Secondary 2 Week 37 Update

This week is the week before the year-end exams for BB & GG and so they’ve been studying hard (or so I think)!

As I have mentioned before, results at this exam (which get included in the overall marks for the year) will determine the stream the children get. They do have to choose their top three choices of subjects, but if you’ve chosen a popular subject, then the school starts looking at your marks in that subject and if there are enough students with higher marks than you, it’s quite possible that they get in and you get bumped off!

That was our short and sweet school week! Have a wonderful Sunday folks!



In My Hands Today…

The Bathing Women – Tie Ning

13547868The Bathing Women follows the lives of four women—Tiao, a children’s book editor; Fan, her sister, who thinks escaping to America might solve her problems; Fei,a hedonistic and self-destructive young woman; and Youyou, a chef—from childhood during the Cultural Revolution to adulthood in the new market economy.

This moving novel charts the journey of these women as they grapple with love, sibling rivalry, and, ultimately, redemption.

Recipe: Aloo Matar Paneer

Another simple, rustic recipe, straight from the Punjabi heartland, this recipe is also courtesy of my helper R. According to her, this version is what is made in weddings in her village and is a super yummy dish which goes very well with any Indian flatbread. A version of this recipe was what I also made when I cooked a non-South Indian dish for the first time. This recipe was taught to me by a neighbour.

Aloo Matar Paneer


  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 pack frozen paneer, refreshed in a pan with hot water for 30 minutes
  • 2 medium-sized onions, chopped roughly
  • 4 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, chopped roughly
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsps oil (I use a canola-olive blend)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 2 tsp cumin seed powder
  • a handful of cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves to garnish


  • Pour hot water over the cashew nuts in a dish and keep aside for 30 minutes till the nuts are soft.
  • Grind together onion, tomatoes, ginger, dried red chillies, garlic and cashew nuts and keep aside. Try not to use any water to make the paste and keep the paste smooth.
  • Chop the potatoes into 1-inch pieces and wash and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and saute for a few seconds.
  • Add the ground tomato-onion paste and saute till it is browned. Keep stirring so it does not burn. Keep stirring till the oil starts leaving the pan.
  • Add the dry spices now – salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and stir well.
  • Next, add potatoes and mix well.
  • Add around a quarter cup of water and mix well and cover and cook till the potatoes are almost done.
  • Now add the frozen green peas and mix. Cover and cook till the vegetables are done.
  • If the gravy appears to be thick, add some water to thin it.
  • Now add the paneer pieces and sprinkle the garam masala powder and let it simmer for five minutes.
  • Remove from the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with any rotis or Indian flatbread.

In My Hands Today…

Another Country – Anjali Joseph

13420755“They’d discussed it earlier, in the days of their friendship: the need to reach a certain phase in one’s life, to become a householder, to enter the world and leave behind the selfish days of youth.”

Paris, London, Bombay: three cities form a backdrop to a journey through Leela’s twenties at the dawn of the new millennium, as she learns to negotiate the world, work, relationships and sex, and find some measure of authenticity. Sharp, funny, and melancholy, Another Country brings a cool eye to friendship, love, and the idea of belonging in its movements through old and new worlds.

Recipe: Bottle Gourd (Lauki) Raita

This is an amazingly simple raita which was made by my helper R. This is an earthy Punjabi recipe, which is made at homes during the summer.  Bottle Gourd is a very cooling vegetable which is full of water (about 92%), keeps your body hydrated, and is also a rich source of vitamin C, A and K and essential minerals like sodium, calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. Bottle gourd also promotes a healthy heart by bringing down the bad cholesterol levels. It is rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers, does not only facilitate smoother digestion but also helps curing tummy problems like constipation, piles and flatulence. Bottle gourd is excellent in quenching thirst, and lending a cooling effect on the body, especially during summers.

Bottle Gourd aka Lauki Raita


  • 1 bottle gourd, peeled and grated
  • 3 cups yogurt, beaten
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seed POWDER


  • Boil the grated bottle gourd in a pan with just enough water to cover it and some salt for five minutes till it is cooked.
  • Remove and drain the grated bottle groud and when cool, squeeze well between your palms to remove all excess water
  • In another pan, whisk the yogurt well and add salt and pepper powder keep aside.
  • Add the boiled bottle gourd and check for seasoning.
  • Sprinkle cumin seed powder and chopped coriander and serve cold with any rotis or rice.