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I love Mamool .Mamool are shortbread pastries filled with dates and nuts and spices, traditional to the Arab world.
Commercial and traditionally Mamool are made with white flour. However if we can avoid eating white flour and eat wholemeal instead is better for the heart, blood and cholesterol. I will. White flour is not Islamic; not part of the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
We have made them before without a mould but this time courtesy of Green Valley off Edgeware Road, my favourite Lebanese supermarket, we have these wonderful wooden moulds.
So complete with beautiful wooden moulds, I gave Karimah Cuisina team the task of making whole meal Mamool from my new signature recipe. So far the feedback from a couple of princes has been “beautiful, delicious and tasty!” mashallah!
For the pastry
500g stoneground wholemeal flour
250 g butter, cut into ice cube like chunks
30 g honey
7tablesppons of rosewater
15 tablespoons of milk, we use almond milk
Icing sugar for sprinkling afterwards
FOR THE FILLING
225g dates, de-seeded and chopped
174 g walnuts
115 g blanched almonds
50g pistachio nuts
½ cup water
1’/2 cup honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
- Pre-heat oven to gas mark3, 160C/325F
- First get on with the filling
- De-stone and chopped dates
- Place all nuts in processor and grind, not too fine, nice to have a few chunky bits
- Place dates and nuts in saucepan , add dates and nuts, sugar and water and stir on low medium heat till the dates are soft and the water is absorbed, should take about 10 minutes in the meantime make the pastry
- Now as we found, wholemeal needs more fluid than white unrefined bleached flour
- Place flour in bowl and add chopped butter and work together rubbing through finger tips. This combination of pastry is not as dry looking as you would get for crumble, its more fatty.
- Add rosewater and half of the milk, you will need the rest of the milk as you go along as in the process the dough becomes dry and needs the milk to bind it together
- The date mix should be ready by now, turn heat off and leave to cool down so it’s workable, that means warm.
- Flour your work surface and dust a little flour inside the Mamool mould.
- Break off a piece of dough like large golf ball and roll flat to about ½ “ inch thick
- The moulds we are using are about 3”/ 7 cm in diameter, if you using the smaller mould use a regular gold ball size piece of dough.
- Roll dough flat and press into centre of mould gently
- Using teaspoons add 1 heap spoon of filling inside pastry in mould
- Trim edges and bring narrow outside edge up first then the wider longer flaps over so that all the filling is enclosed
- Turn the mould over unto the surface and press down
- Turn the mould on it’s side and bang gently and the uncooked Mamool should come out
- If it doesn’t come out easily , your pastry may need a bit more flour or your mould needs a bit more flour in it
- Place on lightly buttered baking tray and bake for exactly 15 minutes
- If they go brown when they cook the pastry will be rock hard, so keep an eye on them
- When they have cooled down, dust with icing sugar
- Put the kettle on and think of Arabian nights and magic carpets.
Whether it’s your own brain fog, depression, dizziness, irritability, lack of energy, or mood swings, mental health is affected by what we consume as food and drinks.
Children’s unbalanced behavior, learning difficulties can be and is affected by food or bad mood food is something that affects our minds.
I tweaked the following excellent piece from passionate foodie Hannah Hepworth sheds some light on foods that we would do well to avoid or drastically cut down on.
Nutrition is probably one of the most underrated components of any anti-anxiety program. We normally don’t think that foods can cause or exacerbate anxiety but in truth, they can.
Just as good, healthy, unadulterated foods can strengthen your body, because food is information for your cells, food can also wreak havoc and cause unnecessary stress in your body. In this blog post I’d like to walk you through the top 5 foods to avoid if you have anxiety.
I have to warn you, you may read through this list and feel like you been sentenced to death because your diet is mostly made up of these foods. This is not meant to stress you out more! This is to help you become aware of any bad mood foods in your diet so you can begin to decrease and eliminate them.
If you eat all of them on a regular basis, pick 1 that you can begin eliminating from your diet. Go slow, experience success and improvement and then drop another. Let’s get started!
I’ll just start with this food first. We all love it, many of us are even addicted to it, although we may not like to admit it;) Sugar is a major stressor to your body. Sugar tastes wonderful, but it’s void of nutrients giving you empty calories.
When you fill up too much on sugary foods (which can also be foods that turn to sugar quickly like simple carbs i.e. white flour, white rice…) you don’t leave yourself room to eat nutrient dense foods like fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, raw dairy and meat. You can eventually become deficient in many nutrients which then creates a host of problems that cause and exacerbate anxiety and stress.
Sugar also promotes inflammation in the body. This can be located ANYWHERE in the body, do your joints ache? Do you suffer from mental illness? Inflammation is the root of all illness.
Make a goal to eliminate sugar for 1 week. See how you feel. You might not even realize how yucky it makes you feel until you add it back in. Try it out for yourself!
This isn’t something that I’ve ever really struggled with as I’m not a soda, coffee or tea drinker.
However, I know tons of people who can’t live without their “Dew” or their Diet Coke multiple times a day. The thing with caffeine is that it depletes B-vitamins (namely B1), which are so important for a healthy, unfrazzled nervous system.
Caffeine also triggers an adrenalin release just like stress does and can cause and exacerbate panic attacks. If you struggle with panic attacks please eliminate caffeine! It restricts blood flow to the brain, causes your heart to race (think anxiety) and dehydrates your whole body.
You can get coffee replacements like Barley Cup or Dandelion Root Coffee.
Sometimes just the simple act of drinking ample water is enough to reduce anxiety in a person.
Processed foods lack nutrients. They are often so processed that manufacturers have to add nutrients back into them to be able to deem them as “food.” This is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. Our grocery stores are filled with a majority of packaged foods teaming with fake colors, flavors and preservatives to make them more enticing, visually appealing and to light up our taste buds, (more on this later). Bottom line, start shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. If you struggle with anxiety your body is already a stress ball, you don’t need to add to it by eating nutrient void foods. They have no place in your diet. We need to include processed meats in this category.
You might have been tricked into thinking that all fats are bad but this simply isn’t the case. Each of our trillions of cells have a membrane around them that are made up of fat. Bad fats include any fat that says hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated before it. Bad fats also include canola (rapeseed) oil, peanut oil, corn oil, margarine, cottonseed oil, soy oil, crisco, vegetable oil, and safflower oil. Most foods that are processed contain unhealthy fats. When you eat these fats they make the membrane around your cells become stiff and rigid, making it hard for your cells to communicate with one another.
When you eat healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and butter you are nourishing the cell membranes helping them stay fluid and flexible which allows them to communicate with one another. If you have anxiety, you better believe you want your brain cells communicating properly with one another!!
Good fats also nourish your nervous system. Strive to switch out the bad fats in your diet with good fats. Add them to smoothies, cook with them and slather them on toast, potatoes and rice (brown that is;)!
Excitoxins- MSG/Fake Sugar
I’m going to lump these last two ingredients together. I can’t really call them foods though. MSG otherwise known as monosodium glutamate and fake sugar which can go by the names of aspartame, sucralose or saccharine, among other names listed in this article by Dr. Oz are both damaging to your brain cells and nervous system.
MSG is a damaging food additive that enhances the flavor of many foods from soups, to salad dressings, crackers, frozen dinners and commonly in Chinese food.
MSG is considered an excitotoxin which means that it overexcites your cells to the point of death and can cause brain damage. You can read more about what MSG can do to your body and names that it can go by in this article by Dr. Mercola
Fake sugar is similar in that it can damage your nervous system and excite the neurons in your brain making them fire like crazy until they die. I’ve shared information on staying away from fake sugar before on social media and am usually contacted by diet soda companies telling me there’s no evidence.
I personally know multiple people, including myself, who have experienced adverse effects of eating fake sugar. 3 times after I have eaten even tiny amounts of food with fake sugar I have had extreme dizziness and a damaged feeling in the nerves of my head. A couple times I couldn’t walk in a straight line, and it took a few days to really subside. If you struggle with anxiety you don’t need to be eating ANYTHING that could even POTENTIALLY be damaging to your nervous system.
When you are anxious your nervous system is in a state of high alert. We want to calm the nervous system, and activate your body’s relaxation response so you can get your body in a state to where it can begin healing naturally.