Sunday 28 June 2015

Beloved Date Bars + Chicken Tikka Skewers + Epic Fried Fish: 20-26 June 2015.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

alhamdulillah, we have reached the eleventh fast today. the ten days of mercy have ended and we have entered the days of forgiveness. the Prophet Muhammad (saw) would seek Allah's forgiveness and turn to Him in repentance more than 70 times a day. subhanallah, imagine how much istighfar (repentance) we need to do!

the weekend began with nutella ice cream (try it!), rooh afza milkshake and fruit salad. it continued with lamb kofta curry and creamy potato lamb patties.
as Monday rolled around, porridge was eaten for sehri. actually, I've been eating it most days - it really fills you up. also, there was a chicken pulao (super yum), fresh pineapple and more rooh afza milkshake (obsessed).

Tuesday was the day when the doorbell would not stop ringing. delicious, natural date bars from these guys, an array of traditional Pakistani goodies for Iftar from my cousins and more juicy fruit salad.

midweek, we baked. bars, rooh afza coconut balls and cookies. for Iftar, tender chicken tikka skewers, freshly squeezed lemonade and cookie ice cream sandwiches (new fave!)

Thursday, and the first box of alphonso mangoes arrived - the smell! seriously though, I need a mango scented candle. anyone? treats were packaged, fenugreek leaves picked and the first mango milkshake blended up.

the most blessed day of the week arrived and Iftar was a fish supper, with classic battered, fried fish, chips and mushy peas. and, dessert? a nod to the Pakistani roots with malai kulfi! <--- can you believe I prefer this to mango kulfi?!

{random-side-but-important-note: so far this Ramadan, I've been listening to these English lectures. I highly recommend you do the same}

something I read this week and loved:

There is a powerful and amazing thing about tawbah (repentance) and turning back to Allah. We are told that is a polish for the heart. What's amazing about a polish is that it doesn't just clean.

It makes the object that is polished even shinier than it was before it got dirty. 

If you come back to Allah, seek His forgiveness, refocus your life and heart on Him, you have the potential to be even richer than if you'd never fallen at all.

Sometimes falling and coming back up gives you wisdom and humility that you may never have otherwise have had.

{Yasmin Mogahed}

here's more from my week:

 weekend things! we start with this ice cream going as a gift to some lucky people. I was thinking this week, why don't we gift ice cream to each other?
it's such an easy thing to make especially if you use my no-machine method (nutellamango swirl and counting). pack it in a box, stick on a ribbon and gift away!
iftar today. I'm going to show you the photos in the order that I took them and prepared food in. first up, fresh things --> cucumber + carrot + radish.
a jug of rooh afza milkshake - blend milk + ice + vanilla ice cream + rooh afza.
fruit chaat. guys, unlike the other members of the house, I cannot stand fruit chaat. like, why?! why would you add chaat masala to my favourite sweet, juicy fruit salad?
from my cousin: cream cheese mashed potatoes (!!) and tomato veggie pasta.
we still had pizza dough from the day before.
I made a baharat-spiced lamb mince and put it onto the pizza along with veggies, cheese and fresh basil.
Sunday's feel like the perfect day to make meatballs, don't you think? today, Mother made a lamb kofta curry. she mixed together the koftas --> lamb mince + salt + crushed red chilli + ground turmeric + ginger paste + garlic paste + cumin seeds + ground coriander + fresh coriander + fresh mint + green chilli.
rolled them into tiny meatballs.
 cooked a delicious masala.
for someone who was fasting, this smelt so good.
 the meatballs went in ..
... and were cooked in the sauce.
 I received an email (email me: from a reader recently asking for a recipe for potato and lamb mince (aloo keema) cutlets. on the blog, at the moment, I only have a recipe for the chicken and potato variety. but in the fridge, there was leftover baharat-spiced minced lamb from those pizzas above.
 also, we had leftover white sauce (bechamel).
and, leftover mashed potatoes.
all three were simple mixed together. add more seasoning, if needed.
shaped into patties and chilled in the fridge until Iftar.
 at Iftar time: dates + doughnut peaches + cherry tomatoes + cucumber + mini chocolate oranges.
 plus the lamb kofta curry. see the chicken kofta version here.
 the lamb patties were dipped in beaten egg and breadcrumbs before being pan-fried.
and, here they are. served with tomato ketchup, these were delicious. crispy, cheesy, meaty and all made from leftovers. win win!

also, more rooh afza milkshake today! I love this stuff.
 what day was this even? I tell you, ever since Ramadan has begun, I have no notion of time, day or date. everything has sort of merged into one. anyway, this was Monday morning sehri time - around 2:00am. on the hob, Indian tea and porridge.
 yep, I'm following my niece's advice and filling up on porridge before the long fast ahead.
 porridge + cinnamon + raisin <--- current favourite combo.
 so, today for Iftar, we made chicken pulao. this is the cup that my mother uses to measure out her rice and water for the recipe. I was trying to convert her "cups" into grams. anyhoo, this cup holds 230 grams rice and 230ml water.
 onto making the pulao. a spiced, aromatic chicken stock was made.
side note: chicken pulao is the perfect make-ahead iftar meal. we cooked this two hours before leaving plenty of time for prayer before the fast broke.
 onions, green chillies and cumin seeds were fried in oil.
 until quite a dark golden brown - this is what gives the pulao its delicious and unique flavour.
 the stock is strained and a little is added to the pan. the onions fry for a few minutes and the smell at this point is enough to make any fasting person faint. you have been warned.
 the chicken pieces from the stock are added in along with a little yoghurt and black pepper.
 then, in goes the delicious stock also known as yakhni. 
and, in goes the rice. 

 most of the water is absorbed and the rice is left to steam for about 15 minutes.
meanwhile, more rooh afza milkshake was made.

and, I sliced this giant pineapple.

 yum. it was so sweet.
 finally, a batch of green yoghurt chutney was made.
to accompany the delicious chicken pulao.
 the lovely guys at Beloved Dates sent me a few of their date bars to try out on Tuesday.
 I was sent the pumpkin + sunflower date cereal bars and the cranberry + blueberry date cereal bars.
 I have to be honest - I had never heard of this company before but a quick Google search told me that they made not only cereal bars but many other products with dates.
at Iftar, I tried the pumpkin + sunflower seed bar. once again, who am I??! a few years ago, I wouldn't have touched pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds with a bargepole but now look at me!
 anyway, the bar was delicious - not too sweet and with just the right amount of chew. I don't know about you but I hate things that are really chewy.
 and, I thought the cereal was the perfect addition. it added just the right amount of crunch and along with seeds, stopped the bars from being too soft.
 anyhoo, long story short, I can highly recommend these date cereal bars to you. they are perfect for all you working people, on the go at Iftar time. also, outside of Ramadan, they are the perfect way to keep the Sunnah dates a part of your daily diet.
 and, if that hasn't persuaded you, would you take a look at the above list? they got me at no added sugar. I like to my save my added sugar for a slice of this!
you can buy these date cereal bars online here and in store at Asda. 
along with the date cereal bars, Iftar for us was quite a traditional affair with biryani, zardah and pakoras. <-- courtesy of my lovely cousins.

on the side - kachumber salad!
for dessert, a juicy fruit salad. this time, without the chaat masala.
extra juicy with freshly squeezed orange juice.
 sehri on Wednesday morning - porridge with cinnamon.
bake day! 
something very fresh and summery is coming your way soon, Insha Allah.
also, rooh afza coconut balls were made. into a pan, goes dessicated coconut + butter. it's toasted for a minute before condensed milk is added.
in goes a small drop of rooh afza and cardamom powder. it cooks for a minute or two.

once cooled, the mixture is rolled into balls and coated in more coconut.

so pretty, very similar to coconut ice and if you've read that post, you'll know that I didn't try any of these.
browning butter for cookies.
let butter melt over a low heat.
then, let it bubble until it becomes fragrant and turns brown.
brown butter!


butter + three types of sugar.


three kinds of chocolate.

cookie dough! into the fridge it went to chill.

iftar prep - tonight, chicken tikka skewers. into a blender, place:
handful fresh coriander
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilli
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon tandoori masala
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
few tablespoons vegetable oil
few tablespoons lemon juice
blend until smooth.
for the chicken, we used 2 big chicken legs and 1 chicken breast, cubed.
to this, we added:
the spice paste
3 tablespoons yoghurt
handful grated Cheddar <--- secret ingredient!
mix well and leave to marinade for a few hours.
in the meantime, we made a batch of lemonade.
so refreshing served over ice at iftar - make a batch for tonight, you won't regret it.
by now, the cookie dough had chilled. they were scooped onto trays.
sprinkled with sea salt.
and, baked!
these cookies, for me, are still a work in progress but everyone who tried them, loved them. they're the soft, thin kind of cookie, flavoured with brown sugar, brown butter and three types of chocolate and finished with a sprinkle of sea salt. the recipe I adapted is here.
back to the chicken. the chicken legs were baked in 200C for 1 hour until cooked through. they were basted throughout this time with a mixture of melted butter and garam masala.
juicy, full of flavour and ready to eat! oh, and be sure to line the tray with foil - easy cleanup is guaranteed. 
the chicken breast pieces were skewered and baked at 200C for 30 minutes.
then, they were put under a hot grill for a few minutes whilst being basted with the same garam masala butter mixture.
these skewers were amazing - the chicken was super juicy and so good. usually we use bamboo but this week, we got some metal skewers and I highly recommend them. recipe adapted from here!
midnight feast!
those cookies above made the best ice cream sandwiches.
simply sandwich two of them with vanilla ice cream!
 look what I found in the kitchen on Thursday morning - the first mangoes!
goodies from the previous day.
cooled, sliced, packaged, boxed up, ready to go!
for Iftar, fresh fenugreek.

to make aloo methi. a vegetarian classic!
and, those mangoes were put to good use. into a blender they went.
along with ice, vanilla ice cream, sugar and milk.
creamy goodness.
plus a few more just as they were.
iftar on the most blessed day of the week with fish. this battered, fried fish was epic. it beat any other fried fish hands down - once the recipe has been cracked, I'll be sharing it with you, Insha Allah.


mushy peas, salt, vinegar, tomato ketchup - complete British classic.
but not forgetting our roots with malai kulfi for dessert. I always think it tastes like rasmalai milk in ice cream form.

this time one year ago:

lately, on the blog:
Sunday Galette + Cherry Takeover + Ramadan Pizza
Peruvian Baked Chicken with Herb Fries + Caramelized Veggies 
No-Machine Nutella Ice Cream

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

1. food from Azerbaijan. so interesting.
2. mujaddara. need to make again asap.
3. ferrero rocher brownies. omg.
4. iced lemon almond bread. beautiful.
5. summer recipe bucket list. love this.
6. super mum reality check. may Allah make it easy for all you busy mamas out there.
7. cilantro lime grilled chicken. give me all the grilled chicken!
8. creamy cheesy scrambled eggs. yes.

{Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by sinning), do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful}

Have a beautiful week everyone!


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