Encouraging frugality is rewarding in my kitchen. I’ve never been one to waste food, let alone toss it away. I always scour recipes to prevent such a thing from happening in my kitchen. This particular baking session happened because of that opened jar of Lemon Curd which has been residing in the refrigerator for less than a year.
Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I thought to myself what a pretty galette. Instantly I wanted to make one too. I started looking at a few recipes to see how feasible it would be to bake one and blog about it too while managing Ali. I was going to spend the weekend at my folks place and figured I would have a few hours free from chores. I wanted to make my Pate Brisee crust from wholewheat. Most recipes I read said that it could be made unto 4 days in advance. So all I had to think about was fresh seasonal fruit.
The blessed month of Ramadan has is nearing to an end. It is a month of restraint, reflection and submission for one’s heart and soul. Being visited by the altering weather flu, coupled with a severe sprains, my wavering health had my blog going more quiet than usual. I started fasting at a young age.
I feel blessed life has given me yet another reason to cherish. It was a Friday Family lunch but not with the usual members. The gathering was the same, family trickling in after the Friday prayers, Umma’s fabulous Biriyani wafting through home and the little ones running amuck in the lawn under cloudy skies. It was my mothers family, her siblings and their children all gathered to welcome my maternal grandmother. Veramma has finally joined her family in the UAE.
Baking has become an addiction. The slightest indication of a family gathering, armed with my iPad, I’m ready to crank up the oven. It’s a routine I love setting myself into. I do wish I had more occasions to bake bookmarked bread, turnover, quiches, and flat bread pizza, but it’s cakes, brownies and puddings that are made often. I would attribute this to my native cuisine. The aforementioned savoury recipes would be best served for tea, never as a meal. The trinity that would complete a Keralite Muslim meal would be meat, either lamb or beef, rice and rice-based breads. The dessert course is my playground and the trend has been that I bake more than cook dessert. Last October for Eid, it was not different.
Pick up the English alphabet book and the chances you won’t see a bright red gleaming fruit are unlikely. I steer away from Green Apple being too tart for my taste. A variety I love having is the Fiji Apple. Its skin has faded tints of red and yellow and look quite large for an apple. The flesh crumbles in your mouth like shortbread and it’s mildly sweet.
A few months earlier this year, I received an email from Reem Falaknaz, an Executive Producer from Noor Dubai TV. To date, it is the most exciting email I have received from a visitor of my blog. She was planning on producing a series of cooking videos under 3 minutes, featuring desserts. These series were to be aired during the Holy month of Ramadan and the theme was desserts with a Middle Eastern take. I was boiling with excitement and called my husband at work right away. With his green signal, I promptly replied saying I would be thrilled to be a part of her project. I started devising ways to spin classic desserts the Middle Eastern way focusing on ingredients integral to Arab cooking. Walnut, tahini, rosewater, honey, figs – the list was endless. I proposed three desserts and Reem had the final say. She chose the dessert I had hoped she would – a dessert with dates.
Ramadan is in its last few days. This month has been testing with the scorching summer and long daylight hours. It also meant that there was more time for contemplation, building faith stronger and prayer. Thirst and hunger makes us grateful that with the luxury of food that satisfies both our appetite and fancy cravings while living in a world where hunger and malnutrition exist. What is heartbreaking is the wastage of food not only during Ramadan but throughout the year. Earlier this year, a women from Bihar, India sold her four-month child in hopes of feeding her family. A physically challenged husband meant that there was no income for this family of five. Having deep attachment and affection for my nieces, I cannot imagine the depths of despair that would have surged this mother that would force her to sell her child to satisfy hunger. A thought that multiplied gratitude in my heart infinitely.
Yes, YES! It’s that time of the month again. After quite a gap, Family Friday has come and my family came together for a sumptuous lunch catching up from where we left off last time.I love these weekends for far too many reasons. This is the when I get to visit my childhood home and be one, all over again. Umma will be doing all the cooking while I sit in the kitchen, yakking away and being of absolutely no help. Last winter, Umma gifted me a loaf tin. I vaguely remembered that I had bookmarked a recipe that called for one. When I did find it, I knew it would be a great recipe to try for a Family Friday. This recipe had no chocolate which is the primary reason a few elders refuse to try my baking endeavors. I know that lunch always carries onto tea and this recipe was perfect for the occasion.
March has been wonderful this year. My husband and I went on a holiday to the UK. We have family in Aberdeen who joined us in London for a few days before they became perfect hosts in Scotland. The Granite City is breathtaking with its abundance of nature, chilly-wind weather and lung cleansing fresh air. It was a refreshing vacation for the mind and the soul. On arrival in Abu Dhabi, the temperature was slowly rising. Last weeks’ sand-stormish spell was broken with much longed for rain. Unfortunately, this is the sign that summer is right around the corner and it is not long before we will be forced indoors because of the scorching heat.