By Salima Jivraj
A series on food bloggers from around the globe bringing inspiration, information and how-to!
This week we look at another great food blogger in our South Asian Blogosphere, Yvonne Maffei.
Yvonne Maffei, Owner of My Halal Kitchen
Chicago, IL, USA
I’ve been a long time follower of Yvonne Maffei’s website, My Halal Kitchen, so it’s a pleasure for me to be able to feature her here and share her wonderful site with Masalamommas.com readers. Just like her site name, Yvonne gives off a simplicity and wholesomeness to her food and cooking style. Not married to a certain type of cuisine, she dabbles in just about everything with an emphasis on the purist foods available in the context of that which is halal, or in other words, what is permissible for Muslims to consume.
What prompted you to start writing about food/cooking?
I was looking for a career change that would actually be true to the way I live my life and would allow me to share what I learned and already knew about food and cooking with as many people as possible. I have been writing and cooking for decades so I decided to join the way the modern world shares information and create a blog as my platform for doing so. I’m so glad I did.
Most blogs have concept(s) (organic, ethnic, entertaining, etc.), what would you say yours is/are and why?
My Halal Kitchen is centered on halal food, but it’s also so much more than that. There’s an educational element to it- showing people what halal food is, how to cook with halal ingredients (which can be hard to find) and where to find those types of things. Additionally, I like to focus the cooking on what is also good and pure for us to eat, whether that is local, all natural, organic, pastured, grass-fed, etc. All of those elements fall in line with eating halal and tayyib (pure/organic) so I wanted to bring
that discussion back to the table because for so long we’ve only been looking at what foods are labeled halal (by certification) but not at how healthy some of those processed ingredients are for us.
Who is your favourite chef or someone that inspires your cooking/writing?
I really love the chefs on the show New Scandinavian Cooking, particularly Andreas Viestad and Tina Nordstrom. They often cook simply and with such natural ingredients in a beautiful natural environment that it gets me excited about the potential of cooking with similar ingredients found in the Midwest: berries, dairy, eggs, freshwater fish and wild game. Keeping it simple beautifies cooking and brings out the actual food, something I think they do it best and feel inspired to try in my own cooking experiences.
Where do you see yourself in five years with your blog/website?
I hope My Halal Kitchen will continue to grow as a resource for all things halal cooking where people can get inspired to get back to the kitchen and prepare healthy halal meals for their families.
Can you share a tip or recipe with us?
Use recipes as guides for the foundation of cooking techniques but don’t be afraid to add your personal touches to every meal. Substitute with things you love and ingredients that awaken your senses and inspire you to get excited about the very next meal you’ll make. Cooking is only as easy or as hard as you make it, so go easy on yourself and have fun experimenting with all of the amazing variety in the markets this summer- you can’t go wrong with fresh, flavourful and healthy ingredients on your side!