Thursday, December 24, 2009

Maggie - Step by Step Photo Shoot

Maggie - Step by Step
My grandaughter Ditto, was inspired to contribute to the blog, and has gone into a joint venture with her dad to send in this photoshoot! :-)))

Message to Ditto:
Ditto Dear, The photoshoot is very very good! You can also make this all by yourself, if you boil water in the microwave ...but you must be VERY VERY CAREFUL with the hot water, and do it only when appa or amma are around!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Pasta and cheese, wholemeal bread toast, butter, cheese slices, mashed potatoes, boiled peas, broccoli, custard and fruits, ice cold milk, ice cream, chilled fruit yogurt ……
These are few of the many dishes in the menu card provided by the maternity hospital in Sydney for ‘new born’ moms to select their meal! While the spread was nutritious and very delicious as well, I can very well imagine my mother’s horrified face shaking violently in disapproval.
Mother was well versed in preparing the special diet or pathiyam for pullaipetha or the new mothers. The diet to be followed by mothers for 21 days after childbirth, was prepared with great care using select ingredients. Chillies, tamarind, any roots and tubers with the exception of ginger were taboo. No oil was used in cooking. A dollop or more of pure home made ghee was a must in each meal. No citrus fruits or curd was allowed. Though there were too many dos and don’ts in the preparation, the pathiya sapaadu is a very delicious diet which every one can relish.
Dill (Sabsige Soppu in Kannada / not sure what its called in Tamil!!) has a special place in the special diet as it is supposed to help the lactating mothers and is a rich source of calcium. Here is a ‘method of preparing a pathiya dal with dill. Tomatos are typically not used in pathiya diet, so the one below is a ‘no-so-strict’ version!

Dill – 2 bunches

Split green gram dal (Mung) – 1 cup
Tomatoes – 1
Garlic – 3 fat cloves
Peeled Ginger – 1 inch
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
Black pepper – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – a few
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Olive oil or ghee – 1 tsp


1. Wash and cop dill discarding the thick fibrous stalks.
2. Grate garlic and ginger.
3. Chop tomatoes.
4. Heat olive oil or ghee in a pressure cooker and throw in the ginger and garlic.
5. Add chopped dill. and stir.
6. Add washed dal and turmeric.
7. Pour in three cups of water.
8. Stir in the chopped tomatoes
9. Pressure cook until three whistles.
10. When the steam has subsided open the lid and add salt and coarsely ground black pepper .and stir vigorously
11. Fry cumin seeds and curry leaves in a little ghee and add it to the dal.
Relish the aromatic Dill Dal with very hot and soft rice, topped with a dollop of home made ghee.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Beetroot Halwa - Beet Root Fondant


I felt as if I was on cloud 9 when I reached Sydney, after a lot of Aussie visa confusion, anxiety and delay , just in time to receive the new bud which was about to bloom in our family tree. We had of course raced out the baby, but just by two nights, and before we could say “BINGO!” she arrived smoothly, plunging all of us in a flood of great relief and bliss.
I wanted to prepare a quick and simple sweet to celebrate, and here comes my first dish from my Sydney kitchen – BEET ROOT HALWA.

INGREDIENTS:Beet root (moderate size) – 4

Sugar - 4 tbsps
Ghee – 2tbsps
Evaporated milk- ½ cup
(One cup of whole milk can be boiled and reduced to ½ cup.)
Cardamom powder – 1 pinch
Cashew nuts – 4 (finely chopped)
1. Wash and remove the top and tail portion of beet roots and pressure cook them whole.
2. Allow to cool and then peel off the skin, which comes out easily.
3. Grate the beetroot and keep aside.
4. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a thick bottomed pan, add the cooked and grated beet root, and fry till it gives out a pleasant aroma.
5. Add the evaporated milk and cook till the vegetable and milk blend and become thicker.
6. Add sugar and cook till all the sugar syrup is absorbed.
7. Add the remaining ghee and cook till the halwa leaves the sides of the pan.
8. Mix in the cardamom powder and decorate with the chopped nuts.

Enjoy halwa hot or cold, with a slice of your favourite ice cream if you like.