A little while ago, I had an FB conversation with Lubna. I was actually frustrating at my lack of understanding of the basics of photography. How much ever I try, I feel I am not hitting what I want to or maybe I have hit a plateau. I am not able to get rid of my habit of clicking night pictures, since most of my best cooking happens at night. I know there is no point in me running behind sunshine at a time when I am just tired from work, and I try to limit my cooking over weekends not to overdo myself. Those are my shortcomings – I cannot go without it so I have to learn to live with it.
She asked me just one question – what do you intend with the blog? Is it a recipe blog or is it a food photography blog? I realised mine was the first one, and definitely not the second one. And I don’t think I can be that way in the near future. 😀 Once I answered that question, she assured me that for the way my blog is, my photography is good enough. Those words coming from her made me feel really relieved… 🙂
My journey as a blogger has been frustrating enough. When everyone raves about their numbers, I have nothing to rave about. But I must say Alhamdulillah for the little things that have come my way because of this blog – a lot of mental relief, some warm virtual relationships, a small bunch of lovely readers… Even if the numbers don’t reflect much, I should not be forgetting what actually the blog gave me, right? 🙂 “Indeed, man, to His Lord, is ungrateful” is what He says in Surah Al-Aadiyaat (100:6). Why? We always tend to look at what we DON’T have than looking at what we already have. Every little thing that comes our way is His grace. We slip but we get a rod to quickly hold our hand to, and avoid the fall. We escape from so many calamities in life, knowingly or unknowingly. We are given small joys in life, knowingly or unknowingly. But we always prefer to ignore it. We like to focus on what we don’t have – the big house, the expensive car, that land that you always dreamt of, etc, etc… When we turn our attention to what we don’t have, our willingness to learn and accept what we have diminishes and we feel terrible. That is the way life is. That is the loophole shaitaan (the devil) has to make us feel defeated in life. When we tell ourselves that we will get what we have to get when the time comes, life would be really peaceful. Learning to accept life as is is truly a challenge. It takes time to make ourselves learn it but Alhamdulillah, it is not difficult. A small change in our attitude and a willingness to accept is all that it takes. 🙂
As I type my post #900, I tell myself the same thing over and over again. This is my fourth year of blogging and my blog is hardly 700K hits – which is absolutely not bad for a blog like mine. But the frustration that the statistics are so stagnant does creep in at times, only to come back to the fact that once I had celebrated when my blog hit 100 views and since when did I want to be so greedy for hits! 😀 I have been a steady blogger, have never taken breaks from the blog, and maybe I may not take a break anytime in the future, InShaAllah, because there is something that holds me onto this blog. Would you believe that I carried the laptop home despite knowing that even if I get wi-fi, I may not be working on my blog at all, but since I got some me-time, I decided to take full advantage and work on a few of my future posts. I tell myself that I am happy with the way things are, and Alhamdulillah, I am happy… As for the all the hardwork, there comes at least some joy. It is not always dark, even during the night, isn’t it? 🙂
While going through my drafts, my eyes fell on this post. A bake that I did with so much anticipation, but which gave me fantastic results, and excitement! On top of that, I absolutely loved the clicks I took for this – sometimes, I need to be good to myself! 😀 Naan Berenji, also called Noon Berenji or Shereeni, are aromatic Persian cookies made with rice flour. Would we ever think of cookies with rice floor? The first time I saw this recipe was on Kurry Leaves. Even though I bookmarked it, it took me long to make them. The motivation mainly came from the book “Silk Road Vegetarian” that I had won from Aparna’s space sometime back. The book has some fantastic Afghani and Persian recipes that are vegetarian and vegan. InShaAllah I will do a little review on the book shortly with a delicious recipe cooked from it. I did not refer to the book or the intial source I saw it as such. I referred to many recipes that I could find on Google and finally came up with my combination, that is high of rosewater and has a little flavor of cardamom. After all, Persian cuisine is very well known for their use of rose water in almost everything. 🙂
These cookies are light and crumbly in texture. They are normally served during Nourooz, which is the Persian new year and during their weddings. Normally poppy seeds are sprinkled on top of the cookies, but since it is banned in UAE, I went ahead and used crushed pistachios. It didn’t take time for them to finish off, especially because even if you have 4 to 5 at a stretch, you wouldn’t feel high of eating it. The whisked egg white gives it a nice texture and refrigerating overnight will help the dough to stiffen a bit. Many recipes use butter, but it seems oil or even ghee is more authentic than butter. So here, you can replace the oil with ghee or maybe half of ghee and oil. If you are curious as much as I was as to how these cookies taste, I suggest you try them. They are amazing with a cup of suleimani – a literal combination made in heaven!
Before I go on the recipe, I would like to thank each one of you who have been good support for me and keep pushing me to go ahead with my blogging. InShaAllah, the hope that whatever I post here will help others sometime or the other and the heartfelt comments from all is enough for me to keep going… 🙂
- 250 gm rice flour
- ⅛ tsp baking powder
- 100 gm powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- ½ cup sunflower oil (any tasteless oil)
- ¼ cup rose water
- 1 egg, separated
- Crushed pistachios, as needed
- Combine the rice flour, baking powder, sugar and cardamom in a bowl and whisk well. You may also seive the ingredients into the bowl.
- Whisk the oil, rose water and egg yolks together and pour over the dry ingredients. Fold in till moist.
- Beat the egg whites in a neat bowl till stiff. Add half the egg whites into the batter and fold in. Add the remaining and fold in till well combined.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or if possible, overnight.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Keep a baking tray ready with parchment paper.
- Pinch out small balls from the dough and flatten up. Keep on the tray. You can keep these close to each other since they don't spread out much.
- Complete with the full dough.
- Sprinkle crushed pistachios on top and slightly press them.
- Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, till sides are done. The color of the cookie should remain white.
- Cool on a wire rack completely before transferring into an air tight container. Use within a week.