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Kay's House of Treats: June 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Burger King - Wild West Hangout

Burger King - Wild West Range (Picture from BK Facebook page)
Recently Burger King invited me to what I can term as a social media brand discussion/hangout, with various bloggers & twitterati. Titled ‘Wild West’ the objective of the hangout was to discuss their brand & the Steakhouse Range that they recently introduced.

Even though almost everyone knows about Burger King, its only been 9 months since they launched making it a relatively new entrant into the Karachi fast food scene. With this kind of brand comes a lot of high expectations, and in the case of Karachiites, the excitement of being the first to try out the brand. I personally don’t believe in going to a restaurant in the first week but I clearly remember how excited everyone was at Burger King finally opening up in Karachi, and the long queues that I heard about, noticed via Facebook check-in’s and saw pictures of online. The brand team themselves were sharing their experiences of how crazy things were when they opened.

By now things have settled down - they have launched quite a few items from their international menu, started delivery service with some innovative technology that ensures burgers & fries are delivered fresh (definitely need to check this out); and they just launched a new addition to their main menu. Titled the ‘Wild West’ range, it was the theme of the event I am writing about; a new range of burgers available in both beef & chicken, with a regular version and a hot & spicy version.

The event was at the Burger King seaview branch on the 2nd floor and I am going to go off-topic (obviously) but woahhh, the view is amazing! There are quite a few tables set-up on all the corners, and if burgers were easy to eat, this would be like a great place to bring a book to relax & read or just hang out with friends.

And getting back on track ..

So yes, what greeted us when I reached the floor (other than the brand team) were lots of balloons, ice-cold bottles of water (desperately needed), burger king crowns and product pamphlets with pictures of the new range of burgers.
1. Chicken Steakhouse - Flame-grilled chicken patty served with BBQ sauce & Turkey strips.
2. Hot & Spicy Chicken Steakhouse - Flame-grilled chicken patty served with a spicy sauce & jalapenos.
3. Beef Steakhouse - Flame-grilled beef patty served with BBQ sauce & Turkey strips
4. Hot & Spicy Beef Steakhouse - Flame-grilled beef patty served with a spicy sauce & jalapenos.
Price: Rs. 550 for a regular meal (including regular fries + drink) and Rs. 580 for a large meal.

I ordered the Hot & Spicy Chicken Steakhouse with fries. I know the most important part of the burger is supposed to be the filling, but the bun is just as essential. If it’s not fresh & the right size, then be prepared to have your clothes ruined. I am glad to say that my clothes were not ruined. The burger itself was pretty good - I loved the flamed grilled chicken, the hot sauce & the jalapeno’s with just the right amount of kick. It did have some crispy onions in it which I wasn't crazy about. However, the size of the meal with respect to the price is really good! They give a proper amount of french fries (major pet peeve against fast food restaurants that give kid sized fries), thick cut not thinly sliced, so a large meal at Rs. 580 would be good enough for 1 very hungry guy & 2 dainty ladies. Tried the Apple Pie, but found it to be okay - a little too much cinnamon & I prefer the pastry to be more flaky.

Burger King - Thick Cut Fries 
Burger King - Hot & Spicy Chicken Steakhouse

Overall, it was a fun event with great food & interesting conversations. The ‘Wild West’ range looks to be an exciting addition to their current menu. Both variants offered are not the typical chicken/beef burger - they offer a different flavor profile with the BBQ sauce & turkey strips of the regular version & the jalapeno’s & crispy onions in the hot & spicy version. Thus they may not appeal to all the consumers, but they will definitely appeal to people looking for something different which is available conveniently and at a relatively affordable price.

Please 'like' me on Facebook to keep updated with new posts, tips & tricks, or to ask me any questions: Kay's House of Treats 

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Preparing for Ramadan - Meal Organization & Healthy Eating Tips

Please 'like' me on Facebook to keep updated with new posts, tips & tricks, or to ask me any questions: Kay's House of Treats 

It's going to be Ramazan in about a week Alhamdulillah! 

For my readers who are non-Muslims, Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. Everyday during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast by abstaining from food & drink from sunrise (suhoor/sehri) to sunset (iftar). Not only do Muslims have to fast, but they also have to stay away from any sinful behavior or speech and spend more time in prayer. Ramadan teaches Muslims to practise self-discipline & develop empathy for those who are less unfortunate. 

Unfortunately, we are so focused on cooking in this month & the preparation of lavish meals for Sehri & Iftar that we forget about the real objective of this month - pray, ask for forgiveness and trying to do good deeds.What I am going to be doing is sharing some tips that will help you make the most of this month - healthy eating tips so that you remain fresh & organizing tips so you spend less time in kitchen and more time in prayer.

1. Meal Planning
Don't wait for the first roza to start your meal organization. First of all, make a list
 of all the dishes that you want to make during Ramadan, dividing it into Sehri, Iftar & Dinner options. Include your favourite tried & tested recipes, along with any other recipes that you want to try this year. The second step is to organize the list into a weekly or fortnightly plan, noting down the meals that you plan to make daily. There will be unexpected surprises or changes in whatever plan you are making, but at least it will help you prepare in advance. The third step is to organize your grocery list - whatever staples & produce is required. If you are ordering food from outside (especially frozen items), make a note of the quantity required.
Menu Planners available here for your reference:

2. Storing Food in the Freezer
Prepare meals in advance for Sehri, Iftar & Dinner. This way you can ensure your
family is eating healthy home-made food, but you will all also save time by cooking & storing in bulk. Secondly, food stored in the freezer will always be a good back-up options for days when you are running late and don't have time to make a meal from scratch.
P.s. I will be doing a separate post on freezer cooking (recipes & methods to freeze) in detail.

3. Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet is even more essential during Ramadan. We are fasting from sunrise to sunset, and it is necessary to refrain from over-indulging and eat food that will give us much needed nutrition. Feeling weak the next day after having a heavy iftar & skipping dinner is not because you are fasting but because you haven't eaten properly!

Our diet should include food from all major food groups - bread or cereals, milk & dairy products, meat, fish or other protein, fruits and vegetables and fat & sugars. It is okay to indulge once in a while but food with high sugar content or fatty food should be avoided as it digests slowly and makes one feel thirsty during the day. 

Eating fibre-rich food or complex carbohydrates is recommended especially during Sehri as they are digested slowly and provide much needed energy during the day. This includes food like oats, bread (wholewheat or bran/multi-grain preferred), beans (chickpeas, red beans/rajma, black eyed peas/lobia) & fruits and vegetables (especially green vegetables). It is customary to break the fast with dates not only because it is Sunnah but also because it provides instant energy. 

4. Keeping Your Body Hydrated

Almost all of us are guilty of drinking 3-4 glasses of water, juices or carbonated drinks at Iftar then feeling way too bloated to have anything else! In actuality we should consume 8-10 glasses of liquid from iftar to sehri properly spaced out so our body is hydrated.

Secondly, the Rs. 5 off carbonated drink advertisements that are oh so tempting during Ramadan - ignore them! Carbonated drinks are high in sugar & caffeine content and will not provide the hydration our body requires. Instead make smoothies/milkshakes/lassis for Sehri & Iftar. Eat fresh fruit or vegetables with high water content like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, watermelon, melons & oranges. Let's also not forget 'Laal Sherbet' which is a must in every household at Iftar time. While it is considered to healthy, try to avoid adding sugar, or drink with milk.

5. Healthy Cooking Methods

I will be the first to admit it here - while I might talk all about eating healthy, but I love having fried items in Ramadan. I also know that for a lot of people, it isn't considered a proper iftar if there are no pakora's on the table!

BUT there are ways to have the food you enjoy and still maintain a good diet (albeit slightly less nutritious).
  1. Use healthy cooking methods like shallow frying, grilling or baking. Shallow-fry pakora's & bake/grill samosa's & rolls.
  2. Don't eat fried items from outside - there is no guarantee about the kind of oil used so its ALWAYS best to fry at home
  3. Use kitchen towel/tissue paper for soaking up excess oil - do not use newspaper as the ink contains lead which is toxic.
  4. Limit the amount of fried items at Iftar; only keep 1-2 items at a time so the cravings are indulged without going over-board
  5. Organize the rest of the meal in reference to the items served at iftar. If serving a heavy iftar with fried items, make sure that the rest of the items are healthy like salads, fruit chat (no sugar), beans (cholay, lobia or rajmah), dahi baray etc. Alternatively, serve a light iftar with 2-3 basic items and then a family style dinner meal like Pizza, Singaporean Rice, Biryani, or similar one-pot/casserole style dish. 
6. Eating Out
One week before Ramadan and you will start getting flooded with all the Sehri & Iftar deals.  I personally have a major grudge against the 'all you can eat' deals because there is SO much food wasted by people, and they all start during Ramadan when we should be most careful about food wastage. So go out or order food from outside but make sure that it does not promote negative behaviour - make sure you don't neglect your prayers outside; don't get upset if the waiter/server is rushed or there is a slight delay as he is also probably fasting; in fact, giving him additional tip will only make the extra effort that he's putting in during this month worth it; and most importantly don't waste food! 

O children of Adam! Attend to your embellishments at every time of prayer, and eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant.
Reference: Surah al-A’araaf 7:31
Sayyidina Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, “When one of you eats his meal and a morsel falls down, he must pick it up and remove the doubtful portion and eat the rest. He must not leave it for the devil.”
Reference: Jami’ Tirmidhi, authenticated by al-Albani

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