We are having

plenty of April showers this month masha’allah, with more rain forcast for the days ahead they could evn go into May showers. But I am not complaining the heat will be upon us all to soon i dont mind if it takes its time getting here. After Ramadan would be perfect actually!

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So I have big plans for my day and no better way to set up for it then a good breakfast. Alhamdulileh. Dd16 has already expressed her concern at scrambled eggs with croissant but what is the problem?

I have lots of sewing to do these days. We are having a little Algerian party in May (when was an Algerian party ever small?) and dh has been cajoled into smartening up the ‘salon’, so we went out shopping yesterday and we bought fabric for curtains that I will have to ‘whip up’ we wanted to buy ready made ones but the prices were outrageous!!! We ended up buying a display curtain because dh loved it so much and it being the last one, we got it for a good discount. It had various swathes of fabric overlapping and what not ‘ala arab curtains’ and i have to unswathe the double layers to pretty it up for two windows, I am in the unpicking stages.

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Not really my taste, but when a husband wants his arab salon, and I have my more european living area up stairs I am not going to fight it. I only clean it and serve guests in there anyway! I just hope it turns out good, insha’allah i will do before and after pictures. But still more wall washing and window cleaning to be done first!

Onto the skirt I posted last time. Actually the post was just a trial run for the wordpress application from my phone.

The elastic is too big as i made it from her belly measurements instead of just stretching it around her as I usually do(go back to low tech method!).  She has a rather generous toddler tummy masha’allah. The skirt, of course,  just drops below it . The top of the skirt is made from a thin polyester type fabric, which is great for drapey projects, but I lined it with a piece of white cotton, one because its great for the summer,  two to attach the frill too and three because the polyester type stuff is see through. And though the cotton was very light weight and thin it wasn’t light weight enough to let the gathers drop as I would have wished, so it looks a little bulky. Lesson learned!

So I will leave you all with some weekend pictures, have a great day where ever you are!

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eid cakes!

 and here they are, one of each on a plate!

my apologies for the awful blurred picture, it seems my phone camera has the blues and has gone into a coma!

so here are the recipies,

le tart,

2 eggs

250gm margerine

vanilla

250gm sugar

and enough SR flour to form a nice soft non sticky dough around 500gm

cream the sugar and margerine, add the eggs with flour and vanilla, working the flour in slowly.

roll out to approximately one cm thick and cut out making sure you have equal tops and bottoms! Bake in a moderate oven for a round 10 minutes, you dont want them to colour just cook!

when they are cool dust the tops with icing sugar and sandwhch to the bottom with jam, adding a little more jam into the centre hole.

Ghraybia

3 measures of plain flour

1 measure of icing sugar

1 measure of ghee

some oil

cinamon

wix the flour and icing sugar togathor and work in the melted ghee, slowly add oil and squish it togethor with your hands until it clumps up and you can work it into a ball. work into walnut size balls pinching the top up a little so it looks like an upside down mushroom, place on a greased tray and work all the ‘dough’ in this way. sprinkle a little cinaomn on the top of ech and bake in a moderate oven until the bottom has browned.

meshuwak

250gm margerine

150gm sugar

1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds

1 cup ground roasted peanuts,

vanila

4 egg yolks

enough SR flour enough to form a  dough

coarsly ground roasted peanuts

egg whites

glace cherries(i didnt use)

honey

cream the maregrine and sugar, add the eggs yolks and the other ingrediants and slowly add the flour to form a soft ough that you can handle and form into balls wihtout it sticking.

form into wlanut size balls and roll in the egg white and then nuts, placing a cherry on top of each cake.

Bake in amoderate oven for around 10 minutes they will puff up and feel firmer to the touch

put on a tray to cool and pur a spoonful of honey over each.

Makroot

three soup bowls of medium semolina

1 bowl of ghee with some oil melted

1 1/2 soups spoons of salt

dates or peanuts for the stuffing

rose water

water

honey

soak the seomlina(with salt mixed in) in the ghee (mix very well) and leave to soak for at least 4 hours.

add around 20 soup spoons of rosewater and mix well and then bring the semolina togethor to form a dough with the water. Take it slowly, it feels like its never gonna form a dough and then it suddenly does!

you will get a soft dough which falls apart quite easily. makes snakes of somolina dough and push a ridge into the middle of the snake with your finger and fill with your snake filling. Pull the tops over the filling and carefully roll it alittle to round it off and seal your makrout snake. cut into diaminds and put each makroot onto a tray.

when you have prepared them all caefully fry in hot oil(take it easy with them they are quite delicate!)

remove from theoil and soak for a little in honey warmed with some rose water inside. Some people prefer not to honey them until serving!

eid mubarak everyone. MAy Allah bless these days for you and make them fullfilling happy and blessed!

It has been

beautiful weather this last week, while the kids are on their spring holidays, masha’allah. Unfortunately we havent been able to go out and enjoy the gorgeous weather due to bad reprts for my 2 big boys! Instead they are passing their time catching upon studies and helping me in my gradual spring clearout.

 Alhamdulileh I am releived to have done the two biggest jobs with their help and just have one more room to sort insha’allah, before I can take it easy and maybe even have some fun!

 One of the joys of being in somewhere in like Algeria, at this time of year is the huge bunch of ‘silq hai’ that was freshly picked form some meadow. Alive(wild) spinach, I love the use of language. It sounds as vibrant as the colour of the leaves masha’allah, and some bunches quickly became a lovely lunch. Also on the menu have been my first attempt at profiteroles, not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be masha’allah. Another sweet has been lemon merigue pie, something I have never eaten until pregnant with this baby, but something I have been enjoying……masha’allah.

Wishing you all a happy rest of  holidays and a refreshing spring insha’allah!

shakshuka ta Biskra

has got to be my all time favourite algerian dish! This is how i make it…..

Take 3 bowls od fine semolina or 2 semolina to 1 flour, 1 1/2 soup spoons of salt and water(Quantity really depends on the seomlina!)

Mix togethor to make a rough dough, cover with plastic  and leave to sit for a few hours if you have time….alternatively roll your sleeves up and get kneading!!

After leaving to rest it will need a light knead you will have a smooth elastic dough that is ready to add water too…

add water slowly pushing it in with your fists until it is very soft but not overly sticky….when you leave the ball of dough on the top it will slowly start to spread and you will easily be able to squeeze out small balls like this…

Its really important to squeeze the balls out like this otherwise it will make it really difficult to open the dough up. Put your ball onto a lightly oiled smooth surface and push it flat with the palm of your hand and smooth it out when it doesnt spread any more pick up the edges and gently stretch it out…it needs to be very thin like this and as this possible at the edges!

then fold each edge in to get a smaller rectangle

then cook this on alightly oiled flat iron pan amd work through the rest of the dough in this manner till it is all cooked! An alternative method which i prefer but forgot to photograph is to make the balls smaller and open it out in a round to fit the pan cook one side and then turn and place another round on top and turn etc..this method is quicker .

When you have all your mussimin cooked rip them into bite size peices(this is the kids job!)

the sauce is made with Chicken, carrots, corgettes and as you liek for other veg I have done it with ‘lift’ (mouli??) and potatoes which help to thickent he sauce.

You will also need a large onion finely chopped,

few cloves of garlic cruched,

A large spoon of tomatoe purree,

tsp of ground coriander

tsp of ground cumin,

a little cinamon,

and tsp ras al hanout and chilli to taste!

salt and pepper

I throw all of the above in a pan and them simmer a little til the juices start to run, add water and cook a little before adding the carrots, cook alittle more and add the rest of the veg. You need anice amount of sauce to soak into the mussimin…sometimes I use alittle flour or cornflour to thicken! and here it is ……

Bih sahatkum!

last couple of weeks…

…in pictures!

 It has been quite a hectic couple of weeks..hence no posts! In a brief summary….I have salved a craving…..being brought treasure from the sahara….relearned to relax with a bit of crochet…..had a few english classes….had a chocoalte covered baby……prised unwilling school goers from their beds on cold mornings…..prepared favourite coffee treats for dh…..and made a batch of peanut butter, which probably won’t last more then a few days!

 I have also been sewing, but am still tweaking as I’m a bit disappointedas to how it turned out……some really bad measuring!!!

Oh yeah and I went for a scan….so depending on the dr’s interpretation of modern technology……we have been given a boy or girl verdict!

Happy days folks!!!!

and my first

to come hot out of the new sewing area are……………..drum roll…………….

some rather boring but necessary pj trousers! And just in time too for the cold snap we had yesterday. We actually saw snow masha’allah, very briefly yes, but snow none the less! It was my first time seeing snow since we moved into our house 5 years ago. That year it actually settled and we merrily froze in our not quite finished house that still had windows missing  brrr!

And in an attempt to combat the cold nothing appealed to me more then some beans and home made bread, yum.

This bread is one of my enduring culinary memories of the hajj. Been introduced to tamees and fool made a very welcome change to the rice and shawarmas that seem to make up most ready food in mecca and Madina. Of course this is algerian beans and algerian tamees! It is  a recipie that continues to elude me but this is the closest I have come in my experimenting. Its simply flour, vegetable oil, salt , yeast and plenty of warm water for really soft dough. Risen and then rolled out thin and cooked on my clay tagine. Of course traditionally it is cooked in the old clay fire ovens(not sure what they are called) over Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its delicious and also lovely when still warm and labina spread over it yum masha’allah! Sometimes we can even find a tub of Labinah in Algiers these days. Mmmmmmm can feel a new craving coming on!

thursday

is upon us already masha’allah! This means a night camping in the sitting room with my kiddy winks and hponig they don’t wake me too early….I mean if they are home I should at least be able to get a bit of extra sleep after fajr! in theory at least….How I wish i loved getting up early!

 I wish I could call weekends relaxed but they just seem to be a time to get the ‘tabliyas’ washed, folks showered and qamises ironed for the mosque and then bath time for the little ones. Normally we would try to squeeze in a weekend outing but not this weekend withy dh away. So its down to me to provide some fun and squash it in somewhere between homework and revision for tests starting next week insha’allah and the daily quran.

And here is the beginnings of something to emerge from my sewing area and a few fancyings of a pregnant lady!