Welcoming guests into your home for a celebratory iftar feast is a beautiful gesture. But it’s one that can also invite pressure, the temptation to control every element of a spread abundant with gorgeous platters of food.
As our guest expert Sukaina Rajabali has noted, this is perfectly possible – if you make life easy by getting ahead of the game and use the never-fail convention of cooking and freezing dishes now for feasting later. Saving yourself from last-minute stress doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice laying on a really special meal. Far from it.
To help, we’ve looked through our recipe collection and gathered a few favourites, dishes that will be both safe and sound in the freezer and certain to wow guests when the time comes:
Pass the parcel
These three recipes take advantage of the fact that filo pastry freezes extremely well (and all double up really easily). The trick is to prepare the filling, then roll or fold it inside the pastry and freeze flat on trays. Then when you’re ready to use them, simply bake until golden on the outside and hot in the centre.
Sweet potato, feta and spinach filo parcels
Lamb, spinach and pine nut parcels
Sweet potato, kale and halloumi filo parcels
The main events
All these centrepieces are cooked for a good length of time, which makes them ideal for freezing. This low, slow preparation means that you just need to defrost the dish in the day then heat through that evening to serve with some simple sides that soak up the juices (think herby couscous, spicy rice and warm flatbreads).
Chicken and cauliflower tagine
Lamb tagine with olives
Persian mutton stew
Spiced lamb meatball stew
Sweets to share
These cookies were designed with the idea of prior preparation in mind. Follow to the end of the second step and pop them in the freezer, safe in the knowledge that you’ve got about the most delicious treats imaginable just waiting to be baked.
Tahini, sesame and dark chocolate cookies
Orange, date and walnut cookies