Sunday 25 January 2015

January Snow + Boston Cream Doughnuts + Vanilla Bean Glaze: 17-23 January 2015.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. 

Because if you are making mistakes,
then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.
So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: work or family or life. Whatever it is you're scared of doing. Do it. Make your mistakes, this year and forever.
This week I have:
1. Enjoyed the snow and taken way too many photos of it.
2. Fallen in love with homemade gingernuts.
3. Eaten plenty of daal (love it!)
4. Drank plenty of green tea (I've been converted!)
5. Tried, for the first time, fresh tuna.
6. And, finally, enjoyed sweet potato.
7. Learnt that unripe avocados don't taste very nice.
8. Doughnuts!
Before we begin, I just want to draw your attention to the above three events taking place in Birmingham, Preston and London. If you're from there or are able to get there, then be sure to go! 
 Saturday: Today, we had proper snow. Like it didn't melt as it has been doing for the past few days.
So, what to do on a snowy day?
Bake, of course.
First up, a batch of gingernuts. 

And, boy, were they good. So much better than the ones from a packet.

Chocolate and orange for the next biscuit taking up residence on the table since there was no space in the kitchen.

These were really good. Full of gingery syrupy flavour and they were the perfect mini size. Which means we could all have more than one. Right?
My cousin wanted chocolate orange flavoured biscuits.
You know it's going to be good when the dough is so speckled with chocolate chunks and orange zest.
Rogue chocolate chunk.
And, our makeshift biscuit bar was ready to be enjoyed with tea!

But, first, a late lunch.
A new chicken recipe and steaming Daal.
Perfect for the icy conditions outside!
To finish, a good catchup + homemade biscuits + righting the wrongs of the world + spicy Indian tea.
Recipe for the chocolate orange biscuits is here!
Sunday: Sundays are made for plenty of snow ..
 ... steaming bowls of brown daal ..
.. mugs of hot green tea ..
... and chocolate!
 Monday: I renamed today the Day of Tuna. 
 Throughout the afternoon, I snacked on these quinoa cakes with tuna mayonnaise.
 And, Sriracha. Because I'm obsessed. And, it keeps the flu away. Kind of. 
Mother cooked a vegetarian curry. A take on this curry  but with turnip instead of potato.
For dinner, more tuna. This time, fresh.
Fresh tuna fillet pan-fried with spices.
With mushy peas (because I love peas and the tin was open in the fridge) and sweet potato fries. These were inspired by my cousin. Cut the sweet potato into fries, blanch them in boiling water and drain. Then toss in a batter of gram flour and spices, and fry. 
A sweet and salty delight, and you can't even tell that they're not normal potatoes.
Finally, the sour cream and onion obsession continues.
Tuesday: With snow and ice still on the ground, today was one of those days that called for peanut butter and Nutella.
Followed by a spot of baking.
And, there was an adorable fox in the garden.
 For lunch, brown lentil soup with crispy beef salami.
Later, I whizzed up a simple salsa to have with dinner. Just blend together fresh coriander along with pickled jalapenos and their pickling liquid. And, salt of course. A zingy and spicy salsa perfect with grilled chicken.
Wednesday: Today we woke to white skies, heavy with snow.
 And, so, for the most of the day it was snowing - heavily. I felt like just sitting at the window staring out at it. But, food will not cook itself. And, also watching snow fall makes me kinda dizzy. Anyone else?
At lunch, we softened up cabbage and leeks.
 Boiled potatoes and then mashed them all together with spices to make crispy potato cakes.
Today, I made a batch of custard.
I used my go-to recipe and left it to chill overnight.
For dinner, there was garlic.

And, fresh lime.
And, chicken. Plenty of chicken.
After the success of this recipe, I tried out more food on sticks. They kind of worked but still need a little tweak.
Mother, however, made a finger licking batch of chicken wings though.
And, I made an avocado sauce to go with them.
The sauce was good but nothing to shout home about. Maybe it was because my avocado wasn't ripe enough. Or maybe it just wasn't my day. We all have those days sometimes when nothing seems to go as planned. 
".... But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners."
(Surah Al-Anfal, Verse 30)
Even if the other dishes didn't go as planned, the chicken wings made up for it.
I'm not usually a chicken wing fan (they're a bit messy and fiddly for me) but these hit the spot.
I prefer mine without the skin so in our house we buy both with and without.
And, finally, a bit of late night doughnut dough making.
This  is my go-to recipe. It's never let me down so far!
 Thursday: I left the dough to rise overnight. I like to do this as I think a slower prove is better with yeast doughs. The recipe I used is here.
And, would you take a look at how much it rose? I think it's safe to say that I was pretty happy with it, alhamdulillah. 
We rolled the dough out and cut out the doughnuts. Then, we let them rise again in a warm place until doubled in size.
Whilst the doughnuts proved, we prepared the toppings (oh, and whipped up a risotto.) There was the custard from the day before, caster sugar, a vanilla bean glaze and a chocolate glaze.

And strawberry jam. Because jam doughnuts!
After all the risotto making and glaze stirring, the doughnuts had risen until doubled in size.
And, how good do they look? Like scones almost - but better. And, now it's time to fry!
Random note: I once baked these doughnuts too - you can see the results here.

Once the oil was hot enough ...

... the doughnuts were fried to golden brown perfection.

Once they were drained on paper towels and cool enough to handle, it was time to glaze!
Starting with a simple vanilla bean glaze. This was my surprise favourite.
To make the glaze, mix about 226 grams Icing Sugar with a few tablespoons of water until you have a pourable but thick glaze. (You can add more or less icing sugar, as needed). Add the seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod, and replace some of the water with vanilla flavouring for extra vanilla goodness.
Give the hot doughnuts a good dunking all over in the glaze, and leave on a wire rack to let the excess drip off.
And, carry on with the rest of the doughnut production line!
Next, we dipped a few of the hot doughnuts straight into caster sugar (epic!) and then dunked the tops into a milk chocolate glaze.
The chocolate glaze that I made this time was slightly different to the one in the original recipe. It was a simple chocolate ganache and is made by heating up 80ml double cream until just boiling. Pour that over 113 grams milk chocolate and let the chocolate melt. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and it's done.

Leave the doughnuts on a wire rack to let the glaze set.
Next, on to the classic. Jam doughnuts!
First, roll the hot doughnut in caster sugar.

Then, fill a piping bag with strawberry jam, cut a small slit in the side of the doughnut, and pump in the jammy heaven.
Finally, to make a doughnut version of a classic American pie.
Take the same chocolate glaze as shown above and fill a piping bag with the cooled custard.
Cut a slit into the side of the doughnut and pipe in the custard. Then, dunk the doughnut into the chocolate glaze.
Leave the glaze to set for about 10 minutes.

Then, snap as many photos as you possibly can.
And, pack the doughnuts up to share with family!
 Friday: Today, it was absolutely freezing here.
To warm us all up, Mum cooked a Chicken Shorba.
I've shared a chicken and potato version of this before as well as a potato and ginger one.
I wanted to cook with plenty of colour.
So, I cooked a colourful and flavourful salmon dish which I will be sharing with you v.soon, Insha Allah.
Update: Here is the full photo recipe.

Recipes on the blog this week:

Chilli Garlic Chicken Skewers + Olive Oil Yoghurt Dip 

Flourless Clementine Cake

A few of my favourite links from around the web this week:

1. Loving this idea for pesto.
2. This  is definitely going on my soup bucket list. Which still doesn't exist.
3. Been loving this nasheed this week.
4. How adorable!
5. The history of Makkah - in 3D!
6. The ultimate healthy kitchen cupboard list.
7. One of my favourite desserts - in pancake form!
8. OMG. This cake.
9. Hey. I had these  for breakfast this morning. And, they were good. Really good.
10. My new-found love of sweet potato needs to try this. 

In the past week, I've come to realize that simple things like sharing a table at dinner with the whole family are never more important than in times of turmoil. The comfort of good food, the healing power of a shared moment is never more needed than on a cold January night when bad news reaches your door. 
So, we continue to lead our lives, cook, eat, laugh and cry together and hope that by raising our children to the best of our abilities will help to create a better world.
(Mimi Thorisson)

Keep me in your duas, please,


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