Mexican

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With a non fish eater in my house it means that when I do cook fish I need to cook an alternative substitute. I used to try cooking something vegetarian with fish as an extra but my non fish eater felt hard done by so now I just cook meat. Fortunately this recipe is sufficiently quick to not make you feel like you need to give up on eating fish because it takes so long to cook the meat. The fish is comparison is very light and if the thought of eating meat after a fastingjust puts you off this is the dish for you as it both flavoursome and light.

Chipotle Steak
The meat is meaty and the smokiness from the chipotle really infuses in to the meat. I would recommend putting the meat to marinade for at least 5 hours before you intend to cook it. In addition you need approximately 20 mins to cook it to well done and about 5-10 minutes to rest the meat. Despite the fact it is very tempting not to rest the meat it makes the difference.

Finally if you are in the UK, I used sirloin steak from Haloodies simply because I am very fed up of butchers claiming that a cut of beef is a specific cut and then it turns out not to be.

210g sirloin steak per person
1 tablespoon ground chipotle powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
10g butter
Sunflower spray oil
Aluminum foil

Place all the ingredients in a bag, mix around, seal, and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 5 hours. Turn the bag over from time to time.

60 mins before iftari put your oven on at 220 degrees centigrade and put your cast iron griddle pan in the oven. You need the pan to be extremely hot.

30 mins before iftari turn the heat down o 180 degrees centigrade then take the griddle pan out of the oven and put on to the cooker on a high heat. Remove the steak from the bag and place the meat firmly on to the griddle. Cook on each side for 3 mins then put the butter on the steak snd place back in the oven for approximately 10 – 14 mins. Check the steak from time to see if it has not dried. If it does look slightly dry just spray some spray oil on. When the steak is cooked take the pan out of the oven and wrap the foil in aluminium foil. Then cover in oven gloves/towels to keep warm. Leave the meat to rest for approximately 10 mins before serving. Slice thinly to serve.

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Sardines
These sardines are very light and require very little effort. While I baked the fish in the oven (more because the oven was on) you could easily cook them in a frying pan.

Allow 2 sardine fillets per person
olive oil
vinegar
corsely ground black pepper
Aluminum foil

Lay the fish on to the foil and sprinkle on the black pepper, followed by a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar. Then bring the foil together to create a pouch. 20 minutes before ifatri place in the oven at 180 degrees and leave to bake for 10 – 15 minutes.

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Vera Cruz Dip
In Mexico there is a place called Vera Cruz and they are known for serving a Vera Cruz sauce along with their fish dishes. Feeling not very inclined to do anything labour intensive I decided against making the sauce proper and instead turned it into a dip using the same ingredients. The end result is fantastic and is almost addictive. It worked very well with both the fish and the steak so in my mind this is a must make item!

2 teaspoon black olive paste
1 head of garlic peeled
2 chillis chopped
1 large spring onion
2 medium tomatoes
1 pinch of salt

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. This can be made ahead of time. Just cover and place in the fridge until you are ready for it.

Hasselback Potatoes
Ok so these Swedish potatoes aren’t strictly Mexcian but seeing as potatoes orginated in South America I think they deserve a place.
Potatoes
Sunflower spray oil

Simply start at one side of the potato and cut but not all the way down. Cut about 2/3 down. Then continue to make cuts at regular intervals all the way across the potatoes. Spray with spray oil and place on to an oven try for about an hour. The potatoes are ready when the cooked through and crispy on the top.

Along with all of the above I served our meal with:
Guacamole
Sour cream
Shredded mozarella
Lettuce
Corn tortillas

Although it sounds like a lot of sides they all help ‘pad’ out the meal so that it is not meat heavy for the people that didn’t want to eat meat.

Alhamdulilah we all enjoyed our meal and best of all if we had had some unexpected guests it would have been quite easy for the meal to stretch out and feed a few more. Alhamdulilah we are so lucky to have the choice of what to have for iftari especially when there are so many people in the world who are hungry, who have probably had nothing to eat for sehri and very little for ifarti. Inshallah make dua for those people that Allah (swt) provides them with food and makes things easier for them. In the mean time do not forget to give generously this month. Inshallah there are so many blessings to be had through the act of charity.

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Quick Turkish Pizza Lahmajun/Lahmacun

With the days being so long I’ve been trying to make things for Iftar that aren’t so time consuming or require less washing up; anything to save time. One of the things I did before Ramadan was to make up batches of cooked beef mince with spices and then froze it. Hardly rocket science in the land of tips but it does save time. I know it doesn’t take long to cook mince but sometimes its the combination of things in a recipe that makes things more time consuming. I tried to make the mince filled with spice and not heat so that it could be adapted to make things like Bolognaise etc.

So on to last night, I decided to go with Lahmajun (Turkish pizza). I have to be very upfront and say I really don’t like keema pizza and while in some parts of the world the keema pizza has a cult status I am firmly not a fan. To a certain extent while this does sound like keema pizza the end result was nothing like it. Tradionally the raw mince is spiced and then mixed with finely ground peppers. Generally people don’t put cheese on this which is why I think was willing to give it a go. As my objective was to save time I used a shop bought pizza dough and used my pre cooked mince (now defrosted) mixed with finely chopped peppers (done in a food processor) and fresh corriander. You need a ratio of 50:50 for the mince to peppers. The addition of the peppers makes the mince a lot lighter.

Simply roll out your dough, press on your pepper-mince mix and you are good to go! Cook the pizza according to the instructions on the dough then serve up wedges of lemon, a simple salad of onions and tomatoes. Before you eat pile on the salad and squeeze on the lemon juice! All is good!

I also made up a batch of guacamole to serve along with this as I wasn’t sure if the mince would be too dry. While it probably is extreme fusion it was a perfect accompaniment to the meal as there was none left! Enjoy!