Sunday Thoughts

I’ve been doing some thinking about the blog and have made a few changes, including the theme which some may have noticed. I’ve also decided to add some more lifestyle and personal posts which I hope you will all like.

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One thing I’d like to do is to have a regular post to add some thoughts about how the week has gone, and interesting things that have caught my attention, such as great blog posts, progress in the garden, places I’ve been to or would like to visit or recipes I’ve tried. It will also help me to be able to look back on them all.

scones

We made two batches of scones this weekend, which the two younger children enjoyed helping with. I used the BBC Good Food recipe, which is reliable and straightforward.

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More crumbs ended up on the floor than in the bowl with this little one’s help, so he was dispatched to his dad after a little while!

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All three children love helping with baking, and it’s something we don’t do enough. Pancakes are made most weekends here but not quite as much cake as we’d all like!

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A bit wobbly round the edges, but delicious all the same.

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Good things this week:

Me Made May 2017 is underway, and I’ve managed to wear Me Made clothes most of the week! I realised I need more skirts and trousers to have a proper handmade wardrobe, as I haven’t made any of those so far.

My sister stayed with me for a few days as she’s come from abroad for a month or so. I got to babysit my adorable nephew while she went out to the theatre, he was a bit sad without his mum but at least let me give him some cuddles. We also went fabric shopping in Lewisham.

I had an article published on Amaliah.com on Fashion Revolution and making my own clothes. Please have a read and a look at the rest of the site which is full of great articles and fashion inspiration.

We did a bit more work on painting our fitted shelves and wardrobes, we might even finish one set by next week!

 

 

 

Eid Cookie Jar Gifts

Eid Cookie Jar Gifts

Eid mubarak everyone! This Ramadan has been challenging at times with the heat and a 6 month old but it has also been incredibly rewarding.

I made these cookie jar mixes to give as gifts when we visit family and friends this Eid. I used the Bakerella ‘Cowgirl cookies’ recipe, except that I used mini Cornish fudge pieces and white chocolate chunks instead of pink M&Ms and milk chocolate. I also used dark muscovado sugar in place of ordinary brown sugar.

To decorate, I used a Kilner jar (found at Wilkinsons) , printed out this instructions printable and stuck onto some scrapbooking paper. I also cut out a scalloped circle to use as a label and attached using some ricrac.

Next time I will try out an ordinary glass jar as I wanted to cover the top with some fabric, like an old fashioned jam jar (it’s not possible with a Kilner). I’m sure I’ll be making more of these in the future!

Baking :: Lemon Bars

These lemon bars are from Leon Baking and Puddings : Book 3. I do enjoy lemon desserts but reduced the amount of sugar in the lemon filling by 50g as I thought 350g sounded an awful lot! I’m glad I did, because they were still fairly sweet. The recipe itself is very easy, although making shortbread by hand is a bit time consuming. With a food processor, you could get the preparation done quite easily in 15 minutes or so.

A Lebanese Feast

I bought Arabesque by Claudia Roden about 6 years ago, and have cooked many dishes from it over the years. It is a one stop shop for Turkish, Moroccan and Lebanese cuisine, all presented with beautiful photography.

I recently finished some exams (i.e. no cooking for 3 weeks!) and have started to get over a series of colds, so felt up to the challenge of cooking something completely different. I had guests for Sunday lunch, so decided to plan a Lebanese style meal, to try out all those dishes I’d wanted to make from the book. I especially wanted to try Konafa, a cream filled vermicelli pastry I enjoyed in Egypt last year.

The full spread consisted of:

Stuffed aubergines with yoghurt sauce and pitta bread

Borek – filo pastry with lamb mince and pine nut filling

Filo pastry pie with chicken filling

Baba Ghannoush – aubergine and tahini dip

Tabbouleh – bulgur wheat salad

Hummus …

and Konafa for dessert.

The aubergine dish and filo pastry meat pies had the same filling – minced lamb with fried onions and pine nuts, seasoned with cinnamon and all spice. The tomato sauce is very easy to make – just chopped tomatoes with pomegranate molasses and salt and pepper. I added some passata which I had at home to give it a richer flavour.

The filo meat pies looked pretty with the yoghurt sauce sprinkled with dried mint, but were a little bland in flavour. Claudia Roden advises that the meat needs to be very well seasoned for the dish to hold its own, but I can imagine that an Indian version (with plenty of chilli!) would work better for my family’s palate.  The pastries themselves were quick to make, as the filling is simply rolled up in half a filo sheet and then coiled up.

Olives in an Anthropologie bowl 

Homemade hummus – the technique for this is very simple – a recipe is given below. The Aubergine dip is made in a similar way.

Baba Ghannoush – this is one of my favourite dips and one I thought would be difficult to make. In fact its very simple and looks impressive.

A close up of the filo meat pies 

There isn’t a decent shot of the chicken pie, which was the most unassuming dish, yet  the one enjoyed the most by my guests. The chicken filling took a long time to make, as it required 600g of onions to be fried slowly until caramelised, before adding the chicken, cinnamon, cardamom and sumac, a powder made from dried berries used in Middle Eastern cooking. The chicken would make  a good dish on its own to eat with rice or pitta bread as an accompaniment. The pie was assembled by layering filo pastry sheets brushed with butter to cover the base of the dish, then adding the filling, before covering with more layers of filo.

Hummus

Juice of 2 lemons 

4 tablespoons of tahini paste

1 large tin of chickpeas (400g) 

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

extra virgin olive oil

salt

Mix together the lemon juice and tahini in a large bowl, the tahini will seize and then soften again. Add chickpeas and garlic and blend. Add water if necessary to make a thinner paste. Season with salt, and pour into serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil.

Baba Ghannoush 

3 aubergines instead of chickpeas, otherwise ingredients as above. 

Prick aubergines with a fork all over, place under a hot grill until skins are blackened and the flesh is soft underneath. Cool and then peel. Leave the flesh in a colander to drain any excess liquid. Mix together the lemon juice and tahini in a large bowl, the tahini will seize and then soften again. Add aubergine flesh and garlic and blend. Season with salt, and pour into serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil.

NB The Konafa will be posted separately, if I can find a picture of it! I forgot to take one in the rush but my sister has promised to send me one.