[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After just over fifteen hours of fasting, the first thing on my mind when I break my fast is to take a sip of water, to nibble on a date or two and to drink a glass of laban. Next I always want a big mug of coffee which smells amazing and tastes equally good. After this I usually move onto something light perhaps a soup, or a light salad, or a crunchy cracker before having my main meal later in the evening.  I do this because mostly I find that I’m unable to eat much more as, despite the long time without food, I’m actually not that hungry and don’t have much capacity to eat much.

I’m spending the majority of Iftar time this year helping at Filling The Blues and therefore having Iftar at home or somewhere low key, usually on my drive home from Filling The Blues which is quiet affair.

Ramadan doesn’t have to be a big lavish affair in terms of eating and spending, so here are a few of my favourite places to enjoy on a budget.  Lavish they may not be, but good food cooked well eaten at home or in the restaurant can be just as satisfying as an expensive meal out.

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Iftar | Home Sweet Home” google_fonts=”font_family:Delius%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]What & Where : Iftar at home.

Breaking Fast With : 3 dates or dried figs, 1 glass of water and half a glass of laban.

Food : varies but could be a bowl of homemade soup, a small salad or a few rice crackers with some cheese spread.

Drink : Water & Laban

Coffee : Speciality Coffee brewed in my Mocca Master, the Coffee pot is always on.

Ambiance : This is one of two things, either a completely relaxed Iftar at home enjoyed casually at the table or in front of the TV. Or, if I’m not back from Filling The Blues on time, an Iftar in two parts.  The first part, the physical breaking of the fast could happen on site, or at the side of the road somewhere with water and dates. The second part is at home a little later.

Price : varies but I estimate no more than 75/AED for 2 people

Food Waste : None, food leftover is carried forward either for Suhoor or Iftar tomorrow.

Bonus : This is not only the cheapest option, but also the option with the least amount of food wastage, no need to travel and also no need to get dressed up, so it’s a casual affair in my lounge wear (or should I say PJ’s).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_custom_heading text=”Iftar | Foul W Hummus” google_fonts=”font_family:Delius%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpages%2FFoul-W-Hummus%2F159357907457494||target:%20_blank|”][vc_column_text]Food : The plan was to dine in at Foul W Hummus which is just around the corner from where we do Filling The Blues.  However the plan fell a little flat when we arrived to find the dine in part of the restaurant closed to refurbishment. No problem, a quick five minute wait on the pavement resulted in us driving home with two bags of hot falafel and a tub of hummus to eat at home.

On my plate : (or should I say in my fingers) delicious hot crunchy falafel dipped into creamy hummus topped with olive oil and lemon juice, moreish and best eaten hot.

Watch Out for : Avoid temptation at all costs and drive home swiftly so you are not tempted to munch on these on the way home !

Ambiance : Instead of dining in, which is a simple yet interesting affair as I always get to do a lot of people watching. We dined at home, so peaceful and quiet ambiance with just a hint of a ‘easy to watch’ TV show on in the background.

Bonus : Foul W Hummus is my local ‘to go’ place for Falafel close to the house.  There’s nothing fancy about the place, but if you manage to get hot falafel straight out of the fryer they are fab, as a bonus the guy serving often feeds me falafel whilst I wait.

Price : 20/AED for enough Falafel for two hungry adults at Iftar plus hummus.

Details : Foul W Falafel, Al Barsha.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Kebab Rolls ” google_fonts=”font_family:Delius%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fkababrollsofficial%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_column_text]Food : Order ahead and I pick up dinner on my way home from FillingTheBlues.  Parking is always a bit tricky at the Al Barsha branch as it’s very popular, but it’s worth a quick walk to pick up dinner.  Alternatively dine in, it’s a really social experience with TV in the background, often featuring cricket, it’s packed with families and groups so there’s plenty of people watching whilst your food is cooked to order.

On my Plate : My favourites include the mixed grill, daal makhani and two chapati’s.

Price : 80/AED – enough to feed two

Bonus : If you want to dine in, they do a great Iftar buffet priced at 69/AED per person comprising drinks, starters, main course, dessert and tea.  (They deliver – but I prefer to pick up if I want this at Iftar time just to make sure I have it on time)

Details : Kebab Rolls, Al Barsha[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Caspian Kebabs” google_fonts=”font_family:Delius%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FCaspianKabab%2F||target:%20_blank|”][vc_column_text]Food : Order ahead and I pick up dinner on my way home from FillingTheBlues.

On my Plate : I’m a creature of habit when it comes to Caspian.  I always choose the same thing, a platter with a bit of everything and then sometimes I choose an extra side dish. The Caspian special mixed grill is my dish of choice, it comes with a selection of different kebabs, grilled chicken, fries, fluffy bread, pickles and french fries plus grilled tomato and onion.

Price : 95/AED – enough to feed two, add another 12/AED if you want a side of hummus etc.

Bonus : If you want to dine in, they do a great Iftar buffet with a great salad bar, drinks, starters, main course, dessert and tea.  (They deliver – but I prefer to pick up if I want this at Iftar time just to make sure I have it on time). Their saffron tea is always a winner.

Details : Caspian Kebab, Al Barsha[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_custom_heading text=”Home Sweet Home – the art of enjoying Iftar & Suhoor at home” google_fonts=”font_family:Montserrat%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Iftar | Homemade Soup (using leftovers)” google_fonts=”font_family:Delius%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Breaking Fast With : Dates, Water and Laban

Food : I was brought up respecting the value of food as a precious resource which was not to be wasted.  Money was in short supply, and we grew up eating good nutritious food on a budget. Much of that ethos has remained with me and I’m always trying to ‘reduce or reuse/repurpose leftovers’.  Soup is a perfect way to do this, leftover veggies are added then the fridge and store cupboard is raided to add some protein.   

Here’s a soup I make often, it always changes in the end as it depends on what’s in the fridge but you get the general gist of what it’s about below:

Ingredients :

  • 3 Onions & 4 Garlic cloves – peel & Slice then throw into a pan with some oil and brown slowly.
  • 1 x Stock Cube – dissolve in hot water and add to the pan.
  • Dice 1 potato and chop up leftover veggies from the fridge – in this instance I added :
  • 1 x Sliced Leek
  • 3 x Carrots – sliced
  • 1/2 Butter Nut Squash cut into cubes
  • Add some protein :
  • 2 x Chopped up Spicy Lebanese Sausages (left from dinner the night before)
  • 1/2 can butter beans (left from dinner the night before).
  • Throw in some spices – I added chilli flakes, salt, pepper, cumin and tandoori spice
  • Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the veggies are soft.

Taste and adjust seasoning (wait until Iftar to do this if you are fasting).

Either serve as is, or blend to the consistency you want.

On my plate : (or should I say in my bowl) spicy vegetable and sausage soup, served with some rice cakes for added crunch.

Ambiance : Slurped in front of the TV with the generous assistance of napkins.

Bonus : Using leftovers is an efficient way of making tasty and nutritious soups.  I make this in my *** which means I can leave it cooking away whilst I’m at FillingTheBlues and when I come home the soup is ready.

Price : Less than 30 AED (estimate) 

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Healthy Date Smoothie” google_fonts=”font_family:Delius%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Breaking fast with the same drinks every day can feel a bit repetitive.  I was tempted to buy a date smoothie from the supermarket until I checked the ingredients and saw how much sugar had been added to what should have been a nutritious drink.  This is a quick, easy and natural alternative which tastes great, has no added sugar and can be made in advance usually with items from your fridge and cupboard.

  • Take a handful of dates and soak them in water for a few hours (this softens them and makes them easier to blend, but if you don’t have time you can skip this step).
  • Remove the stones from the dates before adding them to your blender/smoothie maker
  • Add the dates to a glass full of laban, add a few tablespoons of yogurt and a 100 ml or so of milk.
  • Blend all of the ingredients until they are smooth
  • Pass through a sieve or tea strainer to remove any last bits of skin
  • Serve chilled

TIP : This comes out quite sweet, but if you want it sweeter than add some honey or agave nectar.  If you want you can add a banana to make it a Banana & Date smoothie.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Let’s Get Juicing” google_fonts=”font_family:Delius%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Another simple recipe and great way to use up extra or leftover fruit and veg in the fridge.  I shop for my fruit & vegetables on-line and always pick fruit & Veg which is in season (and therefore cheap) specifically with the purpose of making juice from them.

Currently the stock items I use are apples or pears, carrots, beetroot, cucumber, ginger and then whatever else I add.  Here’s a sample juice which makes enough for 2 -3 large glasses of juice packed full of vitamins and goodness.

  • 3 apples or pears
  • 5-6 carrots
  • 3 beetroot
  • thumb size piece of ginger
  • 3 cucumber (small Lebanese ones) or 1 x Large Indian Cucumber (they look like small melon)

Juice all of the above with a high speed juicer (I have a Phillips once which was pricy, but in my experience, you get what you pay for with juicers, particularly if you want to juice hard fruit/veg).

This juice is fine to drink as is, but for me always tastes better with 2-3 ice-cubes added so it is thoroughly chilled.

Additions include whatever is in the fridge : yesterday I added a whole head of celery, other times I add spinach, grapes, melon etc.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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