What is in your freezer?

Pre Ramadan seems like a great time to go through the contents of your freezer. Through out the year the freezer accommodates a multitude of time saving ideas as well as left overs and more natural freezer items such as meat and ice cream.

Only a couple of weeks ago my mother in law came to visit and so in anticipation of the event I did, what can only be described, as a freezer audit. I went through absolutely everything in my freezer and realised that I had some useful things as well as items that had been left in there since we first moved in!

However in preparation for Ramadan I’ve been thinking a lot about what could make my life, as the cook of the home, easier. Ramadan should be a time for prayer. The focus of Ramadan should be our worship of Allah(swt), we should make the most of the time that the Shaytan is chained up to become closer to Allah(swt) rather than becoming weighed down with the obligations of a host.

So this year I have tried to ensure that my small freezer contains some essentials for me:

Chopped vegetables
Masala already cooked for kaufteh, meat
Moulded and cooked kaufteh (meatballs)
Lamb dishes already cooked
Some desserts

The idea behind this is not to cook for the whole of Ramadan in advance but rather to cook for days when I’m tired or we have unexpected guests or the unanticipated happens. I think of it as a savings account that I can dip into on a rainy day.

Sehri Tortilla

This year, my husband and I have come up with the idea of Sehri bento boxes, prepared the evening before hand, filled with a variety of things to keep us filled up for the long day ahead. Inshallah this should cause less of a last minute rush in the mornings while we are half asleep before fajr. However, the fun of bento boxes does come in the preparation and variety. It is therefore best to make up batches of things, cut into individual portions and bag them individually and then freeze so that they are easily reachable.

An important point to remember when making items for sehri is to make sure that you use less salt. Salt makes you thirsty and when you can’t drink it can be a problem. In this recipe I have omitted salt however you can add some to suit your taste.

4 boiled medium sized new potatoes
2 large mushrooms
1 red pepper
½ an onion
3 eggs
25g of cheddar chopped into thick slices
A handful of fresh basil leaves
Fresh thyme (leaves only)
Spray oil
Normal cooking oil

1.Boil the potatoes, allow them to cool, before slicing them and placing them into a medium sized mixing bowl.

2.Slice the mushrooms, cook using spray oil in a small (8 inch) frying pan and then set aside in the mixing bowl with the potatoes. The frying pan should be an oven proof frying pan.

3.Slice the onion cook with spray oil, until golden and then add to the potatoes and mushrooms.

4.Dice the red pepper into 1cm pieces and cook with spray oil until the peppers are cooked but have retained some of their bite. Remove the pepper from the frying pan but do not place with the other vegetables.

5.Mix the three eggs, sliced basil and thyme into the potatoes, mushrooms and onion.

6.Cover the frying pan with a thin layer of oil (I used rapeseed oil, but any light cooking oil would do). Now return the pan to the heat and return the peppers to the frying pan, making sure to have an even spread covering the surface of the pan. Now pour in the egg mix into the frying pan.

7.Allow to cook on the stove for approximately 5 mins or until the edges have set, then push in the cheese on to the surface of the tortilla so that the cheese is slightly below the surface in some areas.
Finish off in a hot oven (200 degrees) for 10 mins or until the eggs have set in the centre. Remove from the oven.

8.Allow to cool before placing a plate larger than the frying pan. Place the plate on top of the frying pan and then flip over so that the frying pan is on top. Remove the frying pan, and slice into quarters. Allow to cool fully before wrapping individually and then placing into the freezer.

9.To defrost the tortilla remove the evening before required and place in a fridge so as to allow it to defrost fully and slowly.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation!

Earlier this week I was sent a link to a website where the writer had been thinking a lot about preparation in terms of Ramadan. While most people ring around their friends arranging Iftari parties this lady has the good sense to organise everything about Ramadan. When I say everything I mean absolutely everything. A lesson I know that I can definitely learn from. She has covered all the bases from an annual Ramadan clear out to a dua list to learn. Inshallah it is definitely something worth sharing with everyone. What a wonderful idea.


Ramadan is coming!!!

With Ramadan just around the corner and in anticipation of this have decided to photograph our iftari every night and perhaps share a few foodie ideas.

To get the ball rolling I thought I would share a wholemeal rice pie filled with vegetables and cheese. This is ideal for sehri, where you’ve eaten alot the night before, can’t bring yourself to eat but know you will be hungry during the day. The wholemeal rice is essential as its slow burning properties will allow you to make it through the long days. This can easily be made in advance and kept in the freezer or fridge.

For this I had some whole meal rice (about 2 cup fulls of cooked whole meal rice) in the freezer which I defrosted, then bound together with egg and a pinch of herbs de provence. Once mixed together I just pressed it into a cake tin and then put it in the oven for 10mins at 180 degrees. The objective is just to set the rice.

Place a very thin layer of pesto on to the pie crust. Next up the vegetables, I had already pre grilled some peppers, courgettes and aubergines. Then just cut them into chunks, add in some chunks of feta, pepper and fresh tyme and basil, followed by a little olive oil. Then stir in two eggs. Pour into the whole meal rice pie crust. Just before you place in the oven slice up some mozzarella and dot around the top. Cook in the oven for 30 mins or until the egg is completely cooked.