Felt rather tired today but personally I find keeping busy in the kitchen helps the time to pass quicker so I am happy to stay there making a few things.
Today there was Algerian shorba again, vegetarian as it was last time but this time with tiny Orzo pasta (or Tli-tli as the Algerians call it) instead of burghul or vermicelli. There were some leftovers as well as mini pizzas that came out soft as little pillows, vegetable samosas as I made a double batch yesterday and cheese and potato Borek. A tip for the potato borek that I picked up from my dear sister-in-law is to use instant potato! Yes… the powdered stuff in boxes – remember the adverts for Smash in the 1970’s or early 1980’s??! “For mash get Smash!” So, I used about 120g of Tesco instant potato and about 550ml of boiling water, stirred well with a wooden spoon and then added a knob of butter and about 150g grated cheddar. I used this to fill the spring roll pastry and folded into logs. I slightly over-cooked them as you can see in the photo. 🙄
Dessert was Eve’s pudding but made with strawberries and raspberries instead of apples – this was served with rich chocolate ganache. It didn’t turn out quite as planned because I took a shortcut and used a supermarket cake packet mixture which was a bit too runny for this recipe. It was very tasty though with the tart, tanginess of the raspberries and the soft, sweetness of the cake. I didn’t think it really needed the rich chocolate sauce but my 15 yr old and 13 yr old daughters disagreed. Nice to have pleased someone!
Day 2 of Ramadan went well alhamdu Lillah with four of my children fasting: 15, 13, 10 and 7 year olds. My 4 year old decided at 11:30 to fast and she held out for two whole hours! I opted for a finger foods theme today. There was shorba already prepared that just needed to be reheated and to accompany, there were shop bought veggie samosas and shop bought onion bhajis (wasn’t able to buy samosa pastry to make my own samosa and borek until this afternoon), tuna rolls and cheese rolls, chicken nuggets and cous cous salad. No dessert today but there is always plenty of ice cream in the freezer for whoever has a sweet tooth!
For the cous cous salad, I cooked 1 cup of cous cous according to the microwave method mentioned here but omiting the final stage of adding ghee or butter. I left to cool and then added a good glug of Hellman’s French salad dressing then added chopped cherry tomatoes, olives, diced cucumber and 1 package of Apetina feta with garlic and green olives. (I normally add chopped sundried tomatoes too but have run out.) I mixed well and refrigerated.
1 cup dry cous cous
2 tbsp salad dressing
2 inches cucumber, diced
1 small tomato, diced or a few cherry tomatoes, quartered
For the little tuna rolls and cheese rolls – I drained 1 can of tuna in brine and set aside; beat 2 eggs with a splash of milk and set aside.
Next I took 10 slices of white bread, removed the crusts and rolled out flat with a rolling pin. I sprinkled the tuna over the bread, rolled up tightly and then dipped in the egg. The egg dipped rolls were then shallow fried in a few spoons of hot oil until crispy and golden. I made a further 4 slices of bread filled with cubed cheddar.
Day 1 of Ramadan went smoothly alhamdu Lillah and I had minimal cooking to do since I had prepared nearly everything the night before. My 13, 10 and 7 year old children were fasting so I had to make something they would enjoy breaking their fast on on and I also kept it simple. Nothing greasy that would upset tummies on the very first day!
I made Algerian Shorba but I didn’t use any meat and instead of burghul (cracked wheat) I used a handful of broken vermicelli.
For main course I marinaded some chicken drumsticks in Nando’s garlic Peri-Peri sauce overnight and then grilled them for about 40 minutes just before iftar. These were served with shop bought coleslaw and potato salad and potato wedges with their skins left on and rubbed with olive oil, minced garlic, Italian seasoning and sea salt – they were baked in the oven on 190C for about 45 minutes.
All I managed to prepare for dessert was orange Jello! Hopefully, I will make some better desserts as the month progresses!
Alhamdu Lillah, Ramadan is upon us once again and so the month of fasting commences.
I haven’t blogged for sometime so this seems the perfect opportunity to try to start up again. I can’t guarantee any new or exciting recipes since I am mainly catering to the palette of my children this year but, nevertheless I’ll try to blog what’s for dinner (or rather iftaar) or breakfast (suhoor) each day.
So, this evening the shorba has been prepared already for tomorrow and I have some chicken pieces in the fridge to overnight. This way, hopefully I will have minimal work in the kitchen tomorrow which will be our first day of fasting.
Rishta is the name for the soft Algerian noodles which are made with flour and water and then gently steam cooked. The stew that is served with them is very similar to that of cous cous. I added carrots into my sauce because the children don’t like courgettes or mooli however, this sauce usually would not contain carrots. It would contain chickpeas though… which forgot to add! 🙄
Saute the grated onion in the pan until it starts to take some colour and then add all the remaining ingredients plus about 1.5 litres of boiling water. Bring to the boil and cook until everything is soft. I used the pressure cooker.
In a couscousiere, steam the rishta noodles as you would steam couscous. I don’t have a couscousiere so I moistened the rishta with cold water and left for a while. Then I sprinkled with more water and microwaved it in a covered container. After 2 lots of 3 minutes in the microwave it was just as though it had been steamed.
Serve with meat and vegetables arranged over the top, some of the broth poured over to moisten the rishta noodles further and serve the remaining gravy in a jug.
So what to do when hubby brings home with an enormous amount of tomatoes, “because they were a good price” and no amount of salads will use up this glut of tomatoes?! 🙄 Go Algerian and make Tomatish Bil Bassal or in English, Tomatoes with onions.
Tasty dish perfect for summer when tomatoes are cheap and all you need is some French baguette or other crusty bread on the side to mop it up with. Simply delicious!
4 large onions, halved and sliced
a few small chunks of meat, preferably on the bone to impart more flavour – however much you want to eat, I used 4 small chunks which was probably barely 100g
1kg chopped tomatoes
1 green chili, deseeded (I recommend the use of rubber or latex gloves for this!)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Slice the onions and add them into a pressure cooker with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of olive oil, add the meat and stir fry for a few minutes until the meat is sealed.
Roughly chop 1kg fresh tomatoes and deseed 1 fresh green chilli. I’d recommend using latex or rubber gloves when handling the cut chilli.
Throw the tomatoes and chilli into the pot with the onions and meat. Add a teaspoon of salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, put the lid on the pot and leave to gently simmer for a while.
Liquid will start to come out of the tomatoes but after about 10 minutes add about a cupful or so of extra water and then screw on the pressure lid and leave on a low to medium heat for about an hour. Check the water level after about half an hour though.
The stew is ready when the meat is cooked through and tender and the onions are deliciously soft. Check for salt, add more if necessary.
When I saw this recipe for Constantine Brioches on Simplicity by the Sea, I decided to get the ingredients straight into the breadmaker and give it a go right away.
I found the addition of Nigella Sativa seeds and orange zest into the dough very appealing. I halved the recipe because I was afraid that 4 1/2 cups of flour may be too much for the capacity of my breadmaker – I think it would have been fine though. No sesame seeds on top of my buns though as I didnt have any.
The deliciously soft dough being cut and shaped into buns
Glazed with egg wash and ready for baking
Ready for eating!
Verdict: Really nice, simple recipe. The brioches were wonderfully soft and had a delicius aroma coming from the orange zest and the Nigella sativa just makes them seem healthy! Thanks Henia!