As salaam alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuhu
It’s by the grace of Allah subhana wa ta’alla that I am able to write this book and have been lead to this consciousness and interest in food and how it relates to Islam.
Please forgive me for any mistakes that I have made and know that any good in this book is from Allah alone.
All praise is due to Allah that I am a convert to Islam. I have been on a long journey to get to this point and still have a long way to go till I get back home inshallah ameen to paradise.
I am of mixed heritage, an English mother and a South African/ Asian father, so from a young age there was already a fusion of culinary delights to tempt the palate , some where in the middle of this clash of cultures I have been able to create a hybrid menu that I would love to share with you inshallah …God willing
Apart from my physical journey around the world through different places France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, North Africa, the Caribbean, the United Statesand the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there has been a spiritual journey that has been running parallel as I began searching for the Truth. Each culture has its positive and negative but some have more good than bad and some are more align with the Truth than others. But a fascination for me was that each culture I looked at and investigated – its lifestyle and spirituality had great food…. Positivity in all cultures.
I am a recognised visual artist mashallah, though of late have changed my direction to be creative with food and food writing, in the past I have exhibited at some notable galleries.
A Central St Martingraduate like Jean Paul Galliano and Alexander Mc Queen, I am blessed and brave, gifted and innovative.All praise is due to the Creator.
As a fine artist I has exhibited at the Air Gallery inDover Streetand was a finalist in the Mercury Music prize, my artwork is the archives of theSchombergMuseuminNew York and the Women Artist Library at Fulham Palace. my literary skills extend to my writing published with Alice Walker in the Fruits of Labour published by the Women’s Press.
My first fashion couture collection was shown at Leighton House Museum, the jewel of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Since then my artwork has been an inspiration for more commercial designers. A convert to Islam I was quickly adopted by my local Moroccan community. My love of textiles cultivated by my days at convent school and a creative family background drew me to the beauty and craftsmanship manifest in the production of kaftans. Since my conversion to Islam over 10 years ago my fascination with textiles has become some what of an addiction, as well as collecting kaftans , I have made research trips to various parts of Morocco photographing the tailors and embroiderers that form the many hidden workshops that produce some of the finest textile finishes in all of Africa.
Karamah Kaftan Kouture was a month long exhibition at Leighton House. The collection also formed part of the touring Moroccan Memories exhibition in the Shared Heritage section of the British Library and toured as far as the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh.
My visual art and textile work is an Oriental banquet of visual delights made by a British born mixed heritage Muslim woman defining dignity for the new millennium. This feasting for the eyes is something that was taught to me by my English grandfather was was a cook in the RAF, he used to tell us ” feed people’s eyes.”
My intention for this cook book , as a Muslim revert, is that as long as it’s Halal it’s permissible and Islam as a religion is made up of so many wonderful cultures, so the opportunity to create something that is eclectic was a walk in the park for me mashallah.Some times people are trapped in their culture or race and deny themselves the pleasure of experiences the culture of others, within what’s Islamic, so let move out of our comfort zone and try something new and good!
Secondly to create a nutritional awareness that certain foods are beneficial to eat, especially in Ramadhan when we need to pay extra attention to our bodies as we are changing the way in which we normally eat. Fasting during this time can create low blood sugar, constipation, headaches, muscle cramps but on the positive side fasting provides your digestive system with the rest it needs, especially if you have been over eating or eating irregularly.
I have had, maashallah, a positive relationship with Islam Channel TV for a few years. City Sisters Creative Soul was my introduction to the world of Muslim media, shortly followed by an invitation from Sheikh Hamza Yusef to be interviewed by him for MBC Arabia, as a visual artist. I was artist in residence at Leighton HouseMuseum in 2006 as part of the Festival of Muslim Cultures and visited there by Riz Latif from BBC1, who filmed a beautiful piece of film on my art work. But food has always been creative recreational pleasure I have indulged in. Following on from some successful cooking slots on City Sisters, they invited me to produce a series of recipes for iftar break fast food …..I jump a the chance to have such freedom in producing a diverse menu representative of my spiritual journey and the kaleidoscope of colours that makes up our Muslim Ummah.
As an ongoing supporter of Muslim Hands charity, who last years asked me to design ideas for an iftar fund raising menu, I was at the time working on islamisising Spanish tapas and suggest Spain as the theme with its wonderful Islamic history, shortly afterwards, as Allah would have it, Spain won the world cup mashallah!and Muslim Hands ran a great fund raising feature about Spain and Spanish food!
Iftar in this year of writing is during the summer, so the dishes I have presented seek to refresh your taste buds and nourish your mind body and soul. Inshallah you enjoy the making and eating and may Allah accept our fasts inshallah ameen