Recent News

News: Saudi Arabia plans new recycling facility to build up industry

WSB Admin 26/10/2019 0

Courtesy: Bloomberg News

Saudi Arabia plans to build the first recycling facility for construction debris in the capital, Riyadh, as it tries to overhaul a landfill-dominated waste-management industry.

The effort will be led by the Saudi Investment Recycling Company, a subsidiary of the government’s sovereign wealth fund. The first phase of construction is expected to start by the end of the year, the company told Bloomberg. It didn’t disclose the project’s cost or bid dates.

“The new waste-sorting and recycling facility is only the beginning of a series of similar facilities to be launched within the next three years, with a broader goal of recycling all kinds of waste, such as fertilizers, paper, plastic and metals,” Jeroen Vincent, the company’s chief executive, said in the statement.

More efficient waste management was one of the objectives of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic overhaul plan announced in 2016. The kingdom recycles no more than 10% of the 50 million tons of recyclable materials it produces each year, studies commissioned by the sovereign fund show.

The recycling company wants the new facility to recycle nearly half of the estimated 5 million tons of annual construction and demolition waste in the capital by 2035. The debris will be turned into materials for use in road construction and housing projects, including a 35,000-unit housing project, the company said.

The company also plans to set up a facility for managing, treating and sorting municipal waste. The Riyadh municipality is currently rolling out a pilot project to get residents to sort household waste into separate bins for organic and inorganic waste.

Read more about the Saudi Investment Recycling Company’s plans in the Saudi Gazette http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/573980

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One person can make a difference and everyone should try

WSB Admin 26/10/2019 0

By Amelia Obermayer, Age 12, Student at BISR

                                                                                                      I recycle these at school

Hello, my name is Amelia Obermayer.  I am 11 years old, 12 on 1st November.  I was born in Germany, which is an eco-friendly country. I grew up in Munich, at home we had 4 different bins, paper, plastic, glass and general food waste.  We were used to recycling and separating our rubbish.  Germany also has a system called “pfand” where you receive a small refund if you return your glass bottles to a special bottle bank inside of supermarkets.

I grew up watching David Attenborough documentaries and especially loved the Planet Earth series.  Sometime at the end of 2018, I saw a short clip of David Attenborough telling people in government positions that if we don’t do something about Climate Change, then the earth will be destroyed.  He said that everyone can help, young and old and that young people are doing the most.  He also said the best way to save the environment is to eat less meat.  So, in January of this year, I became a vegetarian because I wanted to help our environment.  I am very happy I made the decision and my family eats less meat and meat products as a result of my decisions.

                                                                                                      Items we use at home

I also help the environment by doing other small things.  Why not try introducing a couple of these into your home.

  1. Take reusable shopping bags with us when we go shopping.
  2. Refuse small plastic bags if the item can be carried.
  3. Don’t leave the tap running while brushing your teeth.
  4. Don’t take long showers.
  5. Wash the car only when it is dirty.
  6. Refuse plastic knives and forks, straws and extra containers.
  7. Try to recycle plastic containers and plates.
  8. Don’t buy many cheap items of clothing.
  9. Turn off the light when leaving the room.
  10. Try and reuse non-renewable items like plastic bottles

I reuse plastic such as restaurant and supermarket containers for school pack lunches and camp out snacks.  We have started to use non-plastic items such as wax wraps instead of plastic wrap and glass jars to replace plastic containers.  I recycle my homework models and boards to other projects.  I have made natural dishwasher pods to replace the chemical ones.

I try to be as eco-friendly as I can.   REUSE non-renewable items, RECYCLE household single-use items, REDUCE the number of plastic bags, bottles and other objects and REFUSE plastics bags, straws and containers.

Together we can make a change big and small, start today!

♯Takeyourseat

https://www.un.org/en/actnow/index.shtml

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”

Albert Einstein

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Should we all become vegetarians? Is it okay to fly?

WSB Admin 26/10/2019 0

By Suhini, Al Nakhla Residential Resort

These are some of the concerns you see in social media today. All sensible people will agree that climate change is real, and the consequences of not acting will be devastating. But what we do not realize is that it starts with much simpler steps. Here are 5 things you can do to cut down your carbon footprint in your daily life:

  1. Every time you need to go to the grocery shop or restaurant near you, opt to walk rather than take your car or a cab.
  2. Carry your own cloth grocery bag. Keep it handy and always with you so you can say no to plastic bags.
  3. Keep some containers in your car. Every time you go out or want a takeaway, opt to give your own containers, rather than use plastic take away boxes or cardboard boxes.
  4. Get a flask. Coffee addict? Always keep a flask with you and say no to plastic takeaway cups.
  5. Whether you live in a house or an apartment, planting some greens indoors or outside is a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint and refresh your air.

Meanwhile, Al Nakhla Residential Resort has embarked on a journey to minimize its environmental impact and carbon footprint by implementing innovative sustainable practices.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • A single recycled plastic bottle saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours. It also creates 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than would be created when making a new bottle.
  • If we add the amount of solar energy that is absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans every year, we end up with approximately 3,850,000 EJ (exajoules). 

    To put it in more understandable terms, this amount of energy is equivalent to:

    – 8 000 times the total energy consumption in the whole world.

    – About 40% of the energy that is required to heat the entire volume of water we have on Earth by 1°Celsius

Recycling & Waste Management

The waste reduction goal is to advance best practices and engage associates to reduce, re-use, donate and recycle waste from the resort and corporate facilities. Our waste management program has been designed to divert a wide variety of materials from landfills while seeking responsible, innovative solutions for handling non-recyclable items. Across Al Nakhla, we are committed to recycling commodities such as paper, food, construction material, glass, oil, metal, plastics and unique materials such as batteries, carpet, cork and electronics.

Solar Energy System

Al Nakhla’s solar panel installations were created to power different sections of the resort, offsetting the costs of all energy-intensive operations such as water heating over 20 outdoor pools at the resort. The management also has plans to install solar panels on each villa and apartment complex to help minimize electricity use.

For more information about Al Nakhla Residential Resort and how to be a responsible & sustainable resident in this Western Compound, visit their website on www.alnakhla.sa

 

 

 

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WSB Inspiring Woman: Ayla Dimitriadis – Ayla’s Vegan Kitchen

WSB Admin 26/10/2019 0

Tell us about yourself?

I’m half Greek and half Lebanese. I have a BA in hospitality management, however, I have always been passionate about cooking. Seven years ago, I decided to pursue cooking professionally.

What brought you to Riyadh?

I moved here when I was eight years old and have always thought of Riyadh as home. I was living in Dubai when I decided to change careers and came back to my parents to re-evaluate my next move. I was fortunate to find exciting opportunities and ended up staying in Riyadh.

How did you get inspired to start your vegan catering business? 

I was working in the kitchen at Nozomi To-Go/Catering when I began my transition to veganism. I was shocked at the lack of good healthy vegan options and I decided that I wanted to seize the opportunity, so that’s when I began Ayla’s Vegan Kitchen.

What do you do at your company? 

As head chef, I prepare the savoury items, make the menus, speak with customers and manage the accounts. My mother is the brains behind the pastry section. We are still a small company but plan to expand in the near future.

How do you provide an eco-friendly service through your catering company?

Veganism is not only about the food you eat, but also about being part of the solution for the environment. We have reusable bags for the vegetables and shopping that we do, which I think is an easy way to make a small contribution. We do not use any processed ingredients, this reduces the amount of packaged items we purchase. Our delivery containers are 90% plastic-free, and we don’t send cutlery unless requested. All of these approaches reduce our plastic use and waste. We also save all the cuttings from our fruits and vegetables to be used as compost. Unfortunately, we still struggle with recycling and would gladly take recommendations on where to do so.

Who are your main clients? Would you cater to businesses or individuals or both?

We have a large range of customers that we cater to, from individuals to cafes and other businesses. Our customers are not all vegan, we also have many people who like to eat a healthy vegan meal once in a while.

We try to cater to everyone!

What is a typical day like for you?

My day begins in the kitchen at 7 am where I prepare lunch meals for that day. Everything is always prepared fresh. The meals are sent out at 11:30 am.  I then continue to prepare for the other orders. Every day is different, I sometimes finish by 3 pm and other times I won’t get back home until much later in the evening.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

I love being in the kitchen, I always have! But what I love even more, is being able to make people happy with my food. My mission is to create delicious healthy food that is not seen as “vegan” and so far so good! I will never tire from hearing “I can’t believe this is vegan”! Being able to create my own recipes and cook the food is its own reward.

What is the hardest part of your work?

The hours, as we are still a small operation, the majority of the work falls on me which means I’m on my feet all day.

How do you balance being a spouse and a working woman? 

Being a chef and working in the kitchen for so many hours during the day, means that many times my poor husband doesn’t get home-cooked food for dinner! But I’m very fortunate to have someone who supports me as much as he does.

I don’t currently have children but I do have a hoard of rescued pets at home that we love! When I know that I have a long day ahead of me, I try to get home during the day for an hour to walk and feed them all.

Tell us about your journey of finding a job in Riyadh.

When I decided that I wanted to work in a kitchen, it wasn’t that easy at first. I worked with a start-up BBQ company and a few other catering companies but the kitchen was still not an option for me at the time. When the food and beverage scene in Riyadh began changing, I was fortunate enough to be one of the first female chefs in the region, and Nozomi helped me get my foot in the door.

What advice would you give women considering starting their own business in the Kingdom?

In terms of starting their own business, my advice is to find a niche in the market and test out the demand before going full force! It’s important to make sure there is a demand for what you have before taking a huge risk.

Where can creative women go to network in Riyadh?

All WSB events are a fantastic way to do so!

Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?

Do what you love!!

Contact Information & Social Media

I can be contacted through instagram @aylaskitchen or by mobile on +966 502639822

 

 

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WSB Inspiring Woman: Sarah Bin Saeed – Blend Culinary Institute

WSB Admin 27/09/2019 0

Tell us about yourself? 

I spent several years as an Audiologist helping people improve their quality of life. But I was bitten by the “entrepreneurial bug” and was inspired to open Saudi Arabia’s first-ever Culinary Institute focused on delivering a fun, interactive experience for corporate teams, families, couples and groups of friends. 

What brought you to Riyadh? 
I’m a Saudi born and raised in Riyadh.
How did you get inspired to start Blend Culinary Institute? 
I wanted to create a culinary institute where gourmets, food lovers and cooking enthusiasts could have fun while learning the art of cooking from well-known, highly reputable Saudi and international chefs. And I love it! It’s great to see people blending the pleasures of cooking and being together, and I feel lucky to be a part of it!
What do you do at Blend Culinary Institute? 
I’m the owner of the culinary institute, but I work there as well doing a variety of things from organising classes, to helping clients during the show.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day is being a working mom with a busy schedule. The juggling. The feeling of always being pulled in different directions. But there’s also the good stuff, like my wonderful friendships with my team, the satisfaction I get from my career.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

I’m a huge people person, and I love being part of fun valuable moments in Blend where you can see the results instantly in their dishes and on their faces.

What is the hardest part about your work?

Like any career it has its downside, whether it’s coping with tough clients, trying to manage your time effectively, dealing with self-doubt or the inevitable chore of taking care of the business side of things. In any job, there are varying unpleasant or difficult parts. How I deal with it is by keeping a positive attitude.

How do you balance being a mum/ a spouse and a working woman? 

I don’t. After many hours of self-reflection and conversations with friends and family,  I’ve found a recipe for success with life-work integration rather than work-life balance. For me, it’s not about striving for a perfect balancing act but rather integrating across all aspects of life so you can bring your whole self to everything you do. 

Tell us about your journey of finding a job in Riyadh.

As I mentioned previously, I used to be an audiologist. But I didn’t find myself much in the medical field. So, I decided to figure out what I like and started with organizing little classes and I found something new there.

What advice would you give women considering starting their own business/ OR seeking employment in the Kingdom?

Follow your passion, do your research on how to start this particular business, develop a full business plan, and most importantly consider your time management.

Where can creative women go to network in Riyadh?

Several places.

 

Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?

Nothing happens to you, it happens for you. So, don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

 

Contact Information & Social Media

Website: www.blendculinary.com

Instagram: blend culinary

Snapchat: blend culinary

Twitter: blend culinary

Phone number: +966583676105

 

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Recipes: B like Bulgarian banitsa

WSB Admin 27/09/2019 0

By Rositsa Dorovska

Bulgarian cuisine has many signature meals. Most of them are typical for the whole Balkan region with local variations and specifics. When you have to opt for one speciality only, that should be the famous pastry – banitsa. Banitsa cannot be translated from Bulgarian, but it’s similar to the Turkish burek, another untranslatable delicacy. Thought, they both cannot be mistaken for each other.
In brief, Banitsa is a dough pie, stuffed with an egg and cheese mixture. It‘s a kind of symbol for Bulgaria from centuries. In the past, banitsa used to be completely homemade. From the dough, rolled manually by the hands of our grandmothers, through the eggs from homegrown chickens, with fresh homemade yoghurt and cheese.  Finally, the dish would be baked not in a modern oven, but in a furnace.
Nowadays it’s a rarity to find such banitsa makers, but the importance of the dish remains. Banitsa is food for sharing, with a special place on each table with or without occasion. Only during the fasts, some people avoid it, because of the dairy products ingredients it contains.
Preparation is very easy, as all of the ingredients could be found in your nearest grocery store, but if you can use organic products from small farms or producers, the taste will be different and you will support the sustainable economy, as well.

Ingredients for banitsa

Package of dough leaves – refrigerated

4 – 6 eggs

250-300 gr. Cheese ( usually cow cheese)

Two spoons of sunflower oil

50 gr yoghurt

Sparkling water

Melted butter

Preparation :

All of the products should be at room temperature

  1. 1. Whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add the cheese crumbled. Add the yoghurt and the sunflower oil. Finally, add a few drops of sparkling water and mix all together. Do not use the chopper, it‘s best mixed manually.

Preheat the oven

  1. 2. Use the dough sheets one by one.  Spread thoroughly the melted butter on the first sheet and add some quantity of the mixture. Now you can either roll the dough like a spiral or put it straight fon the tray. Continue with the other sheets left, as long as you have some mixture. It‘s better if you can keep a small amount of the mix for the final touch.
  2. 3. Bake for 40 minutes at 150 degrees. Usually depends on the oven.

When it‘s almost done, spread the mixture leftovers as a topping. If you‘ve run out of the mix already, you can put melted butter instead.

Let the ready banitsa ‘rest’, covered with a clean towel. Eat while it‘s warm. The best drink for accompaniment is ayryan. Similar to the labneh for drinking, ayryan is half yoghurt, half water, beaten and seasoned with a pinch of salt.

Enjoy the taste of Bulgaria.

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Recipes: Finding Joy with Yummy Scrummy Veggie recipes?

WSB Admin 25/09/2019 0

By Lizzie Daniell

With a new vegetarian in our family – with a somewhat healthy appetite – I’ve started to look outside my normal carnivore comfort recipes to try and create something yummy for him to enjoy when he comes to visit. I believe when he’s cooking for himself, rice is his stable diet. Surely I can do better than that….. let’s see!

Living in the Arab world for the last few years has opened up a huge repertoire of exquisite new taste and flavours which gives me so much joy. To me, food is about love, comfort, time with family/friends which brings about a feeling of happiness and joy! Doesn’t mean I’m a fantastic cook, but when you mix the above with an excellent recipe, amazing things can happen!

After enjoying a wonderful lunch with my daughter at Comptoir Libanais in London, I decided to turn my hands to some of their delicious recipes.

Great restaurant and cook books if you are interested @ https://www.comptoirlibanais.com.

What I noticed is that there are as many vegetarian recipes as there are for the carnivores amongst us. If you have time to lovingly prepare their dishes – magic can happen. And what a great way for me to show off to my son… “look I am capable of creating a veggie feast!”

So the recipes I want to share with you are some savoury favourites of mine. So get your shopping bags out, them aprons on and let’s see what happens…..

  • Moussaka with Tahini (moussaka bil tahina)
  • Courgette fritters
  • Spiced fried potatoes (batata harra)

A gorgeous mix of flavours eaten together – or munched individually.

Moussaka with Tahini (moussaka bil tahina)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 aubergines

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing and drizzling

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

400g chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato paste

6 tomatoes, sliced

1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained

Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the tahini dressing

125g yoghurt

40g tahini

Couple of pinches of za’atar

Flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  1. Take one aubergine and chop into bite-size cubes, lay on a plate and cover with salt. Set aside for 15 mins to draw out all the bitter juices.
  2. Slice the other aubergine into rounds then salt and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for around 10-15 mins until its starting to soften and caramelise.
  4. Rinse the cubed aubergine and add to the pan with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cook, stirring from time to time, for about 10 mins until the cubes have softened and turned golden.
  5. Stir in the garlic and cook in the heat of the pan for a couple of mins until you can smell the aroma. Pour in the tomatoes, and tomato purée and bring everything to a simmer. Cover and cook over the lowest heat for 15 mins.
  6. Rinse the salt off the remaining aubergine. Preheat the grill and oil a baking sheet. Brush the aubergines slices liberally with oil and grill until golden, turning halfway through. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6.
  7. Place a layer of the aubergine sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof dish, then cover this with the sliced tomatoes, chickpeas and finally the grilled aubergine. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil.
  8. Bake for 20 mins, until bubbling and golden on top.
  9. To make the dressing, stir together the yoghurt, tahini and za’atar to taste.
  10. Scatter the chopped parsley over the cooked moussaka and serve with the tahini dressing
  11. YUMMY

Courgette fritters

Makes at least 15

Ingredients:

5 courgettes, grated

1 tsp salt

2 onions, peeled and grated

2-3 tbsp olive oil

150g feta cheese

3 eggs, beaten

Small bunch of mint, leaves only, chopped into shreds

½ tsp baking powder

Plain flour, for the batter

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Grate the courgettes, place in a bowl, then sprinkle on the salt and leave for 30 mins.
  2. Squeeze handfuls of grated courgettes until they release as much liquid as possible. Then place the dry courgettes to one side, discard the liquid and return the courgettes to the bowl.
  3. Peel and grate the onions. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, then fry the onions until soft.
  4. Add the onions to the bowl of courgettes and stir well. Crumble in the feta and add beaten eggs.
  5. Add the mint and plenty of black pepper. Stir everything together, then add the baking powder and enough flour to make a soft batter (you can always adjust the consistency).
  6. Heat 2-3cm of vegetable oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan.
  7. When the oil is hot enough, test the temperature with some of the batter. It should fry to a golden brown in 2 mins, so lower the heat and allow the oil to cool if it colours too quickly.
  8. Spoon rounded tablespoons of batter into the oil in batches and fry until golden.
  9. Drain on kitchen paper, test the first ones to check they are cooked in the middle, then keep warm in a low oven while you fry the remainder.
  10. Eat and enjoy!

Batata Hara (Spiced fried potatoes)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1kg potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice

150ml olive or sunflower oil

3 garlic cloves, sliced

Salt to taste

A handful of coriander leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

For the spices (optional):

2 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp paprika

  1. Parboil the potatoes in boiling salted water for no more than 3 mins. Drain the potatoes, and heat the oil in a frying pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes (in batches if required) and fry until golden, adding the garlic about 2-3 mins before they’re ready so it cooks.
  3. Once the potatoes are crispy, drain the oil from the pan. Season the potatoes with salt. Then mix with the coriander, spoon on to a plate and squeeze the lemon juice over.
  4. If you want to add more spices, return the potatoes to the pan once you’ve drained the oil away, sprinkle the mixed spices over evenly, season and toss over a high heat for 1 min before serving with coriander and lemon.
  5. Divine!

Now let’s EAT!

I would love you to share with me some stories of your experiences with the love of food and where it made you feel joyous and warm – look forward to hearing from you. Until next time.

To be part of my community, please view my website http://findingthejoy.info or if you would like to share your foodie recipes, please email lizziefindingjoy@gmail.com

 

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The story behind popular Indian dishes

WSB Admin 25/09/2019 0

By Anupama Sreejith

India is a nation of hedonists and our choicest guilty pleasure is food. And for all our diversity, our communal love for food is the one common element that unites us all, despite the fact that cuisines from different parts of the country are incredibly varying. Still, you might have wondered while enjoying the rich culinary culture of the country, who developed certain staples like the biryani or a chicken tandoori, and how they came to be?

While watching one of a TV program about the origin of popular Indian food, I was fascinated to find out the history and origins behind some of the most common Indian dishes we have all grown to love. Since some accounts are largely dependent on oral histories, a few facts have gotten blurry as they’ve been passed down through the years.

  1. Samosa

Everyone’s favourite tea-time snack is believed to have originated in the Middle East before the 10th century. Originally known as a ‘sambusa’, the Indian version was introduced by traders from Central Asia somewhere in the 14th century. Ibn Battuta, a 14th-century traveller and explorer, describes a meal at the court of Muhammad bin Tughluq, where a small pie stuffed with minced meat, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and spices, was served. While the Muslim community still relish the Mughal version, the vegetarian version has also become very popular in all parts of India.

  1. Idli

One of the healthiest south Indian breakfast, rich in carbohydrates & proteins, is actually not from India.  According to the Chinese chronicler Xuang Zang, there were no steaming vessels in India. It is said that the cooks who accompanied the Hindu Kings of Indonesia between 800-1200 AD, brought fermentation and steaming methods and their dish Kedli to South India along with them. The Arab settlers were strict in their dietary preferences; many of them came here when Mohammed was still alive and they were neo-converts to Islam from Paganism. They insisted on halaal food, and Indian food was quite alien to their palate. To avoid all such confusion regarding what is halaal or haraam in food, they began to make rice balls as it was easy to make and was the safest option available. After making the rice balls, they would slightly flatten them and eat with bland coconut paste, sound familiar?

  1. Sambar

We all know that Idli and Sambar are inseparable.

Sambar, as a dish, was created in the 17th century! It is said that it originated in the kitchen of Thanjavur Marathas ruler Shahuji, who had an immense liking for a dish called amti. The dish was special because it had kokum as one of its main ingredients. However, catastrophe struck when during one particular season, the kokum (which was imported from the Maratha homeland) ran out of supply. However, some brilliant adviser in this court suggested that they try tamarind pulp for the sourness –an ingredients locals swore by. Shahji experimented the dish with tuvar dal, vegetables, spices and the tamarind pulp and served his cousin, Sambhaji, who was visiting him. The court loved the dish so much that they created a whole new supply of tamarind, and named the dish sambhar after their guest, Sambhaji.

  1. Gulab Jamun

The sweet, derived from a fritter, that Persian invaders brought along when they came to India. The dessert got the first half of its name, ‘gulab’ from the Persian words ‘gol’ (flower) and ‘ab’ (water), referring to the rose water-scented syrup that the fried khoya balls are dunked in. The original preparation known as ‘luqmat al qadi’ consisted of soaking the khoya balls in honey syrup and then having them drizzled with sugar.

  1. Dal- bhaat

Talk of coming home after a long day of work and roughing it out in the rains to the goodness of some steamed rice and dal, a.k.a. dal bhaat, with some tangy mango pickle to go with it, and nothing feels more satisfying. This simple comfort meal too isn’t Indian in origin. Actually of Nepali origin, the dish entered Indian kitchens through North Indian influences, spreading across the country’s vast geography to be adapted for different palates.

  1. Rajma chawal

When someone from the North of India moves elsewhere to study or work, it isn’t unusual for him or her to complain about how the rajma doesn’t taste anywhere close to what is found in the North. And though rajma chawal continues to be a well-loved staple, particularly in the Northern states, the preparation technique for it comes from outside as well. To begin with, the kidney bean was brought to India from Portugal and the technique of soaking and boiling beans is borrowed from Mexican cooking traditions, the bean constituting their staple diet too. A rich and thick rajma gravy prepared with chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes and other spices, the Indian variant is very different from the Mexican preparations of the kidney bean. Probably next after dal bhaat on the list of comfort foods, this dish goes best with some steamed rice, especially during winters.

  1. Filter coffee

While 99.9 percent of Indians link filter coffee to South India especially Chennai, this sleep jerking drink is actually of Yemen origin. The drink known as Kaapi, is the South Indian phonetic rendering of “coffee”. A definite must for a South Indian breakfast today, Filter Coffee is believed to have been introduced to India by Sufi saint Baba Budan who discovered it while on a pilgrimage to Mecca. In order to show its taste, the saint carried along seven coffee beans from Mocha, Yemen to India. On his return home, he planted the beans on the slopes of the Chandragiri Hills in Kadur district, Mysore State (present-day Karnataka). The seeds were also planted in parts of TN and Kerala. Those days, many Indians due to their faith, were prohibited from consuming alcoholic beverages and this black coffee came as a substitute for it due to its bitterness and dense taste.  Subsequently the milk coffee became popular through the famous Indian coffee houses during the mid-1940s.

7.Biryani

This is one dish which is popular in every part of India. While Mughals introduced this dish in the northern part, Arabs brought it to the south.

The word ‘biryani’ originates from the Persian word ‘birian’ which means ‘fried before cooking’. Legend has it that Mumtaz Mahal (1593-1631), Shah Jahan’s queen, once visited army barracks and thought that the soldiers were under-nourished. Therefore, she asked the chef to prepare a special dish, which provided balanced nutrition. After a few rejections, she finally settled on biryani, considering it the ‘complete meal’ which could be eaten as a single serving. So, while the first origins of this dish have Persian and Afghani influences, the Mughals crafted it within the vast Indian subcontinent they ruled for years, proving the potency of the frequented spice route. Also, the next time you visit the Taj, make sure you give Mumtaz a small whisper of gratitude.

Other theories involve Taimor The Lame bringing biriyani down from Kazakhstan via Afghanistan to Northern India and nomads burying an earthen pot full of meat, rice and spices in a pit, which was then eventually dug up to become biriyani.

So, one can conclude that historical events such as foreign invasions, trade relations, and colonialism have played a huge role in introducing certain foods to this country.

Sources:

www.homegrown.co.in

www.livingfoodz.com

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Recipes: Tasty date recipes

WSB Admin 23/09/2019 0

By Sairah Zubair Khan

After opening the fast in Ramadan, my mind would wander to sweet treats! How can I treat myself and my family but be healthy at the same time?

I think I found the answer I was searching for!

My friend had gifted me a box of date balls. Hand-rolled little jewels of deliciousness, presented in a box and made with such love. I have ended up making these for gifts, as an after-school snack for the children, teacher’s gifts, a small treat to be consumed after a gym work out session. They provide instant energy and can be as sweet as you would like.

I would like to share three recipes; I adapt these to levels of sweetness that I require, or if I am serving to anybody with nut/food allergies.

Chocolate and Orange Date Balls

Recipe-laurencariscooks.com Pinterest

Ingredients (30-35 balls)

2tbsp berry, freeze-dried

2tbsp cacao nibs

2tbsp goji berry (reserve some for decoration)

15 Medjool dates (pitted)

2 cups orange juice

2 tsp orange zest

2tbsp tbsp cocoa powder (reserve some for decoration)

100g dark chocolate

2tbsp coconut oil

1 ½ cup almonds crushed

2 tbsp chia seeds

3 tbsp desiccated coconut

3 tbsp crushed hazelnuts

3 tbsp pistachio nuts, finely crushed

2 tbsp dried rose petals

Method 

Take the stone out of the dates and soak them in the orange juice for half an hour.

Then in a food processor, mix the drained dates, berries, cacao nibs, goji berry, orange zest and cocoa powder.

Mix until smooth, then add the coconut oil, almonds, hazelnuts and chia seeds.

The chocolate should be melted to pouring consistency.

Shape the balls and place in the fridge for 1 hour. Then take them out and coat in the melted chocolate. Place them on wax paper.

Prepare the decoration ingredients on separate trays. Some balls can be dusted with cocoa powder.

Use the desiccated coconut, pistachio nuts, rose petals or goji berries to sprinkle on top of the balls.

Leave for 1 hour on wax paper in the fridge and enjoy. The remainder can be boxed in an air-tight container and stored in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

Recipe-grandmotherskitchen.org Pinterest

Ingredients (25 truffles)

1 cup of chopped, dark chocolate

1/3 cup of cream cheese, room temperature

½ tsp raspberry extract

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp raspberry jam (seedless)

100g milk chocolate

100g white chocolate

 

Method 

Melt the dark chocolate, place in a heatproof bowl. Mix the cream cheese, raspberry extract, sugar and raspberry jam into the chocolate.

Blend until smooth and place in the fridge for 3 hours.

Take out of the fridge and pinch off some of the mixtures, form a round ball (1 inch in size).

Place on wax paper and put in the fridge for half an hour. Melt the milk and white chocolate, in separate bowls.

Coat the truffles in the milk chocolate and place back in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Then drizzle with white chocolate.

Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1 week.

You can also experiment with adding cocoa powder, using raw cacao nibs ground down or 1 tbsp instant coffee granules, mixed to a paste.

Frozen raspberries 5 oz would work well, thawed and blended into a paste

Apricot and Coconut Bliss Balls

Recipe-caseyjade.com Pinterest

Ingredients (20 balls)

1 ½ cups dried apricots

¼ cup almond meal

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup macadamia nuts

Method

Add the macadamia nuts and the apricots to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add the coconut and almond meal. Combine well.

I f you cannot obtain almond meal, grind 25g peeled almonds until smooth, like a flour consistency.

Place mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes. Take out of the fridge and roll into 1” sized round balls. Add coconut to a tray and cover the balls.

Store the balls in the fridge for up to 1 week, in an air-tight container.

You can also freeze for up to 3 months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My take on the tastiest British desserts

WSB Admin 23/09/2019 0

By Deepa Thomas-Sutcliffe

This month, I would like to pay tribute to my new (future) home country and celebrate their many delicious desserts I adore. I first heard about some of them through the many British authors I enjoy. The descriptions of some of the afternoon teas from Enid Blyton’s books used to get me all excited to try them myself someday. In later years, desserts drew my eyes in movies, series and the images on the internet all got me excited until I was fortunate enough to visit the UK and taste them myself.

Join me on a culinary journey as I drool over and describe them to the best of my ability…

First, the Victorian Cream Tea, best enjoyed in a charming tea house bursting with atmosphere. My favourite is Betty’s in York. A cream tea is a charming Victorian tradition of getting together between 3 and 4 pm for a mini-meal. The story goes the afternoon tea tradition was started by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford and a close friend of Queen Victoria. She was hungry and wanted a small meal to ‘put her on’ till dinner. She soon invited her friends to join her in the tea ritual and even got Queen Victoria into the habit. The cream tea is served in 3 courses in a 3-tiered tray with a selection of sandwiches, a selection of mini cakes and some scones and clotted cream to be washed down with a cuppa of tea. Something I really enjoy.

Secondly, Scones and clotted cream. Scones have been described as drops of heaven. They can be plain, sweet, include raisins or be savoury. Plain scones are an integral part of the cream tea and often served with butter, clotted cream and strawberry jam. There is also the great scone debate – clotted cream first (Devon style) or jam first (Cornish style). The Queen herself prefers jam first but this author likes the clotted cream first. What’s your preference?

Thirdly, the heavenly Victoria Sponge Cake. It’s a two-layer sponge cake, filled with a layer of raspberry jam and whipped cream. It’s light and airy and delicious and often called the quintessential English teatime treat. It was named after Queen Victoria who was known to enjoy her sponge cake. There are variations also made with buttercream, with strawberry jam and even served with fresh fruit. There is of course the Victoria Sponge debate about which version is better. In my case, I prefer whipped cream and strawberry preserve in my Victoria sponge.

Fourthly, Clotted Cream Fudge. Clotted cream fudge is tasty, chewy fudge that dissolves in your mouth. It’s my favourite fudge and best bought in the charming historical apothecary or sweet shops in my view. Available in all the seaside towns as well. They are very rich and last forever so spread the guilt over a longish period as you savour them. 

Fifthly, Sticky Toffee Pudding. This Duchess of Cambridge favourite also features among my favourites. A yummy date sponge cake served with toffee sauce, sometimes accompanied by ice cream or custard. It’s usually served warm and hence a perfect winter dessert in my view. Some of the origins point to it being introduced by Canadian soldiers but it is now firmly a British classic.

This was such a hard list to create with so many contenders, Carrot Cake, Coffee Walnut Cake, Snowballs, Eton Mess, Brandy Snaps, Strawberry Shortcake, Shortbread Cookies, Cinder Toffee all are candidates as are many other delicious British desserts. What’s on your top 5? Would you agree with my choices? I would love to hear from you….

Tweet to me on www.twitter.com/deepathomas and share your take…

 

 

 

 

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