Sunday 27 September 2015

Four Cakes + Eid-al-Adha + Harvesting with the Girls: 19-25 September 2015.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Alhamdulillah, it has been a busy week.
The weekend was filled with plenty of baking, homemade fajitas, giant tins of pickled jalapenos and not to mention, crunchy, spicy homemade pickle.

On Monday, I baked a gluten-free cherry orange loaf to be delivered to my cousin on Tuesday. It was so nice to catch up with her and my aunt. Then, it was back home to begin baking a special Eid cake and prepare some food for the fast to be kept the next day.

 This week, we celebrated the Feast of the Sacrifice called Eid-al-Adha. It took place on Thursday and the days leading up to it were filled with preparation. The day before Eid (Wednesday) is called the Day of Arafah. It's the day when the pilgrims taking part in the Hajj gather at a place near Makkah called Arafah. Here, they stay until sunset, asking Allah for forgiveness. We, back at home, marked the day by keeping a fast. It brought back plenty of memories of Ramadan. This time though, the fast was a lot shorter, breaking at around 7pm here. 

It was nice to be awake in the early morning though to keep the fast - it meant we got to see the changing of the Kaaba cloth which happens once a year. Wednesday was a busy day with the gloomiest weather. We filled it by baking butternut squash galettes, assembling the Eid cake and rolling spring rolls.

Eid finally arrived the next morning. It's always so nice to hear the prayers from the local mosque and from Makkah. I love hearing the Takbeer-e-Tashriq from there. Unfortunately, in the later hours of the morning, news filtered through of the stampede in Mina. Throughout the very busy day, the tragic events were part of every conversation. Eid was very simple here this year - we cooked our favourites and spent time catching up with family, eating cake, sweets, being out in the garden with the children and of course, cooking up some of the qurbani (sacrifice) meat.

Friday was a confusing day. I'm always confused the day after Eid - especially if Eid was during the week. Anyhoo, there were plenty of leftovers so that meant no cooking. Ooh, I almost forgot. Alhamdulillh, Friday was three years since I started writing this blog. Where has the time gone?!

here is more from my week:

 Saturday baking! with ingredients this simple, we can only be making one thing.
Victoria Sandwich -  this time, with whipped cream.
mmmm! cake batter!
and, baked.
plenty of strawberry jam.
cream whipped.
and, sandwiched.
and, don't forget the sugared top. I used this recipe and added vanilla whipped cream to the middle.
then, onto beating butter with two types of brown sugar.
in goes, flour and the like.
into a tin.
then, we drowned the whole thing in cinnamon sugar. and chocolate chips. because chocolate.
and, sliced. ooh, my lines are straight this time.
quality control. this recipe is coming to your kitchen v.soon, insha Allah.
for dinner, chicken fajitas. first, this salsa obviously. 
with plenty of fresh chillies and coriander.
then, the chicken was marinated in plenty of spice.
and, you can't have fajitas without peppers and onions. and pickled jalapenos.
speaking of pickled jalapenos, do you like my giant tin?
total heaven for me.
and fajitas aren't fajitas without tortillas.
homemade of course. I cannot remember the last time I got them from the store - they're so easy made from scratch.
once the chicken was cooked ..
... it was time to assemble.
simply pile everything onto a warm tortilla.
wrap and munch!
 Sunday afternoon melon slicing.
this one was huge but very sweet. also, do you guys wash your melon before slicing? I never used to but think I will from now on because this one was super dirty on the outside.
fajita leftovers from the night before kicked up a notch by assembling them with added cheese and then grilling them in the toastie maker - inspired by this lady.
also today, we were gifted with this homemade achar (spicy pickle). it was made with carrots, lemons, chillies and mango was so good and crunchy. I'm addicted.
and of course, I went for the carrot first.
 Monday and it was time to bake!
I thought I would make a dent in this giant 1kg tub of glace cherries.
I baked a gluten-free cherry orange loaf. into a bowl went margarine, sugar, vanilla, freshly squeeze orange juice, orange zest and eggs.
in went a whisk and of course, everything curdled.
but I didn't panic. instead I calmly proceeded to stir in gluten-free self-raising flour and baking powder.
who am I kidding? I panicked a little.
alhamdulillah, once the flour was in, everything was fine.
the loaf baked up beautifully and was left overnight to cool. the full recipe is in the comments of this post.
also today, chicken shorba happened. here is a version with potatoes.
um, can we just look at how much fresh coriander my Mother puts in? she says it's always added to finish off the curry but I think in her case, it's an actual ingredient.
we ate it with roti and it was the best.
Tuesday morning loaf slicing.
my cousin loved it - I hope you give the recipe a go.
after I got back from my cousins, I thought I would be productive and organised and bake the cake for Eid. this year, we went for a coffee chocolate Nutella concoction. see last Eid's doughnut session here. 
anyway, onto the cake. things were creamed.
until a simple batter was made.
coffee in one bowl, chocolate in the other.
and into cake tins they go.

bake and leave to cool overnight.
it was such a beautiful evening outside.
the moon was out and everything.
my kind of evening light.

we would be keeping a fast the next day.
so a curry was prepared for the early-morning meal. 

and, it's a real favourite with you guys - keema with potatoes and peas.
we boiled up some rice for dinner with whole spices.
and had a little keema with it along with the chicken shorba from the day before.
Wednesday early morning and we were up to keep the fast for the Day of Arafah.
plus we got to see the Kaabah cloth being changed.
also, throughout the day, it was lovely to see the live streams from Arafah itself. it brought back plenty of memories of our own journey.
for Iftar, we went vegetarian as we knew there'd be plenty of meat in the next few days. we decided to bake a seasonal galette using onions.
and, butternut squash.
so, white and red onions were peeled.
finely sliced.
and left to slowly caramelize in butter, olive oil, salt and sugar.

meanwhile, the squash was peeled, chopped, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and popped into roast.
a simple pastry was made with flour, butter, lemon juice, yoghurt and cold water.

once the fillings cooled, into a bowl they went with dried thyme and grated red Leicester.

the pastry was rested, rolled and filled.

up went the sides and into the oven it went to bake.

ready! I adapted the recipe from here.
also happening around the same time was the assembly of the Eid cake. one cake was placed onto the stand.

to fill, we took Nutella.
and, inspired by this recipe, it was whipped into cream.
on it went.
to cover the top and sides of the cake, we went with a coffee buttercream.
I had never tried doing a crumb coat before. I did it this time though by coating the cake in a thin layer of the buttercream and popping it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
it worked! the buttercream firmed up and it was so much easier putting the rest on.
like so.

a sprinkle of grated chocolate and we were done.
this cake was epic. the perfect cake for Eid.
once the cake was done, it was nearly Iftar time. with the galette, we rolled spring rolls.
fried and munched them!

Thursday morning!
 Eid Mubarak!
eggs for breakfast. some were omelettes.
and, some were boiled.
we picked these unripe figs from the tree. they weren't for eating but were really pretty inside.

Eid lunch!
we kept it simple with spicy roast chicken.
our qurbani lamb came a little later so it was chicken for lunch.
obviously with mashed potatoes and plenty of veg.
and gravy! all we do is thicken up the chicken roasting juices with a little cornflour.
and, Irn Bru. always plenty of Irn Bru on Eid.
after lunch ..

.. came dessert which as you can tell had already been sampled the day before for Iftar.
you guys, this is my new favourite cake.
the cake wasn't gluten-free so after lunch, I rustled up something for the coelics of the family.
coconut ice!
all I did was mix the recipe, separate into three batches, colour each one and roll.
the cake and coconut ice went down well with everyone but the girls were more interested in giant ice lollies.
and, playing outside!
once again, they attacked the cherry tree.
but the cherries were way too sour - so they resorted to picking flowers.
next, the crab apple tree.
but it was too high.
especially for the smaller ones among us.
more flowers were picked.

and, the garden was explored.
before we got them to work harvesting the tomatoes.
a good little haul, I must say. also, do you see the little one? she was told not to go over the edge and it wasn't until I was editing these pictures that I discovered she did the exact opposite.
and then, attempted to go down a very slippy slope in her Eid best.
alhamdulillah, it was time to come inside and enjoy nature's bounty.
with crispy spring rolls and minty yoghurt.


also, the qurbani meat was cooked very simply with olive oil, ginger, garlic, salt and crushed black pepper. I managed to just about snap a picture as most of it had already been munched.
finally, my cousin gifted me with the tastiest gift ever.
chocolate chunk shortbread cookies!
on Friday, we were inundated with leftovers.
we shredded the roast chicken, mixed it with mayo, ketchup and chilli sauce.
and made sandwiches out of it with cucumber and tomato.

this time one year ago:
lettuce cups + geese + pumpkin pie spice

lately, on the blog:
bread baking + apple pie making + falafel pittas
a lamb chop curry for Eid-al-Adha
three years + my disasters + your photos

alhamdulillah for everything.

Keep me in your duas, please, and have a beautiful week,


Spice Enthusiast
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