06 October 2016

Crumble cake

Thursday, October 06, 2016 0 Comments
Ciasto drozdzowe z kruszonka



In Poland, we call it "ciasto drożdżowe", which literally means "yeast cake". It's often made with variety of seasonal fruit, but the simplest version is a bread-style cake, simply topped with sweet crumble. For some reason I was craving it the other day, so I had a go at making it.

There are plenty of recipes for this online, but I used one from my 1980s "Contemporary Polish cuisine" cookbook, that I took from my mum some time ago.



Ingredients:

Cake:
  • 500 g plain flour
  • 200 ml warm milk
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • 40 g fresh yeast
  • pinch of salt
Crumble: *
  • 50 g flour
  • 25 g butter
  • 25 g icing sugar

*I halved the quantities originally shown in the book, as this made way too much crumble for the cake


Preparation:

Place the milk, yeast and 50 g flour in a large bowl and mix well to make a leaven. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place to prove for about an hour. 

Separate the eggs. Whisk the yolks with sugar and add to the leaven. Add the remaining flour and salt, and knead the dough. Towards the end of kneading add the melted butter - make sure you let it cool down slightly. Whisk the egg whites and gently knead together with your dough.

To prepare the crumble, knead all the ingredients together.

Place the dough in a greased baking tin, up to about half of the tin's height. Brush the top with beaten egg and sprinkle the crumble on top. Cover and leave to prove for further 30 minutes or so.

Bake in 180C for about 40 minutes.






The cake is not overly sweet, and has a bread-like texture - it's best eaten warm, and great with a spread of butter or jam.

03 October 2016

Onion syrup - natural infection fighter

Monday, October 03, 2016 1 Comments
Colder days and nights, constant temperature changes during the day... Autumn is in full swing. For many it becomes a season of infections: colds, coughs... The three of us also fell ill last week.

Now, we do use medicines to battle our colds, but always try to support these battles with natural solutions like honey, lemons, ginger...

One thing that my mum always used to make when we had colds, is onion syrup. It might not be the tastiest thing ever, but I grew to quite like it. Onions have been used to fight infections for centuries, and being rich in vitamin C they can also help improve your immunity.





To prepare a portion of syrup, simply slice a large onion and sprinkle with sugar, which will release the juices. Let it sit overnight.




In the morning you'll have a portion of clear syrup. Take a spoonful as needed for your cough and cold. 



Store it for 1-2 days, then make fresh batch if needed.

It tastes quite nice and sweet, but keep in mind it does smell and taste of onions! Adam decided he didn't like it and spat his spoonful out - you can try keeping the nose closed while drinking it.

30 September 2016

Autumn apple cake

Friday, September 30, 2016 0 Comments
Days are getting shorter and colder, meaning we're getting hit by autumn after few really hot days last week. This will bring changes to our kitchens too.

Apple and cinnamon is just perfect autumn/winter combination, don't you think? There's something really warming and comforting about this flavour combo.


The other day I just really fancied baking. I was thinking apple and cinnamon muffins, but then realised I had no butter and going out to the shops wasn't an option at that time. Then I remembered I had a carrot cake recipe written down, in which the oil is used instead. Yay, I could make my cake after all!






Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tightly filled cup grated apple
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsb soda


Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they start forming soft peaks, gradually adding sugar and then egg yolks, one at a time. Add oil, grated apple and sifted flour mix. Combine well. Bake for about 30 minutes.

If you fancy, you can add some raisins and/or chopped walnuts to the cake, for some extra bite.




27 September 2016

Butter chicken

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 1 Comments
I must admit that I'm not that great when it comes to Desi food. It's only recently that I understood it needs time and a bit of patience, especially when making the base for the curries - can't tell you how many times Hubby stepped in to further cook down my curries that turned out too thin or had bits of undercooked onion floating inside...


One thing I think I'm pretty good with, is butter chicken. It turns out pretty well, because I always stand in the kitchen with my Indian cookbook open, and follow the recipe to the letter ;) Even though Hubby once told me to modify the cooking method, he always likes it so why change something that works?





Ingredients:
  • 150g natural yoghurt
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • good pinch of cinnamon
  • good pinch of ground allspice*
  • 5 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground
  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 onions
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 200 ml coconut milk
*The original recipe calls for Indian five-spice powder, but I happened to have ground allspice in the cupboard first time round, so I just ended up using that instead.


Preparation:

Mix the yoghurt, tomatoes, ground almonds, garlic and all the spices together. Add the chicken pieces and mix well, until all the chicken is coated. Leave to marinate in a cool place for at least few hours.

Heat the ghee in a deep pan. Add the onions and cook until browned. Tip I got from my Hubby: if you see onions browning too much too quickly, add some water to avoid burning and cook until soft.

Add the chicken together with all the marinade. After about 10 minutes add the coconut milk. If it's all too think, you can add some extra water or stock. Cook over a low heat until the chicken is cooked and the sauce thickens. 

Another pro tip: your curry is ready, when the oil comes out on top.


Serve with rice or chapatis.




02 August 2016

#AlhamdulillahForSeries - Muslim's Gratitude Journal*

Tuesday, August 02, 2016 1 Comments
(...) "Be grateful to Allah." And whoever is grateful, is grateful for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever denies [His favour] - then indeed, Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.
(31:12)


So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.
(2:152)


(...) Thus do We reward he who is grateful.
(54:35)

...


And so on - we are constantly reminded in the Quran to be grateful to Allah. But do we actually do that?

With our busy lives we probably spend the time worrying about the future, about getting things done, about finding a way to fulfil our daily needs. We might be taking things for granted, and rarely stop to think about what we actually have.

Team AYEINA came up with a great solution, for anyone to stop and count their blessings - a mini Gratitude Journal to be filled daily.



14 July 2016

Saying 'Bismillah' over non-halal food

Thursday, July 14, 2016 2 Comments
When Hubby and I started living together, it was obvious to me that there would only be halal meat in the house. It was early days and I was just starting to learn about Islam, so I did some research on halal food too. 

Before our first trip to Poland together I was searching for halal food there, and remember coming across a blog, where someone claimed that as they can't get halal meat, it's enough to say 'Bismillah' ('In the name of Allah') before eating - at that time Hubby just explained to me that it doesn't work like that.

Recently I came across this notion during a discussion on one of the Facebook groups, so I thought it would be a good idea to clarify the issue.


So, what is the truth?

12 July 2016

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Tuesday, July 12, 2016 0 Comments
We've been planning to visit the Zoo for quite a while now - we've been to one in Lahore, we visited the Kraków Zoo while in Poland, but we never got to visit any of more local ones! As we're in Bedfordshire, we're quite close to the Whipsnade Zoo, and London is not too far away, but we can hardly ever manage to get some time off work together - when Hubby works I'm home with Adam, and vice versa. 

Since we were celebrating Eid (marking the end of Ramadan) last Wednesday, we both took some time off work to spend the holidays together, and planned to visit the Zoo over the weekend. However, as it got sunny on Friday afternoon, we decided there's no point postponing it any longer, as we might not be in luck with the weather later on, so we quickly packed a few snacks and left for the Whipsnade Zoo.





20 June 2016

11 April 2016

My Revert Story

Monday, April 11, 2016 5 Comments
One thing I get asked a lot from my followers is for me to share the story of my conversion to Islam.

I've been meaning to write this for ages now, but I must admit I was a bit apprehensive due to all the negativity Islam gets. Yes, I do care what people think, and I can't help it. But I finally decided to do it.

Just to be clear - I'm not trying to convince anyone to do it. I'm simply sharing my experience, and explaining why I made this decision, because some people were interested.

So, here it goes.