Ramadan Kareem

Assalam alaykum,

Ramadan has been confirmed as starting on Wednesday (the rights and wrongs of virtually the whole world starting on Wednesday is a whole other subject) inshallah – Ramadan Kareem. Inshallah we will be able to make the most of this blessed month, by our actions, our fasts, our prayers and our duas. Inshallah these will all be accepted.

The weather in the UK is getting rather hot surprisingly meaning that we have gone from a fairly cold June to proper full on heat in July. On one hand this is great but with fasting in mind I know I am going to find it really tough.

While not fasting all I am thinking about is cool drinks. A variant on the watermelon ginger drink is 50:50 watermelon and strawberries in a blender, sieved and topped again with chilled sparkling water.

Something that I have become quite fond of over the past couple of years is Gazpacho – a chilled soup from Spain. If you think about it as cold soup there is a mental barrier to climb. However it is much more like a drinkable salad. I think this would fit in really well for iftari, particularly for the time between opening the fast and before pra ying magrib particularly if you follow the: open fast – have something to munch on – pray magrib – eat iftari way of doing things. This is filling as it contains water containing vegetables so it rehydrates which is very important at this time of the year. It is also gentle on the stomach. Importantly, it means that your body has something to process before you start eating properly.

As with many recipes, there are many ways to make this. I choose not to add bread in mine as a) I am gluten free and b)I don’t feel as the bread adds anything to the dish. Don’t add onions and spice to this as this will make it less of a drink and more of a spicy dip. You should be able to taste the olive oil and the vegetables. I, for one, will be looking forward to a cool glass of this tomorrow evening inshallah!

Gazpacho

For a small quantity (4 shot glasses) I used
2 medium ripe and juicy tomatoes – the reddest you can find
3 inches of cucumber
½ a pepper – colour is irrelevant
1 clove of garlic
a squeeze of lemon juice
2 drops of vinegar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For larger quantities I try and keep to the following proportions:

2 parts tomato
1 part cucumber
1 part pepper
Garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

All whizzed up in a food processor. I like to leave mine so that there are small bits to chew on rather than a fine puré. Keep this chilled in the fridge before serving. Resist the temptation to add ice cubes as this will just water down the taste. I serve mine in shot/small glasses with a teaspoon or when we have more people I place into jugs so that people can help themselves. Enjoy !!

Once again Ramadan Kareem, inshallah our duas will be answered. While fasting this month remember to remember those in our duas who we don’t know and will probably never meet but they are like us, muslims, fasting in extraordinary circumstances throughout the world uncertain as to what the evening will bring. May Allah (swt) ease their pain, give them stability, give them food, give them water, give them safety, give their children a secure future ameen. Finally please remember the orphans or children without families in your duas…their needs are far more greater than ours…ameen.

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