Thursday, March 17, 2011

Last minute cooking - just use your senses

Maximise time - use your senses

No time to shop for food so I rummaged through the freezer and found a small tray of shoulder lamb. That would be nice for a change. My fridge is almost empty of veggies. Did a quick sweep and ended up with 1 tomato, 2 carrots, 1 green capsicum. Threw in 2 large onions and little garlic and I got enough to make a quick lamb stew.

Healthy and tasty ingredients

Potatoes would be nice and I usually like a colourful mixture of yellow, green and red peppers. I also like pumpkin, parsnip, turnip and even green chillies for a little aroma. We should always have colour on our plates to get optimum benefit from the different foods Allah SWT has provided for us to maintain good health.

Have a colourful meal

This is sometimes neglected as its not cheap to buy a wide variety of colourful food. Carrots, green leafy vegetables, purple eggplant, tomatoes, oranges, lemons and beetroot and strawberries come to mind.

Zuhirah and international cuisine

This is not any particular Arab dish - just easy home cooking using readily available ingredients in the kitchen. My dear friend Zuhirah from Bermuda once served us a chicken dish similar to this - I think she also added coriander powder. And I still make her tasty bread pudding which is so delicious, hot and puffed, fresh from the oven.

That was over ten years ago but I remember good food experiences. If we are adventurous we can try to experiment to reproduce that special dish for our loved ones. We learn along the way and share with others who are interested. I am always impressed by the many people who generously share their ideas and recipes with strangers across the world. May Allah SWT bless you and keep you healthy and happy.

Really easy!

Its something one can do when we are short of time . So this was what I did :

Lamb Stew

Fry some finely chopped onions in olive oil in a heavy based pan. When it begins to brown and soften, add the 2 pieces of lamb and brown both sides. Add about half to one cup of water and throw in the veggies after 10 minutes of cooking. Cover tightly.

Spices and seasonings

Now add around 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp fennel, 1/2 tsp chili powder. Amounts vary according to our mood. Add some whole red chillies if you want it to be a little spicy. I also can also throw in 3 to 4 prunes or apricots, a slice of lemon and a large handful of blanched almonds. Add about 1 to 1 + 1/2 tsp rock or sea salt to taste. Simmer for another 20 minutes or until lamb is tender.

Just leave it to the vegetable to thicken naturally

I do not thicken it with flour as I want to keep it natural. Floury potatoes and extra onions will thicken the stew adequately. I like the soupy gravy as it good for dunking the garlic bread. Mmmmm....

Dinner tonight

This is just quick simple cooking. This is quite nice but not the real thing. Anyway I am looking forward to dinner tonight as I plan to serve the dish with ful medamas dip, crusty french loaf and some hot soup. Maybe pumpkin or mushroom.

Not always cheaper cooking at home

When I calculate the price, I do not save a lot when I cook it at home - cost of veggies have gone up tremendously. It is cheaper to eat out unless we opt for basic meals like stir fried veggies and a meat and soup at home. Eating at home is no longer cheap especially if we do not have time or mood to cook after a busy day at work - the deteriorated vegetables end up in the trash can instead of the cooking pot!

Switch off to destress

I prefer to switch off and do something relaxing to heal my tired mind and body. Right now I'm enjoying my beautiful morning, typing and looking at the beautiful green trees and open field in front of my patio. The sunlight is filtering through gently and birds singing. Its so calm and healing. I'm also feeling a little guilty because others are suffering physically and emotionally in far away lands. Say a silent prayer for them.

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