Thursday, 26 September 2013

Halal Food Festival | Introducing the celebrity chefs 2/3

The halal food festival starts tomorrow at the London Excel. If you love food and love cooking this is the ideal event for you!

See part 1 of my halal food festival series here

This post will be introducing you to the celebrity chefs that will feature in the live cooking demo's over the next 3 days

Amina El Shafei

Hold on to your seats, because Amina El Shafei, Masterchef Australia 2012, will be joining us all the way from down under. Amina has both South Korean and Egyptian heritage and loves to cook food from both parts of the world. Amina was lovingly labelled in Australian Mastechef as the 'contestant the whole country has fallen head over heels for' and won the 'Woman of the Year Award' in Australia.

Ajmal Mushtaq

We are really pleased to have Ajmal Mushtaq, Scotland's Chef of the Year 2011/12.
Ajmal is a multi-award winning chef, and a regular at other food festivals. His demonstrations are worth watching, and he loves a good cook-off on stage.

Rachel Allen

Rachel Allen, described as an 'Irish Cooking Queen', has a popular TV show showcasing her practical and delicious recipies. Rachel is an author of cookery books and a columnist for many magazines and newspapers. If you enjoy baking, you cannot miss watching her cooking on stage.

Abdul Yaseen

Abdul Yaseen is the Head Chef at Cinnamon Kitchen, London. Heading a team of 13 chefs, Abdul is a master of Indian cuisine, fusing it with European influences.
"Food festivals are about promoting good quality food and ingredients, and halal food is always high quality. The Halal Food Festival will encourage halal eaters to go out to eat more, including fine dining restaurants, as a lot of them do cater for halal diets. I very much look forward to participating and to making it a success for many years to come."

Muayad Ali

As Executive Chef of La Sophia in London, Muayad Ali has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens in Europe, along with Gordon Ramsay and as Executive Chef at the Park Lane Hilton. His unique take on French Mediterranean cuisine and using halal meat in a fine dining experience has brought him high praise amongst food lovers.

Jean Christophe Novelli

Jean Christophe Novelli is a 5 out of 5 AA Rosette and Michelin award winning chef, who is also dubbed "the nations favourite French chef". He arrived in the UK in 1983, having worked as the private Head Chef to Elie de Rothschild at the age of 19, and has now set up four award winning restaurants. Jean Christophe is a keen sportsmen and does a huge amount for charity, but his real passion is his cooking school, which has been voted one of the top 25 in the world.

Shelina Permalloo

A regular in many top food festivals, Shelina was crowned winner of Masterchef UK 2012. Since then, Shelina has written a cookbook to be released in June 2013, inspired by her heritage — Mauritius. She has worked in prestigious restaurants such as Benares, refining her skills as a top chef, and recently opened a cookery school in Mauritius.

Cyrus Todiwala

Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL is Chef Patron of Cafe Spice Namaste. Born in Bombay, Cyrus was inspired by his mother's cooking and having trained in India, he moved to London where he opened Café Spice Namaste. Cyrus is hugely active, having cooked for royalty, presidents and international celebrities and is often invited to be a guest chef at food festivals. He is an environmentalist, has written several cookbooks, and has his own range of chutneys and pickles.

Norman Musa

Born in Malaysia and inspired to cook by his mother, Norman is Europe's leading Malaysian chef and a passionate ambassador for Malaysian cuisine. He is Executive Chef and co-founder of Ning, a TV personality, author, teacher and entrepreneur. He is one of the most exciting and engaging up-and-coming chefs in the UK, passionately promoting his native Malaysian cuisine. With over 50,000 Facebook fans and appearances on MasterChef Malaysia, Chef Norman has achieved much since opening his first Ning restaurant. He was chef for the Malaysian Formula One team in 2010, finalist for Malaysia's National Outstanding Achievement Awards in 2011 and is currently the UK's Young Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year. He is working on his third cookbook.

Rahila Hussain

Rahila Hussain is the first-ever winner of the TV show Food Glorious Food. Inspired by her parents, she has been cooking since she was very young. An engaging presenter at Arts festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe last year, combining fantastic food with inspiring stories and poetry.  She loves all foods, but is passionate about her ancestral Pakistani food. Rahila is a seasoned traveller to all corners of Pakistan seeking out recipes and stories. Rahila currently writing a cook book of traditional and contemporary Pakistani food. " You'll need knives, forks - and elbows, to fight your way to the front. Wonderful food" Alan Rickman

Saira Hamilton

Saira, who was born in South Wales but has lived around the world, was a semi-finalist on BBC MasterChef 2013 and has gone on to great success with her company Small Aubergine. She wants to teach the world how to make fresh and amazing Bengali food, just like her mum taught her.

Nigel Brown

Nigel Brown is a highly sought after chef originally from East Yorkshire. Food and catering have been in the family and Nigel followed in the family footsteps. Nigel has spent time working in some of the UK biggest and busiest hotels and spent time overseas in the acclaimed Ecole de Notre where he picked up skills and knowledge of specialist patisserie work. He has worked along side many well known chefs including James Martin and Jean Christophe Novelli.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing?

Have you got your tickets yet?

It's not too late just go to  http://halalfoodfestival.com/buy-tickets.php

(All chef bio information courtesy of HalalFoodFestival.com)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review | Liz Earl & My Skincare routine

I never used to have a proper skincare routine until recently. I have tried a million and one cleansers, exfoliaters, toners, face scrubs, face washes, face masks etc etc etc but I hadn't found something that actually worked.

A couple of months ago I heard about Liz Earls hot cloth cleaner through another blogger (The beautiful Aisha Liinaa) and so I did a bit of research and read hundreds of reviews online until I finally took the plunge and bought it for myself. All of the reviews for this product whether online or in magazines were glowing, the reviews came from young women as well as older, for people with sensitive skin and those with very oily skin, they came from white women, Asian women, black women and I wondered why there was so much hype from people who use it. After trying this out for 2-3 months I know why.

I have have oily skin which can sometimes get dry patches especially when the weather is colder, having oily skin meant I used to get a lot of spots/pimples/zits whatever you wanna call it.

The drugstore face washes I use to use worked well, for a while anyway, until I realised it was either too harsh for my skin or wasn't doing anything for me. I used to read the ingredients of those products and feel guilty for using it on my skin because of the number of chemicals inside it. It didn't make any sense to put more chemicals on my face to clean my skin of the day to day chemicals I put on (make-up) and from the environment. So I gave it a break for a long time (probably a few months) and only washed my face with water and moisturised with the simple moisturiser.

After reading about the Liz Earl products I went online and purchased the starter kit directly from the Liz Earl website because it worked out to be almost the same as the John Lewis site. My first order  came in really sophisticated packaging with a free sample (a proper sized sample in a tube) of the hot cloth cleanser (which I gave to my mum). My starter kit came with 100ml cleanser in a pump bottle and 2 muslin cloths in a waterproof zip up bag (ideal for travel).

To use the hot cloth cleanser you pump some of the cleanser onto the back of your hand and then with dry fingers on a dry face you put some of the cleanser on and rub it into your skin (almost like a moisturiser, but it wont sink into your skin). This sound weird to begin with and feels weird because you feel like you're just mixing your make-up all over your face but it does work. You start with the centre of your face and move outwards in circular motions, using it on your eyes last to avoid getting heavy eye make up all over your face. You then wash your muslin cloth under hand hot water, wring the cloth and wipe the cleanser away using a different part of the cloth for a different part of your face (almost like polishing it). To finish you just splash some cold water on your face to close the pores. It doesn't sting your eyes and is suitable for even the most sensitive skin because they use the best natural ingredients. I often use one full pump or even 2 pumps when I'm removing heavy make-up, but if I'm just cleaning my face and not wearing any make-up half to 3/4 of a pump does the job.

When I first used it, it made my skin feel amazing, soft and really clean mashaAllah. It doesn't have any strong smells or weird textures, it just feels simple and does exactly what it says it does. It doesn't dry your skin out so much that you have to run for the moisturiser. After using this product for a while I went and ordered the toner in a spritz bottle just to try it out. It also came with a free hot cloth cleanser sample (which I gave to my cousin).

I don't know if toners are an essential part of a skincare routine or not and all the ones I have tried don't close my pores or do anything for that matter. This toner works well in terms of making your skin feel refreshed and making it feel slightly moisturised after washing. Whether it makes my skin better or not I don't know but it does make my skin feel nice. I just spray it all over my face and get on with whatever else I'm doing until it dries. I then finish with moisturising my face with my favourite Simple light hydrating moisturiser.

I'll be honest I don't follow this routine everyday let alone twice a day (down to sheer laziness) but I do use it every other day, missing more than one or two days makes my skin feel unclean. I use the cleanser to remove my make up at the end of the day and sometimes to clean my face first thing in the morning (hence why it's lasting me so long). I only use the toner at night because I don't want my face too look oily/too moisturised during the day, but I have used the toner to spray on my stippling brush/foundation brush before putting on foundation so my skin has a little glow without being too shiny.

The Liz Earl products can be quite expensive if you only use drug store products, but I believe it's better to put something expensive on your face that is kind to your skin rather than something cheap with harsh chemicals. After following this routine for a few months my skin is behaving a lot better alhamdulillah, I have less spots appearing and when they do appear (due to hormones) they go much quicker than before. The marks on my face from old spots are also clearing up well. I have recommended it to lots of people, my cousin who I gave my free sample to, loved it so much she went and bought herself a starter kit from John Lewis too.

The only thing I don't like is that I can't tell when I'm about to run out because of the packaging.

So this is my skin care routine and review for the Liz Earl Hot Cloth Cleanser....dare I say I think I have found my holy grail of skin care products and can't believe I hadn't heard about this before.... cleanse, tone and moisturise!

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings.


Please note this was not a paid for review and I genuinely bought the products for myself. All of my reviews are my honest opinions.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Halal Food Festival 2013 1/3

Assalaamu alaikum!

I've been really busy lately, swapped all my shifts around so I didn't work too much during Ramadan, ended up making a big mess of it all, so I had have a lot of late shifts in September, working crazy hours and feeling like I practically live at the hospital is draining all my energy

Anyway, as I'm on call this week and finally have some time (until I'm needed) to do all the blogging I've been planning I decided to hit the ground running, so be prepared for a lot of back to back blog posts inshaAllah.

Today's post is about the Halal Food Festival, which you may have heard about through the adverts on Islam Channel, Sisters Magazine and through various social networks. The Halal Food Festival will be taking place from Friday 27th September to Sunday 29th at the London Excel.

I don't know about you but I absolutely love food. I love trying out new food from all over the world whether its steak and chips or phad thai, just thinking about all this food makes my mouth water!

When I heard about the halal food festival I knew it was somewhere I had to be, for the amazing food, but mainly because it's the first and biggest festival of its kind.

If you don't know what the halal food festival is about or just need a little nudge to convince you to head down to the biggest Halal foodie event of the year, then keep reading sweet readers!

It is the UK’s first and the world’s largest Halal Food Festival, a three day consumer food show dedicated to foodies who eat halal (or haloodies as they have been coined by the festival founder).

Aiming to celebrate the range and diversity of halal foods from around the world the ticketed event will offer visitors a never seen before glimpse into the very best that halal has to offer.

You can look forward to over 100 exhibitors from across the globe showcasing the most innovative and delicious halal food and drink products, restaurants and street-food stalls as well as a cooking school and live demonstration kitchen featuring top chefs such as Shelina Permalloo (winner of Masterchef UK 2012), Cyrus Todiwala OBE (Patron Chef of Cafe Spice Namaste) and Jean Christophe Novelli (5 out of 5 AA Rosette and Michelin award winning chef) to name a few.

Guests can tuck in to daring and inventive dishes such as green spiced chicken fenugreek or Bengali mutton by Joho Soho. Meaning ‘whatever happens’, the new Indian street food stall is being launched at the Halal Food Festival by acclaimed chef Vivek Singh (Executive Chef at Cinnamon Kitchen, Cinnamon Soho and Cinnamon Club) and Abdul Yaseen (Head Chef at Cinnamon Kitchen). Alternatively you can try your taste buds on sweeter options such as fine Palestinian medjool dates, stuffed with organic fairtrade nuts and topped with rosebuds by The Datelatiers.  The thirsty will find a range of halal drinks on offer including an area dedicated to the making of mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) in which guests can throw together exotic ingredients, fruit juices and flavours to create their own expertly made drink under the guidance of a professional mixologist and a range of stands for little haloodies to enjoy too.

With a growing UK Muslim population currently standing at 2.7million (Census 2011) with a £20.5 billion a year spending power (Mintel 2002) and expected to rise to 5.5million people by 2030 (Pew Report, The Future of the Global Muslim Population 2011) access to delicious halal food in the UK is becoming increasingly important. It is improving the range, availability and quality of halal foods and restaurants that drives the Halal Food Festival’s founder Imran Kausar. Says Imran Kausar, “The growing British Muslim middle-classes have greater needs and demands from food producers, retailers and restaurateurs and command significant spending power. The Halal Food Festival will bring together consumers and businesses in a festival format that can be used to showcase new brands and to raise the range and quality of halal offerings to the consumer.” Noman Khawaja, Events Director adds “The Halal Food Festival sets a new standard in food shows aimed at Muslims in the UK. The range of chefs, features, exhibitors and production quality will leave haloodies eager for the show each year.”

If the live cooking demo's, tutorials and street food stalls are not enough there will also be many lifestyle stalls for you to indulge in a little shopping, with names like Pearl-daisy, Sultanesque and Asheeq Art this is the PERFECT event for me. There will be entertinment from the likes of Mesut Kurtis and Saif Adam. Shopping, entertainment and great food, what a great combination!

If that's not tempting then I don't know what will.

iHijabi will be covering the event on the blog so even if you can't make it you can still see how amazing it was (not trying to rub salt in the wound I promise hehehe). We have also been given the awesome opportunity to interview one of the chefs inshaAllah, so keep an eye out for that.

Ticket prices have been reduced for a limited time only and if you're a student make sure you purchase a concessions ticket and take your student ID with you the day to get an even cheaper ticket.

Each ticket will allow entry into the festival and included within the price will be access to the Live Kitchen Demonstration and Cooking School (first come, first served) and all other feature areas and exhibitors.

The restaurant and street-food vendors will be selling their amazing creations for cash (or vouchers that can be purchased on the day). Each creation will be priced between £2-6 and menus will be published online before the show. Many exhibitors will be offering free samples of their products too.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking here >> http://halalfoodfestival.com/buy-tickets.php 

Like the Halal Food Festival facebook page to be kept up to date with all the offers and latest news https://www.facebook.com/HalalFoodFestival?ref=ts&fref=ts 

Check who will be at the event on which days so you don't miss out on your favourites.

The next post on the halal food festival will be introducing you to the chefs that will be attending inshaAllah.

Until next time my fellow haloodies...ma salaama!