Category Archives: Eid ul Fitr

Flashback to Eid ul Fitr 2017 – strawberries & sawine

My posting has indeed been sparse this year, but I was going through my photos and voila – we have a post. Sister H ever so often has specials on imported strawberries, blueberries & cherries. This year, these played a major role in our Eid ul Fitr celebrations – part of the usual impromptu potluck buffet for the post-Eid salaat, part of the food gifts for various friends. I think BD baked a pineapple upside down cake or three, but memory is a little hazy on that part this year. Sawine (boiled and sweetened and spiced vermicelli pasta) is part of my Trinidadian heritage. Each year at Eid ul Fitr, my mother, whose culinary extents were limited by herself but whose flavours remain my favourite, cooked up and distributed pots of sawine to the neighbours on our street. Elaichi (cardamom), clove, raisins, sweetened milk (condensed milk), and the vermicelli. And at every Muslim home sawine was a given, and expected. Some added finely chopped nuts, some boiled with the fruits, some put out individual little bowls of the fruits & nuts so that you could garnish to your taste. My middle maternal uncle made the sawine in his house. My children expect it, and sporadically over the years, I have been prescient enough to obtain it and prepare it. Nowadays, you can purchase already parched sawine in the supermarkets in Trinidad. (Already parched (or is it patched?) sawine means that some ghee or butter or oil has been heated in a wide bottomed pot, the elaichi and sawine added and sauteed, then removed from the heat, allowed to cool, and bottled until ready to boil on Eid morning. Ah ha – it is toasted, or braised!) This year, I had to check with my Trini sources on what to add as my trusty Naparima Girls’ High School cookbook (the staple of Trini cooks:)) suggested cinnamon sticks – I did not remember that as an ingredient my mother added, and she either forgets or pretends to forget her recipes since she has happily given up cooking since my father passed away. And neither of us could get to her recipes – handwritten from her two extremely domesticated friends who wrote down the recipes for her when she moved to live independently of her parents – and which are kept in a clasp purse in one of the kitchen drawers.

So this year, Mum brought up a packet or two of already parched sawine, and I proceeded to prepare one on Eid morning. So BD, NoS, Youngest and I, partook of the sawine, and probably Aunty D. too. I added strawberries (now you see the link between Sister H’ specials and my post, don’t you?:). Enjoy. (I see that some cooks add grated ginger to the parching process as well – may try that – and we use a thicker (as if that were possible) vermicelli than the rice vermicelli or mung bean vermicelli. Some trivia – vermicelli is Italian for ‘little worms’, is thinner in diameter than spaghetti, is sometimes referred to as angel hair. Some cultures include sago in the sawine mix as well.

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Salaah in a Sanctuary – a Barbados Eid Gaah

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On Saturday past, the Muslim community in Barbados celebrated Eid ul Fitr, and as with all Muslim communities, started the day with communal Eid salaah – the special two rakaah congregational prayers with additional takbeers and a khutbah. Some perform the Eid salaah outdoors, others indoors. In Barbados, there were three Eid gaahs – three outdoor congregations assembling for the performance of the Eid ul Fitr salaah. BH, BD, Youngest and I attended the one held at the Graeme Hall Bird Sanctuary. It was indeed a sanctuary of serenity. We prayed on the Lakeside Lawn surrounded by the greatest landscaper and outdoor designer there is – Allah, swt, whose greenery cocooned us on all sides save the lake, shaded by clumps of bamboo and mangrove, soundproofed by shrubbery. Post-salaah, we lingered, shared, lingered some more. These are some of the photos taken, and I hope you sense at least a scintilla of the serenity which we experienced and which preceded a peaceful and very enjoyable Eid weekend.

The Graeme Hall Sanctuary is a Wetland. See the following article: Thoughts on Graeme Hall Wetland for a better description of what it was and what it is.

The coming of Eid – the Baker in some of us

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The majority of the visible muslim community in Barbados have one culture in common, and it translates to dress and culinary arts. At Eid time, sweetmeat plates abound, and are shared, in all colours, flavours, seeming intricacies, the jealously guarded recipes.

You all know that BD loves baking. Last year, she joined the bandwagon in her own inimitable style (with lots of kitchen & packing assistance from Number One Son and me). This year, she went all cupcakes. With no kitchen assistance, and only some packing assistance (especially as Number One Son was out of island).

I was supposed to post on Friday, but was caught up in all of the last minute (thank God that there was one more day before Eid) hoorah. So, as a teaser, here are the ingredients of one of the cupcakes. Can you guess what it became?