28 May, 2010

The Bake Sale ...

The school which the Nutty Siblings attend, has a practice of holding bake sales at various different times of the year. Dates are assigned to different classes and they are given more than enough time to gear up for a bake sale.

Designing posters, advertising the fact that their class is having a bake sale, spreading the word among the children of other classes .... all this just adds to the fervour and excitement that a bake sale generates.
The proceeds from the bake sales are handed over to a charitable organization who then, channelize the funds for their charity work all over the world.

Today is when Macadamia’s class hosts its bake sale.

All the kids apparently have taken it a step forward this time around by conducting surveys during their snack breaks and lunch breaks – over the past 3 days. They’ve conducted a survey on “what would you like to eat at our bake sale ?” . Apparently, they’d given their “would be” customers, multiple choices. What each one was going to sell at the bake sale, was determined by that survey. That way, the children in Macadamia’s class reckon, there would be minimal wastage and the chances of having to carry back home what one brought in for the bake sale, would be minimised.

Good thinking, I say !!

These are the goodies Macadamia has carried to school for the bake sale.

A collage of all the goodies !!


M & M cookies

Brownies dusted with icing sugar

In its own way, it is good to instill in kids the fact that there are people all over the world, a lot less fortunate. People who really have to think about whether they are going to have a single drop of water coming their way, people who have to think about whether they are going to have any food at all over the next few days. There are people who do not have roofs over their heads, let alone the other comforts which ensure a good night’s sleep.

Children normally tend to look at only one side of the spectrum – at people who are better off than they themselves are. Little events, like these bake sales, for instance, provide a good opportunity to make the kids more aware of the fact that there are many many people out there who are not a fraction as fortunate as our kids are. And if there’s something, anything that one can do to extend a helping hand, however small the drop in the ocean, one must.

Here’s to today’s bake sale being a huge success !!

25 May, 2010

And he's 7 !!!!!!!!!!!!

"Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year.  The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again."
~ Menachem Mendel Schneerson 

It all began around midnight on the 24th of May
Yes ! It was towards the fag end of the day!
You signalled your desire to come into this world
I’ve had enough, you said, of lying on the inside all curled !!

Why were you in such a mighty rush ?
When the whole world was almost asleep in a hush ?! :)

We had to rush to the hospital real quick
For, you had started to display your antics.
Picked up the bags, waved our hand and said our bye byes
And Aparna, sensible as ever, said, “Now ? So late ? But why ??”

Five and a half hours later, it was all a blur,
A cry of sheer indignation and annoyance and there you were !!
Eyes tightly shut, fists firmly closed
You looked as though the world, on you, had been imposed.

Years flew by and soon it was time
For kindergarten, as the school bells chimed
What followed was a year of pain and strain
It seemed as though school had been in vain

They say God sends angels across to soothe and heal
He sure sent you one and with her nurture – your heart she did steal :)
She helped you love school, grow, develop and bloom
By then it was time for Primary school, and you were ready to zoom.

A sweet, sensitive little soul you were
Never once, did you ever cause a stir
The perfect target for bullies at school
Brought about at home, plenty of pools.

Parenting they say, is a very complex career
Plenty of times as a parent, one has to change gear
Talks were a plenty, so were the tips
And slowly but steadily, the bullies became but, little blips.

Your love for books grew, developed and nourished
Amongst the words and sentences, you thrived and flourished
Along with it came newfound confidence
And thank God ! Plenty of common sense !!

Always a favourite among the girls ,
Notwithstanding their curls and twirls.
‘Twas funny to see the change in you unfurl,
Now away from those very girls you whirl !!
‘GIRLS’ with whom you were so very comfy,
Have now turned into an allergy !!!!!! ????

Never before were you a “sports” guy
But now – Oh My !! Oh My !! Oh My !!
Basketball, soccer, tennis and cricket,
Never in the past did you like them, you midget !

What’s changed so much ?, it makes us wonder
Loud yells of “Howzaaaattttt” give us the answer !!!
For that’s the language we often now hear,
Decibels that startle, at levels we’ve learnt to fear !!

Whenever we ventured out on a trip or an outing,
you simply had to hold our hands,
On the road, on the pavement, walking or crossing,
“I want to hold your hand” was one of your stringent demands.
But now the way you zip your way around
Even in places unknown and newfound
Makes us panic and seriously flip,
So much so that we’re gonna tag you with a GPS chip !!!

You never had problems with hugs and kisses
Now those very same things bring on the flinches
“No Mummy, don’t ruffle my hair”, you hiss
A twinkle in my eye makes me want to ask “Then how about a kiss ?”

“Please don’t hug me or pat me on the head”, you say
Public displays of affection now spell doomsday !!
But you still give me a goodnight hug, at home, backstage,
And that is one of the times I consider myself, privileged !!

As you shed your milk teeth away
“I’m all grown up” you proudly claim,
All I can manage is a gasp and a “touché”
“How did time fly” I wonder, feeling quite tame.

You’re still a very sensitive soul,
And as time and life unroll their scroll
Do retain that sensitivity towards others
For, it is indeed a gift that always anchors.

As you stand before us today, all of seven,
Life for you, does promise plenty of action
Your scope and horizons, all set to broaden
To watch you grow, it does make the heart gladden

As you start to form and sculpt your self-identity
Do remember that Universal Truth called God Almighty
Do remember that you are one of His nestlings
And that He’ll always be the wind beneath your wings

Happy Birthday, my precious and here’s to many many more
We love you more than you could possibly know :)

With all my love, Dear Heart, and then some ...

Maiyya :))

21 May, 2010

Kids and Lies ......

......... are said to go hand in hand, in some way or the other.

While every parent's first instinct is to say "My kid SO does not lie", fact remains that children do experiment with lies and lying in some form or the other.  Have we not seen and heard of kids going through phases wherein they have "imaginary companions".  

(Image courtesy : svmomblog.typepad.com via Google)

There could be instances wherein children lie to protect a family member or a friend or at times kids could lie to protect their own self-esteem.

No parent likes to see their kids lying or having to hear from someone else that their own child has been lying to someone about something or the other.  In fact, that is a scenario every parent dreads.

Parents use all sorts of warnings, deterrents, punishments and what have you ... in an effort to get their kids to stop lying.  Most parents learn to recognise those "non verbal" signs which indicate that the child is lying.  It could be just their inability or refusal to meet your eyes when fibbing about something, fidgeting around uncomfortably, constantly toying with things like their watch or hair or ears or clothes, some kids actually go pale in the face so much so that one look at them and the parent knows that the child is fibbing. 

Like everything else in life, the spectrum here too is very broad.  There are white lies, lies to protect their friends and such on one end of the spectrum and there is compulsive lying on the other end of the spectrum.  Either way, it does clash with most parents' ideals - since it is a thumb rule that honesty is an integral part of ones character.  And helping build and sculpt a child's character is something parents do take upon themselves, in varying degrees.

Vic sent me this link the other day.  In the light of what we've been taught as kids and what we've been trying to instill in Macadamia and Pecan, it did come as a surprise.

Then, yesterday, I came across this link and yet another one here.

As if parenting was not confusing enough, now comes the theory that kids who lie will be more successful later in life !!!

We've all heard of cultural confusions, gender confusions, mathematic confusions, astrological confusions .... the list is endless.

Well, welcome to the evergrowing list of "parenting confusions" too !!

Sometimes kids lie because they feel that they are not meeting their parents' expectations.  Sometimes it could be because they've done something wrong but are scared to admit it, for parental reaction is extremely harsh.

20 May, 2010

The Nutty Siblings !!!

(Image courtesy : creamfan2.files.wordpress.com via Google)

Phew !!!

That was difficult ! It was demanding, it was stressful, exacting, time-consuming and most definitely trying. This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to pull my hair out – right out of its roots – preferably in handfuls. Having to endure the pain from that sort of stuff would keep me sane as compared to playing arbitrator.
Ever tried acting as an intermediary between a whale and a squid trying to eat each other up ? Does something tell you that neither the whale nor the squid would be interested in a referee. It is a no holds barred fight, a fight to the finish, a fight for survival …. and in the midst of all this, what chance does a referee stand ?
What exactly am I talking about ?

I’m talking about none other than the great Macadamia and the even greater Pecan !! The very same nutty siblings, who specialize in driving other people nuts – with absolute ease. At times, it seems like they’ve been born with that talent, the innate ability to drive me up the wall and onto the ceiling effortlessly. Thanks to them, I do know what the world looks like when viewed upside down – since they have me walking on the ceiling most of the time.

Take for instance, the scene a few minutes back. Both of them got back from school all hot and sweaty, not to mention hungry !! It is indeed a dangerous combination with these two and the best thing to do is to keep the two of them away from each other until some food has found its way into their respective tummies. It so happens that I was busy in the kitchen and did not realize that Macadamia and Pecan were in the same room …. until I heard them screeching and screaming at each other.

There’s a difference there too. As Vic always says – Pecan specializes in driving poor Macadamia nuts. He goads her, provokes her – spurs and incites her in a way only he can and Macadamia loses it. The poor thing absolutely specializes in flying off the handle at the drop of a hat. And a hungry Macadamia is someone even I don’t have the courage to face – until and unless that tummy of hers registers atleast half full !! Talking to a hungry Macadamia – or rather, trying to talk to a hungry Macadamia, is like waving a huge red hoarding in front of a very angry bull.

Now if that is not a volatile combination – tell me – what is ????

That is invariably how the Macadamia-Pecan relationship goes. Peaceful picture, ain’t it ?

This sibling relationship, I’ve heard from a great many, is a funny thing. They are always at each other’s throats, they are invariably going for each others’ necks but when someone says something about the other sibling – the way the equation changes is totally magical.

There have been numerous instances where, at the drop of a hat, Macadamia turns into a mother hen, defending her younger sibling with all the might and indignation that she can gather at that given moment. “Don’t say that to him” she’d spew, glaring at the person on the receiving end. Quite a formidable sight she is, at times like these.

Until about a month back, Macadamia used to go downstairs to the lobby to fetch Pecan when his school bus dropped him off in the lobby. One day, it so happened that the bus was early. As Macadamia was making her way downstairs, the bus mother brought Pecan into the inside lobby of the building, where they waited for Macadamia. Just as Macadamia reached the ground floor lobby, she found the bus mother waiting there, with Pecan. As soon as she saw Macadamia, she apparently asked her why she’d come downstairs late and in jest, called her a “bad sister”. Macadamia laughed it off but Pecan was mighty miffed.
“I’ll come back home from the lobby by myself” he declared that evening. No explanation was forthcoming and upon being asked again, Pecan simply said that he liked to travel in the elevator by himself. We knew this to be a fact and the kind of escapades that Pecan has had in the elevator is enough material for a separate post in itself !!

A few days later, the true reason emerged. “The bus mother is mean” said Pecan, with his face set very seriously. “She’s a bad bus mother for having called my sister a bad sister” said Pecan. It took a while to convince him that it had all been in jest … but that was the end of Macadamia having to go downstairs to meet the school bus.

The nutty siblings are well known for their fights just before bed time. There have been times when the fights have seemed serious enough for us to intervene and put an end to all that screeching. A few minutes later, we end up feeling like the biggest fools on the face of the earth when Macadamia and Pecan are found merrily chatting with each other – as though nothing happened. That fight which had been raging a few minutes back – apparently had never taken place.

And there we would be, the esteemed referees – waiting for our palpitating hearts to slow down, sweat beading our foreheads after having mediated and got the nutty siblings to settle down. Settle down ?? It is normally we who need “settling down” after such episodes !

Now do you know how we’re graying at such an exponential rate ??

There would have been open warfare minutes ago, a skirmish escalating into all out war, the hostility quite apparent. But all it would take a few minutes later is a roll of particularly loud thunder or repeated flashes of lightning and Macadamia would be found leaning over from the upper bunk to ask Pecan if he were OK. Or Pecan would be found scurrying up to the upper bunk and he would be found sitting there, whispering and conspiring with Macadamia, until all was well enough for him to get back to the lower bunk.

Mary Pipher puts it very aptly when she says “In our mobile society, relationships between siblings can offer a kind of shelter that few other relationships can provide. Siblings are, for better and for worse, each others’ ultimate fellow travelers. Whether their bonds are comfortable, or uncomfortable, or a little of both, they are co-voyagers in a world without many enduring reference points.”

18 May, 2010

Yay !!! M & M cookies !!!

"Mummeeeee - can you make colorful cookies this time" screamed two voices in unison.  Who else but Macademia and Pecan ?

It made me stop in my tracks, drop whatever it was that I was doing and actually pay attention .... close attention to those two voices ..... because over the past year or so ....... I've never heard those voices in unison, actually concurring about something.  They simply concur over nothing ..... simply because they don't want to see eye to eye on just about anything.  Starting from something as simple as watering the plants at home to something as big as environmental consciousness in terms of using less tissues ..... they agree on nothing !!!

If one points towards the North, the other, by some obtuse force of nature, is compelled to point South.  Same goes for East and West !!  Thank the Lord for small mercies, in that they've not branched off into the South Wests and the North Easts and what have you !!  They manage to drive me nuts with just the "You point North, I have to point South" theory.  For the most part, on good days, I can be found walking on the ceiling - for, they don't just drive me up the wall, they've made me go on to the ceiling !!!

Given these circumstances, it was nothing short of a marvel that Macademia and Pecan were actually speaking the same language ..... it was with sheer incredulity that I watched and heard them say the same thing "Can you please make colorful cookies ?".

Perhaps it was the astonishment at this miracle unfolding right before my very eyes that made me say rather magnanimously "OK.  Let's bake some M & M cookies today."

"Yaaaaay !!!" said Macademia and Pecan, once again in unison.

"Today is SO my day" I thought, grinning inwardly ..... "They're actually not fighting over the minute details of the cookies", I gloated, totally rejoicing in the magic of the moment.  The very next minute, I could not believe my ears ..... my voice seemed to have a life of its own as it said "So guys .... is it going to be vanilla cookies with M & Ms or chocolate cookies with M & Ms ?"

"Vanilla" screamed Macademia and as though it was only natural for him to voice his dissent .... "Chocolate" shouted Pecan.

What is it that they say about inviting trouble ???!!!  I had, in all my generosity of spirit, managed to land myself in a quandary.  Let's just say I handed them the situation in a platter ..... actually gave them an opportunity to squabble over a rather insignificant detail ......

We finally ended up making two small batches of both - Vanilla cookies with M & Ms and also Chocolate cookies with M & Ms. 

Some people never learn from their mistakes ..... and I happen to be one of them.  In fact, I specialize in making new kind of mistakes all over again ...... and that was how, in an attempt to make something in shades of dark brown and white - we ended up making a batch of double chocolate chip cookies as well - chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips.

Here's the bounty from today's baking session ......

The base recipe for the above cookies can be found here.

Changes made to the above recipe

1. We used 3/4 cup of melted butter instead of 1 cup of shortening.

2. We used just 3/4 tsp of baking soda instead of 1 tsp.

3. We used just 1/4 tsp of salt instead of 1 tsp.

4. We used almost 2 3/4 cups of All Purpose Flour (Unbleached) instead of 2 1/4 cups.

5. The cookies were baked at 160 degrees Celsius for about 11 mins instead of 175 degrees (as per the above recipe).

14 May, 2010

Names, names and then some !!!

My tryst with a rather long and inconvenient name has kind of left me extra sensitive towards other people who have been unceremoniously tagged with long or weird names too.

Like the saying goes, life does indeed come a full circle.

Ever since I completed my TESOL and started taking up teaching assignments in local schools here in HK, I’ve had the opportunity of travelling to all odds and ends of HK, places which I’d never visited before despite having been in the SAR for more than 15 years now.

Along with this newfound need to travel to places far and wide in HK, the teaching assignments are also proving to be a good opportunity for me to meet many more local kids than I otherwise would have.

It is proving to be an eye opener in more ways than one.

(picture courtesy : dailymail.co.uk online)

HK has always been known to have more than its share of a populace with weird names. This probably stems from the fact (the key word here being “probably”) that in many cases, parents do opt for a particular name for their child simply because they think it sounds good or hep or what have you. The effect, however, could turn out to be absolutely disastrous.

Ever since I started teaching in the local schools, the one thing I’ve habituated myself to is to glance at the attendance sheet - one sweeping look at the attendance sheet before calling out the kids’ names out aloud. Some names in particular stand out. Now the reason why I do glance at the attendance sheet at first, before calling the names out loud is because there are some names which you definitely would not want to call a child by. For that matter, you would not want to call an adult by that name either !!

One other thing I do is engage in small talk with the children in the class. I do this either while I’m scanning the attendance sheet or while getting them to come over and collect their books from the teacher’s table. This proves to be a nice way to break the ice with the kids (if it is a new class) or to just get them chatting or talking to you and warming up before class actually begins. It also serves another purpose. If I come across a weird name, I could quietly ask the child in question how his/her name is actually pronounced. Sometimes, out here, names are not pronounced as they are spelt. Suddenly walking over to the child or calling him/her over would only serve to draw attention to the child – something avoidable at all costs.

There was this one class that I taught – all little kids in Primary One … I think there were about 28-30 children in that class. One look at the attendance sheet and a name that caught my eyes was “HORES”. How in the name of God do you call a child that ? When the little boy came up to the table to collect his book, I did quietly ask him “What does your class teacher call you, sweetheart ?” and with all the wide eyed innocence that little children are bestowed with, he replied “Hores”.  The name is pronounced pretty much the same way as one would pronounce it starting with a “w” !! That day, on the spur of the moment, I started calling out a mix of names and roll numbers. That way, I just called out this little guy’s roll number and since there were some other roll numbers called out too, the kids thought it was a fun way to do the roll call.

There was this one class where I had a Mango, Cherry, Apple and a Pomelo - all in the same class. With my weird logic kicking in, I remember the thought whistling through my head "If I have a Custard as well in this class, I could well make a fruit salad out here !!”

There was this little girl named Horny. I was distinctly horrified at the thought of what lay ahead for that child. Imagine .. say ten years down the line …. she goes up to someone and introduces herself saying “Hi there ! How do you do ? Oh ! By the way, I’m Horny .”

Going by the same rule, there was this child named “Kinki”. Imagine the predicament that left me in !! Normally it takes me about 3 classes to put a face to a name. By the time I walk in for my fourth class or so, I am familiar with all the children. But during those first couple of classes, while I had the option of asking “Are you Mark or Are you Lucy ?”, I could not really picture myself asking any child “Are you Kinki ?”

I’ve come across plenty of Fanny’s (pun SO not intended) in schools here. Apparently, parents who have named their daughters Fanny, did not think there was any other translation to that name in the English language. Turns out it actually has a meaning hidden “behind” it !!!

There have been plenty of such instances. There was once a little boy called “Wince”. I do vividly recollect asking him if the name on the attendance sheet was spelt wrong and he was confident that it was spelt right. It was indeed “Wince” and not “Vince”.

I did once come across a little boy called Benz. That was just one single class I taught at that school so I did not have an opportunity to come across that child again. It certainly got my curiosity going though. Why Benz ? Was it because the parents liked a Mercedes Benz ? Was it because they owned one ? What would’ve happened if the vehicle in question had been a Honda or a Lexus ???

Where am I going with this post ?

Nowhere in particular, actually. It’s just that I do end up feeling a tad sorry for these kids who don’t really know what they are in for, because of the “not so conventional” names that they’ve been bestowed with. While it does not make any statement per se, it could possibly make things slightly more tricky for the bearers of eccentric names.

Don't you think so ??

13 May, 2010

What's in a name ?? - Part 1

What’s in a name ?? we ask.

The answer, surprisingly, is different from what most of us would imagine.

Yes. There is indeed a lot to a name.

And I can vouch for that statement myself. For, I had a name that was a mile long.

Among many Indian families, especially families which have their roots in the South of India, the practice that used to persist was one of naming ones kids after ones parents. Oh !! Not that they named their daughter after the grandfather and the son after the grandmother. Thank the Good Lord for small mercies there !! They used to be careful about the naming their kids with the name of the grandparent – of the right gender.

Daughters were named after their paternal grandmothers, sons were named after the paternal grandfathers. If one more son or daughter happened to “happen” ….. they were named after the maternal grandfather or maternal grandmother …… depending on the gender of the child. Did I not say earlier on that parents were careful about that aspect ??

I was one among those children who have had the good fortune to be bestowed with their grandparents’ name. I got my paternal grandmother’s name. Nothing wrong with that, actually. Just that it proved to be inconvenient. Because you see, my grandmother’s name (no disrespect meant) was about a mile long ….. give or take a few centimeters.

You can just about imagine my predicament when I started school. While most of my school mates had names like Anju, Manju, Indu (one syllable or two syllable names), my name stood out in all its four syllable glory Bha/gi/ra/thy.

There have been plenty of times when I’ve been embarrassed – simply because my name was so long and so “not in sync” with the times. There have been plenty of times when teachers have absolutely struggled with my name, making me want to dive down under the bench. The only reason why I did not dive under the bench then was due to the fact that had I dived under the bench, crawled on my knees under four or five benches and come up at the sixth bench or so and the teacher would still have been struggling to complete the pronunciation of my name – mile long that it was !!

My friends at school, however, had a rather simple solution to the “problem”. They used to split my name right down the middle and they would simply call me “Bhagi” !!! The situation used to get side splittingly funny when new kids joined the school, especially when they ended up in the same class as Yours Truly !!

I still vividly remember an incident when a new girl had joined our class. Our class happened to have our P.T that day and the whole class was out playing. The girls were playing dodgeball. The game started and as the ball found its mark on the girls inside the ring, other girls would join the group of dodgers within the ring. Since it was my turn next, one of the girls, without turning her head, screamed “Bhageeeeee Bhaaaag” (Bhageee was the first half of my name and Bhaag is “run” in Bambaiyaa Hindi). Now while the other girls knew what Bhageeee meant, the new girl was blissfully unaware of the fact. She took Bhageeeee to mean “she’s running” and Bhaaag to mean “you run as well”. Wanting to impress her classmates, off she went, like an arrow speeding from a bow …… she ran all the way to the gate of the school ….. only to realize that the other girls were standing where they had been, wondering why this girl ran all the way upto the gate.

I knew !!!!!

And no, the earth did not split open and welcome me with open arms. That happened only with Sita !!!
My entire face flamed as though it had been smeared with pure habanero but no …. nothing other than that happened.

My “issues” with my name just compounded when I reached college. Firstly, when you are in your teens, you desperately try to “fit in” and “merge” with the crowd in college. Very rarely does one try ones level best to stick out like a sore thumb. Turns out I did not have to try at all !!!

My name helped me stick out like a lighthouse on the shore !!!

My friends at college came up with another simple solution ….. they halved my name right down the middle again ….. and this time around ….. they used the second half of my name to refer to me. I began to be known as “rathi” in college.

It was around this point of time that I sincerely began to wonder if my parents actually knew what they were getting me into, when they named me after my paternal grandmother. I did not quite understand the logic either – one is not supposed to call one’s parents by name. Going by the same logic, if my parents were to call out my name at home, would they not, inadvertently, be calling their mother/mother in law, by name ??

Faulty logic, eh ??

I guess my parents did not really envisage the kind of troubles I would have with a name which was a mile long.

(sigh) Ask me. I know better !!!!

P.S : I can literally visualize the nutty siblings rolling on the floor, laughing their heads off, when they read this !!

12 May, 2010

This time around ..... it's Savoury Cookies !!!

What image does your mind conjure up when someone says "cookies" ??

Sweet, decadent, sinfully rich, chocolatey, oozing butter, smelling of vanilla, big fat chocolate chips peeking, a handful of nuts adding to the crunch as you sink your teeth into that stack of indulgence ....... mindlessly wiping away all doubts, uncertainties and guilt (probably !!).

As the chocolatey gooeyness of the cookie transports you into a world of sheer bliss, time simply spirals, you float somewhere between heaven (some say seventh heaven) and earth ...... the wicked cookie exerts its influence and completely dissolves any semblance of willpower, self-control or self-discipline that one might have ...... and your hand ..... as though it has a life of its own ...... reaches out for yet another scandalously luxuriant cookie ....

OK - so I've heard this from a lot of cookie lovers.  And no, I am not one myself.  I've never been interested in cookies ...... eating cookies, that is.  I love baking cookies .... and like I said in my previous post ..... the "eating cookies" bit is entrusted to the nutty siblings.

Today morning, I had a bit of free time on my hands - with all three kids out of the house.  

Three kids !!!!!!!!!! 

Where did the third one come from ???? 

The nutty siblings and grandma put together comprise the three kids in the household !!!

While the nutty sibs can gorge themselves on the sweet laden cookies, the third child a.k.a grandma cannot indulge herself.  As Pecan says ... "Tathi ... you cannot eat these cookies cos they have sugar in them and you are diabeteeee".  He can never ever say the "ic" in the word "diabetic" and hence the "diabeteee".

I was thinking of baking something for the third kid and voila !!  inspiration struck ..... "Why not try a batch of savoury cookies ?" I thought to myself.

The fridge was once again witness to a pair of eyes peeking in and a flurry of hands plucking stuff out of the fridge.

This time around - the ingredients were - All Purpose Flour, Salt, Curry Powder, Red Chilli Powder, Herbs (Oregano and Basil), White Sesame Seeds, Canola Oil, Water.

There was no base recipe to follow ..... whatever there was - it was inside my head.

So here we go ...... a plateful of home made savoury cookies ....... there are plain, rectangle ones in the centre of the plate.  Some of the round cookies are topped with nigella seeds (kalonji) and some of the round cookies are topped with some more basil.

The camera is playing hooky, yet again - pardon the poor quality of the picture !!

The cookies were very tasty actually ..... texture was a dense sort of crispiness.  If the cookies are to be "melt in the mouth" crisp ..... substitute the canola oil with butter. 

All Purpose Flour - 1 cup
Salt - According to taste
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry powder - 1/4 tsp
Oregano - 1/2 tsp
Basil - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
White Sesame Seeds - 2 tsps
Canola Oil - 5 tbsps
Water - to bind the dough

1. Toast the white sesame seeds until they turn a light pale brown.

2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Add the canola oil (or butter) and mix the ingredients up until the mixture resembles dry bread crumbs.

3.  Add small quantities of water till you are able to bind the dough - the consistency is slightly harder than roti dough.  Due to the oil used, the dough will not be sticky.

4. Roll out large portions of the dough and use a cookie cutter or any other mould - depending on the shape you want to give the cookies.

5. Grease the baking sheet with a few drops of oil and pop the cookies into the oven to bake.

6. These cookies were baked at 180 degrees celsius for about 12 minutes.

11 May, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies .....

"I am still convinced that a good, simple, homemade cookie is preferable to all the store bought cookies one can find" ~ James Beard .........

........... and Macademia and Pecan agree whole heartedly with that quote by James Beard.

The "by now" famous cookie jar was once again running low on fuel - if you want me to be exact - there was one lone cookie resting in the jar.  Not a good sign at all .....

In fact who was it that said it takes the armies of two countries to start a war ?  Whoever said that should see the effect of the existence of one lone cookie in the cookie jar and two hungry kids !!!!!!!!!

With my thoughts drifting towards war and the like, scenes of gore and bloodshed imprinting themselves vividly on my idle mind (ever heard the saying that an idle mind is a devil's workshop) ...... my wild thoughts swam rather desperately towards trying to avoid a "war like" situation. 

Omar Bradley once said, in his speech to the Boston Chamber of Commerce in 1948,

"The way to win an atomic war is to make sure it never starts."

"Let's bake some cookies .... and "Let's prevent war at home..." cried my idle mind.

The fridge and the freezer were confronted with the sight of a face with wide eyes, hands flying around like they had a life of their own ..... as the ingredients were plucked out of their nesting place within the fridge and laid out in a line on the kitchen counter.

All Purpose Flour, Brown Sugar, White Sugar, Butter, One lone egg, Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips, Salt, Baking Soda, Vanilla Extract ......... they all sat in a line ...... awaiting their turn to take the plunge into the mixing bowl.

The butter and sugar creamed, the egg added, the flour folded ....... the batter ready ....... and off went spoonfuls onto the baking sheet ....... the chocolate chips perched merrily on top of the little mounds of batter ..... and off they marched like an army into the oven.  

Here they are ......... homemade chocolate chip cookies ........

Please do pardon the poor quality of the pictures - as the good camera has travelled to London to visit the queen !!

How did they taste ?

According to Macademia and Pecan, they tasted super duper fabulicious !!!  So yeah, I guess they are good :).  While I bake the goodies, the responsibility of eating them is entrusted to the nutty siblings.  So I'll take their word for it :).

The base recipe for the above cookies can be found here.

Changes I made to the above recipe

1. A 1/2 cup of butter used instead of 1/2 cup of shortening

2. 1 1/4 cup (one and one quarter cup) plus 2 tbsps of All Purpose Flour used instead of the quantity mentioned in the recipe.

3. Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips were used instead of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips.

4. Since Milk Chocolate chips are sweeter than semi sweet chocolate chips, I reduced the quantity of white sugar to 1/4 cup as well.

5. The cookies were baked at 170 degrees celsius for about 10 minutes instead of the time and temperature mentioned in the recipe.

09 May, 2010

MeDha .....

Here she is, visiting us yet again
To stake a claim, over her domain
And we get to play hosts, all over again.

I speak about none other than dear MeDha
The MeDha with the radiant aura, the very same MeDha.

No one else can ever take her place
For she’s always had him in a locked embrace

She’s always been a part of his existence
And she’s rewarded every year, for her persistence.
Year after year, she sashays her way into Vic’s life
Never mind the fact that Vic has a wife !!

For, Vic and MeDha have known each other all their life
Very much before the arrival of his good wife !!

They are pretty much inseparable
If you look at their relationship, nothing else is comparable
Vic and MeDha know each other inside out
They’ve known each other for a long long time, of that there’s no doubt.

Two neat halves that nestle cosily with each other,
That's Vic and MeDha, they’re so comfortable together.

That very MeDha comes over on her annual visit
She’ll be here tomorrow, never does she miss it.
The menu is set, and preparations we now make
All of MeDha’s favourites, we cook and bake.

In case I’ve managed to set your imagination afire
And before your threaten me with consequences dire
Let me go a step ahead and explain
About dear MeDha in a much lighter vein.

MeDha is nothing else but a conjunction
Of a month and a day, together they function
“Me” (in MeDha) is nothing else but the month of May
And “Dha” means ‘ten” in Marathi, if you may
So MeDha is none other than the 10th of May,
Which happens to be Vic’s birthday !!

So do join me in a toast
As I play the good host
To dear MeDha who is in the near vicinity
Here’s to Vic and MeDha …. and their affinity
May they be together, until infinity.

:))  Happy Birthday, sweetheart  !!  And here's to many many more :).

(Image courtesy : istockphoto)

06 May, 2010

Desperate times .....

......... call for desperate measures !!!!!!!!

Someone has been wanting to go along with Daddy, who is going over to Europe on a business trip. 

Now someone has really been wracking his brains and as Daddy prepares to fly out of HK this weekend, the situation is getting rather desperate.

The other day, Pecan was nowhere to be seen.  Every little nook and cranny of the house was looked up (for Pecan still fits into those nooks and crannies with ease) .... but no Pecan. 

The books were sitting neatly piled up in the study room ... important words here being "neatly piled up" .... for, that was a sureshot indication that Pecan had not laid his hands on them.

The cricket bat and ball were sitting alongside his bed in the kids' room, looking rather forlorn and totally lost, lamenting over their unuse.

Mommy's cell phone was actually found where it is supposed to be found.  That, in itself, ranks among the wonders of the world.  Yet again, the battery indicator on the cell phone showed 'full".  Yet another wonder.  Pecan is often found playing "golf" on mommy's cell phone.  Hence, the battery indicator on mommy's phone never ever indicates 'battery full'.

No Pecan anywhere !!!

So then, where was he ??  What was he upto ?? 

Lo and behold - for, this was where he was found ......

Someone sure is looking very sheepish !! :)))