PRESS: The Straits Times

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This Morning’s Downtown Line Tragedy

This article was written and originally posted by Adrianna Tan of


It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. This morning, we awoke to tragic news that two workers had died while building the Downtown Line in Bugis. They were buried alive by cement while pouring wet concrete into a mould. The scaffolding collapsed. They were stuck in the cement and the rescuers had some difficulty prying their bodies out. Investigations are now saying that the wet concrete was almost as heavy as a swimming pool. (link) Whatever the outcome, and whatever its impact on our labour practices will be, there is simply no other way to put this: these guys came here to build our nation, often at great risk to their lives.

Singapore is what it is today because of the migrant workers that have built our structures, poured our wet cement while we were sleeping, dug and laid our roads. It was true when it was Samsui women doing that, and it is even more true now that we have migrant workers from China, Mongolia, India, Bangladesh and other countries coming here in droves in search of a better life, offering their services to us at minimal cost and maximum risk.

As Miyagi said, these guys are doing our national service.

A bunch of us spent all of this afternoon trying to figure out how we can do our part to help. We spoke with various government ministries, who are doing what they can on their part, and to organizations. The organization Transient Workers Count Too, which promotes equitable treatment for migrant workers in Singapore, stepped in. They’ve offered to take in donations for the victims. I must stress that as a non-profit registered under the Societies Act with experience in managing and disbursing donations, they have the structures and practices in place that Miyagi, mrbrown and I do not have. If you have queries about the accounting practices and methods of fund disbursement, feel free to reach out.

In the meantime, what we would like to do is to create an avenue for those of you who want to help to do so. The money goes towards the families of the two deceased workers, as well as to the injured workers who are unable to work while they recover.

This is how you can donate:


Make a crossed cheque payable to: ‘Tran­sient Work­ers Count Too’, write your name and “Bugis MRT Acci­dent” at the back of the cheque and mail it to: 5001 Beach Road, #06–27 Golden Mile Com­plex, Sin­ga­pore 199588.

Send an email to with your name, cheque no., amount and “Bugis MRT Acci­dent”, so that the dona­tion can be prop­erly recorded and a receipt sent to you.


You can donate using your credit card here. A small com­mis­sion is charged by this dona­tion col­lec­tion agency. Under the “Spe­cial Occa­sion / Per­son” field, type “Bugis MRT Accident”.


You can use your Pay­pal account or credit card to donate here. How­ever, a com­mis­sion of 4% or so is charged on every dona­tion. There is no field for you to input the pur­pose of dona­tion, so it is advis­able to drop twc2 an email after you’ve donated by this method.

Whatever small amount you can offer goes a long way.

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The July Commune

Greeting friends!

The July commune has been confirmed. Come join us for a fun evening of home-cooked Bengali cuisine on the night of July 7th, Saturday. You know the rules – there are 18 places available, come solo or come with friends, your choice. Whatever you do, you will leave with new friends 🙂

The menu will be confirmed in the next 10 days – please note, that it will be a set menu, and it will not be vegetarian-friendly. Do of course feel free to send me requests, and I’ll see what I can do. No promises though! More details will be sent once your booking is completed.

You can book your tickets here:

Looking forward to seeing you! For those of you who like to plan, I will also be opening up the August date soon, most likely August 26th, Sunday.


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Supper Club Hunting: Ms. Marmite’s The Underground Restaurant

In January this year, I finally made it to Ms. Marmite’s The Underground Restaurant. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the world of supper clubs, Ms Marmite is a legend. She is a pioneer of supper clubs in the UK, has published her own recipe collection “Supper Club” (in which Khana Commune is listed, yay!) and is probably one of the most successful supper club hosts in the world. She runs beautifully crafted, creative themed dinners, she hosts Underground Markets in her home, I think JK Rowling tried to sue her… all marks of a genius. And when I started my own supper club, I emailed her, and she sent me lots of helpful advice; she is super encouraging of others opening up their own home kitchens and is basically an all around really sweet lady.

So. Going to her place has been a major goal of mine. But despite twice yearly visits to the UK it’s taken me little over a year to pin down a booking at one of her events and ….whaddya know, I made it for the fantabulously themed DOLLY PARTON night!

The food served was all in theme with Dolly Parton. Everything was a recipe from down south in the US of A. These were deep fried pickles with hot sauce.

Cornbread served with amazing maple syrup butter.

baked potatoes with cottage cheese

collard greens & brokeback beans

this was one of my favourites! Maple Syrup Corn
on the cob

Beautiful blackened catfish. So succulent.

Dessert: cherry pie

Our table. It was also a special night because this was my sister Fareena’s first supper club experience! The perfect girly date.

All dolled up DP-style

Her awesome kitchen – I loved this. Reminds me of the Saucepan Man from The Enchanted Forest by Enid Blyton

The famous Aga

Kerstin aka Ms Marmite (right) with her daughter and fellow supper club host from Edinburgh, Aoife Behan (centre) of My Home Supper Club

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The May Commune

A new date is out 🙂

May 13th, Sunday

Book your tickets here:

If you’re around this Sunday April 15th, I will be at Chjimes Hall from 12 noon – 1pm, doing a small culinary demo at the Cirque du Marche, an outdoor gourmet food festival. Come say hi! Admission is free. Details can be found here:

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Menu: The March Commune (28.03.2012)

‘plantain’ bites

prawn & bean bhartha

sweet potato cakes

traditional chicken curry with freshly made pooris

gula melaka kulfi

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The Arab Spring Celebration — Singapore Edition

The London Edition of the Arab Spring celebration was a resounding success. With guest chef Layla, my sister Fareena and my brother-in-law Abders, we really created some Arab magic in our tiny East London kitchen. Every dish was a reminder and acknowledgement of the struggle each of the featured nations and their populations were are still undergoing today. Our love for these countries is personal. Layla is part-Tunisian, part-Libyan and is today part of the rebuilding and reconstuction of post-revolution Libya. I lived in Cairo, Egypt for almost two years — this country and its people hold a special place in my heart. When Egypt won the African cup some years ago, I celebrated on the streets like any other Egyptian. When they toppled Mubarak, I wept with pride — this country brings out emotions even my supposed motherland, Bangladesh, fails to.

We’re not very good with the tweeting, the writing to papers, the fighting on the streets. But we can cook. So we did. We made dishes we’ve never made before. Ingredients, flavours alien to our palates and our spice larders. It was a truly amazing afternoon. The pictures of our London edition can be viewed here.

But it couldn’t end there. I knew I had to share the magic with my beloved and loyal Singapore guests. So in February, I threw the Singapore edition of the Arab Spring Celebration. And I hope I did it justice! This time there was no Layla, Fareena or Abders. Just me…. and my love of an adopted homeland.

my awesome traditional juicer from Jerusalem, my beloved shisha and of course, the poster I bought on my first trip to Palestine in 2008

soaking karkade (dried hibiscus) to make the popular Egyptian drink


shurbah leebeeyah (lamb, tomato and “bird’s tongue” pasta soup)

The second dish had a few layers.

First, I prepared the couscous…

Then, the harissa vegetable stir-fry went on top….

And finally, the fried halibut.


Harissa fish couscous


Chicken Mandi

Served with a tomato and parsley sauce

…takeaway boxes from Koushury restaurants in Cairo! For real.


Semolina cake

Rounded off with mint tea (cheating with the cups though, they’re from Turkey :))

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