I hope your Ramadaan is going well, and that you are achieving all the goals you set for yourself...InshaAllah.
Talking about goals...you usually require discipline and good time management among other things, if you are serious about fulfilling them. Some of us have set some serious health goals, in addition to our spiritual goals this Ramadaan.
I am definitely one of those people, while my resolve is often strong, I do occasionally lose track. It is not for lack of trying, but lack of inspiration. When I so easily get bored with the same workouts, why should my healthy recipes be the same?
This is why I was so excited to come across Aniseeds on Instagram. Her name is Aneesa, she resides in Cape Town and her account is jam packed with recipes for a healthy lifestyle with a good dose of indulgent treats too. We all need inspiration from time to time to grab sweet potato sticks instead of greasy slap chips....
I decided to find out more about this avid Instagram food blogger.... Here's what Aneesa of Aniseeds had to share:
1. How Long have you been an Instagram food blogger?
I have been an Instagram blogger for almost three years now. It feels like longer and I am absolutely loving it.
2. What's on your menu for today?
Our meal today is khuri kitchri, mutton dhal, sweet and sour pumpkin, green masala fish and butternut salad. Seeing as we are experiencing colder days in Cape Town, it just seems natural to enjoy some sort of heart-warming rice dish and these are just two of my many favourites.
3. Apart from being an amazing food blogger, what are your hobbies and current occupation? Is blogging your mainstay?
I am an Audiologist by profession. I enjoy everything that allows me to express my creative side. I love painting, sketching, designing, cooking and baking and any sort of art form I can explore. At the moment I enjoy spending my free time creating art using food or kulunji seeds in particular. In addition to this, I love enjoying the outdoors. Anything that entails adventure and an adrenalin rush appeals to me greatly!
Beautiful works of art by Aneesa below.....
|Oh my word! Look at this! Wowee!|
My son will definitely get a hoot out of this;) ever since the animal cards were back at PicknPay, he wants me to make bees from cheese and olives and monkeys from rye bread! Who relates?
4. I love the name you chose for your Culinary journey! Aniseeds is a clever play on words considering your name is Aneesa, were there any other names you had previously considered?
Aniseeds has actually been a nickname of mine for some time now, even prior to my blogging journey. I am a fan of the flavour of the aniseed itself, and seeing as it is an enjoyable flavour and sounded somewhat like my name, it seemed a perfect fit for my foodie Instagram account.
5. When did you discover your passion for culinary and food blogging?
I come from a family of avid home chefs and thanks to my mom who instilled the love of cooking and baking and decorating in us at a young age. Everything I know, I learned from her by watching and observing and inevitably learning. She is well known in our community in PE, as a culinary trendsetter, with an artistic flare, and that love for food and all things creative has clearly rubbed off on me.
Even though I enjoyed both cooking and baking, it was only in my varsity years that I began to explore this interest on my own in a bigger way and found my passion for all things edible and this is when I decided to showcase my culinary creations via social media on a very informal scale.
6. Where do you see yourself from a culinary perspective, what are your dreams and expectations?
My plans for the future of Aniseeds remains the same as it is presently. My instagram blog began as a platform through which I could share recipes with all my friends and family and through the years, has evolved into something greater than I could have ever imagined.
I’d like to use it as a forum to promote halaal businesses in South Africa by encouraging support for our Muslim foodie community throughout the country, and bring everyone closer together.
At the moment I am enjoying the perks, which include making incredible new friends over Instagram, like yourself (she is tons of sweet! isn't she?;) and many others. Where this account will take me, I’m not quite sure, but I am riding the wave and enjoying every second of it! (so are we;)
7. If you had to describe your personality in terms of a particular cuisine, what would it be? French, indian, middle eastern or other? And what meal would it be?
I’d have to say "Fusion", and the meal would be roti nachos!
It’s a combination of Indian and Mexican cuisine and if you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out. (Shucks! I'm getting on that train right now!) I cant quite place myself in any one category because I’m a culinary chameleon that way. (okay, I just love that word...Culinary Chameleon)
8. What is your favourite family meal and why? can you share it with us?
My favourite family meal has to be khuri kitchri with all the sides. I could eat it every day and even though I make it so often, I never tire of it. My family all enjoy my version of it as well and it’s the dish they request whenever I visit at home. I will most certainly share it with you all! (Gotta love a girl who loves Khuri Kitchri right mum? (hubby's mum)one of mums favourite dishes, it's full of goodness!)
500ml plain yogurt (can add more)
1 tblsp flour (omit for low carb)
1 cup milk
For the chutney:
¾ cup dhania
3 garlic cloves
2 green chillies
1 tsp jeeru
1 tblsp coconut
1 cup milk
Pinch of arad
Liquidise and add to yoghurt
Braise onions until transparent and soft
Add in yoghurt mixture and whisk until it comes to a boil. Make sure to whisk continuously so as to avoid splitting. Adjust salt if needed. Add in a whole green chilli along with curry leaves and allow to simmer.
9. If you were short on time, what is the best dish you could serve to your guests in under 30mins? Can you share your speedy meal with us?
My go-to meal in a hurry is any pasta dish but in particular it would be pasta in curry sauce. It’s quick and easy to prepare and more often than not, you will always have the ingredients on hand. The recipe is as follows:
Recipe credit: Uknown
400g or 500g packet penne pasta
1 tub cream
Rajah red masala box
2 jalapeno peppers
1 tin tomato puree
big bunch of dhania
In a small pot, fry green chillies in oil and add 1/2 tsp crushed garlic on low heat until chilli aroma escapes. Allow to infuse. Add more garlic if needed. Leave aside
In a big flat pot, slice onions finely and add sliced jalapeno peppers depending on the heat.
Braise with a little oil until golden brown.
Add in almost whole bunch of chopped dhania. Add 1 tsp garlic and ginger and braise. Add 1 heaped teaspoon of Rajah Masala spice and braise.
Add in cubed chicken fillet and braise. Allow to fry in the spices. Add salt to taste and a dash of black pepper
Once chicken is cooked, throw in the tomato puree mix and allow everything to cook nicely for a couple of minutes. Keep mixing and watch not to burn the tomato.
Then add in cream. I usually only use half the tub but if you may add little more in for a creamier consistency.
In a separate pot, boil all the pasta. Once the tomato mix is done, add in the hot pasta and mix well. Dust over some more of the rajah masala spice as you’re mixing.
Taste for salt and sprinkle dhania over top
Eat hot and enjoy!
10. What practical advice would you give busy 21st Century women who have lost their enthusiasm to prepare wholesome cooked meals?
I’d say, I was there and sometimes I feel that way too. If ever you find yourself in a culinary slump and you’re frustrated at having to prepare the same meals every day, branch out. Tap into your creative pot and start thinking out of the box. Invest in new recipe books, join a few recipe groups and introduce new produce into your recipes and this will set you on the way to revamping your daily meals. With the 21st century comes the latest technology and there is so much to learn and incorporate into our everyday cooking.
11. You are a trendsetter in the food arena, your aniseeds work of art are both unique and amazing to look at! What inspired it?
Thank you! My love for all things art is a large part of my life. As a child, I used to play with my food as most children do. I would use pieces of fruit and salad to create pictures I conjured up in my mind. So I’ve been using food as art for as long as I can remember, from sesame seeds to coriander leaves; kulunji seeds to strawberries and anything else I can get my hands on.
(",) love this! ofcourse I do!
12. Would you say being an instagram food blogger is challenging?
Yes and no. Initially it wasn’t challenging at all because it wasn’t a formal account and I posted my pictures in my own time, and at my own pace. Now with my audience being much larger, there are expectations and standards to maintain and deadlines to meet as well. Much time and effort goes into recipe development, photography, editing and posting but that being said, I still enjoy it as much as I did when I began, if not more!
13. What kind of challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
Alhamdulillah, thus far I have not experienced any significant challenges to note except that from time to time, I experience what I refer to as bloggers block, where I feel as if I have depleted my creative stock and I’ve hit a wall. The struggle is definitely real. ( I love that she is honest and real!)
14. Any advice to prospective Instagram food bloggers?
Soldier on! There will be times when you feel ill equipped to continue on your blogging journey and perhaps Instagram wasn’t too forgiving that day or a post wasn’t as well received as you thought it would be. Don’t give up on the challenge to succeed. A large part of being a blogger is supporting fellow bloggers as well and in turn you will receive the support that you have so kindly offered others.
15. Who inspires you? Who are your favourite cooks, chefs and culinary experts?
My mother is definitely my inspiration and my favourite home chef who inspired my cooking journey but in addition to her, I’m inspired by Paul Hollywood and Michel Roux.
16. What are your favourite food programs?
I absolutely love to watch The Great British/SA Bake off, The Kitchen, Chopped as well as Siba’s Table, as many others do I’m sure!
17. What would you say is the ultimate dessert if you ignored a low carb lifestyle?
When I am taking a day off from low carbing, my go-to dessert would have to be a wholesome slice of homemade chocolate cake. Moist, gooey and dripping with chocolate ganache! If I can’t get my hands on a chocolate cake then carrot cake will definitely do! But no shop-bought cakes please. (hope you will like my recipe for Carrot Cake Aneesa;)
18. What is your favourite low carb meal and dessert?
My butternut and beetroot salad. It’s a beautiful melange of ingredients including caramelised feta which is incredibly addictive.
My favourite low carb dessert is definitely my best ever chocolate banting brownie for obvious reasons.
The Best Banting Brownies Ever
Recipe adapted from : @tableforfivedubai
Pic credit: @aniseeds
1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chopped
250ml xylitol (add less if you don't want it to be too sweet)
1 tsp vanilla
170ml almond flour
2 tblsps cocoa
1 tblsp coffee (less if very strong)
•Preheat your oven to 180c. Grease and line a 20 x 20 cm baking tin.
•Melt the 1 and 1/3 cups of chocolate and butter over a double boiler or in the microwave.
•Mix well with a whisk to combine.
•Mix in the xylitol, vanilla, almond flour, cocoa, coffee and then once cool enough, the eggs.
•Mix till smooth and glossy.
•Pour into the prepared baking tin.
•Bake for 40 minutes or till done.
•Leave to cool and then cut into squares and decorate with coconut
19. Would you be interested in collaborations with food shows, food retailers and the like? What is the best way to get a hold of you?
Yes most definitely. I am open to all sorts of collaborations.
The best way to get hold of me would be through my email address: email@example.com
Parting words from Aneesa:
For all those aspiring food bloggers like myself: Be authentic, don’t give up, be nice, be constructive, be respectful, be appreciative, be humble and most importantly, work hard. If anyone has a question about food blogging, I am more than happy to answer them!
JazakAllahu Khair Aneesa for the invaluable advice, tips, stunning pics and recipes! You are just as vibrant, interesting and exciting as the food you serve! (and that is alot!) Inspirational! It has been an honour to have you as a guest on my blog!
Hope you enjoyed this jam packed post! who would you like to see next on my blog? drop me a line in the comments section, email:firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Instagram:Stylexplora and follow Aneesa aka Aniseeds on Instagram for alot more!
but seriously...how fast is Ramadaan going? Eat good, make lots of ibaadah, breathe deep and lots of love and duas as always!