I remember saying to her once , these were ” Zindagi ki choti choti khushiyaan” , meaning Life’s little pleasures , clearly I was under the great influence of dramaticĀ Bollywood back in those days.

Post college , she moved overseas and eventually, so did I. Connections were lost and life moved on. Enter Mark Zuckerberg and by the sheer forces of Facebook , we are back in touch. There is something to be said about teenage friendships, you can pick up where you left off like the years in between had never happened. No matter what path you have traversed in life , no matter what your circumstances , there is this unspoken pact of love, comfort and understanding that you will only find with a childhood friend.I share that pact with her. We are geographically far removed and yet in our little ways , part of each other’s lives, thankyou social media this would never be possible without you. There is the wish that perhaps some day , we may be able to share life’s little pleasures again but until then , she claims she will be happy with my recipe for Cucumber Sandwiches , well my darling friend , this one’s for you !

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Cucumber Sandwiches

Serves 4

Note : Requires 4-6 hours refrigeration time before final preparation

You will need :

  • 1 loaf of sliced white or wholemeal bread ( lightly thawed )
  • 1 250 grams tub of cream cheese (I prefer light)
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp of mixed salad herbs
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 lebanese cucumbers , peeled and thinly sliced

Here’s how :

  • Combine all the listed ingredients apart from the bread and cucumber slices. You should have a paste like consistency , if the mixture seems too thick , try adding some more lemon juice and whipping with a fork.
  • Once well combined , refrigerate mixture for 4-6 hours or overnight if preparing a day earlier.

To assemble ; prepare atleast an hour before serving

  • Lightly thaw the bread but do not defrost entirely as frozen bread cuts well.
  • Cut the sides of the bread for a daintier , tea party look or leave them on if you are crunched for time.
  • Generously spread the cream cheese and herb paste on either side of the bread .
  • Place a layer of thinly sliced cucumbers , top with the second slice and cut into 4 triangles or even 3 rectangles for that ribbon sandwich look.
  • Garnish with slices of cucumbers or carrot shreds.
  • Cover with a dampened tea towel or paper towel to prevent the sandwiches from drying out .

Let the compliments pour in !

Nothing more gratifying than a recipe that people fall in love with , it makes all the effort worth it . The coriander adds a fantastic asian zing , these beautifully creamy cucumber sandwiches rate very high on the fall in love radar , perfectly paired with a fruit salad on a warm summer’s day , perhaps a pitcher of home-made lemonade .Might be time to plan a tea party with the girls and renew some of life’s little pleasures :)

Posted in: Food, Musings