"The greatest Indian cook in Britain"Jay Rayner "The Observer"
"Cook with love. Love your cooking" Gita Mistry

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Global Festivals and Holy days

This Autumn celebrates festivals & holy days that takes us round the globe.

We start with the holy day of Yom Kippur, the the holiest day of the Jewish calendar where Jews believe on this day you will be forgiven, purified and cleansed  from all your sins before God. Which followed on from the Jewish New Year in September Rosh Hashananh . 

Honey cake is eaten for the new year alongside apples and honey symbolising a sweet new year. Honey cake can be made with a variety of spices, though autumnal spices like clove, cinemon and all spice are especially popular, which went down well in my home with friends. If you are not up for baking then try this London Baker Rinkoffs where you will find a lot more than honey cake on offer. 

We then had the second Eid festival of year an Islamic celebration Eid al- Adha on 4th October.  For Muslims this marks the conclusion of the pilgrimage to MeccaEid al-Adha is the latter of the two Eid holidays or known as "salty eid", the former being Eid al-Fitr. It is said to be "sweet eid" to mark the end of Ramadam. Food is often shared amongst the needy and a sacrifice is made of a lamb or cow.
Try this little quick recipe for:
Tala Hua Gosht.   
In a large frying pan add oil ginger/garlic paste, salt and brown it well.
Add the water and allow the beef to cook over a slow flame. Once the beef is tender and half of the water has evaporated add the crushed red peppers, black pepper, cumin and cook it well. Just as its about to come off the heat add the green chilies, coriander, lemon syrup and serve .  

1lb beef cut in to mouth pieces
2 tbs of oil
1/2 tsp white cumin powder
1/2 tbs crushed red peppers 
1/4 bunch of fresh coriander chopped 
Salt to taste 
1//2 tbs of ginger garlic paste
1 chopped green chili 
Juice of a a small lemon and pinch of sugar

Moving on we were then hit with the festival Ok Phansa on the 8th October to mark the end of Buddhist lent. Boats are sailed and filled with offerings such as khao tom (glutinous rice sweets wrapped in banana leaves) and decorated on the outside with flowers, candles and lamps.  Food offerings are given to the monks. The giving and receiving of alms creates a spiritual connection between the monastic  and lay communities dating back to the days when monks had no possessions apart from the robe that they wore.  On my travels to Bangkok I discovered some of the foods that are shared.  The laypeople have a responsibility to support the monks physically and the monks have a responsibility to support the community spiritually. 

Which finally brings me to the Hindu festival of Diwali  which will take place on the 23 th October. A row of lights is its exact translation.

 The  festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. Last year I made Barfi , Sanghar puras and Chokoris . This year, I started yesterday with my first batch of sweet sesame seed pastries  and this evening I am going to finish off the filling for my gugras- a pastry parcel filled with cardamom , roasted nuts and roasted semolina with sugar.These are two very traditional foods for this festival. Followed by preparing the for Jelliby. Deep fried batter which has rested for four days; this is then dunked into luscious syrup.I will cook this with friends who are now arriving to help with the preparations. As this dish is a celebration not only in the eating and sharing but in the making too. 

So all that it leaves me to say is light a lamp of love and I wish you a very happy Diwali and New Year and I hope you enjoy the rest of the festive season that this Autumn has brought for us. 

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