Monday, 29 July 2013

Stuff and fry!!

Do you find some foods time-consuming to prepare? Well, try typing their recipes! Itll make you forget how tedious their preparation was.

The iftar menu was so extensive that I dont know which recipe to start off with. But since Ive promised some of you (and you know who you are!) that Ill be uploading most of them before Ramadan ends, I wont leave you hanging. So here it goes:

Lehriya Mirch (Stuffed Sweet Peppers)

300 g minced beef/mutton
1 tbs ginger garlic paste
4 tbs fried onions
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
2 chopped green chilies
1 tsp dry pomegranate seeds
3 tsp almond / cashew powder
12 sweet green cubanelle peppers / Jodhpuri Mirch

For the crust:
2 cups plain flour
6 tbs ghee
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds (optional)
boiling water to knead the dough
Oil for deep frying

Knead a stiff dough with flour, oil, salt, ajwain and water (as for samosas) and keep it covered with a damp cloth.

Prepare the filling by boiling the minced meat with 1/4 cup salted water. Break up clumps if any.

Add in the fried onions, ginger garlic paste, powdered almonds and season with all the spices. Keep stirring continuously to avoid sticking.

Add the chopped green chilies and remove from heat. Allow to cool.

Wash and slit the peppers lengthwise on one side, leaving the stems intact and deseed carefully.

Stuff the peppers with cooled meat filling.

Divide the pastry dough into two balls and roll out each one about half an inch thick. Cut into long strips.

Wrap the stuffed chilies with the dough strips and seal by dabbing a little amount of water (Depending on the texture of your dough, you may or may not require this).

Deep fry in hot oil. Serve with mint chutney or tamarind plum chutney.

Here are a few from last year´s iftar (just ignore the one in the front, we were short of dough to wrap it so my best friend dipped it in the pakora batter).

Plum Tamarind Chutney

250 g dried plums
160 g tamarind
800 ml water
1 tsp chat masala
1 tsp salt
150 g sugar (or even more for a sweeter version)
1 tsp lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and cook for about 45 min. Strain through a sieve to remove stems and stones. Depending on how much sugar youre using, it should have a smooth and thick consistency.

Try and be nice by leaving a comment so other people can also benefit from it!

Friday, 26 July 2013

When it comes to friends....

Last Friday I hosted an Iftar at my place. For those not familiar with this custom, iftar is a meal Muslims take at sunset to break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Although I and my husband have both been trying hard to stick to our resolution of keeping our iftar menu healthy and simple this year but when it comes to friends and especially best friends who are as ravenous eaters as we two usually are, the spread has to be in sync with the ideology of the gourmands.

The food was as lovely as the company.....I love having our besties over. When we are all together its like a mad house. We don't know how to be quiet and gentle, our kids round around the house like its on fire and their parents speaking all at once and loud, but thats exactly what makes our friendship so beautiful and precious. Not only did they help me with the last minute frying and cleaning up but also with entertaining baby Raed who appearently was quite envious of his elder brother having fun with his friends.

Filo Squares with Creamy Potato Chicken Filling

Mustard Chicken Bites / Mutton Stuffed Puff Pastry Ravioli

It was a self service buffet with a good range of both hot and cold food. I was smart enough to prepare and freeze most of them days ahead. (Trust me, there´s nothing wrong in sacrificing a little gourmet fresh taste for the ease of being relaxed on the actual day). It not only allowed me spend more quality time with my friends but I was also able to do my prayers and other ibadah without worrying about having everything ready in time.


Lehriya Mirch (Stuffed Cubanelle Sweet Peppers)

The spread included:
  • Stuffed dates
  • Chicken and cabbage spring rolls
  • Mustard chicken bites
  • Mutton stuffed puff pastry ravioli
  • Lehriya mirch (sweet peppers stuffed with minced beef and covered with home made samosa dough)
  • Filo squares with creamy potato chicken filling
  • Fruit salad
  • Urid daal ke dahi bhallay (Lentil dumplings in curd sauce)
  • Chicken and vegetable salad stuffed crescent rolls
  • Pakora (mixed vegetable fritters)
  • Minced meat samosa
  • Avocado sauce
  • Tamarind and plum chutney
  • Yogurt and peppermint dip
  • Sweet and sour red sauce
  • Orange-pomegranate cocktails

Chicken and vegetable salad stuffed crescent rolls

Ill try to put up the recipes within the next few days. Meanwhile enjoy the pictures!!!

Chicken n cabbage spring rolls

Take care and stay blessed you all!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Ramadan Special

It is currently the holy month of Ramadan and I’ve been fasting for nearly two weeks now. Quite surprisingly, it hasnt been as difficult as I thought it would be.
Its not easy fasting in a country where most people don’t know what Ramadan and fasting actually is. Where life moves at its regular pace with everyone around you eating on their regular scheduled time and the summer fun is at its prime. Where the time between sahur and iftar is nearly 18 hours.
There are testing moments when temptation and hunger is so strong that you wish you had never decided to stay here or had atleast taken a month off and flown back home to enjoy this time of the year in a familial atmosphere.
I dont want to sound unthankful. It might be difficult keeping fasts in a non-muslim society but there indeed are also benefits attached to it. While the temptation may be strong, it actually provides you even more opportunities to practice self-restraint, patience and abstinence - the goals we target to achieve after 30 days of fasting, right?

Since the days are too long and the time between iftar and sahur too short, I and my husband have decided to keep our meals as simple as possible. The iftar menu usually comprises a soup with bread and a main course featuring grilled meat and vegetables. Pretty healthy, no? Dont be surprised, the rest is compensated by the lavish iftar bufffets that we have with our muslim friends whenever possible;) And dont worry, my camera will make sure you also get a chance to admire the extravagant spread of delicious food we all share together.

Almond Meal and Home-made Cheese Stuffed Dates


250 g dates
100 g ground almond
25 g sugar
100 g home-made cheese (click for recipe)
food coloring
Few drops of almond essence, optional

Slice the dates down the middle on one side and remove pits. Prepare the cheese and allow to cool completely.

Mix together ground almonds, cheese and sugar. Add in the almond extract.

Mix in the food coloring as well (I always divide the mixture into two or three parts first and then color them seperately). Tip: Make sure youre wearing gloves or get an appointment for a manicure!

Ive used gel colours. A drop or two should be enough!

Roll a spoonful of mixture between your palms and stuff the date with it.

You may also like to sprinkle demerara sugar or desiccated coconut on top. Store in refrigerator and use within two days.

Enjoy and remember me and my family in your prayers.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Ladies Brunch

Last Friday was all about girly fun and togetherness. It was actually a long overdue catch up with some of the fellow female pakistani expats living in Germany. I hosted a brunch at my place and it was so nice to just kick back from the typical stress our routines have to offer and relax, chat non-stop in our mother tongue and catch up on each others lives after such a long time. Too bad we couldn’t complete the group as not all invitees were lucky enough to make it to the meetup. As usual!!! Silly us, we always pledge to meet more often but never succeed in doing so because there will always be one of us who's not free.

Here´s what was on the menu

  • Cranberry scones with lemon curd
  • Tunisian farka
  • Chicken puffs
  • Mini pancakes with blackberries and maple syrup
  • Curd, granola, red berries and home made raspberry sauce cups
  • Multi layered peach and almond torte
  • Cheese and salami platter
  • Baked egg baskets (used the same recipe but baked small röstis in a muffin tray instead of cooking in the frying pan)
  • Mustard chicken bites with sweet n sour red sauce
  • Breads
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Fruit Juices

Okay please dont let your jaw drop too far after reading all this. It might appear too extensive and complicated but its not! All you need is a bit of planning and preparation!

One way that I like to keep myself organised is to decide the menu first, then print out the recipes for each dish. Then I type all the ingredients and set up a shopping list in Excel. The groceries are usually done two days prior to the main event - the decorating  stuff and serveware even earlier! When I’m cooking, I make sure not only to keep the printed recipes handy but also set my ipad up on the counter so that all tips and notes are at my fingertips!

A day ahead of time I
  • baked the almond sponge
  • prepared and refrigerated the lemon curd 
  • made the scones dough, cut them into shapes and popped into the freezer
  • soaked couscous in the sugar syrup, chopped and roasted the nuts for making farka
  • perpared fruit purees for the curd cups and torte
  • marinated the chicken bites and prepared the red sauce seperately
  • prepared filling for the chicken puffs
  • assembled the torte and placed in the refrigerator to set
  • placed drinks in the refrigerator to chill
  • ironed my dress and took out the matching accessories

Before taking the quick shower and getting myself ready for the guests this is what I managed to do

  • prepared choux pastry and baked mini puffs, filled them with the chicken mixture
  • spooned curd, berries, granola into cups/glasses
  • filled ramekins with the prepared farka and nuts
  • spooned red sauce into serving glasses
  • grated the potatoes and baked small nests in the muffin tray
  • baked scones
  • arranged the salami n cheese platter
  • prepared the pancakes batter
  • cleaned the living room and dining area (I couldve done that a day earlier..arrrrghhh)
  • set the table and co

When the first guest arrived, I was ready to bake the mini pancakes and throw the eggs in the oven.

The living room was full of humble, intelligent and ambitious women and my dining table was full of colourful goodness.

ladies brunch food ideas