Month that was, June 2018

Signs of the south-west monsoon has begun to show up back in the homeland. Soon it will be raining cats and dogs. Not to mention the unaccounted power cuts. I have begun to feel homesick like never before. Even more, since my paternal grandmom is bedridden.  F is quick to say that I can fly home anytime, but I have too many unfinished things, uncertain things and top it I fear to travel alone when there is a transit of five hours! and then now we have the kittens! I need to find a home for each of them! InshaAllah, everything will happen at its best time.

Shish Taouk/Tawook

A few months ago, I picked up a grill pan from IKEA which I feel is the best option for an ovenless kitchen to make grills if you have no access to outside. But washing the grease and cleaning the pan itself makes me not want to take it out as often as I would want to. But the only way I enjoy chicken breasts is in skewers or meatballs! :-)

A post shared by Famidha Ashraf (@fashfaiz) on

Shish Taouk is not a fixed recipe. The marinade can be anything you prefer and grill them in your choice of oil. You can find the recipe I used for these in the caption of the Instagram post. 

The Homemade Kunafa Phase and over-eating it

I don't want to spam the space with my kunafa pics! The last two weeks of Ramadan was a delight in both sweet treats and the night prayers! Tasbih of Cleobuttera was sharing such delicious dessert recipes all through Ramadan and her Kunafa posts just made me want to try my hands in making it on a stovetop. I watched endless youtube videos just to get a hang of it. And also picked the fresh kataifi from the bakery and I was all set to try! The first attempt was a fat kunafa with less filling, the second was spot on, the third again spot on, the fourth - I made for my neighbour but she was on vacation so had that too! It was addictive and there was no stopping us! I knew I had done the damage... so went with the flow hoping I can always diet tomorrow! Cliche.

A post shared by Famidha Ashraf (@fashfaiz) on

Cheesy Pasta

Never say never is so true in this case of me converting to cheese lover when I was never a fan of it. I don't know if the culinary gurus would approve of the ways we make pasta, especially in our subcontinent! :-) This one here is my current favourite that I find immense pleasure to make and eat! 

The recipe is in the caption. 

These days for some unknown reason I seem to be drawn to the keto diet and the transformation stories. πŸ˜‚Either it is on my feed or I am watching endless lectures on YouTube. 😏But when I see the list of items that you cannot eat, I go back to rujuta diwekar recommendation 😎Most of the days I just tend to cook for my soul and some days for his. 😝#cheesypasta for cheese-lover lover. SAVE THE RECIPE 😊 Veggie Pasta in Cheesy Sauce MAKE THE SAUCE Melt 2 dollops of butter on low flame Add 2 tbsp flour Keep whisking until no lumps and thickens Pour 2 cups room temp milk Lil by Lil while whisking continuously Don’t allow to boil so keep whisking until the sauce starts to thicken Add pinch salt, crushed pepper and 80 grams kraft cheese cut into chunks Add choice of flavours like cajun spice or oregano etc. Stir till cheese melts Switch off and keep aside PREPARE THE PASTA Boil 1 and 1/2 cup pasta as per pack instructions and add frozen green peas and sweetcorn in the last few mins. Drain and keep aside PREPARE THE VEGGIES: Stir fry the veggies on medium to high flame along with 4 to 5 garlic and salt Stir in the drained pasta Stir in fresh choice of greens... SERVE: Transfer the veggie pasta to a serving bowl Pour the prepared sauce and microwave for a min and serve If you don't have a microwave, then heat the sauce and pour on pasta. #pastarecipe #cheeselover #lurve #pastaporn #nosuchthingastoomuchcheese
A post shared by Famidha Ashraf (@fashfaiz) on

Horaa Osba'o

When Maha of Camerasncupcakes shared her mom cooking this traditional Syrian appetizer over her Stories, I made notes! Any recipe that calls for pomegranate molasses will interest me because I love the flavour and I am trying to collect recipes to use the molasses. 

Maha mentions in her caption that "Horaa Osba'o means "he burnt his finger"; in other words, it was so irresistible, he or she could not wait for it to cool down." Truth.

The dish is made with brown lentils, homemade pasta and flavoured with garlic coriander, onion and pomegranate molasses which is all cooked in olive oil. Served with fried pita bread pieces on the top.

A post shared by Famidha Ashraf (@fashfaiz) on

Celobuttera's Chocolate Konafa Cookies 

Eid is just a day away and we were not done eating enough Kunafa... I made her cookies too! This is a no-bake easy to make cookies that helped us through the Eid holidays. I never thought I will be here for this eid too and with a whole new cat family! I miss home, I miss being next to my sick grandmom, I miss being a helping hand to my mom. I could just drop everything here and go away but it is not settling well with my conscience. I am hoping F gets more clarity over his project's future plans and I find new homes for the kittens too. InshaAllah.

So the cookies, were pretty but not addictive, thankfully!

Eid Biryani

For the first time this year, we did not make biryani on Eid day! I did make a kunafa on eid morning and we ate that! :-) So the next day, I made Thalassery Chicken biryani because of my ongoing homesickness... 

New York Cheesecake with Kunafa for our Anniversary

5 years of partnership and sometimes I still feel I live with a stranger! Thanks to his introvert -ness the mystery keeps things alive! LOL! Last year our anniversary was during Ramadan and I had made a small batch of Vimto Tiramisu, and this year I wanted to try a baked cheesecake and wanted to incorporate some of the big stashes of kataifi I have hoarded. A quick Pinterest landed me yet again on Cleobuttera's blog which had a new york cheesecake with Kunafa crust and kunafa toppings. The whole process of her recipe needs a whole night and day! So I made it easy on me by sticking to classical cookie crust and topping with sweetened kunafa dough just like hers. 

Of course still an ovenless kitchen, so baked the cheesecake over a water bath in my pressure cooker. Though my first time, I have to say, after tasting a baked cheesecake, you will say goodbye to no-bakes! It is so soft and delicious that we had all of them in two days. 

Nasi Goreng

I can't believe I took so long to make this rice dish again after blogging it last year! If you have never tried it, you should make check out my recipe and plan to make this! I promise you will love it. 

Kunafa Truffles

I know you must be smiling or laughing reading the heading... Nope not yet done with kunafa and truffles mania is back! ;-) This one is a very simple process of making ladoos.. nothing fancy... 

A post shared by Famidha Ashraf (@fashfaiz) on

Masha Out

Masha has been living with us since March and yet never softened towards us. Her agenda was very clear.. she just wanted her babies to have a safe life and good food! 

Masha. I really don’t know why she chose to come into my home, give birth on our bed, lives in our other room, wait for food at a dedicated corner, protects her kitten from us, never let us go anywhere near her... I know the feral cat will never change and that’s why I expected her to move out with the kittens. But she did not show any signs to move out and it was not easy for us to be extremely careful to move around our own rooms πŸ˜‚ Two days ago, Masha went out for a stroll I guess... We usually keep the door open for her to come back. But this time I closed it on her forever. πŸ˜’ I know I sound very mean but that is good for all of us. And I know she will be at my doorstep every day like she had come initially. We place food and water for her outside... my heart aches each time she comes meowing... I know kittens are not safe with her outside in this hot summer of Saudi... and the numerous ugly tomcats! I then gave Loomi to her to calm her down. So now I have 4 and they don’t show signs of the missing mother. Totally socialized. They are a handful for me to take care of. Looking for a home for them... InshaAllah if anyone is interested in adopting, please let me know... #mashatheferal
A post shared by Masha (@masha_the_feral) on

Yanbu Sky

Ever since we had Masha, we skipped going on our Friday morning drive to Ragee's resting place. Today we did and felt so blessed to watch the morning sky in such beauty! 

Yanbu Sky
June, you were too sweet!