Showing posts from February, 2006

End of the month blues

February has flown past, leaving in its wake a dozen planned projects, book to read, software to catch up, foods to cook.

Maybe I should make my march list fewer and simpler.

This past sunday was Sivaratri and I had fasted most of the day and concocted the usual sweet potato dish for prasadam ;

Sivaratri Sweet Potato
Boil 2 sweet potatoes, peel, chop coarsely add it to 1/2 cup of thick jaggery syrup. Garnish with a handful of freshly scraped coconut.
I had quite a bit leftover; This made todays breakfast very interesting.

Amaranth Seed Sweetpotato kanji

Cook 1 cup amaranth in 2 cups water and 2 cups milk for 15 - 25 minutes. Add a handful of raisins when you start cooking.Add 1 recipe of the sweet potato dish mentioned above and mix thoroughly.Ladle onto cereal bowls, top with fresh milk and enjoy.

Both my DH and son enjoyed this.

BTW I had not realised Amaranth is just Thandukeerai, a sure fire in my mom's arsenal. I used to love eating Thandukeerai Masiyil and Vatral Kuzham…

Greatest Compliment!

Today, I set a simple lunch for my son - Roti, Aalo Sabji (potato curry), Millet Rice and Moar Kuzhambu (More like Gujarathi Kadi). Halfway through the meal, he said "I love everything you have prepared today"!!! It must be snowing in Chennai ;)

This behooves me to set down the recipes I used in 24 caret gold!

Or atleast this blog.

Aloo Sabji - A modification of my MIL's so called Aloo Dum

(The real aaloo dum is a complicated mughlai undertaking, requiring fried baby potatoes and a almond-cashew rich gravy)

1 Cup of shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped5 Medium sized potatoes thoroughly washed, unpeeled, cubed and put in a bowl of cold water (about 3 Inches long)1 Small sweet potato (about 5 inches long) washed,peeled, cubed and added to the cold water3 Tomatoes of the country variety, juicy and somewhat sour, disintegrates when cooked20 Curry leaves, washed and torn1 tsp Jeera1 tsp black mustard1 tsp kalonji1 tsp fennel seeds1/2 tsp Methi seeds2 tsp dhanjeera pow…

Travails of school search

My son is turning 4 this March, time for him to move to a regular school.

Schooling here is very very rigorous, the emphasis is on academic performance and acing the various board and competititive exams offered when the child turns 12, 15 and 17. The schools generally tend to be authoritative with no patience for those who "walk to the beat of a different drummer" to use an oft repeated cliche.

IMHO this curtails creativity. I am one of those mom's who dont try to teach their kids anything. I just gently expose my son to a lot things - songs, books, astronomy, science, cooking, painting, origami etc... and then sit back and respond to his exploratory queries to the best of my abilities and patience. From age 2, my son is aware I look up google for questions I cannot answer. My method has been fail proof so far. Gautham has an amazing vocabulary, he asks a zillion questions, listens to the answers and uses them in the right context; sometimes to my detriment. He lov…

Overflowing Cookie Jars .....

and a child unwilling to eat any :(

I had always had this visual image of a pleasant kitchen with a small dining table; A pretty looking cookie jar on the table.

I forgot to visualise my son grabbing the cookies; Now, I beg him to try 1 cookie, promising him a red juicy apple or a bunch of grapes in return!

I have slightly better luck with my younger nephew; My older one is just as fussy. This time, when my in-laws returned home to Erode I deceided to bake 2 different batches of cookies, one aimed at tempting the older one and the other one a proven success with the younger one.

My version of Amaretti (Italian Almond Cookies):
1 Cup Almonds1/2 Cup Chiroli3/4 Cup Melon Seeds1/2 Cup Sugar1/4 Spoon salt8 - 10 peppercorn2 tbsp Maida (All-Purpose flour)1 tsp Vanilla Essence4 egg whites beaten1 yolk (optional - mine was a mistake but tasted fabulous)
Roast items 1,2,3 in a 100 deg Celsius oven for 8 to 10 minutes; Take care not to burn.Pre-heat oven to 175 deg Celsius, line cookie sheet w…

Hanuman movie review AKA Violent Visual Media

The visual media seems to take most of the blame for all of societies evils these days; While I dislike most TV, is it fair to lay all the blame at visual media's door step?

We watched the eminently avoidable first Indian animation movie Hanuman; We even bought the DVD. My excuses? Impulse, Misplaced patriotic fervour, loyalty to Indian Software so-called Genius, dad on the phone demanding to know whether to buy or not, immediately and finally my son's blatant enjoyment of the movie.
The makers erred on every possible angle in making the movie:
The fundamental error was making Hanuman some sort of a super-human on steroids and portraying Rama as a God from childhood itself. In my view, the most beautiful thing about Hinduism is an emphasis on nature and nuture. Fundamentally flawed beings rise to the occasion drawing upon their inborn abilities and their breeding and show themseleves to be worthy of God-like worship. This was totally lost by the makers of this movie.At th…

You are what you eat?!

The recent articles over the inefficacy of low-fat diets has me in a tizzy.

I have my son on a wholesome food diets - lots of unrefined grains, lentils, beans, fruits, vegetables and a lot less of cakes and biscuits and other junk food. Despite all this, he was been diagnosed with borderline anaemia.

Feeling a wealth of fear for his well being and guilt over my ineptitude as a mother, I read a gadzillion pages on increasing iron content in his meals and improving iron absorption. I also spent sleepless nights worrying he has thalessemia of the mildest kind. Finally, I brought out a excel spreadsheet, tracking what I buy and what I cook, ensuring we eat a different lentil/bean everyday and have the required quota of fruits and veggies.

Some of my research findings:
You need 10 dates just to get 1.8 mg of iron, but getting a kid to eat more than 3 is a Herculean task.Half a cup of cooked lentil/Daal has anywhere from 3 - 6 mg of iron, depending on the lentil used. There is a negative c…


Are kids always born with the expectancy to multitask, or is this brought on by the visual onslaught of TV and video games?

Gautham likes the sound of Hindi, so I left some old hindi movie on and started dinner preparations. He suddenly walked into the kitchen and demanded to know what the kid in the movie had just said. I told him I was too busy chopping vegetables, I didnt hear what the kid had said. He surmised I dont understand hindi, for I hear with my ears and chop with my hands. My ears should have heard the words, but my brain didnt make any sense out of it.

That was a fortnight ago. Yesterday we had our lunch while watching Oswald as usual. He finished and went to the sink to wash his hands. I switched off the TV. He demanded more Oswald, because he had heard the TV say "Oswald will be right back!". He paid attention to the TV over the sound of running water and the fun of playing in it!

Gautham a la Seuss

Sowmya : Gautham are you Priya?
Gautham: Sowmya are you Ria?
Sowmya : No, I am not Ria.
Gautham: No, I am not Priya.

Time's Fun when we are having flies ;)

Gau is Kermit the frog! He is doing innumerable amounts of language jokes!

We were leving pondycherry for a three hour, arduous drive back home to chennai with a very restless almost 4 year old. We playfully asked my sister, leaving for Bangalore the same night, she take Gautham along so that we could drive back peacefully. "Oh, so you are going to shell peas' the full ride back" he quipped immediately! He really is going to be 4 only in march.

He declares Tricycle is called so because babies Try and Try to ride one and finally make it.

Kanian is a somewhat insulting word in Tamil meaning idiot / bumpkin. Gautham has to stand on an old water can to reach the sink. Sathish playfully told Gautham he is a Kanian because he stands on a can to brush his teeth. Gautham retorted he is a Cannon not a Kanian.

I hope I am not overreaching in calling his quips highly creative. The question now is does creativity arise from imitation? My dad and his dad do a lot of such language…