Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Just waffling...

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I have had my toasted sandwich maker for a while now; it has 3 sets of plates for making toasted sandwiches (croques monsieur), grilling meat and making waffles. It is only recently though that I decided to try out the waffle irons and actually make waffles that I used to enjoy in the UK so much! It was well worth it and the children love to have them for breakfast and in their school lunchboxes.

You need:

1.75 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1.5 cups milk
3 eggs seperated
7 tablespoons oil (105ml)

(1 cup = 250ml)

Sift the dry ingreds into a bowl, add the egg yolks, oil and milk to the dry ingreds and beat well to ensure there are no lumps. Give it a quick beat with electric beaters if it looks too lumpy.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and then carefully fold into the batter.
Lightly grease and heat up the waffle iron and then using a soup ladle, pour about 1 ladleful into the waffle area. Cook for 4 or 5 mins until golden.

Delicious with golden syrup (my personal favourite), Nutella, jam and loads more! Keep them in a tub in the fridge and if you like them a bit crispy just pop them in the toaster for a couple of minutes before eating.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chocolate cream eclairs

A delicious recipe for chocolate coated, cream filled eclairs.

Ingredients for the choux pastry:

2 cups water
3/4 cup butter
2 1/4 cups strong all-purpose flour, sifted
6 eggs

1. Place water and butter into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and throw in the flour in one go and beat well until dough comes away from the edges of the pan.

3. Allow to cool a little and then using and electric whisk beat in the eggs two at a time until you have a smooth and shiny mixture as in the photo below.

4. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a plain, wide tip. My bag has a plastic end on which to screw on metal tips so I just left it with no tip and piped like that.

5. Grease a cookie sheet and then sprinkle on a little water.

6. Pipe eclairs 2 inches long onto the cookie sheet as below.

7. Bake in an oven preheated to 375F for about 25 mins: until they are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before filling and icing.

8. For the filling you make a creme patissiere or simply whisk 300ml whipping cream with a little sugar. Spoon the whipped cream into the piping bag. Make a small slit in the side of each eclair and pipe in a little of the cream.

9. Now for the frosting:
4 tablespoons butter/margarine
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup icing/confectioners sugar
Melt the milk and butter together and then stir in the sifted sugar and cocoa and mix well. Allow to cool and then carefully spoon onto the top of each eclair. Refrigerate to allow the frosting to set and then let the kids loose!

If you want to make creme patissiere the recipe is as follows:
2 eggs
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons corn flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
Beat the eggs and sugar until creamy, add the cornflour. Heat the milk until not quite boiling then pour over the egg mixture beating constantly. Transfer to saucepan and cook on gentle heat, stirring constantly until thick. Stir in vanilla and remove from heat. When cooled pipe into eclairs as above.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A poem to share

A poem by Nigerian poet and author Ben Okri that I would like to share. It is a poem I first read back in the early 90's. The beauty of his words and the wisdom contained in the poem have stayed with me. :)

To an English Friend in Africa

Be grateful for freedom
To see other dreams.
Bless your loneliness as much as you drank
Of your former companionships.
All that you are experiencing now
Will become moods of future joys
So bless it all.
Do not think your ways superior
To another's
Do not venture to judge
But see things with fresh and open eyes
Do not condemn
But praise what you can
And when you can't be silent.

Time is now a gift for you
A gift of freedom
To think and remember and understand
The ever perplexing past
And to re-create yourself anew
In order to transform time.

Live while you are alive.
Learn the ways of silence and wisdom
Learn to act, learn a new speech
Learn to be what you are in the seed of your spirit
Learn to free yourself from all things that have moulded you
And which limit your secret and undiscovered road.

Remember that all things which happen
To you are raw materials
Endlessly fertile
Endlessly yielding of thoughts that could change
Your life and go on doing for ever.

Never forget to pray and be thankful
For all the things good or bad on the rich road;
For everything is changeable
So long as you live while you are alive.

Fear not, but be full of light and love;
Fear not but be alert and receptive;
Fear not but act decisively when you should;
Fear not, but know when to stop;
Fear not for you are loved by me;
Fear not, for death is not the real terror,
But life -magically - is.

Be joyful in your silence
Be strong in your patience
Do not try to wrestle with the universe
But be sometimes like water or air
Sometimes like fire

Live slowly, think slowly, for time is a mystery.
Never forget that love
Requires that you be
The greatest person you are capable of being,
Self-generating and strong and gentle-
Your own hero and star.

Love demands the best in us
To always and in time overcome the worst
And lowest in our souls.
Love the world wisely.

It is love alone that is the greatest weapon
And the deepest and hardest secret.

So fear not, my friend.
The darkness is gentler than you think.
Be grateful for the manifold
Dreams of creation
And the many ways of unnumbered peoples.

Be grateful for life as you live it.
And may a wonderful light
Always guide you on the unfolding road.

March 1991 Ben Okri

I think the author pretty much summed up how we should behave as Muslims although I doubt that he realises it. ;)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tagged #2 'Let's Hope'

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


Tagged by: American Muslima Writer


1. ON your blog, post the Rules & 10 things you have HOPE for in your life.
2. LINK Tag 10 people (we want hope to spread people!) and LINK the person who tagged you.
3. Comment/Notify the 10 People they've been tagged.

10 Things I HOPE for in my life:

1. I hope to avoid the punishment of the grave and reach Jannah

2. I hope to be able to bring up my children worshipping and loving Allah and being contented in their deen

3. I hope to have a family that always maintains strong ties wherever we may be on this earth

4. I hope to be able to settle down eventually in some nice quiet rural location, whether in the UK, Algeria or elsewhere and be able to concentrate on my deen

5. I hope to be able to perform Hajj and I hope for that to be a life-changing experience for the better that never leaves me

6. I hope to be able to become more eloquent and able to explain myself so I can make better, more effective dawa to my family

7. I hope to learn more Qur'an, become more fluent in my reading of Qur'an and to be able to more fully implement what I read into my and my family's life

8. I hope to see the day where Muslims are able to stand up for themselves more effectively and unashamedly and make their voices heard

9. I hope to be able to behave in such a way as to be a good example of Islam to others: my children and strangers alike

10. I hope always to grow in my faith and improve myself

I'll tag 5 people:

Aliyah Let's Hope

Ammena Let's Hope

Digital Niqabi Let's Hope

Sonya Let's Hope

Umm Yehiya Let's Hope
Update June 3rd: Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who I tagged for obliging and making a list also! Follow the 'Let's Hope' link next to the names above to see the list on the other blogs.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Rains in Riyadh...

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

It rained yesterday afternoon! OK, so admittedly it wasn't exactly a torrential downpour however, coming from the UK where rains are frequent (and not always entirely welcome), there was a certain charm to be had, sitting in the car stuck in weekend traffic with the rain drops coming down on the windscreen and the skies changing from the sandstorm orange we have become accustomed to of late to a more UK-reminiscent grey. =)

Funny the things you miss when you are away from your own country - sometimes it can be the very things you thought you were escaping from that (metaphorically speaking) 'brighten your day'!

Edited to add: More rain today, not a lot but still... ;) A bit of thunder and lightening too, yay!