Muslims all over the world are observing Ramadan, which is “all about strengthening our relationship with God, our faith, and our community”, says Aisha Rimi in Bustle. They fast from sunrise to sunset, eating a meal called suhr in the early morning and another called iftar at the day’s end.
Popular food bloggers Fizzah Sayed, Anisa, and Asmah Sacha have shared their favourite Ramadan recipes. Sayed’s is her “mum’s famous Iraqi kubbay”. A Middle Eastern staple, kubbay are fried rice balls filled with spicy mince and sultanas. Butter chicken curry is Anisa’s “go-to recipe”: her grandmother made it for her as a child. “The creamier – and the more buttery – the better,” she says. And for Asmah Sacha, no Ramadan is complete without Gujurati agar agar, a brightly coloured sweet jelly.
I have the same meal every day
I have eaten the same supper every day for 10 years, even on Christmas Day, says Welsh farmer Wilf Davies in The Guardian: “Two pieces of fish, one big onion, an egg, baked beans and a few biscuits at the end.” Lunch is a bit more varied: a pear, an orange, four sandwiches with paste and sometimes a soup if it’s cold.
The thing is, “I’m not interested in other food” – or other places, for that matter. Davies is a sheep farmer in the Teifi Valley and has only left once, on a trip to England 30 years ago. “This valley is cut in the shape of my heart.”
It runs in the family. “My uncle, a bachelor and farmer like me, had the same food for every meal. He had bread, butter, cheese and tea for breakfast, lunch and dinner (although he would bring out the jam for visitors).”
Maybe it’s something to do with a farming lifestyle. “Whether it’s Easter Day or Christmas Day, being a farmer means every day is the same. The animals still need to be fed.” Mind you, they’re less demanding than humans. “They never ask for anything different for supper.”
Ingredient of the week: salt
“We are now in the era of gourmet salt,” says Susie Rushton in The Gentlewoman. In restaurants I’ve come to expect something “altogether crunchier, milder in flavour and prettier” than table salt, which is “good for killing slugs, but nothing more”. It could be pink Himalayan salt, sel gris evaporated from French clay, “black Japanese salt at £32 for 100g”, or even Hawaiian volcano salt.
The purpose of salt is to “bring out the zing of food’s intrinsic flavour”. TV chef Samin Nosrat tells us to throw “palmfuls” of rock salt into pasta water. I’ve tried this myself and, although it feels “wanton and dangerous”, it makes pasta and vegetables “taste exactly as they should”. And don’t panic about heart disease – you’ll be using less than you think. A teaspoon of “fluffy Isle of Skye sea salt” weighs less than a teaspoon of “microscopic fleur de sel from Camargue”.