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Food For Thought Friday - O Messenger of Allaah! We eat, but do not become satisfied.

As-Salam Alaykum,

Let us revive the sunnah of eating collectively from one plate in sha Allah
Especially with our children that are fussy and messy eaters most of the time. Have patience because as stated below there are numerous blessings in eating together.

* This is a reminder for myself first and foremost and i hope you as a reader will benefit with me.

March 28, 2013 by AbdurRahman.org
Al-Wahshiyyi ibn Harb radiallaahu ‘anhu related that some of the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

O Messenger of Allaah! We eat, but do not become satisfied.

So he said to them: “Perhaps you eat separately?”

So they replied: Yes.

So he said: “Eat your food collectively, mention the Name of Allaah upon it, then there will be blessings for you in it.”[1]

Shaykh Ibn al-’Uthaymeen said:

“This indicates that it is essential to eat collectively from a single plate. So if there are five or ten people, they should eat collectively from a single dish, depending upon the situation. Indeed, doing so is a cause for barakah (blessings) to descend, whilst eating separately is a cause for barakah to depart.”[2]

[1] Hasan: Related by Abu Daawood (no.3764). It was authenticated by al-Haafidh al-’lraaqee in his Takhreejul-lhyaa (214).
[2] Sharh Riyaadhus-Saaliheen (7/231) of Ibn al-’Uthaymeen.


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Chocolate & Date With A Hint Of Orange Blossom, Star Shape Brownie 'Cupcakes'

As-Salamu Alaykum,

These 'cupcakes' aren't really cupcakes at all but rather mini star shaped brownies! Baked in my new silicone star shaped cupcake cases (I'm such a big kid when it comes to bake ware) the 'cupcakes' tag had to be added to the end of the longest blog title ever or it just wouldn't be right in my cupcake lover eyes.

Created when I had a desire to bake brownies after so many years of one not passing my lips, since high school which was like 10 years ago! to hand I had a bar of very dark (90% cacao) chocolate that even the kids won't eat so perfect for me to take and use in brownies but just one thing my husband is not a big chocolate lover so I had to think how I can make these brownies more to his taste and we all know Algerians like dates and orange blossom right?

Love the Name!
Au natural dates are rare to find in the UK, most are coated in glycerin, glucose syrup or both which is a shame because dates last a very long time without any preservatives at all.

Orange blossom water is a light background note in these brownies that is easily missed if you can't distinguish it's floral slightly bitter taste from all the dark chocolate in it's way i won't blame you and it can easily be left out all together or replaced with some orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice because let's face it chocolate, dates and orange just work and I was right (for once) masha'Allah hubby liked how the brownies weren't overly sweet (they definitely needed the light coating of icing) and he liked the sticky date slightly fudgy texture of them too.

No worries if you haven't got the star shaped cases, you can still bake these brownies either in regular cupcake cases or as a sheet of brownies but remember cooking times will vary than those stated in recipe.

In the past I haven't been so overly impressed with silicone bake ware, I have 2 round cake pans made of silicone which I still have to line the bottoms of or my cakes stick but as you can see I had no problems removing the brownies from these cupcake cases I wonder why?

I thought about it and maybe it's because I placed the cases on a lined cookie sheet before baking which I don't do for my big cake pans and I felt was necessary on this occasion as I didn't want any of my stars falling between the bars of the oven rack. I may just have to bake a cake to test my theory and of course I will give a full report and recipe in sha Allah.

If your set on buying the Sweetly Does It Silicone Star Cupcake Cases like I was and your in the UK you can get them here I've also seen them on Amazon and noticed they do heart shaped ones too, how cute!

A little side note.tip: for those who photograph food with a digital compact in their Kitchen while the washing machine is on, DON'T DO IT the noise seriously affects the quality of the photos.

Chocolate & Date With A Hint Of Orange Blossom Star Shape Brownie 'Cupcakes'

Recipe adapted from Joy Of Baking and inspired by Cook Republic's Chocolate & Date Fudge Brownies


For brownie 'cupcakes'

  • 85 grams / 3ounce Dark (90% cacao) Chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 113 grams / 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
  • 100 grams / 1/2 cup Brown sugar (I used Demerara sugar as that's all I had to hand but any will do even white)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Orange Blossom Water
  • 95 grams / 3/4 cup Plain Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 100grams / 1/2 cup plus 2 Dates, pitted and roughly chopped

For Chocolate & Orange Blossom Icing - adapted from Easy Milk Chocolate Frosting for Brownies

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 94grams / 3/4 cup Icing Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Water or Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Orange Blossom Water
You will need approximately 2 dates,  pitted and chopped for decoration.


Pre-Heat Oven to 180C / 160C (Fan) / 350F / Gas Mark 4 and place rack in centre of oven.
Place Star Cupcake Cases on a lined baking sheet, set aside.
Sieve the Flour and Salt together into a medium size bowl and set aside.
Chop dates, place in a bowl and coat in a pinch of your flour from above or place the  chopped dates in the flour bowl and gently toss!
Melt chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from the heat and stir in sugar then let cool for a few minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time mixing well between each addition then add the orange blossom water and mix again. Add the flour/salt mixture and chopped date and stir until well blended.
Evenly divide the brownie batter between your 12 cases, about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter per case. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20minutes or until a tooth pick inserted into the centre has moist crumbs.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Once the brownie cupcakes have cooled make the icing: melt butter in a saucepan oven medium heat, add cocoa powder then remove from heat and stir in icing sugar, water/milk and orange blossom water until smooth.
Spread icing over brownie cupcakes and decorate with a piece of date.
*Tip: If you want to display the brownies out of their cases then remove brownies from cases before spreading on the icing or when you come to remove them from the cases the icing will slightly crack at the edges as pictured below.

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How To Make Crème Pâtissiere / Pastry Cream / Thick Custard

As-Salam Alaykum, Greetings Reader,

Crème Pâtissiere / Pastry Cream / Thick Custard is used in many desserts such as fruits tarts, vanilla custard slices and my childhood favourite good ol' jelly and custard!

Like all good food, homemade always tastes better so it is worth adding this recipe to your collection.

Crème Pâtissiere / Pastry Cream / Thick Custard

Recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood's Vanilla Custard Slice


  • 500ml / 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure (halal) vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, split down the middle and seeds scraped out
  • 100g or 1/2 cup sugar (I used granulated)
  • 4 large or 5 mixed weight eggs, yolks only
  • 40g OR 1/3 cup corn flour


  • Medium size saucepan
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Silicone / heatproof balloon whisk
  • Teaspoon or pairing knife to scrape out vanilla seeds
  • Measuring cup or jug
  • Weighing Scales


Pour the milk into a saucepan, add vanilla. Bring milk to boil then remove from heat.
 Separate eggs, place egg yolks in a medium size bowl 
 Add corn flour and sugar
Whisk egg yolks, sugar and corn flour together.
 Whilst whisking continuously, pour a little of the hot milk from the pan into your egg mixture.
 Whisk in the rest of the hot milk until well combined then return to saucepan

Cook the custard over a medium heat, whisking all the time until the mixture becomes comes to a boil and thickens.

Remove from heat and if your custard is lumpy, pass it through a sieve into a clean bowl.
To store: Cover surface of pastry cream with cling film, ensuring there is no gap between the custard and the cling film or a skin will form (not pleasant). Place in fridge until you required.
* For an extra rich and smooth custard  - mix in 40grams of unsalted butter after removing the custard from the heat.

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How To Make Vanilla Rough Puff Pastry From McDougalls Puff Pastry Mix


  • 1 x 225 gram Packet, McDougalls Puff Pastry Mix
  • 5-6 tablespoon Cold Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste (I use this one) or seeds scraped from half a vanilla pod
  • Plain flour for dusting work surface and rolling pin


  • Medium size bowl
  • A butter knife
  • Rolling pin
  • Tablespoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Ruler *optional


Pour contents of puff pastry mix package into a medium size bowl. Add vanilla.
Add Water (start with 5tbsp)
Mix together using a butter knife, when the dough starts coming together switch to using your right hand * the dough may need a little more water to bring it together than stated above.
Don't worry you will still see big chunks of fat! the rolling and folding sequence that comes next will make those disappear but maybe not from your conscience. 
Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Place dough on work surface and get ready to roll!
Roll into a narrow rectangular sort of shape, around 22cm x 10cm and 2.5cm thick but don't worry if it's bigger or smaller it's not sooo important.
 Lay the pastry vertically in front of you
Visualize the pastry being divided into 3 then fold the top third of pastry into the middle third
Fold the bottom third of pastry over the other two thirds
Repeat the rolling, folding x4 until you end up with a smooth block of puff pastry like this
Lightly dust your puff pastry with flour, wrap in cling film and chill in fridge until required.

Bakers Note: If you live in  a hot country or you find the fat in the pastry is melting, you may need to chill your dough in the fridge for 10minutes between each of the 4 repetitions.

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Take 2&3 - Vanilla Custard Slices (slow progress)

As-Salam Alaykum  / Greetings Readers,

Since Take 1, I have made the Vanilla Slices again and again, each time something didn't go quite right or I'm just aiming too high above home baking standards.
During Take 2 - I changed the crème patissiere / pastry cream as I wanted more of it so I simply doubled the recipe quantities i used in take 1 thinking I would get the same consistency but I was wrong, it became too rich through too many egg yolks and too thick due to too much plain and corn flour. 
The photos above are from Take 3 - I chose to follow a different recipe altogether for the crème patissiere and I didn't any many adjustments! and I'm happy to say it was just right.
Making the puff pastry dough from a packet mix as worked well in both Take 2 and .
Notes to self before Take 4:-
  • Decide the dimensions of my final sheet(s) before baking which depends on how many and how big slices i want to achieve.
  • Don't over or undercook the pastry.
  • Don't flatten the baked pastry sheets straight away after baking, wait until they have cooled. 
  • Work on the consistency of icing, not too runny or it will drip, drip, drip!
  • Find my missing or buy another small pastry bag with small circular tip for piping chocolate onto icing.
  • Stock up on Chocolate and/or Nutella use this pastry project as an excuse to your husband and children why you need to eat more chocolate and your not sharing. LOL
Recipes on how to make Vanilla Puff Pastry From McDougalls Puff Pastry Mix and Vanilla Pastry Cream to follow shortly.....

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8-Strand Plaited Loaf

As-Salamu Alaykum Sisters, Greetings Readers,

I would consider myself to be a morning person. I like to wake up early as morning is the most quiet and peaceful time plus i can get the majority of my housework done before i bake or in most cases i leave  the housework till later and bake fist because lets face it with toddlers you are cleaning and tidying up behind them all day and well the house still looks the same, or is that just me? and well baking always brightens my day like sunshine and makes me feel good!

Yesterday morning, a mixture of bright sunshine, clear blue skys with flakes of snow?! yes, masha'Allah what a combination! i was all up for getting my cleaning done and then on to attempting this challenging loaf that I'd wanted to try for so long....in fact i had tried and failed miserably many months ago, i ended up unravelling all the plait and i don't quite remember after that but i think i ended up making rolls or was it a regular loaf?......anyway i know i didn't bin it.

Not all things went to plan this time around either, i forgot the yeast! PANIC! with the last 500g of bread flour i had in the house, there i was weighing, stirring in the salt, oil, water then letting my stand mixer knead for 5 minutes all the while I'm psyching myself up to face the sequence of the plait/braid, daunting! so i set the dough to 'rise'.....1 hour later and nothing oops.

So what to do? well i googled the problem and read here to knead the yeast in now or mix the yeast with some flour, water, sugar in a seperate bowl and leave it to develop before adding to the dough.
I went for kneading the yeast in, it felt unpleasantly grainy but eventually did smooth out. I left the dough to sit for another hour, it did rise but nothing like usual so i decided to just proceed with the recipe and hope the second rise after shaping would do great things!

As you can see in the pictures above, there isn't that much difference in size but alhamdulillah it was still a good loaf considering the forgetful nature of the baker! It has a shiny golden crisp crust that comes from egg washing with a pinch of salt before baking and a super soft yet chewy interior.

If you would like to try this recipe, click here (it was featured on great british bake off) and note if you plait or braid hair, knit or crochet this should be easy for you considering your experience and skills masha'Allah, so go on give it a go and impress your loved ones.

Ok, so if your not an expert braider, baker or just want an easier yet impressive loaf,  try this braided cheese bread  i also featured on the blog many moons ago & remember if you do try any of the recipes i would love to see your results,  you can e-mail (can be found in about me page), tweet me a photos or leave me a comment including a link to your web space.

The thing i notice about all my homemade bread is that after a few hours the crust instead of staying crisp softens up, I'm guessing because there is no or little preservatives in the bread like shop bought? any ideas let me know.
This bread i loved with a slice of cheddar cheese!

Are you a get up and go kinda girl in the morning or a night owl?

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Food For Thought Friday: Fatawa - Throwing Away Food

As-Salamu Alaykum Sisters, Greetings Readers,

I know it's been a while since i did a food for thought friday post, hope i can make it more of a regular thing.

We all throw food away it's an everyday thing in most homes especially if the food is not to ones liking or you cooked too much and don't refrigerate/freeze straightaway.

Today I'd like to share with you a couple of fatwa / Islamic rulings on this topic.

The first is from AlBaseerah.org and the second is from Alifta

Question: Is it permissible to throw away food in some instances like if it has gone bad or if it was burnt or it is not to your liking and you don't know anyone who will eat it. What about if too much was cooked and you don't know anyone to take to the excessive food?

Answer: The Shaykh حفظه الله said if a person has too much food and is unable to finish it, then it is permissible for him to put it in a pure plate, not in an impure plate in order for animals to eat from it or insects or birds. It is not incumbent upon him to eat everything as onions were presented to the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه و سلم and he did not eat from them and he permitted others to eat from the onions. A lizard as well was presented to the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه و سلم to eat from and he refrained from eating from it but he صلى الله عليه و سلم allowed others to eat from it. What is not permissible is that you put food that could be made use of, in an impure plate. Rather one should put the food in a purified plate in order for insects, animals, or birds, to eat from it

Answered by: Shaykh 'Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Ajlaan

Ruling on throwing leftover food in the garbage and spreading newspapers to eat on
Q 1: Is it permissible to spread newspapers and put food on them. If it is not allowed, what should we do after reading them?
Q 2: As for leftover food, some people put it in boxes, etc., and then put it out on the street for animals to eat; however, trash collectors put it in garbage cans with other trash. The question is: Is it permissible to throw out the food with other trash?
A 1:It is not allowed to spread the newspapers and eat on them or wrap things in them or humiliating them by any means if they contain some Ayahs (Qur'anic verse) or any mention of Allah (Exalted be He). If the case is as mentioned, then it is obligatory to keep them in a proper place, burn them, or bury them in clean earth.
A 2:If there are poor people who are in need of this food, then one must give it to them; otherwise, it should be put in a place far away from abuse so that animals can eat it. If this is not possible, then it should be kept in boxes or plastic bags or other containers and the municipalities should obligate the trash collectors to put it in clean places so that animals will eat it or some people will take it for their animals. This is done in order to keep the food away from being abused and wasted.

Source: Fatwas of Ibn Baz


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What's Cooking?

Asalam Alaykum Sisters & Hello readers,

Here are a few photos of food i've cooked/baked in my home this week Masha'Allah
Doubara - Algerian Chickpea Soup

Loubia - Algerian White Bean Soup (with meat)

Tuna Cheese Toasted Sandwich - simple but delicious!
Overly Sweet Lemon & Orange Blossom Cake (i over did it with a layer of apricot jam & the honey cream cheese frosting)

Pac Man??? lol 
I still have a long way to go on my quest to being a good cook, I'm slowly getting there in sha Allah My favourite was the tuna cheese toasted sandwich believe it or not, it was simple yet oh so satisfying Alhamdulillah

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Rosy Lee (Tea)

Asalam Alaykum Sisters, Hello readers,

Yorkshire Tea for Hard Water is what i am currently drinking, it's a rich and satisfying blend of black tea and although i am not 100% sure we have hard water in our Town, i do taste the difference in this tea to others i've tasted before. Even with the addition of milk it's a much cleaner and stronger flavour.

Water described as “hard” is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. Hard water is not a health risk, but a nuisance because of mineral buildup on fixtures and poor soap and/or detergent performance (i have noticed i have to use more detergent in addition to a cleaning tablet to get a bettter performance from my washing machine).

In case you were wondering Rosy Lee is cockney rhyming slang (London's famous not so secret, secret language lol) for Tea.

In Victorian times tea merchants would blend tea to suit the water in their area. So it only makes sense to bring an old tradition like that back to suit us Tea loving Brits.

I found this info graphic a while ago via pinterest and thought i would share it with you all.

Are you more of a Tea or Coffee drinker? or neither? Tell me your favourite drink in your comment.

Thank you for asking, i take my Tea with milk and 2tsp sugar please (smiles)

* I have not been paid or asked to advertise or write a review for Yorkshire Tea.
**Sources of information used to write this post

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Lemon & Thyme Bread Rolls

Asalam Alaykum Sisters, Hello Ladies,
How are you all? I've had a long week taking care of my poorly children, Alhamdulillah it's nothing major they have colds along with swollen gums due to teething for my youngest.
We have had quite a number of sunny days here this week Masha'Allah but not helpful when making pastry coupled with the kids being sick and needing extra care and attention i've not had the time or desire to do Take 2  of Vanilla Custard Slice, it is quite a time consuming process after all but certainly on my to do to bake list.
I have managed however, to get in the kitchen at some point this week to bake, bread and not just any bread either.
These Lemon and Thyme rolls appear on the surface nothing different to the norm but hidden away inside there are jewels of citrus flavour and aromatic thyme.

Unlike pastry, Bread Baking is easy, all you need is your hands/stand mixer if you like the hands free approach and patience to let the rolls rise.

Using fast action yeast makes the rise time even quicker as there is no need to let the dough rise in a bowl for an hour first and then another rise time after shaping , you can simply go right ahead knead, divide up your dough, shape into balls, let rise for an hour and then bake.

I hope I've encouraged you to get in the kitchen and bake these, if you prefer you can swap the thyme for coriander, forget the lemon all together or both and you will still end up with pleasant rolls  just without the punch of flavour.

Lemon & Thyme Bread Rolls

Makes: 12


  • 500grams strong white bread flour
  • 2teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2tablespoons fresh thyme leaves only, this equals about 12 average size thyme sprigs, remove small leaves from woody stem.
  • 1 lemon, zest only = about 1/2tablespoon
  • 1 x 7g sachet fast action yeast
  • 1/2tablespoon runny honey
  • 2tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus more for work surface, hands, brushing roll tops before baking.
  • 300ml* lukewarm water
*The amount of water depends on the quality, absorption rate of the flour you use so be careful and add a little at a time, remember you can always add more but you can't take away if you've put too much, you need just enough to make a shaggy dough (see picture below) before kneading.


  • Weigh then place bread flour in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle salt evenly over surface of flour then mix, i use a butter knife to do this but a spoon is ok too.
  • Sprinkle lemon zest and thyme leaves over flour, mix
  • Sprinkle yeast and pout honey evenly over flour, mix
  • Make well in center of flour, add olive oil and water, mix adding more water until a shaggy dough is formed.
  • Knead for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in your stand mixer until you have a smooth dough like this:
  • Lightly oil hands, lift out the dough and weigh, as you see mine was 841gram, divide by 12 = 70.08 each dough bowl has to be around 70grams so divide up your dough into 12 portions and then shape into round balls, here is how i did it, thank you to my son for the helping hand!
1.-4. -  On a lightly oiled surface, flatten dough into a disk, fold each 'side' into center, this creates a 'spine' enabling the dough to rise evenly.
5 - 6 Flip ball over,  shape into a neater ball shape by placing your right hand like a cage over the ball. With your fingers touching the surface at all times move you hand in a circular motion to get nicely shaped rolls.
  • Place rolls on a lined baking sheet and brush tops with olive oil to prevent the cling film from sticking. Leave to rise at room temperature  for1 hour. 
  • After an hour add an old roasting tin to the lower rack of  your oven and pre-heat to 220C/200c (Fan), total rising time will end up being about 1 hour 10-20 minutes.  
  • Once your oven is ready, carefully take out the hot roasting tin, add ice cubes or pour cold water into your very hot roasting tin and place back in oven. The cold water hitting your hot roasting tin creates steam. Steam is ideal when baking to get the best rise out of your bread and create a crisp crust. 
  • Bake bread rolls on middle rack of oven for 15minutes. Remove roasting tin after 8minutes. 
  • Remove rolls from oven and transfer to cooling rack.

Serving suggestion: serve with your favourite chicken soup. Also these rolls would be great as part of a tasty chicken salad sandwich.
Until my next post, Fee Amanlillah

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