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Plum Cake + Rum / Brandy = Haram — December 26, 2011

Plum Cake + Rum / Brandy = Haram

Rich fruit Cake or Plum Cake is commonly known as Christmas Cake. In India,Christmas is not believed to  be complete without Plum Cake. Its one of the commonly found in the Indian bakeries. It is a moist,dark brown cake with plenty of nuts and dried fruits in it. Fruits and nuts are soaked in rum or brandy several days ahead for the plum-cake.

So believers please be cautious when you are offered a Plum cake. You might as well just ask the person offering you the Plum cake if there is any brandy or rum added to it. Or if you’re somebody who likes Plum cakes ask your baker to make it without the intoxicants. If you would like to make it at home, here’s a recipe :

Few tips for fruit cake:  
  • Always mix your fruit with the flour so the fruis will be scattered all over instead of sinking in the bottom of the cake. 
  •  Try to preserve the fruits with apple or orange juice for about a week prior to making the cake, as the flavour will be more amalgamated and makes the cake tastes better.
  • Ensure caramel is brown but not burnt (!) as this distinctly determines the flavour of the cake
Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs-separated
½ cup mixed peel
½ cup glace cherries
¾ cup raisins 
¼ cup dates
½ cup almonds
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup orange juice
(A pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)
For the caramel

½ cup sugar
1 cup water
( Melt the sugar and water on medium heat until it turns golden brown and concentrates into a 1/2 cup caramel)
Method:
1. Mix all the fruits and almond with the orange juice into an airtight container, and keep this in the fridge for a week prior to baking the cake.
2. Using electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until almost white in colour. Add in the egg yolks followed by the vanilla extract. Put this batter aside.
3. Mix the flour with baking powder and cinnamon. By a week’s time, the fruits would have absorbed all the orange juice but should there be remaining juice, drain the juice off and coat the fruits with flour mix.
4. Pour in the flour-fruit mix alternating with the caramel into the batter until well blended.
5. Beat the egg whites until it forms stiff peak meringue, this will take about 8 minutes with stand electric mixer, or slightly longer with handheld mixer. Add the meringue into the batter using fold in technique.
6. Pour mix into a 23 cm cake pan and bake for 1 hour at 170C or until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean.
Cool the cake on wire rack and decorate it if you like with royal icing, or marzipan and fondant icing. This can be kept for a month in an airtight container.
Can one eat at a restaurant that serves alcohol and what about a business man who has to attend lunches where alcohol is served? — October 31, 2011

Can one eat at a restaurant that serves alcohol and what about a business man who has to attend lunches where alcohol is served?

A Muslim should certainly not go to places like bars and nightclubs which are dedicated primarily to unlawful activities.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table where liquor is served.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2801)]

Restaurants and reputable hotels are a different matter. If a restaurant, convenience store, or similar establishment is engaged primarily in lawful business, but also serves alcohol to its customers who order it, then as long as the Muslim does not eat or drink unlawful things or sit at a table where unlawful food or drink is served, then he is not sinful. If other restaurants are available that do not serve alcohol, he may prefer to patronize them rather than support a venue that sells unlawful things. And Allah knows best.

The hadîth reads: “He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not sit at a table where liquor is served.” It is talking about what is put on the table where the person is sitting. It also applies to being in the social company of drinkers while they are engaged in their wrongdoing. Therefore, a Muslim who sits at a table where liquor is being served or consumed is doing wrong. The ruling will be extended to the entire venue when it is a place dedicated to social wrongdoing, like a bar or nightclub. This is because in such venues the person is socially participating in the activity of drinking, even if he is not actually sitting at the same table.

On the other hand, if a person sits in a normal restaurant at a table where only lawful items are being served, and there is a table nearby – unaffiliated in any way with him or his companions – where liquor is being consumed, then he is not sinful if he at least denies that wrongdoing in his heart or by his speech.

This practice can readily be adopted in the restaurants were Muslims and non-Muslims both attend, especially in the countries where Muslims are minorities.

With respect to a Muslim businessman who engages in legitimate business in a country where attending lunches and dinners in restaurants and hotels are an unavoidable part of doing business, and where the other parties to the business transaction almost invariably drink alcohol, this can become a matter of legal necessity (darûrah shar`iyyah). 

This will be the case if the general refusal of Muslims to sit at a table where the other party drinks alcohol makes it impossible or extremely difficult for religious Muslims in that country to engage in lawful business. This brings a serious harm upon the Muslims, a harm that Islamic Law would seek to avoid. 

Moreover, the prohibition of sitting with people who drink alcohol is a prohibition regarding the means to wrongdoing. This can be contrasted with the prohibition of drinking alcohol, which is a prohibited for its own sake. Ibn al-Qayyim explains: “Prohibitions regarding the means to wrongdoing are not like things that are prohibited for their own sake. Prohibitions regarding the means to wrongdoing will be lifted for a valid need (hâjah). As for things that are prohibited for their own sake, their prohibition is not lifted except in cases of dire necessity (darûrah).” 

Therefore, a Muslim businessman can sit with people in a respectable business context where the other person is drinking alcohol. The Muslim may sit in such company to the extent that it is necessary for him to conduct normal, lawful, and respectable business. Of course, under no circumstances may the Muslim partake of unlawful food or drink. The Muslim should also endeavor to insist that the meeting takes place at a reputable and respectable restaurant, and not at a bar or nightclub.

And Allah knows best.

http://en.islamtoday.net/node/688

How to prepare a Halal meal :-) — August 28, 2011
Vanilla Extract in Halal form —

Vanilla Extract in Halal form

Vanilla extract is a solution containing the flavor compound vanillin. Pure vanilla extract is made by macerating and percolating vanilla beans in a solution ofethyl alcohol and water. In the United States, in order for a vanilla extract to be called pure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that the solution contain a minimum of 35% alcohol and 13.35 ounces of vanilla bean per gallon.[1] Double and triple strength (up to 20-fold) vanilla extracts are available.

Vanilla extract is the most common form of vanilla used today. Mexican, Tahitian, Indonesian and Bourbon vanilla are the main varieties. Bourbon vanilla is named for the period when the island of Réunion was ruled by the Bourbon kings of France; it does not contain Bourbon whiskey.

Natural vanilla flavoring is derived from real vanilla beans with little to no alcohol. The maximum amount of alcohol that is usually present is only 2%-3%. Also on the market is imitation vanilla extract, a wood by-product usually made by soaking alcohol into wood which contains vanillin. The vanillin is then chemically treated to mimic the taste of natural vanilla.

Pure Vanilla extract is then added in small amounts to ice cream and other food products.

VANILLA PRODUCTS

  • Vanilla extract (extracted with alcohol).
  • Vanilla flavoring (extracted with alcohol)
  • Concentrated vanilla flavoring (extracted with alcohol)
  • Vanilla powder (no alcohol is used)
  • Vanilla-Vanillin extract (extracted with alcohol)
  • Vanilla-Vanillin flavoring (extracted with alcohol)
  • Vanilla-Vanillin powder (Vanillin may be obtained with or without alcohol)

There is no animal derived ingredients used in the products above.

VANILLA WITHOUT ALCOHOL

  • New Methods of Extractions: Modern methods of extraction are used such as supercritical carbon dioxide extraction (C02 Extract) and reverse osmosis for concentration. These methods produce useful products for industrial flavoring but they either fail to fit the regulatory requirements (alcohol extraction) for USFDA Standard products, and they are extremely expensive. These specialized products differ in solubility, flavor profile, and appearance but add to the list of natural vanilla flavoring available to food and beverages manufacturers. This product is halal.
  • Vanilla beans: Pure Vanilla beans are readily available for both food manufacturers for processed foods and common consumers for home bake products
  • Vanilla Flavor: A vanilla flavor may be in fact being non-alcoholic.
  • Vanilla Powder: This is a standard vanilla product. Vanilla powder is a mixture of ground vanilla beans or vanilla oleoresin or both with one or more of the following optional blending ingredients (a) Sugars, (b) dextrose, (c) Lactose, (d) Food Starch, (e) dried corn syrup, (f) Gum acacia. Vanilla sugar is different from vanilla powder with sugar. Vanilla Sugar made with sugar and vanilla extract is considered as Haram ingredient because of the alcohol content in the extract.
  • Vanilla-Vanillin Powder: This is the same, as vanilla powder but contains not more than one ounce of added vanillin. This is also a standard product. But this product is Halal only if added vanillin is obtained from vanilla bean without alcohol.

HALAL STATUS OF VANILLIN:

Artificial or synthetic vanillin do not contain alcohol and it is also Halal or Kosher certified. It is a Halal ingredient.

Artificial or synthetic vanillin is made with all Halal ingredients and Halal process without alcohol. Lignin, used to make the artificial vanillin, when derived from botanical product is Halal. Methane when used as a solvent is considered as a Halal solvent.

ISLAMIC SCHOLARS’ VIEW ON THIS TOPIC:

Some Islamic Scholars considered a food product Not Halal if it is made with a flavor containing alcohol as a solvent. But others considered it Halal because they said the small or large quantity (less than 2%) of the product does not intoxicate a person. Please consult your Sheikh or Imam on this topic.

The ruling depends on a few factors:

• First, If a large quantity of a substance intoxicates, then a small quantity of that substance is forbidden. Conversely, if the large quantity did not intoxicate, then that substance is not forbidden for the reason of intoxication. That is confirmed by the following hadeeth

” ما أسْكَر كَثيرُه فقَليلُه حَرَام “

“Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, then a small quantity of it is forbidden.” [Related by Abu Dawood, an-Nasaey and others authentically]

Now, does the ice cream made with vanilla extract intoxicate? No one would say that. So, when does it become an intoxicant? If you extract the Alcohol from that extract in the ice cream and isolate it, then it becomes intoxicant and forbidden to consume even if it were trivial in amount, because more of the same will result in intoxication.

• Second, would the mixing of Alcohol with the food products make them impermissible or filth?

According to the stronger position (of the minority), Alcohol is not physical filth. Thus, it doesn’t turn the mixture into filth. Even, if it was filth, submersion in a large quantity of tahir (pure substance) according to the stronger position, will not affect the ruling of the pure substance unless one the characteristics of Alcohol prevailed (color, smell or taste).

Does mixing it with another substance change the ruling of the new substance even if it was not filth? Yes, if it made the new substance intoxicant.

• Third, would it be permissible for Muslims to add Alcohol to food products? No – as in the case of turning Alcohol into Vinegar – that would not be permissible for Muslims, though, it would be permissible for them to consume it if it was added by others, and most certainly if it occurred naturally in a food (even bread goes through fermentation) so long as the consumed substance is not intoxicant even in large quantities.

Based on the aforementioned, we believe that it is permissible to use food products that contain the vanilla extract.

Boycott KFC! — August 23, 2011

Boycott KFC!

All around the world, including in India, KFC’s suppliers cram birds into huge waste-filled factories, breed them to grow so large that many can’t even walk, and often break their wings and legs. At slaughter, the birds’ throats are slit and they are dropped into tanks of scalding-hot water—often while they are still conscious.

KFC’s own animal welfare advisors have asked the company to take steps to eliminate these abuses, but KFC refuses to do so.

PETA India obtained graphic video footage documenting the following at a Venkateshwara Hatcheries farm, which supplies KFC India:

Chickens were stuffed into extremely crowded warehouses, where they had to push and shove in order to reach their food.

Birds were bred to grow so large so quickly that many suffered in agony when their weak legs could not support their weight.

Barns were littered with the carcasses of chickens who died from fatal diseases.

Many sick and injured chickens never received medical attention.

Chickens suffered at the hands of callous workers who neglected to observe even minimum animal welfare standards.

These wretched conditions mimic the abuses found at KFC supplier farms and slaughterhouses in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.

http://www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com/india.asp

Haleem ;-) — August 18, 2011

Haleem ;-)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ kilograms of Mutton or Beef
  • ½ kilograms of Wheat Grains (crushed and soaked in water for 1 ½ hour)
  • 1 cup of Gram Lentils (soaked and boiled)
  • 3 medium Onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp. Garlic Paste
  • 1 tbsp. Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • Salt (to taste)
  • A pinch of Soda
  • 1 ½ Clarified Butter (Ghee)

 Ingredients for Seasoning Garnish

  • 1 bunch of Fresh Mint Leaves (finely chopped)
  • 1 bunch of Fresh Coriander Leaves (finely chopped)
  • Green Chilli (finely chopped – to taste)
  • 1 tsp. Cumin Seeds (roasted and ground)
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala Powder
  • 2 medium size pieces of Ginger Root
  • 1 large Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 4 Lemons (cut in quarters)
  • 2 cups Clarified Butter (Ghee)

 Method

  •  Heat clarified butter in a pan. Put meat in the pan, add garlic, garam masala powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Cook on medium heat.
  • In a separate pan boil wheat grains with lots of water, add salt. When the grains become tender and mushy add a pinch of soda and cook further for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Now mix the wheat grains with the meat and mix well. Stir continuously so that both are mixed properly. Now grind the lentils in a food processor. Make it into a thick paste by adding 2 cups of water while processing it.
  • Pour the lentil paste into the meat and wheat mixture and stir to mix well. Place the pan on griddle on low heat and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Fry the sliced onion in clarified butter and drain on absorbent paper towel. When the haleem is cooked, sprinkle fried onions, garam masala powder, fresh mint, and coriander leaves. Garnish with cumin and ginger. Keep a little of the seasoning separate and serve with haleem.
Cherry Cheesecake —

Cherry Cheesecake

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g digestive biscuits
  • 75g soft butter
  • 300g cream cheese
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 x 284g jar St Dalfour Rhapsodie de Fruit Black Cherry Spread

METHOD Serves: 6-8

  • Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until beginning to turn to crumbs, then add the butter and whiz again to make the mixture clump.
  • Press this mixture into a 20cm springform tin; press a little up the sides to form a slight ridge.
  • Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth.
  • Lightly whip the double cream, and then fold it into the cream cheese mixture.
  • Spoon the cheesecake filling on top of the biscuit base and smooth with a spatula. Put it in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.
  • When you are ready to serve the cheesecake, unmould it and spread the black cherry over the top.
Halal Tiramisu — August 15, 2011

Halal Tiramisu

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs separated
  • 500 gms mascarpone cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream/double cream
  • 30 sponge fingers/savioardi/lady’s fingers
  • 8 tbs + 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 cups strong coffee
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder

Preparation:

  • Prepare 2 cups of coffee by adding boiling water to 2 tbs of coffee+2 tbs of sugar. Keep it aside.
  • Separate egg whites and yolks.
  • In a glass bowl, take egg yolks and add in sugar beat well with the egg beater until you get creamy and pale yellow mixture (zabaglione pronounced as sabayon).
  • Place another vessel on the stove and add hot but not boiling water and set it on low-medium flame. Place the glass bowl with egg yolk and sugar mixture (zabaglione) over the simmering water and whisk well for around ten minutes until the mixture gets thick. Add vanilla essence to this and keep it aside to cool.

N.B: It is important to note that the bowl containing zabaglione should not come in contact with the water underneath since this will curdle the egg and get a grainy mixture. Also it is important not to use a metal bowl for preparing zabaglione since the vessel gets heated up quickly and again the egg will get curdled.

  • Whip the Cream until peaks form and keep it aside. Don’t whip it for too long because it will start forming into butter. You can use wire whisk or egg beater for this.
  • Mix the mascarpone cheese in this whipped cream and mix well until no lumps appear. Add the cooled zabaglione to this and mix well.
  • Whip the egg whites until peaks form and fold into the cheese and cream mixture to keep it light and airy. Dont over mix it..
  • Now take a large clear glass dish, just dip the sponge fingers in the coffee and layer them side by side until you cover the bottom of the dish with the sponge fingers dipped in coffee. Don’t keep the sponge fingers in coffee for long time since they tend to absorb liquid too quickly. Just dab both sides in coffee and that should be more than enough.
  • Pour half of the cheese cream mixture over this lady’s fingers and again layer another layer of savoiardi dipped in coffee over this cream mixture and tip over the rest of cream mixture.
  • Cover and Refrigerate for minimum of 2 hours.
  • Just before serving,dust with cocoa by passing it through sieve or if you want to make it more rich, add some chocolate shavings….hmmmm..yummy!

http://shabscuisine.blogspot.com/2008/09/tiramisu-without-alcohol.html

fOiE gRaS — August 14, 2011

fOiE gRaS

Because of the extreme cruelty involved in the production of foie gras—the diseased and “fatty liver” of force-fed ducks and geese—many restaurants and grocery stores around the world have stopped serving and selling it. PETA has shared with Dean & DeLuca—a U.S.-based gourmet grocery chain—the shocking undercover video footage of foie gras farms showing birds as they have tubes rammed down their throats, yet the company refuses to end sales of foie gras. Please write to Dean & DeLuca and urge the company to stop selling foie gras.

Investigations of foie gras farms in the U.S. and overseas have documented countless sick, dead, and dying birds, including some animals who were found suffering from holes in their necks after pipes had been forced down their throats. One investigation in New York found ducks crammed into wire cages. The birds’ beaks were bloody, and their wings were twisted together. At a foie gras farm in Europe, birds were found dangling by wires as blood spilled from their neck wounds onto the live animals beneath them.

Foie gras production is so cruel that it has been condemned by the Pope and is prohibited in 15 countries, including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.

https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=OnScreenThanks&id=3785


Foie Gras is Haram — July 30, 2011

Foie Gras is Haram

This is a scene that the farmers don’t want the public to see; though in this case, the farmer was bragging about how he force-feeds the geese in the traditional method. To keep the goose still during this painful process, the goose was placed in a box on which the man sat. He then grabbed the neck of the goose and forced a large feeding tube down his throat.

 This is a way of keeping ducks confined so that they can be systematically tortured for 28 days while being force-fed three to four times a day.  History says that foie gras was invented by the Egyptians, but we believe it’s from Satan!

In this photo it is easier to see how the sadistic farmer restrains the goose in a holding box and forces the long force-feeding tube down the goose’s throat.  Only human beings seem capable of such depravity.

This duck had its neck punctured by having the feeding tube brutally forced down his throat.  The wound was left untreated and because the duck was confined, flies laid their eggs in the wound and maggots began eating the duck alive.  Put a stop to this sadistic practice.  Don’t buy or eat foie gras and boycott any restaurant that serves it.

This is another photo of a goose being brutally force-fed.  We believe that there has to be something morally and spiritually wrong with a person who is so indifferent to the pain and suffering they inflict, that they continue to do it day after day.

In this photo we can see how immense the feeding tube is compared to the the size of the bird’s mouth and throat.  Think of how this force-feeding would feel to us.  Think of how uncomfortable it feels when we overeat.  Then imagine how it would feel to have even more food forced down our throats.  If we can imagine this, then we will begin to understand the pain and suffering that is inflicted upon ducks and geese.

This is a semi-automatic force-feeding operation.  By raising and lowering the handle, a measured amount of food is forced into the stomach of the goose.  This machine just makes it easier for some humans to torture more ducks and geese.  And, every person who eats foie gras is just as “guilty” of the torture of these defenseless ducks and geese as if they personally rammed the food down their throats.

 Investigators found that many of the ducks at Sonoma Foie Gras suffer from gaping, infected wounds on their behinds.   Don’t support this atrociously cruel industry.  Speak out against it. 

A victim of forced-feeding, this duck choked to death on his own vomit.  He now lies dead in a pen. This was not an accident.  This tragedy was set in motion by the torturer-farmers in this industry who have a depraved indifference to life.  If they did something like this to a human being, they would be guilty of second degree murder.  In our opinion, they are still guilty of murder.

 This is a photo of dead ducks in a trash can.  They died for human greed and gluttony.  Remember, everyone who eats an animal product is responsible for the animals’ torture and death, because they paid to have it done.