Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blogging at Citizen Matters!

As those of you who visit this blog regularly might know, it has "diversified" a lot in the last couple of years :). While I believe my gardening and cooking to very much be a part of my "life as a mom", I was happy to accept a kind offer from Citizen Matters to start a gardening blog on their website. So this means I won't be blogging much on gardening on this space (note I say "much" ;)), and here's the link to my second blog post in the new space:

http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/blogs/gardener-s-diary/blog_posts/find-seeds-for-gardening-in-your-own-kitchen



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Homework! Help!!

Ever had that feeling when your kids come to ask you a question about their homework?

sidenote: Yes I am writing a parenting post at last ;).

My older one D is just in her 3rd standard, and this is already a common sight at home:

D: Amma, my Hindi homework is about Samyukt Vyanjan. What does that mean?
Me: Hmmm.. let me think.. (I actually did a lot of Hindi in school, so why can't I remember this?!)
As I'm thinking: But why can't you just bring your Hindi workbook home baby, so that you can actually see what you did in school (smart deflection ;)).
Finally: What else, turn to Google!


D: Where does Violet come on the rainbow?
Me: (Very confidently, I'm sure I know this) It's at the bottom, red is on top.
D: Oh I thought it was on the top.
Me: Hmmm.. Really? Wait let me check "just in case"..


D: I need 3 words with "ei" where it is pronounced as "ee"...
Me: Weird? But that doesn't really sound like "ee"...
Thankfully hubby came up with "conceit" at this point, but still had to browse for that final "seize" !!!


Arghhh!!! I'm quite terrified what the years are going to bring. What do you think fellow parents, does anyone else feel like we need a refresher course to keep up with our kids work at school?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fighting a cold with Carrot Soup

We are all in a "cold"ed state this weekend, and hubby's request for hot soup made me wonder what to make with the items available in the fridge. I was tempted to resort to ready soups, but it collides with my philosophy of eating healthy, especially when already feeling sick. It was carrots that caught the eye, and so carrot soup it had to be :). Browsed online and found a few recipes, but some had potato, some had leeks and I didn't want to add either of those(didn't even have the second of course :P).

So I decided to come up with my own combination for a change, and it came out quite lovely much to my surprise ;). At the risk of turning my blog into a recipe/food blog due to this being the 3rd recipe in a row, I just had to put this one down. The following will make one quick bowl of soup:

2 medium size carrots or 4 small ones
2/3 medium size small onions/shallots cut into thin slices
2 tbsp of roughly cut ginger
2 pieces of elaichi
2 cloves
A handful of coriander leaves

Though most recipes recommend boiling the carrots in water towards the end of the recipe, it was quicker for me(being not too well myself) to throw them in the cooker on top of my rice vessel so that's what I did.

After heating about 1 tbsp of the oil of your choice, throw in the powdered spices. Add and lightly fry the cut onions, throw in the ginger and fry for a little while more. Pour in some pre-boiled water and add the cooked pieces of carrot along with salt to taste. After this has boiled for a couple of minutes, add the coriander before switching off. Blend the mixture in a mixie or food processor, and serve hot.



Friday, August 02, 2013

Bread Blogathon contd - White Sandwich Bread

Every time I pick up a loaf of bread from the store, I have these guilt pangs of not knowing exactly what went into it. I still end up doing it a lot because of my bad planning(most of my bread recipes take a couple of days) that makes me unable to bake bread on a regular basis. But once in a while I get this energy streak, and there was this time I decided "Let me at least make a plain sandwich bread, even if made with maida I will know exactly what went into it!". So I went and looked at my brand new books (thanks to that Flipkart sale :)), to find a quick and easy recipe. Finally the one that was most approachable was from one of my older lot - "Beard on Bread".

1 package or 2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast ( I used Instant yeast, which means I used 25% less quantity)
1 1/2 to 2 cups warm water
2 tsp Granulated Sugar
3 3/4 to 4 cups All Purpose Flour or Maida
1 1/2 to 2 tbsp Softened butter for buttering bowl and pan (I used Cold-pressed oil)

This recipe will make 1 large loaf using the approx. 9 x 5 x 3 inch pan, or 2 smaller loaves using the approximate 8 x 4 x 2 pan. I tried calculating how I could make 1 smaller loaf and went with halving the quantities, but somehow ended up with a slightly smaller than usual loaf, that tasted AWESOME though!

If using active dry yeast, proof your yeast first to ensure it is still active. This means adding the yeast to the warm water with sugar in it. In my case I used Instant yeast so just added it directly with the dry ingredients. Mix the flour and yeast solution and knead well. This might take anything from 5-10 minutes. I used the KitchenAid which makes it a whole lot easier. Beard says "To test whether the dough has been kneaded enough, make an indentation in it with your fingers; it should spring back. Sometimes blisters will form on the surface of the dough and break, which is another sign that the kneading is sufficient."

Shape the dough into a ball and leave the dough to rest for a few minutes, and then put in a well-oiled bowl for the first rise. Allow it to double, which should take 1 to 2 hours. To know it's ready, the dough should not spring back when pressed.

For the second rising, deflate the dough and then shape into the desired shape of the pan. Cover and leave to double in size again. This might take 40 minutes to 1 1/4 hours. During the second rise, preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Make cuts on top of the loaf, brush with water if required, and set the timer for 35 minutes. Actual baking time may be upto 50 minutes, but start checking after 35. If the top seems to start blackening, cover with aluminium foil. Wait to cool before slicing.