Journal Your Ramadan – Day #10: J is for Juice

One of things which I feel the most in the heat of summer days is that longing for a cool drink in the middle of the day – here’s what I wish I was drinking today (although I’ll stick to water for now!)

One of the things that Ramadan really makes me appreciate is the abundance of water we have at the tip of our fingers, which we can take for granted – we all know how much gets used washing, drinking, doing laundry, for toilets – and it’s easy to forget what a valuable commodity it is in countries where there are those who are less advantaged than we are.

During the heatwave which has been gradually climbing towards us, I also turn to those in Pakistan who have been hit by extreme heat of 45 degrees celsius and above recently, and who struggle to fast – which makes me re-think the stick and humid atmosphere that we call heat here in London, and how lucky we are that it is bearable at least, for us.

It also makes me appreciate the luxury of cold drinks when we do open our fast at iftar time – it can be one of the biggest challenges of Ramadan to not think about your thirst and keep a cool attitude, and focus on getting through the day. It’s certainly  made me change my attitude towards our luxury of water – I try to drink as much water as I can but it feels more striking when you know how much you’ve longed for it.

So here’s a drinky post for you – and also a request to keep the people struck by heatwave in Pakistan in your prayers.

20130526_181744

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #9: I is for Iftari

These days, every evening, my sisters and I ask each other the usual question – ‘What’s for dinner tonight?’
It being Ramadan, the iftari, or the food we have to break open our fast with, becomes something which we all drool over while we swap recipes, tips and ideas for dinner.

This is something we made a few days ago, which I’ve never made before so was pleased to try. It’s a traditional dish called dahi baray and consists of chickpeas, chopped potatoes, yoghurt, seasoning and cooked lumps of gram flour which are mixed in for a crumbly, savoury taste.

It came out pretty nice, although we added a lot of seasoning on top which gave it a sharper flavour – definitely one to try again I think!

DSC_0032

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #8: H is for Husband

I feel like I should do this post about my husband, because hes been making at least half of our meals these last few days. It’s the first Ramadan with my husband after marriage, and surprisingly it’s been an interesting one because it’s made us want to be more adventurous with our food! We’ve opted out of fried food this year, and have both decided to try more healthy food which is a lot better to have after long hours of fasting.

This is something my husband thew together a couple of days ago –  lots of onions, tomatoes, chillis, peppers and various seasonings sautéed together with chicken pieces for a chicken dish with a juicy sauce.

dinnrt dinner (1)

Watching the magic happen (excuse the poor quality of my camera!)

Mixin’ it up in the sauce pan (which we then left with lid on for about half an hour).

dinner (3)

Result – tender chicken and steamed veg which we poured over plain rice. We could have left it cooking a little longer for a drier sauce but decided to keep it quite juicy so that it would mix with the rice well.

dinner (4)

 

This was a really filling, yummy dish and didn’t take long at all (the rice only took us about 15 mins to cook) and it reminded us both of a dish we’d had and loved in Turkey called testi kebab, which is more slow-cooked by has a similar idea of cooking meat with veg.

So, credits to the husband for this one (and I’m hoping he reads this and gets all happy and makes me more!)

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #7: G is for Garden

I wanted to post about something in my garden, but unfortunately, it’s a pretty boring, plain lawn and we don’t have any flowers, just grass that we’ve been trimming and waiting for more green-ness.

My mum’s garden, however, is a different story, it’s a veritable Wonderland – there’s hundreds of colours, shapes and sizes when it comes to the different flowers, vegetables, fruit and trees planted by my mum – making it a mini Kew Garden in our family!

We’ve had temperamental weather over the last few days so I only managed to capture these while it rained a little, but it actually made my pictures come out a lot more intense. Now that it’s getting sunnier again, I’ll trying capturing more pictures to see the difference but in the mean time, here’s some bright colours for today’s post!

Jardin (5)

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #5: E is for Equality

…or Empathy.

…or Existence.

…or Egalitarianism.

…or Equality.

I didn’t get a chance to take a photo today, but today’s letter got me thinking about what we see as Ego, and how we can let it get in our own way. I’ll be the first to admit I can have pride at times, which can stop us seeing the other person’s view. It made me realise how important Ramadan is in this context, letting us see from the point of view of those less advantaged than us.

Hunger makes us all equals, whether we are rich or poor, and regardless of colour – and it is amazing to see how it humbles us and makes us appreciate our lives.

Islam fundamentally promotes the idea of equality among mankind – what better time than Ramadan to see this in evidence?

Source: here
Source: here

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #4: D is for Dates

Dates have been been a staple food for Ramadan since the beginning of Islam – traditionally, dates were the food Prophet Muhammad (SAW) ate when he broke from his fast.

So it’s no wonder that you see them in most food stores these days, especially during Ramadan time when the food shoppers go a little crazy! Here’s my picture of the day for today – a happy smile for when you open your fast : )

DSC_0044

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #3: C is for Currently Reading

I love picking up new books that I’ve heard reviews about – like my sisters, I have a huge pile of books waiting to be read, and an even bigger pile on my electronic book-reader (which I keep adding to!).

Aside from reading holy books such as the Quran during the month of Ramadan, we find that there’s suddenly a lot of free time now that the day doesn’t revolve around food and cooking. I’ve been giving myself a portion of time every day to relax and have a read – when you’re absorbed in another world, its easy to not count the hours!

These books below are on my book list of things I’ve been reading, I have a lot more but these are the ones I’ve been meaning to read for ages, and I’ll be posting reviews of them all soon.

What’s on your current reading list?

DSC_0597

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #2: B is for Breakfast

Or in the case of Ramadan, our suhoor which we eat in the morning before sunrise. Being so early in the morning, I don’t exactly whip up an English breakfast meal, but it is important to have something filling which will give you enough energy through the rest of the day. These days I’ve been going for a banana and some cereal, otherwise some chicken in a sandwich and plenty of water. I’m trying to build myself up to eating more as the days go on – usually by the end of the month I have a decent appetite for such an early time in the morning!

What have you been eating for breakfast?

kaafee

Journal Your Ramadan – Day #1: A is for Alhamdullilah

Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.
– Alan Cohen

Alhamdullilah, in it’s simplest translation, is the Arabic phrase for ‘Praise God’ and is something many Muslims say when wanting to express their thanks and appreciation to God.

One of the things that always strikes me about Islam is its capacity for beauty, and the the fact that there are so many ways to ask for mercy, for prayers, for good deeds and rewards. The month of Ramadan is the most beneficial – the Devil (Shai’tan) is locked away and all the good deeds and blessings you do are multiplied through the act of fasting and prayer in this month.

Of course, at the core of this is the fact that Ramadan and abstaining from all the luxurious things we’re normally used to has a purpose – to make us aware of how lucky we are in a world where there is still famine and poverty ride in so many countries – what better way to empathise with their hunger than to feel it for yourself?

So, at the end of every fast, when the sun sets and the food is set out, there is a fresh sense of appreciation for our ability to set out a feast and enjoy our meal. Unlike many others in the world, we are lucky enough to set out our food and quench our thirst, finishing our meal with Alhamdullilah to give thanks for what we have.

20141117_154411