2018 Week 46 Update

Another week has gone by and the children are almost in the middle of their school holidays.

Last Friday, GG’s school organised a two hour long concert of their school choir plus two other invited schools. It was lovely programme, not because GG was the opening emcee of her choir, but because all the schools sang quite well. Other than the open house in her school next week, this activity will be the last one for her for the school calendar year.

BB is his usual self, playing games on his laptop whenever he can and getting scolded by me! He also started shaving, something I didn’t think I’d see so soon! My baby has become a man! 

In my news, some career expectations I had didn’t come through and I took this to be a sign from the universe that perhaps I should focus more on my freelance business which is what I will do now. I will spend the next month focusing on my family and the children and when the new year rolls around and people start coming back to work, I will start contacting potential clients. 

Have a wonderful Sunday and an awesome week.

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In My Hands Today…

The Last Kestrel – Jill McGivering

7857076Ellen Thomas, an experienced war correspondent, returns to Afghanistan’s dangerous Helmand Province on assignment, keen to find the murderer of her friend and translator, Jalil. In her search for justice in a land ravaged by death and destruction, she uncovers disturbing truths.

Hasina, forced by tradition into the role of wife and mother, lives in a village which is taken by British Forces. Her only son, Aref, is part of a network of underground fighters and she is determined to protect him, whatever the cost.

Ellen and Hasina are thrown together – one fighting for survival, the other searching for truth – with devastating consequences for them both.

Recipes: Tamarind Date Chutney

img_2125I realised when I shared my recipe for chole that I have not yet shared this easy, piquant yet sweet Chutney. This is great when paired with fried food and also makes a great spread for sandwiches. It does take a while to make but is totally worth the effort.

I made this chutney along with my Green Coriander Chutney and Dried Red Chilli & Raisin Chutney when we hosted S’ colleagues for a Diwali open house.

Tamarind Dates Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tamarind
  • 1 cup dates
  • 2 tsp rock salt
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Deseed the dates and the tamarind. Make sure there is no fibre also in the tamarind.
  • Soak the dates and tamarind either separately or together in hot water for an hour or so.
  • When the dates and tamarind have cooled off, blend them, along with the water they were strained into a fine paste.
  • Strain this paste through a strainer into a large pot which you can put on the gas. You may need to blend and strain a few times so that you get all the paste in.
  • When everything has been strained, put the pot on the gas and add the salt, rock salt, red chilli powder and cumin powder and let it come to a rolling boil. You can also check spices at this point and add more if needed.
  • Once it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the flame and let it boil for around 5-10 mins. It will start thickening and once it is almost as thick as you require, switch off the flame. It will become thicker as it cools.
  • When cool, remove to a clean container and refrigerate. It should stay well in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Notes:

  • If you don’t have access to dates, you can substitute them with raisins. Or you can even do a combination of both dates and raisins. Just use the same quantity as above.

 

In My Hands Today…

The Flower Boy – Karen Roberts

1961209The Buckwater family live side-by-side with their Ceylonese staff in a house nestled in the lush hillside tea estates of ’30s Ceylon. Premawathi is their cook and housekeeper. She has two beautiful daughters and a son, Chandi, who even at four-years-old is bright, inventive and more mischievous than his young harried mother can sometimes cope with.

As the novel opens Elsie Buckwater, an embittered woman is giving birth to her third baby. Chandi is enchanted by the idea of making an English friend and he christens her Rose-Lizzie after the flowers he loves. But the discontented Elsie imposes a stifling and unhappy atmosphere on the household and forbids Chandi to go near her baby daughter, whom she herself largely ignores. Eventually, however, she packs her bags and returns to England. Without her, life at the bungalow flourishes.

Recipes: Chole

This recipe for Chole (or Chana Masala) is a bit different from what you typically see in recipe blogs. I have not seen something similar below and when I made this last week, I thought, I should share with you all.

This recipe was shared by our Sindhi neighbour aeons ago to my mum and I further experimented with this recipe, with this recipe the final incarnation which I have been making for years!

Chole

  • 1 cup of dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp each of chana dal and yellow moong dal
  • 4 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 pod garlic, chopped
  • 1-inch pieces ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp amchur powder
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1-2 tsp chole (or chana masala) powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Coriander leaves to garnish

Method:

  • In a pressure cooker, cook the soaked chickpeas with the turmeric powder till they are soft
  • Cook the dals (chana and moong) separately and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and when warm, add the cumin seeds and when the seeds pop, add the garlic and stir for a few seconds. Then add the ginger and saute for a few seconds.
  • Now add half the chopped onions and saute till it becomes translucent.
  • Next, add the tomatoes and a bit of salt plus the red chilli powder and let the tomatoes cook till it becomes mushy.
  • Remove from the flame and keep aside till completely cool.
  • In a blender, blend to a fine paste with the cooked dals.
  • In the pan, pour the blended paste and let it come to a boil. Add the cooked chole and let it blend together.
  • Add the tamarind paste if using, otherwise omit this step.
  • Add the amchur powder and the garam and chole masalas and check for seasoning at this point. Add more if needed.
  • Switch off the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with puris or bhature.
  • Sprinkle the remaining chopped onions on individual servings and serve hot.
  • I usually serve it with a sprinkling of chopped onions, followed by a tsp of tamarind dates chutney and some sev.

Notes:

  • You can also cook the dals along with the chole to save time. This is how I usually do it, but this time I did as above and the result was that nobody could say there was dal in the chole and the whole gravy was super thick. Doing it with dal makes the gravy thick and you don’t need to add any thickening agents to the gravy, including blending some the cooked chole as some people are wont to do.
  • I also realised that I have not yet shared the recipe for my Tamarind Dates chutney, so will do that soon. I’ll then link this recipe to that one so you have both recipes in the same page.