A Month of Weekend Brunches

These are all images I’ve shared on my Instagram, but I thought putting them together in a post could provide some inspiration or ideas for what you can cook this weekend!

I’ll reference my homemade spelt bread a few times here —  I’ll put up a recipe in a few weeks. I’ve been testing it for 4+ months!

Spoiler: I like eggs on the weekend.

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You’d see this repeated a lot if you follow me on Instagram: basically, a slice of my spelt bread, topped with avocado and eggs. I just try to change it a little bit to have the flavours pop in different ways.

Here, I toasted a slice of the bread and cut it in half, mashed some avocado with chilli flakes and coarse salt, and topped each half with an egg sunny-side up. That yolk though. I was mopping it up with the bread — heaven.

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The following week, I woke up with the strongest craving for pancakes. I swung my legs out of bed and went straight into the kitchen (after brushing my teeth).

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This is another recipe I’m still testing for you folks, as I’m no pancake expert. But these spelt pancakes are naturally sweetened with a banana and have absolutely no artificial sugar in them. I chose to top mine with peaches and strawberries, because that’s what I had in the fridge, plus a drizzle of maple syrup. Very satisfying.

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I went back to my classic avocado and egg ways the following week, but this time I decided on poached eggs. For eggs cooked to this level of yolk porn, I set my timer to 3 minutes. I went for fresh cracked black pepper too and that really elevated the flavour.

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Finally, last weekend, I wanted eggs but wanted to skip the bread and get my carbs from another source. I decided to make my Shakshuka — it’s hands-down one of the recipes I’m proudest of and I worked on this recipe, slowly testing and changing, for several years. It’s now a favourite in our household. Please give it a go — recipe is here.

I hope this gave you some sort of idea! Did you like this kind of wrap-up post with recipe ideas? I can do more of them if so. If you do make any of these recipes, please tag me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @sandkitchen.

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Chicken Coconut Chilli

This recipe came about in stages — I’d bought minced chicken one day, wondering what to do with it, and made a version of this. I knew I wanted to recipe test it a few more times before sharing, so I worked on that. I had also wanted to find a leaner protein to use in mince form, as I try to limit my beef intake (environmental and health reasons). I don’t have easy access to turkey mince in Bahrain, but if you do, that would be an excellent choice, too.

This version, for me, was perfect. I love this meal prep and it’s one I can have day after day without getting sick of it.

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You will need:
GF, serves 4

  • 500g minced chicken
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 2 diced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 Scotch bonnet pepper*
  • 2 1/2 tbsp coconut milk powder**
  • 1 heaped tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste, about 1 tsp

* – you can use whatever hot pepper you prefer
** – you can substitute this with half a can of coconut milk

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Brown off your diced onion with a little olive oil, then add in the spices, followed by the garlic and ginger.

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When the onion spice mixture has softened, add your carrots and sautée for about five minutes. You mostly want them to absorb the flavours and spices, while cooking off the crunch.

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At this point, add your chicken mince. I usually push my carrot to the side so that the chicken can have a chance to brown separately before I mix it all.

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Wait till it picks up some colour, but you know it’s not cooked through. It’s at this point that I add the coconut milk powder and water. In terms of how much water, I usually just make sure it’s got enough liquid.

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Give it a mix, and taste it. At this point, add more salt if you think it’s necessary — or sometimes I find I want the coconut to be stronger, and I’d add another half a tablespoon. See how you feel, then let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

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Then serve it up! The first night I made it, I served it with brown rice and some roasted vegetables, but I also had it plain, with rice cakes, and with a side salad.

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It’s become one of my favourite recipes, because it’s just so simple, takes about 40 minutes beginning to end including prep, and is so flavourful. The combination of chilli and coconut is not revolutionary (hello, Thai and Indian food) but somehow it’s still a surprise when mixed in with the chicken mince like this.

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Eid in Bahrain | Brunch & Lunch, HIIT Cycle & Laser Tag

I really wanted to share our Eid celebrations with you all, so I hope this video shows you how fun the day really was. I realised when I was editing that I forgot to show bits that might have been interesting: the children getting their Eidiyah (Eid money) or explaining the background a little more! Anyway, I imagine most of you know what Eid is, and it was a beautiful day.

Any questions, pop them below and I hope you have a lovely Sunday!

Vibrant Tofu Coconut Curry

A little change of pace here on Sand Kitchen — decided to create a recipe that was specifically geared toward tofu. I know I often suggest using it as a substitute for meat to make something veggie/vegan, but as with all things, starting with it naturally means I can work with the flavour profiles better.

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Let’s start with the tofu, which we’re going to marinate while we do the rest of our chopping and cooking.

You will need:

  • 300g firm tofu (in fact, extra firm would be better)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil

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Ideally, you will have drained your tofu an hour or two in advance and placed it on some kitchen roll or a hand towel to drain off the excess. This will just make it crisp up a bit more. If you haven’t, no big deal, I didn’t have time and so just placed something heavy on top of it to try and get as much of the water out as possible. Then just chop up your tofu into squares.

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Scatter your herbs and spices mix on top of the tofu with a little drizzle of olive oil and leave it to marinate.

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For the rest of the curry, you will need:

  • One onion, in chunks
  • Two bell peppers; I used one yellow, one green
  • 500-700g mushrooms; I used a mix of shiitake and button
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk powder*
  • 1 inch diced ginger
  • 3 diced garlic cloves
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves**

* – you can substitute this with just coconut milk, I find powder easier sometimes because it keeps longer in the cupboard, and I can use less of it to decrease the fats in the meal
** – 
substitute with bay leaves if you can’t get ahold of kaffir

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First, fry off your tofu. This should take about 5-10 minutes, until they pick up some colour. When they do, take them out.

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In the same pan, add your mushrooms. Don’t add oil here, the mushrooms will naturally sweat out the water and shrink in size.

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Once the mushrooms begin to shrink, add your ginger and garlic to flavour the mix.

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In a pot, put your onion chunks, peppers, and mushrooms together and give them a toss.

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Then add in your tofu and your coconut milk powder.

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Add enough water to cover it, about 1 litre, plus your kaffir lime leaves, and leave it to simmer for about half an hour.

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And voila — all done! I actually completely forgot to take pictures of this served — apologies! I made it as a meal prep, and that’s why. For me, it made enough for three portions and I served it up with a side of brown rice.

Let me know how you get on with this. Any other recipes with dietary restrictions you’d like to see?

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Ramadan in Bahrain | Breaking My Fast & Gorgeous Brunches

Final Ramadan vlog — next one will be Eid! I kept this one short and sweet.

I thought about not sharing the fact that I was breaking my fast as it’s seen as somewhat disrespectful to talk about periods in public, especially in Ramadan, but I honestly don’t believe that to be the case. Besides, I’m a woman, I have a menstrual cycle so at some point I would have to break my fast!

Dairy-Free Muhalabiya | Bahraini Rice Pudding

For someone who is known for her desserts, I post surprisingly few dessert recipes here on Sand Kitchen. I think it’s mostly because I love making them, but don’t have an enormous sweet tooth myself.

This muhalabiya (Arabic: مهلبيه) was my grandfather’s favourite. It’s a dish we had over and over again growing up, and my mum’s was my favourite. Even after I was diagnosed as lactose intolerant at 13, I’d still eat muhalabiya. How could I not?

I decided to make a dairy-free version for all my fellow intolerants (and vegans) out there.

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You will need:
(Serves 6, GF, vegan)

  • 1 can coconut milk (approx 2 cups)*
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp rice flour**
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • A few strands of saffron

* – if you are not dairy-free, use 4 cups of regular milk and skip the water
** – you can substitute rice flour for cornstarch, which we occasionally do, but it’s not as authentic

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First thing you do is soak your saffron in a tablespoon or two of boiling water. Set that aside so that it picks up colour and flavour. The earlier you do this, the better, and we sometimes do this hours beforehand. All you really need, though, is about 15-20 minutes that the pudding will take to make.

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Mix your rice flour with some water to create a slurry.

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In a pot, add your coconut milk, water, rose water, and cracked cardamom pods and wait until it begins to boil.

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Once you start to see bubbles form, add your rice flour slurry and your sugar. Keep it on a low-medium heat and let it simmer until it begins to bubble again.

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When you’re satisfied that the flavours are incorporated and it has begun to bubble again, fish the cardamom pods out and pour them into little bowls or ramekins.

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Take your saffron water mixture and pour a little bit on top of each one. Alternatively, you could have poured into your milk mix before portioning it out, if you want the saffron flavour and colour throughout.

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Put your muhalabiyas in the fridge to set, a minimum of ~2 hours, up to 4 hours.

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Then take them out, and enjoy! They obviously will have the edge of coconut to them, but they’re just as creamy as those made with regular milk and I love the fact that I’m able to have my favourite dessert again.

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)