Sehri day 1 and day 2

Asalam alaykum

Alhamdulilah the first fast has been and gone.

I have to admit I found it really difficult to wake up the first morning. The fact that I tried to eat porridge with a fork kind of says it all really!

In true Ramadan Dinners style allow me to share this Ramadan’s first sehri with you. I had: 2 x mini sehri omelette cups made with pepper and feta cheese ( 2 mini cups amounts to 1 egg), porridge cooked and cooled (I am very slow at eating sehri and find it easier to grab porridge from the fridge), fruit salad made with flat white peaches, kiwis, blackberries and chopped dates, Greek yoghurt and of course water. I worry that we won’t drink enough so gave us each our own jug of water to drink. It is easier to see how much a person has drunk. You could easily do this with litre bottles of water.

This morning saw me have pretty much the same as yesterday. The only difference being I really struggled to drink water. I only drank half the amount and hope I won’t be too thirsty by this evening.

The mini omelettes are fantastic as they contain protein and water containing vegetables, better still no oil/fat is used to cook them at all. One egg creates two mini omelettes. This recipe easily sizes up and is easily useable if you are alone. Just mix the eggs in a bowl, throw in some juicy looking vegetables, a little cheese, some herbs, be sure to omit salt as this will dehydrate you and make you thirsty.
6 Omelettes
3 eggs
1/2 pepper chopped
Feta cheese to taste
First mix the eggs in a bowl. Then place individual silicone muffins moulds (easier to take the omelette out) into a metal muffin tray (these hold the shape). To distribute the vegetables evenly I place them directly into the moulds and then put the mixed eggs on top. Bake until cooked. Normally it takes about 7 – 10 minutes in a 250 degree oven but you could easily put them in while something else is cooking. Once cooked take them out of the mould and when cool store them in the fridge.

Inshallah I pray our fasts will be accepted.

Mini Sehri Omelette Cups

When I was little it was quite the norm to have iftari late at night, it was high summer, and quite often those expected guests would turn into unexpected guests for sehri. Obviously there was nothing unexpected about them. Nonetheless I do have memories of my poor mother having to make fresh parathas and fry eggs very early in the morning. Now a days I just can’t stomach the thought of having to either for sehri, not to mention the head ache of handling gluten free dough!

Eggs have been in the press a lot recently. I guess more because of their change of image from cholesterol laden to near super food. Just look at what eggs contain:
1 egg contains 6 grams of high quality protein
9 essential amino acids
5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat,
The only food to contain naturally occurring vitamin D
(very important for ladies who fully cover),
Contains vitamin B12, which helps keep both hair and nails healthy.

I was sold. It was simple, eggs had to feature at sehri, but how? Frying just isn’t attractive, I don’t have the co-ordination or my full senses at sehri to boil an egg! So what???

I had come across mini omelettes before on a couple of blogs including this one , so I thought I would have a go too.

I decided to fill them with vegetables as vegetables are obviously low in fat and high in water content – essential for the summer fasts! Work the veggie combinations as you please. If you have a large family these are easy to prepare in advance or if like me no one else eats omelettes these are fantastic as they are quick and easy to make. They are easy to store in the fridge for sehri. If of course you have the unexpected guest these are a must! Prepare and bake them the night before and guests won’t be able to resist while you can relax knowing it took ever so little effort.

If you’ve ever been the unexpected guest for sehri no doubt, you have tried to claim that all you eat is bare the minimum: coffee and a biscuit? I don’t think so! If your host provides you with these please absolve yourself of any guilt and feel free to tuck in!

Finally I have omitted the use of any spices and salt simply because it is going to be hot and eating spicy/salty food can make you thirstier. Inshallah don’t forget to drink lots of water at sehri

Ingredients – makes 6 individual omelettes
2 shallots
50g green pepper
50g mange tout
25g chopped cheddar
50g goats cheese
3 eggs

1. Place the vegetables in a bowl
2. Break in the eggs and whisk
3. crumble in the cheeses and incorporate
4. In a metal muffin tray line the holes with 6 silicone muffin/cup cake cases
5. Pour the egg mix into the silicone muffin/cup cake cases
6. Bake in a 200 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the egg has set.

Sehri Bento

The bento was empty! After iftari last night I was absolutely shattered. I ended up falling asleep so much earlier than I thought I would. So sadly no bento, and it was sorely missed. As it was we woke up later than normal. Sehri saw us rush around trying to think of things for breakfast while all the while feeling very cold and half asleep. Fortunately the breakfast muffins were close at hand we were both able to have one of those. For the husband it was easy for him to make a cheese sandwich. However, being coeliac things are sometimes are harder, and I really couldn’t think of what to have so ended up with a small portion of white rice and kaufteh left over from a couple of days ago. Needless to say today I will try and make our sehri bentos slightly earlier so that if nothing else there is something to share!

Sehri Bento

Details of this mornings Bento are:

Pink Bento – gluten free
Chick peas and whole meal rice – the portion was far too big so I only ate 1/3
Pear and berry crumble
1 gf mini bread roll with butter (not pictured)
1 date

Clear Bento – gluten bento
Cheese bagel (later toasted)
Yoghurt with pear and berry crumble
1 bowl of cornflakes (not pictured)

Sehri Bento

Clear Bento – gluten free
Plain white rice
Keema (mince beef cooked with Pakistani spices)
2 gluten free mini cinnamon whirls
Pear and berry crumble, topping made with pure oats, gf muesli

Pink Bento – gluten free
Sehri Tortilla
Whole meal rice with chickpeas
Mini gluten free bread roll with humus
2 gluten free mini cinnamon whirls
Pear and berry crumble, topping made with pure oats, gf muesli
Plain live yoghurt

After having fasted today, both my husband and I felt that certain tweaks were needed in the contents of our bento boxes. My husband found 1 sandwich not filling enough, and decided that he wanted to have the left overs from our iftari for sehri. I find meat hard to digest in the mornings especially now that I am not exercising during the day. I felt that the whole meal brown rice had been a good idea but wanted a variety of things with different tastes to them.

Although I had made the pear and berry crumble for desert, I knew that it would be too big for one sitting and had thought about it adding to our breakfast. I therefore, used less sugar in the fruit, pure oats (pure oats are suitable for some coeliacs), a gluten free muesli which added grains, seeds and some dried fruits, I also used considerably less butter which gave the butter taste but used rapeseed oil which is a heart healthy oil to rub through the crumble.

Insh’Allah our fasts and duas (prayers) are accepted by Allah(swt) and that he rains his mercy on us.

Sehri Bentos

Hot off the press I can share the contents of the very first Sehri Bento boxes:

Clear bento box – Gluten bento contains:
Poppy seed roll filled with cheese and onion
Blueberries, Dates and Yoghurt all mixed together

Pink bento box (2 layers) – Gluten free bento contains:
¼ sehri tortilla (see below)
Muffin cup filled with whole meal rice and chickpeas
Muffin cup filled with yoghurt and dates

Inshallah a happy, safe, healthy, prosperous (for here and the hereafter) Ramadan to all my readers.

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 Bento

Bento boxes are known through Japan as being a lunch time meal containing so much more than an English packed lunch; no crisps, fizzy drinks or chocolate bars here, instead a filling meal sometimes made into the most ornate designs.

This year my husband and I have decided to make use of our bento boxes (although a normal Tupperware box would work) for sehri. This will mean that all our preparation will be done long before sehri ensuring a smoother morning.

Ideas for our sehri boxes include: a slice of tortilla/ wholemeal rice filled pie/ risotto, with a piece of fruit and a bread roll. Lots of items could be included, what ever you want. The idea is not to increase your work but more to make the eating of sehri as hassle free as possible.

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.

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.