EID Al-Fitr — Let’s Celebrate!

EID Al-Fitr — Let’s Celebrate!

Ramadan is over for another year. And Eid Al-Fitr is just a couple of days away. Eid Al-Fitr translates to ‘celebration or festival of breaking fast’ which you guessed it, is the celebration that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It’s a really special time of year. Perhaps a Muslim equivalent to having Christmas. For so many the day begins at local mosques with a prayer service and the act of alms-giving takes place. The rest of the day is then spent gathering to celebrate with family and friends. Every year at this time I try and make something sweet to celebrate the day because, let’s be honest, when we gather we spend the WHOLE. ENTIRE. TIME. Eating! Last year I made a Gingerbread Mosque (you can find the recipe via SBS Food here). The kids loved making this, in fact we made it a few times. This year I got a bit more ambitious and thought I would make a Mosque Cake. Something I had not tried before. Like usual I make big plans in my head. I visualise it. Decide on what’s needed & whilst in my head it all seems so easy peasy! I was planning on making all these cakes that I would layer and decorate to create this Mosque Cake creation. Unfortunately time has not been my friend (seriously, where has time disappeared this year!?) so I decided to go down the easy road. Instead I bought pre-made rectangle vanilla sponge slabs for the mosque and found a pack of round brioche buns that I thought would be perfect for the minaret. All...
RAMADAN WEEK 4 The Turning Point

RAMADAN WEEK 4 The Turning Point

  We’ve reached the final week of the fasting month of Ramadan. And whilst it always feels like it comes and goes so quickly, there are plenty of times when it feels like you’ve been fasting forever. I’m not sure about you, but I always find I get that ‘run down’ feeling at week 3.  I’m sure most mothers of young kids, especially, have thought this when trying to stay on top of work commitments, on top of household chores, kid’s schooling, sports, other extra curricular activities and of course having a wholesome meal ready for iftar! It’s not easy, I know! On these days perspective must come to play. Perspective is everything when fasting. Perspective of what we have and what we don’t. What we choose to do and what we have to do. What we are exposed to and what we are protected from. Perspective reminds us of what we so often take for granted. You know the simple, negligible stuff that we don’t think twice about. Stuff that so many others spend their life praying for – food, clean drinking water, health, shelter, safety. Perspective keeps us in remembrance of the less fortunate. Those who are forced to fast all year round because that’s the world they live in – whether it be due to poverty, war or famine. When we are at our worst we need to remember these people and be grateful for how easy we have it.  This realisation, this gratitude I find is the turning point of the month. The tough job, though, is to keep it in mind beyond the month of fasting. ...
Sweet & Savoury Bread – Ka’ik

Sweet & Savoury Bread – Ka’ik

If there’s one thing that my mother always has on hand when we go to visit, it would have to be these sweet breads. When I first started making these my daughter immediately said, ‘these remind me of Tata (Grandma).’ They love them and I love them, especially when they’re soft and fresh. In Arabic these breads are known as ka’ik كعك or baa’at (as they’re sometimes called in the part of Lebanon where my parents originate from). The word ka’ik literally translates to cake, which is why in different parts of Lebanon you will find different types of things that people call ka’ik. Now let me point out, they aren’t traditionally made as bread rolls. They are made as round flat breads (as in the image above, probably thinner), usually with a pattern pressed into it using a wooden mould. In my recipe video you will see me make it the traditional way using my sister Nadia’s recipe, but the rolls are my own little twist because…well, just because zataar adds oomph to everything! I hope you really enjoy these as much as we do. They are just perfect warm with a cup of tea and some labneh on the side! Print Sweet & Savoury Bread Yield: Makes 14 Ingredients 4 cups plain flour 1 cup warm milk 1/2 cup warm water 7g of dry yeast (one sachet) 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon daka spices* 2 tablespoon zataar 1 200g tub of cherry bocconcini balls Olive oil Sesame seeds for top (optional) Instructions In a bowl, combine the warm water and yeast and set aside until it activates and becomes frothy. In a...
Zataar Chicken

Zataar Chicken

Here’s a super easy and healthy marinade for your baked chicken breast fillets. I’ve been using a zataar & olive oil paste to baste my chicken for a while now and love it. It has a unique aromatic and tangy taste that pairs well with it. This can also be used with other chicken pieces or even a whole chicken too. But the breast piece has always been my favourite and one that I cook with most often. Print Zataar Chicken Yield: 5 - 6 serves Ingredients 3 - 4 breast fillet pieces (approx. 1kg) 1 tablesppon zataar 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves of garlic, crushed Juice & zest of 1/2 lemon Instructions Preheat oven to 180ºC Combine all ingredients in a bowl to create a paste Prepare and clean breast fillets and place in an oven tray Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked right through. Baste pieces a couples of times through out to keep pieces moist Notes Serve with a salad or roast vegetables 4.14 http://thelebaneseplate.com/zataar-chicken/ Recipe & Images © The Lebanese Plate...
RAMADAN WEEK 3 Let’s talk about staying in control….

RAMADAN WEEK 3 Let’s talk about staying in control….

We’re half way there Livin’ on a prayer Take my hand and we’ll make it I swear… I’m not sure quoting Jon Bon Jovi is the most appropriate for Ramadan haha but that shows you where my headspace is. Two weeks down and two weeks to go! Week 2 has been a lot easier than the first. Coffee cravings have not totally disappeared but they’ve certainly dwindled and I don’t find myself thinking about it as often. I think for most people, where fasting is not a norm, it comes across as odd…”you can’t even drink water!” The most common question I’m asked. No you can’t. No water. No food. From sunrise until sunset. And believe me it’s not as hard as it sounds. After years of fasting I really can see that the process is a lot more about mental training than physical. It’s about self-control and training yourself to see the world from a different perspective. As for food and iftar time, it does take a lot to keep foods you’ve been craving at bay. So what do you do? Well I’ve ask the expert for you! Here are Hiba Jebeile (Nutrition/Dietetics) top tips to manage your cravings…followed by the Ramadan Meal Plan for WEEK 3. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Let’s talk about staying in control…. As we approach the half way point, this is usually the time when all of your pre-Ramadan good intentions to eat well and not overindulge may start sneaking out the window. A combination of food cravings and increased food seeking behaviour are often to blame. While many believe cravings are your body telling you that you...
Guest Recipe by Amina Elshafei

Guest Recipe by Amina Elshafei

On this year’s Ramadan Menu Plan we have been trying to feature recipes from a number of talented bloggers and cooks from around the world. I’ve really enjoyed making their recipes for my own family, as well as photographing some of them too. This week we have special guest Amina Elshafei sharing one of her favourite recipes. We first got to know Amina when she appeared on Masterchef in 2012. My kids & I are huge fans of the show and right from the get go we became big fans of hers as she worked her way into the top twelve. I had the pleasure of meeting Amina in person at one of my recent #spreadhummusnothate events and to my satisfaction she was as warm and as charming as I thought she would be! So here is the recipe Amina very generously shared, which she says, “is one I love making at home for the family as it has elements of Egyptian and surrounding Mediterranean vibes.” I loved making this too and I’m sure you will also! Print Amina's Prawn Kofta Tagine Yield: 4 Ingredients For the Prawn Koftas 1kg fresh prawn meat (shelled and deveined) washed and drained of liquid; reserve heads 1½ tbs plain flour ¼ cup parsley leaves ¼ cup of coriander leaves 1 tsp minced garlic 1 small brown onion sliced into quarters 1 tbs olive oil 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest 1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp Arabic mixed spices (buharat) 1 tsp sumac ½ tsp chili powder (optional) ¾ tsp salt ½ tsp ground black pepper For the Sauce 2tbs olive oil 1 onion sliced...
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