Whats Cooking Today!!

Chicken Veggie Bake

A simple dish to lift your moods when you have a tough day going. Rumble this along with garlic bread and some tossed greens and you have yourself enjoying a meal.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Chicken boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 Green capsicum
  • 1 Red capsicum
  • 1 Yellow capsicum
  • 2 Onions
  • 4 pods Garlic
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • ¼ cup Tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon heaped dried mixed herbs
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ½ tablespoon Red chili flakes
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese grated

Steps to make the bake:

Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized cubes. Prepare the capsicums and onions by dicing them up. Finely slice the ginger and garlic. Heat up a frying pan, add in some oil (you could olive oil) and add in the diced onions and sliced garlic and ginger. Sauté till the acidity from it disappears. In-short you don’t allow the onion to change color. Add in the diced chicken and fry till cooked through. Toss in the colored capsicums and sauté till the capsicums are al-dente or cooked. Meanwhile into a small bowl mix together tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mixed herbs and the chili flakes. Pour in the sauce mixture into the frying pan and coatthe chicken and capsicum thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper and do a taste check. Dish the chicken out onto a large glass casserole and sprinkle evenly the grated cheese (I used only 1/2 the quantity of cheese – my family are not much of a cheese fan). Bake in the oven at 180 C till the cheese is melted through. Serve with garlic bread.

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Whats Cooking Today!!

Date and Walnut Teabread

This loaf was something I baked for my bible study group for the movie night we had a long long time ago. This was a part of the tv snacks apart from popcorn and pizza. Just to add to the fun of the whole movie watching thing, we created movie tickets thanks to my crafter friend. The tickets looks superb right? This cake was a hit amongst my group members and is really super easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Butter
  • 1 1/3 cup Pitted Dates, chopped into small pieces
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Orange Rind
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2/3 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Walnuts, chopped

Steps to make the batter:

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch loaf tin. Place the dates in a pan with the grated orange rind and water and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes stirring until smooth. Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together. Gradually beat in the eggs and then sift the flours in. Fold in the chopped walnuts. Spread one third of the mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan and spread half of the date puree over the top. Then cover with cake batter and repeat the layers until the top and last layer is covered with cake batter. Arrange the walnut halves on top. Bake in the oven for an hour and if required for another 15 minutes more till firm to touch. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto to a wire rack. Slice once cool and enjoy it with your cuppa.

Parenting

Parenting With A Purpose

Parenting is a calling of purpose designed by God. It is more than just a responsibility.

Now, you may start to wonder how can taking care of the kids and taking them for their various school activities, doing the cooking and household chores over and over again  be something of purpose. In fact it doesn’t seem like that at all, instead feels ungrateful many a times.

Long ago, I had a corporate job that was going well for me and I was eagerly working  towards building my career and rising up the corporate ladder. But then came in my first baby and certain tough decisions had to be taken. With a heavy heart I obliged into being a “stay at home mother” being left with no other option.

For me to be a stay at home mother didn’t come to me that easy. It took time for me to make this come together in my head. Somehow I felt reduced in my abilities. I felt I was destined for greater things than just being “at home”. “Anybody can do this” and “what’s so great about doing this?” is what I thought.  I mean how could being at stuck at home be of any purpose to GOD and to me? The chores I did was regular, the routine was just the same set of things, day in and day out.

Every now and then we are posed with situations in our life which I believe are ordained by God. HE takes you through those moments just to be able knock some sense into us or maybe change certain core elements within us. After years of being knocked on the head really hard. I gave in to God and his plan for me. Now I am proud to say now that I am indeed a mother of two beautiful boys. I mean they can be hyperactive, naughty, sometimes they drive me up the wall but still God instilled in me the purpose of “being at home and being a parent”.

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God taught me three things through the years of my complaining and murmuring to HIM. As parents we are meant A. To inspire B. To impact and C. To Influence our children.

The word says in the book of Proverbs “Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it”.

Let’s look at how to achieve that,

We need to inspire our children to be able to do good and think good. We sit with them to and help them have a vision and mission about themselves. We guide them to identify and use their God given abilities and skills to better themselves. Whatever they do let them give it their best, its not about perfection all the time. They need to understand that things come along in perfection through sheer hard work (practice), perseverance, focus and discipline. Support them by taking them for classes so that their strengths are honed. Teach them to learn from their mistakes and that making them is normal. How can else can we learn and get better? Help them to overcome their fears and failures by listening to them and constantly watching out for signs indicating them. We also pray along with them to instil in them a good heart.

We need to teach our kids to make an impact by way of their conduct, talk and their personality. Don’t mistake this with people pleasing. If we are raising warriors of the next generation, then it has reflect in the way we raise them. We raise children with a difference not just to be a somebody. As much as possible we teach them to respect people around them. To be mindful of others, to love everyone despite their social, economic or family backgrounds. I especially mention this because of the prevalence of this disparity in our Indian Culture. These aspects can be taught if we are ourselves are true and live examples to our children.

Children are like sponges; they learn everything from us in a short span of time. They are keen observers of their parent’s actions, decisions and behaviours and this shapes their  initial personality in the early years whether we realise it out. What they see and hear at home is what influences them tomorrow. Strive to not set a double standard for children, but live by the same standards and rules you expect your kids to live by. When parent’s live godly lives, their children will be more likely to follow God as they tend to follow that example.

The desires you have for your child are great and if you would you go to the ends of the earth for them. God understands that and has wonderful purposes for them. In your attempts to be a good parent remember this, that God has great plans for you too. It’s a learning process for your kids and for you as well. Our good God is with you all the way.

Other Inputs:
Credit Note: Photo by Laith Abuabdu and David Beale on Unsplash
Effective Parenting in a defective world  – by Chip Ingram
Susan Meril – imom
Whats Cooking Today!!

Kerala Boatman’s Fish Curry

The pristine backwaters of Kerala is the one of the reasons why the State has a silent charm attached to it. This is a dish prepared by the fishermen or boatsmen using the catch of the day. They cook this on the boat along with rice for their lunch. To add to the authenticity in taste the curry has to be cooked in earthen ware. Serve the curry in the earthen ware as the centre piece of your table and all it needs is some hot white rice.

Ingredients:

  • 800 grams of Any White Fish – cleaned and fileted (I used Nagrur – Sear Fish would be perfect)
  • 500 grams Shallots 
  • 3 teaspoons Coriander Powder 
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder 
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek Powder 
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • Salt to taste 
  • 2 Green Chilies 
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger – Garlic Paste 
  • 6 Coccum pieces (Meen Pulli – you could use more if you want more sourness to the dish)
  • 300 ml Thin Coconut Milk 
  • 300 ml Thick Coconut Milk 
Steps to make the fish curry:
Soak the coccum in a cup of warm water and keep aside. Clean the shallots and cut the bulbs in two halves and keep aside.Into a wide earthen vessel pour in some oil and splutter the mustard seeds. Slit the green chillies lengthwise and add to the mustard. Saute for a minute and then add in the curry leaves. Saute again for a minute and add in the halved shallot bulbs and saute till they turn brown. Add in all the spice powders and the ginger garlic paste and use the coccum water to cook the masala till the rawness disappears. Add the coccum into the cooked masala. Add the fish and coconut milk which is thin in consistency (if your using coconut milk powder then about 2 tablespoons of powder should do) and simmer the curry until the fish is tender with the lid on. Add in your required amount of salt. Check the fish at 15 minutes and add in more water or diluted coconut milk if the gravy has lessened. Once the fish is cooked, pour in the thick coconut milk and simmer gently for 5 minutes and switch off the flame.
*Note: If you don’t have coccum or cannot procure it from the Indian stores then you could replace it with tamarind paste. Of course the taste alters but it is a close match never the less. Use about 1/2 teaspoon of the readymade paste for this curry.

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Whats Cooking Today!!

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

A vegetarian dish is pretty hard to eat in my house being a hardcore malayalee. The meat element for every meal is a must, yet we have reduced that part of the element off our plates and we try – try! “try” to eat as much as veggies as possible in the week. So in the process of scanning the internet for the right recipe on a different preparation . This recipe just did it for us. Happy Cooking Ya’ll!

Ingredients

  • 500 grams Baby Potatoes
  • 10 – 12 cashews soaked in warm water
  • Salt to taste
  • Kashmiri chili powder (you could use paprika instead)
  • 1 teaspoon Jeera seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Roasted Fennel Powder (saunf)
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger garlic paste
  • 1 inch Cinnamon
  • 3 Cloves
  • 2 pods Green cardamom
  • 10 Black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt or curd
  • a pinch of Asafoetida

Steps to make the curry:

Rinse the baby potatoes well. Scrub the dirt off them. Take 3.5 cups of water in a pan. Add the potatoes and boil till half cooked. Drain them and cool slightly. Peel the potatoes. With a fork, tooth pick or skewer, poke holes in the potatoes all over. Halve them or you can keep them whole if they are small. Whisk curd or yogurt till smooth. Keep aside. Into a small bowl, mix together kashmiri red chili powder and about 2-3 tablespoons of water to get a smooth mixture. Grind the soaked cashew nuts to make a smooth slightly loose paste.

Into a large wok and pour in some oil and fry the potatoes on a low medium flame. With a slotted spoon, turn them over while frying, when one side is light golden and once done drain onto absorbent paper. Drain off excess oil from the wok and reserve about 2 tablespoons. Add a pinch of asafoetida and allow the jeera seeds to splutter. Tip in the whole spices and allow the spices to be fragrant for a minute. Add in the ginger garlic paste and chili water mix and saute for a minute or two. Add in the cashew paste and stir well on a medium flame for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the whisked yogurt and stir continuously on a low flame so that the curd doesn’t split. Sprinkle in the roasted  fennel powder and about a cup of water. Allow the curry to simmer with the lid on for 10 -12 minutes. Once the water has slightly reduced add in the fried potatoes and check the gravy depending one’s liking the curry. It can be slightly loose or thick. So add in more water accordingly. Simmer the gravy with the potatoes for 5 minutes on a medium flame. Check for seasoning and add salt to taste and allow the potatoes to absorb the flavours of the gravy. Spirnkle in some freshly chopped coriander as garnish. Serve hot with garlic naans, rotis or even a simple pulao.

 

Whats Cooking Today!!

Mahogany Cake with Meringue Topping

This cake is an ancient recipe from my Mum’s treasured collection. The dark colour and the aroma of the chocolate and coffee together gives the cake the deep colour and makes you go ‘mmmmmm’ . I’m on a mission to try and attempt all of my mum’s good recipes and share it out here before these recipes are misplaced or lost.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons Cocoa powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoons of Instant coffee powder
  • ¾ cup Hot water
  • 220 grams Unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Yolks of Eggs
  • ½ teaspoon Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt

For the Meringue

  • 2 Egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon Cream of Tartar or ½  teaspoon white vinegar
  • ½ cup of sifted icing sugar (more if you desire more sweetness)

Steps to make the cake:

Into the ¾ cup of hot water, dilute the cocoa and coffee powder and set aside. Into a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar adding the 2 eggs and 2 yolks beating after each addition. Add in the vanilla and vinegar and beat well. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt alternating with the cocoa-coffee mixture till you get a nice creamy batter. Pour into a lined and greased 10 inch baking tin and bake at 180 C for 40 minutes till a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Steps to make the Meringue Topping:

Into a clean bowl, add the egg whites and run the beater till the egg whites become glossy and stiff white peaks are formed. Add the cream of tartar and icing sugar spoon by spoon. Check the sweetness of the meringue and if you need to add more sugar you can. Spoon the meringue over the cake and using the back of the spoon create little waves for a dramatic effect. Use a blowtorch or the top grill of your oven to lightly brown the top for 5 minutes at 180 C. Slice into wedges and serve with a nice cup of black coffee.

Mahogany Cake

Whats Cooking Today!!

Devilled Egg Sandwich

Devilled Egg Croissant Sandwich-2

My kids love this sandwich to be packed in their lunchbox. This is super easy to make, and you could make this for birthday parties or even for a picnic outing.

Ingredients:

Makes 2 Sandwiches

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 bakery Croissants or bread of choice
  • 12 thin slices English cucumbers
  • 4 lettuce leaves

Steps to make the Sandwich:

Into a saucepan, pour cold water to come above the eggs. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Immediately remove from heat; let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and run cold water over eggs for 1 minute; drain and peel off shells. In a bowl, finely chop or coarsely grate eggs, add the mayonnaise, paprika and salt and mix it well. Spread the egg mixture evenly over a half of the croissant. Top with cucumber and lettuce. Top with remaining half of the croissant pressing down lightly.

A Mom's Life

Overwhelmed??

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Are you feeling not just tired but “exhausted”? Do you want to lie down for another 5 minutes, because you feel so sore, despite knowing there is much to do in the house? Or maybe own a robot or magic wand that would do the cooking and magically drive the car and go pick and drop the kids??

Here is a fact. We are “over-whelmed”. We are worn out and maybe a little irritant.

By the way did anyone tell you it is normal to feel that way especially when you have young kids in the house? Looking at my plight my husband once asked me – Ally, have you got too much on your plate? Can you try slowing down? In fact I did have too much going on at one point. I had the household chores to get done, voluntary services at the apartment I live at to look into, the weekly bible study that I lead and I also voluntarily venture into some occasional baking for family and friends. On the other side I need to ensure that my parents and in-laws are doing well too. I simply didn’t know how to refuse or turn down a favour when asked for. 

I have the same to ask you – Do you have too much going on in your life? Have you bitten off more than you can chew?

What happens when you are overwhelmed is that your mind just shuts down and your body can’t respond the way it needs to. You begin to feel absolutely hopeless, beaten up and the only thing you start thinking off is to just run away from everything.

The reality is that we can neither run nor escape from our dutiful responsibilities, but there are ways we can help ourselves from feeling this sense of being burdened.

Learn to SLOW DOWN for a change. Let the house be a mess. You haven’t made dinner? Then order something that everyone would love to have. Sometimes you’ve got to let yourself just “be”. Get back to the task at hand when you can and you’re ready to take it up.

QUIET TIME God grants us strength and grace for each new day. His grace is manna for the day, not for the week or the week after. The Lord’s Prayer says “GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD”. So we ask God to lead us in strength and enable us in and through His Holy Spirit for every single day.

EXERCISING – This happens to be one of the most important things to get done, on priority because we tend to procrastinate. Exercising kicks in the energy that you really need for the day. It helps boost the happy hormones. Plus, did you know that hitting the gym or even stepping out for a brisk walk helps you to socialise with people and offer some form of escape for that part of the day.

The Art of saying “NO” –  Something that caught my attention on what Debbie wrote is that “Life is a balance”. You need to consider your sanity against the request. Often the greatest pressure to agree to something comes from within. Free yourself of feeling guilty if things do not line up with your needs and priorities. Ask yourself what you are getting out of complying with this request. If you don’t feel that this is something that will benefit you, your family, and priorities, say NO!

You need to have REALISTIC expectations: Children’s temperaments and behaviour cannot be predicted. They change from day to day, one moment to another, and can be   very inconsistent. If they pick up their toys today, the next day they won’t.

Something you said an emphatic “no” to, is exactly what they end up doing. So be realistic in your expectations and be easy on yourself. I encourage you to think of yourselves as a “good enough mum” let alone “being the perfect one”. And remember this phase will pass by soon. You are not stuck in it forever.

When somebody OFFERS TO HELP, you just TAKE IT : If your husband offers to do the dishes or the mother-in-law decides to bring over some food to stock in your fridge,  learn to just say “yes please”, “sure”, “go ahead”. You don’t have to feel guilty about it but consider these moments as a pure blessing from heaven.

Singing A SONG. In this context I’m not asking us just to sing any song, but songs that praise and glorify God. My firm belief is that singing gospel songs or even playing them softly in the background helps us to be uplifted, being aware of Gods presence and his WORD. “When we sing, the lyrics make perfect sense to us. It allows time for those truths to seep down into our souls and impact us and affect us and change not only our emotional state but the choices we make, the things we do.” – Bob Kauflin (Songwriter and Worship Leader)

Being a grouchy mum is not only bad for the kids, but the spouse too. An entire household gets affected because of our state of mind. So if we are able to try some of the above suggestions, we should be able to find relief from being hassled and overwhelmed.

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Credit: Photo by Dawid Sobolewski and  Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

 

Whats Cooking Today!!

Orange and Almond Cake – The Jewish Passover Cake

This passover cake was made during the passover season this year but I got time only now to do the needful and share it out here. A wonderfully moist, rustic and fragrant cake and can be easily devoured with a cup of black tea or coffee.
This recipe was passed over by a dear friend who is also an enthusiastic baker and am so grateful to her for having sent it across to me.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges (use the Sunkist ones)
  • 6 eggs
  • 250 grams caster sugar
  • 250 grams almond meal
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • Extra caster sugar for dusting before baking
  • Icing sugar for dusting after baking
  • Margarine or butter (for greasing the pan)

Things to make ahead:

Prepare the almond meal, soak almonds overnight, remove skin next morning allow to dry and then grind. Wash oranges and place unpeeled, in a pot of boiling water for 2 hours. Drain the water and allow the oranges to cool.

Steps to make the batter:

Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a 20 cm springform baking pan (removable bottom) with baking paper. Break 6 eggs into a mixing bowl or blender. Add caster sugar and beat or blend together. Break up the oranges with your hand with skin and all. Put the mashed up oranges into the egg mix. Blend together to a smooth consistency. Add the almond meal and baking powder and blend again. Pour batter into the pan and sprinkle caster sugar on top and bake for 1 hour until the top is golden brown. After 40 mins cover the top with aluminium foil to prevent from burning. Allow to cool for 2 hrs. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Whats Cooking Today!!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Certain recipes are there when you read you know,you just got to have to do them right away. With a fresh stash of chocolate chips from Singapore this was just perfect. A Recipe keeper from Lindsay.  I have another recipe for chocolate chip cookies which are worth trying.

 

Ingredients:

Makes 12

  • 8 tablespoons of Salted Butter
  • ½ cup White Sugar
  • ¼ cup Packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour (more as needed)
  • ½ teaspoon Baking soda
  • ¾ cup Chocolate chips

Steps to make the Cookies:

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Microwave the butter for about 40 seconds to just barely melt it. It shouldn’t be hot but in almost entirely liquid form. Using a stand mixer or electric beater, beat the butter with the sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and the egg; beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until crumbles form. Use your hands to press the crumbles together into a dough. It should form one large ball that is easy to handle. Add the chocolate chips and incorporate with your hands. Roll the dough into 12 large balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the cookies look barely golden. Let them cool on the pan for 30 minutes. These should stay soft for many days if kept in an airtight container.