Sehri Bento

Gluten free Sehri
Chick peas cooked into left over shorba
½ a muffin

Gluten Sehri
Bagel with cheese
½ muffin

This morning saw us slightly more organised in the sense that we actually knew what we would have before we went to bed. However I think it is more the holiday attitude of staying at my mums house for the weekend that some how neither of us feel it is imperative to have our bentos packed before sehri despite the fact that I brought them!

Although I have pictured a whole muffin each, when it came to eating it neither of us felt able to eat a whole one so instead we shared.

Pear and Berry Sehri Muffins

My mum has a pear tree in her garden. Every year without fail we are always left with a glut of pears, wondering what to do with them. After all there are only so may pears you can eat. With a windfall of pears after the recent rain, it seemed about time to start using those that had already fallen.

125g Sourghum flour
125g Doves farm gluten free flour
2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
50g caster sugar
2 teaspoons of honey
100ml of rapeseed oil
250ml of summer fruit filling shop bought
2 eggs
4 small pears

18 blueberries or any fresh berry that is an ingredient of the summer fruit filling
50g of pure oats (suitable for coeliacs or gf non oat porridge)

1.If the pears are hard (mine were) they may need some preparation. Wash and chop the pears into quarters and then slices. Place the hard pears into a shallow frying pan cover with water and put onto a high heat, then allow to simmer gently. Once the water has evaporated and the pears are tender then add in a little more water you may need to adjust this depending on if the pears are still hard) to deglaze the pan. For hard pears add 20g of sugar at this stage and once the pears are covered seem tender and shiny take off the heat.

2.If you have fresh soft pears, wash and slice the pears, heat up gently in a frying to bring out their own sugars.

3.Heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade

4.Line 6 holed muffin tin with muffin cases sprayed with spray oil

5.Mix the ingredients, fold quickly with a metal spoon and be careful not to over mix otherwise the muffins become hard

6.Divide the mix

7.Place the toppings on to the muffins: a sprinkle of pure oats or non oat gf porridge. Push in the berries into the muffins so that they sit firmly

8.Bake for 20 mins.

9. Store in an airtight container for a couple of days alternatively freeze.

Sehri = breakfast = actually means start fast

Twice today I was asked about the act of sehri. One question was from my (non muslim) mother in law who when asking what time the fast started went on to very confidently point out that,“ …you wouldn’t really get up at 3am and eat though…” needless to say she was very shocked to hear that YES we do get up and actually have a breakfast! Yes, I am sure we have had this very same conversation with her before!

It is very important for us to remember that time and time again, the prophet (pbuh) taught us, through his actions, to eat sehri. Syeduna Anas narrated that the Prophet (swt) said:

“Perform Sehri for verily there is barakah (blessing) in Sehri” (Muslim, book of Siyaam)

Further more the prophet (pbuh) said:

“Perform sehri, even if one sip if water for surely Allah(swt) and His angels send mercy upon those who perform Sehri” (Musnad Ahmad)

With such blessings bestowed upon the fasting person how can we not awake from the depth of sleep for sehri and begin our fast?

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 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.