Sunday 23 November 2014

Cinnamon Pineapple Cake + Juicy Pasta + Friday Coleslaw: 15 November - 21 November 2014

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

How time flies!
It feels like just yesterday that I was finishing up last week's post. And, here we are, at the beginning of another one. 
I'm grateful though. There are many people in this world who didn't live long enough to see this third week of November 2014.

 Saturday: How cute are these nesting measuring bowls? 
Anything that nests is a bonus in my book.
My new obsession is with loaf tins, and I bought two new ones to add to the ever-growing collection.
There was a bit of deja vu with today.
I baked Sticky Toffee Pudding again, but this time, I used gluten-free flour.
Plus I had the chance to test out the new tins.
I also broke out a giant set of cookie cutters.
I grabbed a ready made batch of Spicy Gingerbread cookie dough ...
... and got to work!
By then, the date sponges were out and cooling.

How lovely does that look?
The gingerbread cookies were cooling after baking too! How adorable is the little man?
Time for a late lunch!
We ate Kari Kichri, boiled rice ..
... Moroccan chicken casserole and a pepper salad. 

Then, the best part of any meal - dessert!
A rich sticky toffee pudding with hot custard ..
... a smooth toffee fudge sauce ...
... and Columbian coffee ice cream.
And, lots of lovely flowers to end the evening.
 Sunday: Blooming flowers and fairy lights on a Sunday afternoon in November.
Today, Mum made her Pea Pulao. She started by gently frying sliced onions and cumin seeds.
I can never do this!
One of the best smells in the world ...
... the smell of onions browning for a pulao.
Mum followed her usual recipe but added in a sliced tomato after pouring in water to the onions.
Once the rice, peas and water were in, the rice was left to steam.
Meanwhile, a batch of Vegetable Pakoras was made. The vegetables used were cauliflower and tomatoes.
Green chillies blended with water
And, onions, which made me cry.
By now, the pea pulao was ready to eat!
A delicious vegetarian dish in it's own right.
Mum also made her version of a mango lassi by blending mango puree, milk and sugar.
It was sweet and creamy, and complimented the crispy pakoras very well.
Speaking of the pakoras, they were mixed together with water, spices and gram flour.
And, fried in hot oil until golden brown and crispy.
The vegetable pakoras were ready to eat!
Pakoras are best when they are fresh and should be munched straight away, preferably with green yoghurt chutney and tamarind chutney. And, if, like me,  you can't be bothered to make the tamarind sauce, this is the perfect replacement.
Today, we were also gifted a batch of homemade Saag. We stirred in a mixture of butter, garlic and ginger.
The saag was enjoyed over hot, buttered rotis.

Pakoras were munched and then pea pulao was eaten with green yoghurt chutney and salad.
No meal is complete without a hot cup of Indian tea at the end. This is how we usually make it with water, green cardamoms, tea bags, milk and sugar.
A box of fresh jalebi also arrived in the house. The jalebis from our local Indian sweet shop are always the best!
There was also a box of creamy, sweet fudge ...
.. with lots of different flavours. One of which reminded me of these sweets.
 Monday: Today, Mum made a mouthwatering Lamb Curry.
It was spicy and very satisfying on a cold night in the north west of England. You can find more of Mum's lamb curry recipes hereherehere and here.
Tuesday: A beautiful quote to begin ...

... a beautiful day!

Today, the greens were out in force to make an iconic Pakistani curry - Saag.

Spinach, broccoli and spring onions ready to be picked, washed and chopped.

Meanwhile, I tackled a giant pineapple. 

The skin was taken off and the flesh sliced up.
Ready to be used in the classic pineapple upside-down cake.

Fresh pineapple chunks and glace cherries were laid at the bottom of the tin in a pool of golden syrup.
The recipe was this one except I used vanilla sugar in place of normal sugar.
To the sponge, I also added the zest of 2 oranges and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Along with all the usual suspects.
The batter went over the pineapple.
I love it when the syrup comes up to the edge of the batter - it means you'll get some lovely, toffee edges to the cake.
Once the cake was in to bake, time to tackle the washing up.
While the cake baked, I also whipped up another dessert.
It only uses 3 ingredients and very little work.
I'll be sharing it with you all soon, inshallah.
Update: Here is the recipe.

More dishes! :(
Look, the cake is ready!
And, there they are. Those extra crispy edges, sticky from all that syrup.
The cake should be turned out straight to stop it sticking to the bottom of the tin.
This cake was beyond amazing. Sticky from all the syrup, but not too sweet because of the cinnamon we added.
 You guys should definitely bake a pineapple upside-down cake before the year is out.
Today, it was pasta for dinner.
I love different shaped pasta, and this one was no exception. 

First, I cooked 1 large chicken breast, cut into pieces, in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and red chilli powder, to taste.
Next, I started a spicy tomato sauce, by softening 1 onion, 3 garlic cloves and 1 jalapeno chilli in olive oil.
I also got a pan of water on to boil for the pasta.
To the sauce, I added:
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
Splash of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper, to taste

I added the chicken to it, and left it to simmer for 12 minutes while the pasta cooked.
To a pan of boiling, salted water ..
.. I added about a mug and a half of pasta. It cooked for 12 minutes.

Time for the finishing touches - baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.
A few handfuls of spinach, and as many tomatoes as you want - but leave them whole.
Finally, the drained pasta was tossed through.
And, dinner was ready. Honestly, this is one of the best pasta dishes I have tasted in a long time.
Recipe inspiration came from here and here.

Meanwhile, Mum had finished making the Saag.

The final touch was to add it to melted butter with ginger and garlic known as the tarka.

All the saag was stirred in and enjoyed with hot roti.
 Wednesday: Burning one of my favourite candles.

And, as I type this, I have one burning which smells like baby powder!
Leftovers for dinner - pea pulao with lamb curry.
And, sneaking a tiny taste of something new!
Thursday: Fresh zardah for a cold day.
This sweet, buttery rice is perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
For dinner, fish with a juicy tomato salsa.

In a bowl, I placed a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced and 1 jalapeno, without the seeds and finely chopped.
Then, I added 1 tablespoon of capers, finely chopped.
And, a few black olives, without the stone and finely chopped.
Next came balsamic vinegar and basil olive oil. Normal olive oil would be fine too.
A tablespoon of each went in.
Along with salt, to taste.
Everything was stirred together.
And, served with fish. Recipe inspiration came from here.
The fish we ate it with ...
... was a less spicy and shallow-fried version of these.
 Friday: Today I was converted to eating coleslaw. We had it with lunch (roast chicken, veg and a lemon cake) at my cousins and I was hooked.
The coleslaw we ate was the usual supermarket stuff, and it contained onions, which shock! horror! I actually liked.
Anyway, I wanted to try making it at home, and with a purple cabbage in the fridge to use up and this recipe for inspiration, I got to work.
Grated carrot and finely sliced red cabbage went into a bowl. I didn't add any onion well, because I didn't want to jinx myself on my first coleslaw outing. Next time, maybe.
In went salt and a dressing of ...
... light mayo, Dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar. I went a bit heavy on the vinegar because I wanted the slaw to be really tangy like the one at lunch.
We had the slaw wrapped up with pickled jalapenos and fish. 
A delicious, tangy, spicy end to the week - alhamdulillah. 

This Week on the Blog:

Spicy Gingerbread Cookies - intense cookies, perfect with your next cup of tea.

Baked Camembert with Garlic Toast - an indulgent lunch to share with friends.

A few of my favourite web links from this past week:

1. Tips on how to live with less.
2. Nazia is going to Tanzania! Help her raise £5K.
6. The peanut butter and cookie lover in me wants to bake these.
7. OMG - this trifle.

Have a beautiful week everyone,


Spice Enthusiast
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