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my hands start shaking when i think of baking

It’s simple.

I. Do. Not. Bake. I don’t make any excuses. Why would you sift and stir and struggle and clean up when you can walk over to Aunty Michel‘s and pick up perfectly acceptable sweet and savoury treats.

Well don’t the mighty fall the hardest. Thanks to the very lovely KJ, my boys had their tummies and minds filled with the most delicious flavour of home baked Energy Muffins.

Mum, mum, this is the best muffin I’ve ever tasted. Mummummum said the other, I want more. I waaaaaant more (insert pouting lips and stamping of feet).

So here I am, up to my elbows in some lumpy mixture that, quite honestly, looks like the dog’s breakfast. From yesterday. Millions of women bake everyday I say to myself. Be strong, power on I say. You’ve given birth to two children, this should pale in comparison. And so like a soldier going to war I pop the baking trays in to the oven. Okay so my muffin tins were covered with rust and the boys had them in the garden. So what? Don’t judge me (just yet). Try the ‘muffins’ first! Dee x

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shyam singh, chai lao

Tea in bed has to be one of the most decadent ways I can think of to start the day. Hell, just having someone else make a cup of chai is divine. But having it brought to bed while you lie in for just five minutes more tops my list of life’s little pleasures.

And there is no tea that quite compares to Parsi Chai…

Bring the water to a rolling boil.
Add in your favourite black tea leaves. One per cup, plus one for the pot.
Put in a large handful of phudina (mint leaves).
For real flavour add in some lilychai (lemongrass leaves).
Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
Prepare your cup with raw brown sugar (add sugar, I beg of you).
Pour in the tea.
Add a dash of milk.
Stir. Drink. Aahhh! Bliss.

Gotta go, my chai is getting cold. Dee x
PS: Thanks husby. Xoxo

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shank-you, that was absobloominlutely delicious!

Excuse the corny title, I simply could not resist. Just as I could not resist cooking shanks this weekend. The butcher frenched 10 meaty shanks for me. I raced home, a sliver of saliva starting to form as I fantasised about the end result. Sometimes I cannot help myself…I dream of something in particular and can’t rest till I’ve cooked it.

On Friday the shanks sat, lightly marinading in ginger garlic salt sugar lime and the most delicious smoked salt you have ever tasted. I had already planned to use the smoked garlic to make a mash to sit the shanks on. For those of you who have not tried smokey garlic you have not lived. I had not lived till Sunday.

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On Sunday the shanks were sealed… like an old married couple…slowly… two-by-two in a pan with very little oil. They were then all transferred to a large pot filled with whole peeled tomatoes, four bean mix, lashings of red wine, stock and a few other things…cinnamon and nutmeg, cloves and turmeric, if I recall right.

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They were popped in to a pre-heated oven and cooked till they literally fell off the bone. If I cooked like this all the time, my electricity bill was be in the thousands. I think the oven was on for about 4 hours… I can’t remember much else because I could not focus on anything except the actual eating. I remember serving this all up in a bowl filled with creamy garlicky smokey mash, softly roasted baby bell peppers and some shiny spring green beans. Then I went in to my food oblivion!

With winter nearly over so too are the hearty meals. I’m glad I snuck this one in when I did. Dee x

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dhansak. need i say more?

Every Parsi worth their papeta pur eedu (and I make mine with chips too) will tell you that on Sunday you have to eat very little breakfast. This is followed by one or ten glasses of shandy at beer o’clock which starts approximately at 11am. Then…and only then…will Mumma call out “JAMVA CHALO NI….”

Like a herd of hungry vultures (no disrespect intended) the family, and usually some friends/ pretend friends / friends that show up miraculously only at DHANSAK time, descend on the table. They heap their plates with steaming fragrant fluffy fantastic brown rice. Some of the greedy goombas steal all the caramalised onion on top and we don’t like them (those people, not the onions).

The heady smell of the meal really hits you as you then flood your rice with ladles and ladles of daal and mutton. Oh the mutton! And there’s no way you could serve this without kachumber. And frilly cutlets… as if there was not enough meat on your plate.

I want to let you in on a little secret. Meal time is the only time, and I mean the ONLY time you will hear silence in a Parsi household. The talking stops, the jokes stop, the laughter stops, the nagging stops, heaven forbid, even the swearing stops. It is only once the first round has been near licked off the plate that you will even hear a word. And it’s usually to plan the next meal.

I want to let you in on another secret. Or maybe it’s just something Walrus does. To finish your meal you must serve yourself the daal only and using a wedge of lime as your spoon, slurp-wipe your plate clean.

After a meal like this you are usually powerless to move. Many a Sunday afternoon has been spent in a food coma, a slightly intoxicated state that results from eating the quantities we do. So charge your (shandy) glasses people, and without further ado I present tonight’s recipe. Dee x

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And for the die-hard recipe follower…or if you don’t find dhansak masala in your town…here’s how you can make your own. I’m not sure who stuck this recipe in my book, mum has no idea either. If someone recognises the writing, please let me know.

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killer kheema

Deester Deester…You truly are the master of the meat-sauce, I said to myself as I took a little bow this afternoon…

You know how children born of mixed marriages are gorgeous? So too is my kheema (meat-sauce). It’s probably the one thing I can make as well as mum can, nay, better than mum can and that’s a big call.

Trial and error, mostly error, has resulted in the most luscious meat-sauce that’ll ever pass your lips. It’s hot and spicy and sweet and tart and makes you want to go…you guessed it… Oom nom nom nom!

I combine the Parsi version with the ‘continental’ version and while it’s cooking away, usually pour a nice big glass of wine and wait.

It’s delicious with rice, in a wrap, over corn chips and is especially delish as Bolognese Sauce over pasta. It’s also the perfect dish in which to hide the veges. Mine comes pre-loaded with sweet potato or carrot, tons of spinach, onions, capsi, whatever I can get my hands on.

Eat a big bowl full on a cold cold night. I promise it’ll warm you up. Enjoy. Dee (Master of the Meat-Sauce) x

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soup from stone

I’m so tired my limbs won’t move. To top that all I’ve come home to an empty pantry, fridge and freezer. Note to self-don’t wait till you have no food at home. Do shop a couple of days before.

So this is dinner tonight. A layer of corn chips topped with chilli con carne and baked beans. Beat 3 eggs and pour over the mixture. Top with cheese and bake.

Serve with a baby spinach and tomato salad.

And who can guess why it’s called SOUP FROM STONE?! Winner gets dinner, my shout. Dee x

PS: The pantry may be empty but heaven forbid the wine rack runs dry.

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the real ‘patra ni machi’

The only logical follow-up to yesterday’s post has to be this one. As a child I couldn’t stand the stuff…yeuch, green fish..you’ve got to be kidding me. Today I’d give an arm and a leg for some authentic Parsi Patra ni Machi, literally ‘fish in a leaf’, usually a banana leaf.

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