I feel much better today because I have just finished cleaning up my kitchen and reorganising my stupid pantry. I’m seriously about to lose my patience with this pantry! It’s a cupboard that is so narrow and so deep, the shelves are built so close to each other and it’s also extremely dark in there! I mean good luck trying to grab a tomato jar from behind the first row of spices without dropping something on your foot, or messing up the whole shelf. A nightmare.. errrrg!! I bet this is the one part of my kitchen that I would gladly smash with my own hands once I order my new kitchen. Actually, and the 100 year old oven too.
Well, last week I stocked up on some Ramadan essentials, things that I usually buy in bulk prior to Ramadan such as dried fruit, a variety of nuts, flours, semolina, syrups etc. I came back home after a big shopping day and faced the challenge of storing these ingredients in my pantry without chucking a tantrum or getting an anxiety attack. I managed to take a deep breath, shut both of my eyes and shove them all in, because there was NO other way of storing them.
But the next day, I opened my pantry in the morning and there was the tantrum plus the anxiety attack all in one go! I had to count to .. 45 I think, before I calmed down completely and started thinking of a plan to make this look better. I started emptying the packets of dried fruits and nuts in some of my prettiest glass jars. I then made a nice display of them on my kitchen bench. They did look nice, which made me feel much better. phew!
Looking at the dried apricots stored in one of the glass jars, I couldn’t think of anything but the popular Ramadan apricot drink ‘Qammar El Deen’. But then I know that this drink is traditionally made out of dried Apricot sheets, not the fruit. These sheets are manufactured especially for making this drink. The only downside to them is that they are usually packed with refined sugar, and that’s why I couldn’t get myself to buy them this time. I thought I’d give it a go using dried apricot fruit instead.
I started by soaking the dried apricot overnight, which is what I would normally do with the sheets. The next morning, the apricots doubled in size and became really soft but not soft enough to blend into a drink, so I decided to simmer them in water for 40 mins. I then added some organic maple syrup and a few drops of vanilla extract, and left them in the pot to cool down. At this stage they were perfectly mushy. The last step was using a hand blender and blending it into this thick and delicious apricot drink. I was so so happy with the end result because apricot drink is just too good to be missing out on in Ramadan, and to make it in a healthier way sounds even better to me. A BIG WIN THIS ONE!
- 500 g dried apricots
- filtered water for soaking over night
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup of organic maple syrup
- few drops of vanilla extract
- Place the dried apricots in a bowl and cover with water.
- cover and leave in the fridge to soak overnight
- (this will activate the natural sugars in apricots and hydrate them)
- when ready, place the apricots and the soaking water in a pan on medium heat until it starts boiling.
- leave to boil for 2 mins then lower the heat and simmer for another 40 mins.
- add 1/4 cup of maple syrup and the vanilla extract and stir.
- leave to cool down for about 15 mins
- using a hand blender, blend the mixture inside the cooking pan until it turns into a smooth homogenous liquid.
- taste and adjust the sweetness by adding more maple syrup if you think it needs more.
- keep in the fridge, serve it cold.
- If you think the drink is too thick, you can always thin it by adding some filtered water gradually until you reach the desired thickness.