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Dear Reader - An Open Letter

GF Apple Crumble

I started drafting this post in December. Then, I was really frustrated, filled with confusion and undirected antipathy. Since then, I have had time to cool down, step away to the country (read: no cell signal or other distractions) to

face my fears

and came back with a very different outlook. One that is

no longer angry but filled with optimism and promise

. I a way to go and am still tentative but I have confidence and will.

So here is my story; It is a very honest one. I feel I need to start this year by laying my cards on the table and telling you, my readers, who are very important to me, the truth. That will be my cleansing and the way to move forward without regrets. So bear with me while I spin a tale because there are some very important questions, on which,

I would like to hear from you


I am a banker at heart

. I am an engineer at heart. I am an involuntary geek at heart. I am a writer at heart. I am a foodie at heart. I am cook and baker at heart. I am an analyst at heart. I am a creator at heart. I am a doer at heart.


I started this blog in 2008 when a cataclysmic even hit my life. To be honest, even I did not recognize the depth of havoc it wrecked in me at the time. I did recognize that this blog was my crutch.

I am an engineer. I was made for numbers. I love maths. I love the logic and rationale of numbers. It is easy. I spent 27 years of my life happy in all that. Years that I planned the path to reach my goals and then achieved them. That came to a rearing halt suddenly. Or so I thought.

Ever since, I have been continually struggling get back into that world that motivated, stimulated, comforted and validated me. The one that I cherished,thrived in and absolutely loved - Banking, specifically, Investment Banking. I was masculine enough to be successful and just feminine enough to fall in love with the industry absolutely, irrevocably. I was single-mindedly focused on

my success

succeeding within my comfort zone.

Well, things happen and the financial crisis did. I began to write, cook and bake as a distraction first, a hobby later and somewhere along the way, a passion was born. For food and photography. I enjoy both to distraction. I did not choose. I relished that latent talent, which, curiously let me connect deeper to my feminine. I found that in me that was a natural caregiver, a born-again nurturer.


You see, from here on is where it gets all tangled and I got lost. The more I discovered and reveled in my feminine, I seem to have leaned away from all that was masculine in me.

As an ambitious young woman, still seeking glory and firmly infatuated by the world of banking, this particular deviation is a terrible misfortune. Where I was once coldly rational and logical to the point of being linear and binary, I was becoming more creative yet losing structure. I was recently told, that I have a lyrical way of analysing things and have a natural tendency for being innovative. Lovely words, but, what it translates to is, I am not analytical with clarity anymore!

I realised in developing this creative outlet of mine, without the counterbalance of an analytical anchor of a regular day job, I was, regrettably, becoming a rudderless ship lost in a giant ocean of distractions. My knee jerk response was to lash out at the new me and disown everything that I had become. When rationality settled in, I realised that was just plain silly. Renouncing what I had done for five years not only invalidates all my accomplishments (small and non-traditional as they may be) and joys but also is just impossible. I simply cannot pick and choose parts of me. I have to accept the whole and love it.


I turned my back here once and am paying the price for it. Between 2009 and 2011, this blog was more than my lifeline. Its trajectory was upward trending and all the metrics were healthy, in bold green. Then I got some not-so-great news on logistics. Blindly, I ran away. And, since, to be absolutely honest, I am still trying to get back what I lost in engagement with you. I am sorry to abandoning you then.

I will not do that again. I want to focus on you and what you would like to more of here. What can I do better? What am I missing?

The key to my frustration was that I am no longer unidimensional. I do not fit into preconceived boxes. I am not this OR that and so don't classify in the minds of hiring managers easily. They really don't know what to make of me. A large of part of that was,tbh, just an outward representation of my inner confusion. The question of 'Who am I?' is one I have been wrestling with for the past couple of years. A lot of work on myself has gone into this leading to several life changes. The satire in it is that I am a happier person but my happiness goes against the grain of every possible traditionality I grew up with. That is the cause of my prevarication.


It took a lot of convincing and support from close friends to realise that what I am does not strike through what I was but rather just strikes out. So, I have finally mustered up my courage (all my reflections boil down to fear of failure and disappointment) to break the mold and strike out for myself. I have always believed that I am what I make of myself. But, I don't think I had much faith in that. It was cool to pay lip service to it while I continued to plod along a route taken by millions of people before me and millions that will after.

I am not going to be another statistic. I am a woman at heart and a man in mind and am proud of it!

2014 is my year to channel both those energies to work together

. I know, there are thousands of quips for this situation. In essence, I have to

harness my hermaphroditian personality


This blog will no longer be my crutch but rather be my crux; portfolio, showcase, launch pad. I have some ideas but for them to be of value,

I need your help

Eating Apple Crumble

Dear Reader,

I would greatly appreciate it, if you could help me understand a few things. Please be brutally honest, candor is important -

1. Why do you read blogs, specifically, food blogs? What do you connect with?

2. What brings you to my blog? Is it the food, photography or writing?

3. What content would you like more of? What do you find missing that I should fill a gap?

4. Is there a topic that is difficult to find and you wish someone wrote about?

5. Do you like prefer to read stories just about the food featured rather than life observations?

6. Does the site's layout and navigation work for you? Is it easy for you browse and find what you want? If not, what would you like to see?

So there, that is my letter from the heart to you. I would definitely love to hear from you and your thoughts but if you don't want to comment, no worries at all. :)

Thank you for patiently reading my outpourings, I have a lovely treat for you in return. A

Rosemary Apple Crumble

which I think manages to capture an elegant balance of simple and flavor. It is simply all about the apple, there are no distractions, yet it has a richness in depth of flavor.

In essence, I want to be like this crumble but that is going to be a lot more work than this recipe is to make.



Rosemary Apple Crumble

{for two}


1/2 cup chopped golden apples

1/4 cup almonds, crushed

1/2 tsp, finely chopped rosemary

1 T cold butter, diced into dots + a bit for brushing the bottom of the cups

Pre-heat oven to 375F.

Brush the bottom of two individual dessert baking pots with butter. Divide the apple pieces into them. Sprinkle the almond chunks and rosemary on top. Dot the crumble with butter.

Bake for 30 minutes until the nut topping is browned.

Cool for a few minutes and serve warm topped with ice cream.

You can make this ahead and serve by reheating for 15 minutes at 350F.


Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK