Greetings, Inshallah this is the first of many posts I am able to share with you. Before we progress I would like to thank HaloodieFoodie for allowing me the opportunity to use this fantastic forum.
At this point it would be appropriate to put my culinary journey into context. In 1987, I moved away from home to study at university. It was the first time I came ‘home’ to an empty flat and the absence of the glorious smell of delicious home cooked food. Although, I did received a steady supply of ready-made spice mixes from my beloved mother, three years of trial and error gave me a thorough grounding into the road that lay ahead.
After graduating, my journey took an unexpected twist when I linked up my family to launch an Indian restaurant – this we successfully ran for twelve years, I enjoyed every moment, even though it was excruciatingly hard work, moreover the unsocial hours impacted on my family life.
Travelling and sampling different cuisines has really enhanced my understanding of food, this has played a key role in developing my skills that I have embraced. Over the years my travels have taken me to France, Italy, North Africa, South Africa, Middle East and of course India. To appreciate food you have to enjoy it, the enjoyment is even greater if you can try making it and sharing it!
Let commence with this simple starter – I love sea food and nothing annoys me more than having to eat over cooked prawns. Prawns and most other seafood are very delicate and are to be treated with care, over cooking any seafood will ruin the enjoyment of “fruit de mare” – Fruits of the sea.
To serve 4 people as a starter you will require the following ingredients:
24 headless king prawns with Shell
4 cloves of garlic
Fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish
40g of butter
3 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 red chilli or a pinch dried chilli flakes (or more if you like it hot) – this is totally optional but I do like the chilli kick
Step 1 – Prepare your prawns, when using king prawns I always make sure that they are de-veined. Wash and allow to dry before placing them in baking dish.
Step 2 – Peel and finely chop the garlic. Now scatter the garlic, olive oil and the butter over the king prawns.
Step 3 – Wash your fresh lemon in hot water and dry, grate the lemon and collect the zest.
Step 4 – Add seasoning to your king prawns, salt and pepper to taste and the lemon zest.
Step 5 – Add the chilli (optional step) and mix the king prawns will all the ingredients.
Step 6 – Bake the king prawns in a pre-heated oven at 190o C / gas mark 5 for approx. 12 mins. A good indicator that the prawns are cooked – the shells will be pink in colour.
Step 7 – Garnish with finely chopped parsley and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Ready to serve with a thick slice of tiger bread!
Hope you are able to try this simple and very tasty recipe. Your feedback and suggestions are welcome.
So you’ve woken up the kids for School on Monday morning. You know full well, they’ve slept late on Friday and Saturday and just didn’t want to sleep on Sunday…
The kids are moaning and don’t want to go School. ARGH… Your husband has long departed for work… No help forthcoming…Slowly the kids drag themselves to the bathroom, freshen up and make their way to the kitchen…… One child has misplaced homework, the other has a mix match of socks.
Who’d be a mother???
You’ve prepared a simple breakfast…However, the kids start annoying themselves and you have to threaten them with ‘I’m going to tell your Dad!’ The cereal has gone soggy, the kids don’t want to eat. You have to resort to treating them as if they are members of the Suffragettes.
You quickly make their sandwiches by bringing together whatever you can get your hands on. You proceed to fill lunchboxes with the food and drink required through the day.
You have to drag them to School before you hear the dreaded bell that signals the start of the day.. You don’t want be reminded again about their punctuality record from the schools’ senior management team.
Relief descends, quickly followed by peace. Well, for a few hours until they return.
The day goes faster than you expected….
HORROR strikes, as you’ve picked them up…
The sandwiches you’ve expertly prepared during the hectic morning have now come back!!! Kids too busy playing at Lunchtime to eat. What now???
At home we have a policy of ensuring the kids eat to their packed lunch.
They cannot eat whatever has been prepared for tea without firstly eating their leftover lunch. Sandwiches don’t store well and they will undoubtedly be soggy, So how I do i proceed??
Simply use a hot griddle pan to breath new life into the soulless leftovers.
Since the mid 90’s, my mother was presented with a cook book by a friend. She is a great cook and I cannot recollect her using it for any recipes. The Indian Delights book by Zuleikha Mayat still resides on the kitchen shelf and is in immaculate condition.
Its an excellent read and has stood the test of time, the first edition of the book was published in 1961!!
No Gujarati household is complete without a copy (even if they don’t use it!). My copy is the Thirteenth Edition from 2007!
One recipe really comes to mind, Dum ka Gosht, or Smoked Mutton. Mrs Mayet cooks a relatively straightforward mutton curry. Now here’s the innovation (well 1960’s innovation). She makes space for a small metallic pot which is placed inside the main cooking vessel. Red Hot Coal is placed into the pot with a 2 tablespoons of oil/ghee. The oil evaporates on contact with the smouldering coal which results in a plume of smoke. The pot is closed and sealed with a damp cloth and left for 30 mins. The outcome is a mutton curry infused with a delicious, smoky flavour.
The black and white image in Mrs Mayet’s book is really striking. I’ve always wanted to try out the recipe but was dissuaded by the Red Hot Coal! Also, how am I going to light a single piece of coal?
My EUREKAmoment came whilst walking down a windy High Street in North London. I walked past a Shisha/Hookah shop.
Swift-Lite charcoal is a fast lighting coal conveniently packed in foil.
Buoyant with my idea, I quickly made for home to try out this new concept.
I simply added a fully lighten hot shisha coal to a ramekin containing ghee. I’m sure you’ll agree that the results are quite impressive. This resulted in the food developing a subtle, smoked flavour, which is not overwhelming.
I hope you enjoy the post, please don’t forget to subscribe and keep updated with the work of the Haloodie Foodie!! @haloodiefoodie
Growing up in a fast developing halal scene, I had my fair share of burgers and doner kebabs. The £2 burger and chips craze came, stayed for a while and went…
The era of mechanically retrieved, horse DNA infused beef Quarter Pounders is dead.
People are now craving for a new breed of burger. They query the quality of the beef and whether the burger patties are hand pressed?
I’ve been keeping this recipe up my sleeve since last Summer, I feel its time to release it to the masses. If I had a penny for every burger recipe request, I’d be giving a lot more zakaat this year!!
So, if you own a gourmet burger joint, look away now and I apologise for the lack of customers in advance!
Welcome to the Gourmet burger revolution…. Haloodiefoodie style.
Burgers are made from beef!!
Real burgers are beef, not lamb, mutton or chicken. I’m aware that some may have a cultural aversion to beef, however if you want the best tasting burgers you’ll need the correct ingredients.
Use a good quality beef mince, 80:20% Beef mince to fat ratio. The fat keeps the burgers moist. Too much fat and the burgers will taste greasy and may even break up when cooking. I usually get the butcher to mince a steak (Chuck steak is best). Don’t settle for pre-minced Beef unless you have complete confidence in your butcher.
The best burger joints use 28+ day aged beef, which elevates the taste and texture of the patties. If you know a of a respectable halal butcher who dry ages beef. Please forward detail to me!
DO NOT WASH THE MEAT!!!
It’s against the traditional teaching of Indian mothers but trust me you have to throw away the rule book for these wonderful tasting burgers!!!
HaloodieFoodie Gourmet Burger recipe
2.25 kg Beef mince
Using wet hands shaped into 5.5-6oz patties around 2cm thick with a piece of brie sandwiched in the middle.
That’s it!!! This recipe will give you the most moist, flavoursome burgers you’ll ever taste.
Ok, I’m an Indian!! Mrs HaloodieFoodie refused to eat unwashed and unseasoned burger patties! Certain cultural, culinary attitudes seem to be innate. Here is the recipe for my indianified gourmet burgers, suitable for all indian palettes including my honourable parents.
Lightly combine all the spices at least an hour before cooking. Don’t mix too thoroughly! You are making a burger and the texture is important, otherwise your burger patty structure will become more like a sausage or meat loaf.
Using wet hands shaped into 6oz patties around 2cm thick with a piece of brie sandwiched in the middle. This technique helps to cut through the meatiness of the beef. Remember to lightly pack the patties, you don’t want a dense patty structure. Place the patties on a tray and chill until its time to cook, don’t freeze!
The most observant of you will realise that the I have omitted salt! The patties are to be salted prior to searing. I cannot stress the importance of this step. It help ensure the structure and moisture of the burgers.
Drizzle 3-4 tablespoon oil onto a griddle pan (or frying pan) and heat on medium until the oil starts to smoke slightly. Season first side with salt just before putting burgers onto the griddle pan and second side just before flipping the burgers. Listen for the sizzle. Cook for around 5 mins, check for a brown crust. This is caused when the protein is heated. Its called the maillard reaction and results in a slightly charred, smoky and caramelly taste..
These burgers are quite delicate, therefore avoid temptation to flip. Flip only to change sides. DO NOT SQUEEZE!! We are trying to retain the moisture, please don’t force it out. The patties should be medium and should have a thin layer of pink in the middle. Don’t worry it’s cooked!! But if you can’t resist double checking, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature has reached 70°C.
2 minutes before the end of searing add your cheese. Use whatever cheese you like. I personally prefer gouda because it melts well and has a subtle flavour. Rest your burgers for 2 mins while you heat up buns or any other accompaniments.
Choice of Bun
Gourmet burgers are incomplete if the quality of the buns does not match the quality of the meat. Brioche is an enriched bread made with eggs and butter. It’s quite a durable bread which can stand the rigours of a big patty and multiple toppings. Sourcing brioche buns can be difficult. Try your local independent bakery. Those residing in East London can pre-order from Rinkoffs Bakery in Whitechapel.
A burger is a blank canvas, you can add whatever you like. Dont be frugal!!!
Slow caramelised red onions, ketchup, turkey rashers, sweet chilli jam (See my instagram post for a recipe), guacamole, salsa, halloumi, mayo, mustard, little gem lettuce, rocket, jalapeno and whatever else tickles your fancy.
Just ensure that the flavours are balanced.
This was my menu for a recent event during Gourmet Burger night at HaloodieFoodie Dining
1. Classic HaloodieFoodie burger
Toasted soft fluffy brioche, 7oz beef patty stuffed with brie, caramelised red onions, cream cheese and sweet chilli jam, turkey bacon rashers, gouda cheese with fresh crispy little gem lettuce.
2. All Dancing and Singing Mexican Nàchó & Gàwo Burger
Toasted soft fluffy brioche, 7oz beef patty stuffed with brie, caramelised red onions, sweet chilli jam, Bajan Scotch bonnet chilli Sauce, gouda cheese with fresh crispy little gem lettuce… Served with tempura chilli’s.
All our burgers are served medium/rare to ensure a fantastically succulent beef patty and served with seasoned French fries, Tempura Gherkins with blue cheese dip, Onion rings, and a selection of house sauces.
Dessert: Hot Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with extra toffee sauce.
I hope you enjoy the HaloodieFoodie version of gourmet burgers, please don’t forget to subscribe and keep updated with the work of the HaloodieFoodie!!
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Ramadhan and my Summer Sabbitical are both over and its BBQ season in the haloodiefoodie household again… Well actually – I’ll consider any excuse or season for a good BBQ.
You’ll be a recluse if you don’t enjoy cooking over smouldering coals or a red hot gas grill.
The bane of cooking chicken al-fresco is that fact that we tend to over-cook our meat.
I’ve even heard…’If its not burnt, it not BBQ!!
Ok – so here are the typical challenges of a good BBQ:
BBQ Does Not Mean Cooked Meat With Some Black Char
Dehydrated Meat: There’s nothing more criminal than a dehydrated piece of chicken!!!
Deceptively Dangerous: The inside of the meat is never cooked properly and in some cases – deceivingly dangerous e.g. when it looks cooked on the outside, but the meat is still uncooked inside.
Flavourless: Another issue is the marination technique, the flavours just don’t penetrate through into the chicken. Some compromise by making large unsightly gashes across the flesh of the chicken, which is effective as a marinating technique, however can add to the dehydrating effect.
BBQ chicken should be succulent and juicy. There should be no need to douse your chicken in all manner of sauces in an attempt to rehydrate!!
In this post I will aim to tackle both of these issues and show you method that my family has perfected over the years.
Introducing Beer Can Chicken… Er… OK before I get lynched on Social media… and Edward Snowden leaks my name and address on WikiLeaks… Lets re-brand…
Introducing ‘Ginger’ Beer Can chicken….
BBQ marinade This is one of my favourite BBQ marinades. It has a sweet fruity flavour with subtle hints of chilli, garlic and ginger. The mint and coriander provide a pungent yet fresh edge to the marinade.
½ cup Tomato Ketchup
4 Tablespoon Greek Style Yoghurt
One orange, de-seeded and sliced
1 large spoon Olive Oil
One large apple
5 dried apricots
Juice of half a lemon
1 Teaspoon Garlic paste
1 Teaspoon Ginger paste
1 Teaspoon Chilli paste
½ teaspoon Dried Red chillies
1 Teaspoon Chilli powder
1 Teaspoon Smoked paprika powder
1 Teaspoon Dark Muscovado Sugar
1 Teaspoon Runny honey
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup fresh mint leaves
½ cup Fresh coriander
For 4 whole chickens, with skin. The chicken skins seals in the moisture and the meat remains juicy.
Blitz everything in a blender to reveal a bright, smooth orangey marinate.
Now for the innovation…
We need to get the marinade into the chicken without making large incisions in the flesh. I took my inspiration from seeing jam been injected into doughnuts at my local bakery. Eureka!!
We need to inject the marinade into the chicken.
Marinate the whole chicken by injecting in the breast (top and bottom), wing, thigh and leg on both sides
Cover the chicken with the rest of the marinade and leave to marinate in a fridge for a few hours or preferably over night. Make sure you remove the chicken from the fridge a few hours before cooking.
For this recipe you’ll need a hooded BBQ, you could use a charcoal or gas BBQ. You also need an empty can of fizzy pop.
Light your BBQ and ensure that the grill is at an optimum temperature (the coal has a white covering of ash).
Whilst waiting for your BBQ to reach optimum temperature. Make a few holes in the side of the can using a sharp knife. Fill 1/4 of the can with a liquid, any ‘halal’ liquid will do!!
In a separate tray, place the chicken on the can, with the can sitting in the cavity of the chicken. So the chicken will be standing up on the tray. It can be quite tricky to balance the chicken. We use special chicken holders, but I’ve used cans only and it works well. See pic.
Spoon any left over marinade over the chicken
Place your chicken on the BBQ. If you using a charcoal BBQ, push the hot charcoal to the side of the BBQ (using appropriate equipment) and stand the chicken on the grate on the opposites side. Therefore the chicken is not directly underneath the coal. This method of BBQing is called indirect cooking. If you are using a gas bbq, make sure that the burners directly underneath the chicken are off and the burners to the side(s) are 3/4 of maximum. Close the hood of the BBQ.
Cook for around an hour, depending on the size of the chicken. You can check by making a small incision in the chicken breast ensure the the juices run clear.
Use two forks to pull the chicken away from the can. (Be careful).
8. Enjoy the most mouth-watering, scrumptious BBQ chicken you’ve ever tasted. You wont go back to the traditional method.The liquid inside the cans will evaporate and will cook the chicken from inside. The charcoal/gas burners cook the chicken from the outside.
The result is a perfectly cooked, moist, luscious chicken, crispy charred skin and marinade oozing from inside. Delish!!!I’m sure you’ll agree that ‘Ginger’ Beer can chicken is the most mouth-watering, scrumptious BBQ chicken you’ve ever tasted.
Please don’t forget to comment on your experiences. Please contact me via the contact link at the top of this page. @haloodiefoodie
Leftovers in Iftaar… No way! We’ve fasted the 19 hours and you’re feeding me leftovers!! Are you having a laugh?!
Well, not really…. We tend to eat less
in Ramadhan and usually always overcook.
The irony is that your fridge is more full in Ramadhan than outside Ramadhan!!!
Yesterday, we made Chicken kheema (mince) with garden vegetables. More than half was left over!!
Our deen teaches us not be to extravagant, so give the women some rest and cook with the leftovers…
“Eat and Drink but waste not by extravagance” Surat Al-A’râf verse 31
This is simple Chicken kheema Enchiladas recipe that I made from my leftovers and a few extra household pantry ingredients. You could do something similar with most leftovers.
Leftover kheema (Mince)
6 Leftover chappati/tortilla
Cheese for topping
Béchamel; White Sauce (Optional)
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons butter
450 ml milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 medium onion diced
1 Tablespoon oil
1 tin of chopped tomotoes
1 tablespoon of mixed herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chilli
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cocoa
1. For the Enchiladas sauce; Saute the onions in the oil until they soften and change to a lightly brown colour. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 mins
2. Enchiladas don’t usually have white sauce, but my chapatis were quite tough and we thought we would moisten them with white sauce. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix with a whisk until it forms a smooth, uniform mixture. Gradually whisk in the milk to get a smooth sauce. Whilst whisking , bring to the boil.
3. Lay your chapati on a flat surface and place a liberal amount of kheema along the middle.
4. Fold your chapati inwards from the side to make a cylinder.
5. Lay the chapati cylinder fold side down in a deep heat proof tray.
Repeat the process with the remaining chapati’s
6. Pour the enchilada sauce on top of the chapati cylinders.
7. Optional: Pour the white sauce on top of the enchilada sauce.
8. Top the enchiladas with cheese and some mixed herbs. Baked at Gas mark 6 for 30 minutes.
Its amazing what you can do with a creative use of your leftovers
So why not try a Biryani with leftover mutton/chicken curry or a mix lasagne for leftover roast chicken/lamb and vegetables?
Let your imagination run wild!!
As a child I didn’t really enjoy eating fish. Probably due to the fact that Gujarati families really only know one method of cooking fish; fried in a shallow pan with a rich and flavoursome tomato sauce. The intense flavour of the tomato sauce and the fishiness of the Salmon was overwhelming for my immature palette.
Only after starting my professional life did I experience the wonders of ocean cuisine. Whole day professional development meetings at work are difficult at the best of times, the lunch break is a welcome relief from ‘death by Powerpoint’.
One meeting interluded with a fabulous spread for lunch. I was hit with a dilemma. What do I eat?? Shall I play safe and have the vegetarian option….. The carnivore inside me woke up… Shall I ask whether the meat is suitable for Muslim consumption? Can I confidently trust the meat was slaughtered according to the principles laid down by deen????
The fish main course provided the answer….. Lovely, moist, opulent salmon, perfectly seasoned with no hint of fishiness. My oceanic culinary journey had finally started.
Did you know? The great thing about fish is variety of flavour between different types. Whereas other meat have degrees of being cooked, fish must always be cooked well, so the degree of flavour is down to the fish itself and the spices used.
Today I present my wife’s Herb crusted Salmon recipe, it was also my first iftaar meal.
Fish is a delicate meat and needs to be treated with appropriate care. The crispy herb crust complements the soft sumptuous fish, a departure from the harsh over rich flavours of my childhood.
I apologise for the ‘untidy’ picture. I had a big decision to make. Eat iftaar or take the picture!!! True foodies will appreciate my conundrum!
4 salmon fillets, (170g /6 ounces each)
fresh lemon juice, salt,
Red chilli flakes,
ginger and garlic paste (to taste)
3 slices bread
1 cup fresh parsley (washed and dried)
Coarsely ground pepper
1. Marinate salmon for a few hours in lemon juice, red chilli flakes, ginger and garlic
2. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 8.
3. Blitz the bread and parsley, pepper and a small amount of salt in a food processor until coarse crumbs form.
4. Place salmon skin side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil. Sprinkle crumb mixture on top, making sure all the salmon is covered
5. Bake until salmon is opaque throughout, 11 to 13 minutes.
6. Serve with vegetable couscous, roast vegetable or rice
I hope you enjoy the Herb crusted Salmon, please don’t forget to subscribe and keep updated with the work of the HaloodieFoodie!! @haloodiefoodie