The Every Day Festival

“The only festival you can celebrate every day is life. So, erase all excuses and get on with the celebration! Life is not a dress rehearsal, so don’t wait for something drastic to happen.”

Deepa Malik – female paraplegic motorcyclist, international athlete, swimmer, restaurateur, car-rally driver, motivational speaker…..

There is something to be said about being in the moment, in the present.

Eggless Mango Chocolate Marble Cake

This cake was made for my aunt’s birthday dinner by my cousin and I.  It came out really well, nice and light and compact.  The brown and yellow swirls provide a nice contrast, the nuts texture… A perfect recipe to share.

Ingredients:

All Purpose flour –  2 cups
Baking powder – 1 and 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/4 tsp
Sugar – 3/4 cup
Oil – 5 tbsp
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
Cocoa powder (unsweetened) – 1/4 cup ( dissolved in 2/3 tbsp of warm water)
Mango Pulp – 1 cup ( If you use fresh mango pulp you probably should pass through strainer to eliminate fibers)
Milk – 1/4 cup
Buttermilk / Yoghurt  – 1/4 cup
Chopped nuts – 1/3 cup

Method :

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar & oil then to this add mango pulp, milk, yogurt, vanilla, buttermilk and mix well.
  • In another small bowl, combine the dry ingredients of flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt.
  • Add the dry ingredient mixture to wet, mixing well.
  • In a small bowl combine cocoa powder and warm water to make a paste.
  • Transfer half the mango batter to another bowl, add cocoa paste, mix well.
  • Grease and line a pan with parchment paper.  Alternatively you can grease a 8 /2 inch square non-stick baking pan well, and flour it, which we did.
  •  There are a variety of methods to get the marbling effect.  We dropped the plain mango and mango chocolate batter alternatively in a checker board pattern for the first layer.  For the second we placed the tbsp. of mango batter on cocoa batter and a tbsp of cocoa batter on mango batter.  Complete rest of the batter alternating the batters to make a checker patter. Then make a swirl. For the swirl, you can draw a vertical line from left to right, next line right to left an inch apart from the previous one and then left to right again, an inch part from the previous line. You get the idea. Similarly draw horizontal lines top to bottom, bottom to top, top to bottom an inch apart from each line. Then tap baking pan to level the batter.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until you put in a toothpick and it comes out cleanly.

Notes :

We didn’t use vanilla essence and it came out well.  The nuts were our choice and not included in the original recipe.

World Consumption or Environmental Day?

“Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care,”   This is the theme for World Environmental Day 2015.

Mahatma Ghandi said, A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.” And so I question the choice of the word “consume” as part of the theme. Making it careful consumption does not make it better, just like taking a life in a humane manner does not change the fact that a life is being taken.  It is an extreme example, a provocative one, I know.  Spend some time thinking about what “consume” means and what it is associated with and let me know.     

Sausage Empadas

Whether they are called empadinhas, empadas, or empanadas these pastry pockets make a delicious and easy appetizer.  This is a great recipe as it does not have sugar which many other empada dough recipes have.  We also used salted butter instead of 4.5 tsp of salt which the recipe calls for.

Dough:

  • 6 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup chilled water
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsps vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup amul butter (salted and cut into cubes)

Mix together the butter and flour until crumbly.  Mix together the wet ingredients.  Add wet to dry and combine.  Final dough should be shaggy.  Put on dusted flour surface and form into flat rectangle and wrap in cling wrap.  Chill in fridge for at least an hour.

Filling:

  • 2 packets of Goan sausage
  • 8 small onions chopped

Fry onions in the oil of the sausage, and then add chopped sausage and simmer for a little while so well mixed.  let cool. The empada dough and filling can be combined in different ways.  You can use small cup cake molds, roll out two small dough circles, with the first one folded into the mold and the second covering the top.  Another option is to put a teaspoon of filling on one circle, wet the edges with wet flour paste, then place the second dough circle on top.  Press around the edges with a fork to get a fancy edge.  A third idea?  Roll out dough, add filling, then place another piece of rolled dough on top,  Roll with rolling pin and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes of your choosing.  You can see how diamond flats and rounds with the fancy edges look from the featured image. Brush with egg yolk before baking to give a golden brown final look. Bake empadas in oven at 200 degrees centigrade until tops are golden brown.  Tap to confirm it is baked.

Notes:  You can use a wide variety of fillings, even veg if that is your fancy.  This time my cousin Preeti and I made 26 small empada cups, 6 empada rounds, 18 empada diaond shapes flats, as well as additional dough remnants that we baked to satisfy those who wanted a taste.

Trinity Sunday

Here’s a story that my pastor shared today, on Trinity Sunday.

There were two workers along the highway, following each other.  The first worker was digging a hole every 10 meters.  His colleague was following him and filling up the hole with the mud that had been previously removed.  A gentleman was watching this activity from the other side of the road.  He finally couldn’t deal with watching this any longer and crossed over.  He asked the workers, “Why do you dig holes and fill them? What’s the point of it all?”  The first worker replied, “my job is to dig the holes, so I do.”  The second worker said, “my job is to fill the holes and so I do what I am supposed to.  Normally when our third member is here he plants trees too.”

The Trinity is like the 3 member tree planting team.  You cannot separate the team and deal with just one or two, and be satisfied that it is done. You need all three who cannot be separated though they are distinct, thus we have God as one, and yet three in one, Trinity.

If you are interested in my previous thoughts on the Trinity I’ve covered it a couple times before.  I’ve used the idea of Trinity to explore partner dance, and as dance poetry.   I also have touched on the relational love that the Trinity represents when discussing how so often we lose of the idea that faith and the Catholic Church is not about me (one), but us (the entire team), about the relational nature of love.

Chicken Lollipops

A fun chicken wing appetizer, an Indian Chinese cuisine starter.  Apparently Hakka Chinese immigrants to India settled in the Calcuta/Kolkota area and adapted Chinese seasonings and cooking techniques to Indian tastes.   For instance, in Goa it is common to see Hakka noodles, sweet corn soup, and more on menus. (Looking at Chinese cuisine fusion beyond India I found this interesting TED talk that you might enjoy.)

One can make chicken lollipops using thighs, drumsticks, or wings.  I prefer wings myself, using two of the three parts of each the wing. I do not waste the unwanted tip, simply marinating in the same marinade, dipping in rava and baking to make crispy bites, an additional dish.

A kilo of chicken wings is about 18 wings, making 36  lollipops, plus 18 crispy bites.  The following recipe is for 2 kg wings and is for those who are happy winging it.  It makes lollipops that are lightly spiced.

Butchering the chicken wings to make the lollipops:Sometimes it is easier to watch something being done, rather than explaining the steps involved, so check out video one from 1:36 to 3:15 minutes, and video two.

Lollipop marinade:  Combine 2 tbsp crushed ginger garlic, 9 tbsp of yogurt, 4 tsp of chili powder, 1 tsp of cumin powder, 1 tsp of coriander powder, 2 tsp chaat powder, 2 tsp tandoori powder, 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 2 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp lime.

Add lollipops to marinade and let marinate for a few hours.  Put in oven and bake until you observe them crisp.  Wrap the stick end in foil makes it easy for your guests to pick and nibble.  You can serve on a plate garnished with shredded green cabbage or chopped green onions to make a feast for the eyes.  Great served hot with lime wedges, and a dipping sauce of your choice.

A Meditation Quickie

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment.
I know this is a wonderful moment.”

Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk from Vietnam living in France.

There are many ways to meditate.  The above quote by Thich Nhat Hanh is an easy one to use as you breath.  An easy way to calm down, to quieten the mind…