We’re over half way through Ramadan now and the tiredness and a bit of weakness is setting in. The hot days make for a tough fast, and it’s been hot almost everywhere.
In Pakistan, there were experiencing a heat wave a right as Ramadan started and over 700 people died because of the heat. Many also tried to fast during the heat wave and were taken ill. If placed in life threatening situations, then we are allowed to break our fast or not fast at all. I’m not sure why then, especially during a heat wave, people thought it was a good idea to fast.
The weeks have gone by pretty quickly and I can’t believe we’re almost at the end of the month. The very sacred last 10 days of Ramadan will start tonight. These last 10 days are the most important as far as increasing our worship goes. We try and pray into the night and increase our good deeds and charity. It’s a true test of faith because the last 10 days are quite hard. Definitely by this time we are tired of the early mornings and late nights. The fasting and the lack of water also drains the energy a bit and to amp up our worship when we feel totally drained is the true test.
The month does seem to have gone in a blur. I haven’t felt at peace this Ramadan. My mind is in a scatter and and the feelings are flustered. Nothing seems gelled. It’s been hard to get to the Islamic Centre to join in the congregational prayers so I’ve felt disconnected. A lot of the holiday atmosphere comes from being with friends and family, and opening our fasts together. It’s been really just us at home, eating and then pretty much heading to bed.
I have been so preoccupied with work, writing menus, studying manuals, shopping and cooking. I’m so exhausted by the end of this that it’s hardly leaving any time for me to pray extra prayers or to pick up the Quran to read a verse or two. I’m missing out on the true spirit of the season.
Fasting brings out more than just the hunger pangs, it helps you be more grateful and more aware of others around you. You watch your actions a bit more closely and increase your good deeds. For me, my mind is so busy with other things, I’m missing out on all these feelings.
I haven’t even cooked anything festive. We’re eating leftover food because so much food is leftover when I cook one day or we end up eating out because the daughters have their own plans.
I did host my dinner last Friday and as far as the food goes, it turned out well. The evening itself, well, it was a bit frantic. We had some energetic and vibrant littl’uns and by that I mean, naughty, very naughty.
I have never felt so overwhelmed and out of control at my own dinner as I did that evening. It was just loud and everyone seemed on edge by the antics of these kids. We managed to eat and they left in one piece but that’s not how I like my dinners. I like my guests to eat in peace and enjoy their time at my place and feel like they’re pampered. I know I had no control over the evening, but I hope everyone enjoyed themselves despite the noise and drama. Well, it was a learning experience, that’s for sure!
On top of all that’s going on here at C and C headquarters, I’m trying to keep up with all this beautiful, seasonal produce. Our markets and farms stands are bulging with gorgeous, fresh Colorado local produce. It honestly feels so good to eat food grown here. I don’t have my own garden yet but back in Texas I did and one of the most fulfilling things was picking your own food from the backyard. I get the same feeling eating produce grown in Colorado.
I’m kind of torn between posting traditional Ramadan recipes and some summery seasonal recipes. This week I just had to post a summery recipe of local Colorado cherries grown out in the Western Slopes. I love cherry ice cream so what better use for local Colorado cherries. I added a touch of cardamom for some interest and boy, was it good! Sweet Colorado cherries, warm cardamom scent and flavour against a cold and refreshing ice cream. It was SO good.
I made one batch of ice cream and split the custard between 8 Popsicle moulds and ran the remainder through an ice cream machine. I got about 4 generous servings out of the ice cream maker.
The cherries are cooked a little to concentrate flavours and reduce the liquid so make sure to get a syrupy consistency with the cherries, I was impatient and so I had more liquid then I should have in the cherries. My ice cream was great though maybe a little bit too ‘icy’. We still had no problem finishing it off.
Serves: about 1 qt.
- 2 cups/475ml heavy cream
- 1 cup/235ml milk
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ cup/100g sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 cups Colorado Bing cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- In a medium saucepan, add the cream, milk and sugar.
- Heat on medium heat until the sugar dissolves, add the cardamom.
- Have the egg yolks in a large bowl.
- Once sugar dissolves and the cream and milk are hot, slowly add in a stream to the egg yolks being careful not to cook the eggs.
- Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan and heat on low until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the custard from the heat and pour into a clean bowl through a strainer to catch any cooked bits of eggs and lumps.
- Allow to cool in a water bath or place in the fridge.
- In a small saucepan, add the cherries and the sugar with a tablespoon of water.
- Allow the cherries to soften and the juice to thicken and get syrupy, about 10-12 minutes.
- Cool in the fridge.
- Once both the custard and cherries have cooled, it's time to freeze.
- Place the custard in the bowl of the ice cream maker and turn on.
- Run for about 30 minutes until the ice cream begins to thicken.
- In the last 10 minutes, add drained cherries and only four or five tablespoons of the syrup if there's a lot.
- Once the ice cream has thickened, transfer to a air tight container and freeze the ice cream for at least 4 hours or over night.
- If you want to use popsicle moulds, pour into the moulds and freeze.
- I made ice cream and popsicles, 8 popsicles and 4 servings of ice cream.
- The custard probably makes about 16 popsicles or a quart of ice cream.
- To unfold the popsicles, let them soften outside for a bit and then pull out carefully.
- If you run hot water, be careful, it will melt the ice cream quite a bit and you'll lose a lot of the popsicle in a melted puddle!
- Leave at room temp for a bit and they should slide out.
Hope your summer/winter is going well. What are you all eating? What’s your favourite summer/winter dish or food at the moment?
I will check in next week for the end of Ramadan! Happy eating everyone!