Month: June 2015

To knead or not to need?

Need this??? Yudhika's delicous Naan Bread!

Need this??? Yudhika’s delicous Naan Bread!

Knead reminds me of ‘need’ and being caught in the negative ‘need’ cycle. Wherever we are in life, no matter what we accomplish, we are bombarded by society that ‘needs this’ or ‘needs that’. We are also bombarded by clever marketing convincing us that our wants are needs, and this creates much confusion. Telling the two apart is sometimes impossible.

I can’t speak for others but I have always needed to prove that I could and would rise above adversity. In my mind I made up a black list, remembering every nasty comment and dig…thinking, ‘ONE DAY, ONE DAY…! As the years passed, the list grew longer…and I know that this is an unique situation. Most of us have been in this place at some point in our lives. And my ‘ONE DAY’ has come and gone several times…but there is always a new villain on the list or am I that villain that keeps pushing myself harder?

The negative side was the need to prove myself led to me being a workaholic and becoming a bit of a magpie, collecting trinkets and material possessions along my journey. The positive side, I turned my frustration into something constructive, working toward a career that has given me enormous joy and fulfillment. I had the fancy homes and the bad marriages that came with it, unbreakable credit cards, a wardrobe to die for and the shoes….let’s not go there!

I have worked through a particularly difficult phase in my life, thinking I was going mad at times, doubting my own intuition and recovering from years of feeling like I still needed to try harder to prove myself. Sometimes it was about feeding my ego. I couldn’t let the past go or the constant nagging that came from a partner who clearly had his own axe to grind…for my own selfish reasons but also because I was put under pressure by being told that I wasn’t good enough…make more money, be thinner, eat less, try harder, be more funny, perform and complaints that I wasn’t subservient like Indian women were supposed to be. When did I stop being a woman and at what point did I become the circus horse??

Stupidly believing that I was being ‘encouraged’ for my ‘own good’ only to realize that the more I performed, I become easier to validate as my partner’s choice. Who knows what his issues were? But he pushed me hard into being a trophy to save himself from looking the fool. The worst is that this sort of treatment comes from the people closest to us which makes it even harder to deal with and it leads to un-natural desires and needs, creating stress and frustration. This is not a whine session, but thoughts shared which create awareness and different thought processes. I was a victim once, but that was a long time ago…I am not feeling sorry for myself, or an emotional refugee either…I am a just a person who was lucky enough to work it out.

I have reached a beautiful place in my life and here are my thoughts…after having experienced soul-destroying unhappiness, nothing material can ever be more valuable than feeling a true sense of joy. I have reached a beautiful place that is free from want….I am free from chasing unrealistic goals, pressure and ego. Materially, I want for nothing…not the latest car upgrade or fancy house, shopping sprees and five-star meals! This doesn’t mean that I have lost my drive and positivity…I love my work, family and have a life that is brimming with the most amazing opportunities. I have everything that is important and the rest will sort itself out. I have probably never felt better, more relaxed or happier.

I confused my needs with my wants, venturing down a damaging path to prove to others that I was worthy and capable. I had proven myself worthy repeatedly without realizing it. Take a look at life and ask yourself who you are doing it for…do it for the right reasons. Work hard, play hard, feast and be merry…live, love and rejoice! The lesson is to learn to draw a line between when adversity becomes a positive driver and when it becomes an obsession.

To the people who have been nasty, I can’t thank you enough for the role you played in me being who I am today. What was said and done to break my spirit became that which makes me unbreakable. The process did not come without hitches. I worked through them, and have come through it bigger (and curvier), better and stronger. I am thankful for the adversity that has built character and resilience, and it plays a lead role in my script.

 

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Going nuts….Coconut Tart meets Malva Pudding!

Going nuts....coconut tart meets Malva Pudding....by Yudhika Sujanani

Going nuts….coconut tart meets Malva Pudding….by Yudhika Sujanani

I have been going nuts over Malva pudding…it’s never happened to me before but lately it’s been malva this and malva that! And lashings of home-made, old-fashioned creme anglaise too! It is too hard to resist and one of the few things to look forward to when the Jozi chill sets in.

I hosted a dinner party a few weeks ago and then made a classic Malva pudding, a few days later on the Italian inspired episode of Sugar ‘n Spice, I threw in a few generous glugs of Frangelico while making a chocolate version. Sugar ‘n Spice goes live on The Home Channel in just a few days….We kick off on Monday at 2pm on DSTv’s Channel 176…so set the PVR and be sure to catch the first episode!

I was working on Ramadan sweet treats and in a complete moment of madness it was a ‘coconutty’ Malva sauce over a classic Greek tart! It is just pure decadence and dead easy to make. It can be served warm, room temperature or zapped in the microwave for a few seconds. It may be served with ice cream or custard but I had two diamonds and retreated to bed for the rest of the arvie, declaring I was in a food coma! It wasn’t just the tart, you see…it was also the other tastings that were going on this past Sunday…Persian Style Koresht with Chicken, Saffron Kebabs and and and….you can find these recipes in the Post Newspaper which is out today!

This recipe will have coconut lovers in heaven…the coconut milk in the malva sauce leaves the tart super moist and utterly decadent! I kept the batter quite simple, opting let the tart ooze with coconutty aromas but you can spice it up with lemon zest, cinnamon or ground cardamom. I used Mae Ploy Coconut milk for this recipe but you may also use a good substitute like Spar Branded Coconut Cream…it has a yellow label and costs around R24. If you love the recipes, please leave a comment and do click ‘follow’ to ensure the latest recipes are sent through to you via email…it’s lovely to hear from you, your food stories and hints and tips…it also keeps me in the writing in the right direction!

A few slices of coconut malva tart down...a few more to go!

A few slices of coconut malva tart down…a few more to go!

Greek Inspired Coconut Malva Tart

Ingredients

185g soft butter
250ml sugar
5ml vanilla essence
3 large eggs
250ml cake flour
15ml baking powder
500ml desiccated coconut
250 full cream milk, room temperature
Optional flavours: Lemon zest, 5ml cinnamon or 5ml ground cardamom can be added to the batter.

Coconut Sauce
250ml sugar
250ml water
250ml coconut milk
2,5ml vanilla essence
60g butter
Pistachio nuts, to garnish

Here’s how:
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Grease and line a 10 inch loose bottom pie tin with butter.
Using a hand held electric or free standing mixer, cream the butter until light and gradually add in the sugar.
Add the vanilla essence and continue beating until the creamed mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl regularly.
When the sugar granules should dissolve slightly, add the eggs one at a time with a teaspoon of cake flour. Beat well after each egg.
Sift the flour and baking powder and stir in the coconut.
Add the dry ingredients and milk to the creamed butter, alternating to prevent the mixture from becoming to thick.
Scoop the batter into a prepared tin and bake for 55 – 60 minutes.
The tart should be deep golden in colour and a skewer should come out clean when tested. Leave the tart in the tin to cool slightly and slice into diamonds.

Prepare the sauce: Dissolve the water and sugar in an AMC pan. Add the coconut milk, vanilla essence and butter. Bring to the boil until a thin syrup forms and lightly coats the back of a spoon. Pour the hot sauce over the warm tart while it is still in the tin.

Leave to soak and place a pistachio in the centre of each diamond.

This is how I roll…Rocking the Roti!

Roti by Yudhika Sujanani

Roti by Yudhika Sujanani

Every culture, every society, every country has superstitions. Whether we believe them or not, they play some part in our everyday lives. Some of them are based on religion, some based on folk legends but if you are Indian, there are more than a few superstitions about roti and most of them are about finding a husband or keeping your mother in law happy.

Here are some of the roti superstitions I grew up with…

1.The roti dough always needs to be made by hand and not a mixer – shows your mother in law that you are capable and if you do use an electric mixer, you will always have hard roti, not to mention the embarrassment and shame your mother will have to live with.

2. I used to cut out my roti using an AMC pot lid to save my mother the social embarrassment of having rather odd-shaped roti served at the table. I was told that this would also make the roti hard and biscuity…how??? Is there a scientific reason? Mrs Anne Bramdeo, who is just so dear to me convinced me that I needed to break my pot lid habit and gave me some lessons. The pot lid is now used for the rightful purpose.

3. It is bad luck to take the ‘roti pan’ off the heat while you are cooking them…you should cook off the roti without commercial breaks…in today’s world that means you don’t have time for selfies!

4. The first roti should never be eaten…it is for the birds! I say it is for the Mother in Law! The first roti is much like the first pancake, it never turns out right.

5. ‘Save the last roti’…I always got busted for this. Apparently, the last roti was saved to ‘save the family’ from starving but also in case God visited. Why waste a perfectly good roti? In the shloks or religious verses, it states ‘Treat your guests as God’ and if there was an unexpected guest, they should have at least one roti. I would happily cook up a batch at anytime, a fresh roti is a delicious treat.

6. If the roti puffs up, your mother in law is going to love you…I can safely say that this one is just a con to get women trying harder at roti…mine puff beautifully and I can swear there isn’t a loving mother in law in sight! I have had two, the first was never the loving type but the second….tjo tjo tjo! We all have those stories, don’t we?

7. If you don’t make good roti, you won’t find a husband…I know women who have no desire to make two minute noodles, but have found amazing husbands, women who laugh about their flying saucer style roti, wonky rotis, dry ones and maps of Africa.

I am going to be bold and brave, declaring that none of these superstitions ring true in my case, that is….I make a pretty mean roti, haven’t found lasting love, a loving mother in law or an amazing husband but I am having the time of my life! Roti superstitions were craftily conjured to keep women in the kitchen and trying harder! If you have any roti superstitions, please share them in the comments section…I am sure I missed a few!  While you are visiting this blog site, click follow to get the recipes sent to you via email.

The first attempt can always be a bit of a disaster…remember it only gets better each time you try. Every batch becomes less messy and your ‘roti lap time’ improves!

Ready to Roll...

Ready to Roll…

Here is my simple recipe, but before you get started here are 3 tips to remember!

Make sure the boiled water is not recently boiled or left to cool slightly, it needs to be bubbling when poured into the flour.

I use sunflower oil instead of butter, as this keeps the roti softer for longer. Butter gives the roti a more shortcrust like texture.

Work quickly with bringing the dough together, this makes it much easier.

Roti squiggles by Yudhika Sujanani

Roti squiggles by Yudhika Sujanani

Roti

Makes 12

Ingredients

750ml cake flour

5ml fine salt

375ml boiled water…I mean hot hot hot

90ml sunflower oil

Melted butter, to cook roti

Here’s how:

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.

Pour the boiled water over the dry ingredients.

Mix the water into the flour.

Add the sunflower oil and knead the dough until smooth.

Roll the dough into a ‘log’ and slice into 12 pieces.

Roll each piece into a length and curl up half .

Curl up the other half in the opposite direction.

Ready to Roll...part 2

Ready to Roll…part 2

Fold one curled section over the other and flatten the dough slightly.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth.

Roll each piece into a round ensuring that the work surface is dusted with flour.

Repeat until all the dough has been rolled out.

Place the roti on a hot pan, when small bubbles appear, flip the roti over.

Drizzle with melted butter, then flip the roti again, drizzle again and then flip the roti.

Brown the roti, and remove from the pan.

Yudhika’s Tips:

Pile the rotis and leave to cool before storing them away.

Store rotis in a cake tin lined with wax paper.

Reheat in a microwave for 10 – 20 seconds.

Flavor the dough with 2,5ml cumin seeds.

The sardine run….

The sardine run...Spicy Sardines by Yudhika Sujanani

The sardine run…Spicy Sardines by Yudhika Sujanani

I haven’t eaten a sardine in about thirty years. The sardine run was always a much awaited event on the Durban calendar. Somewhere in the 80’s there were huge shoals of fish that washed up on the shores in Durban and there were people actually scooping them up in buckets.

Firstly, it was quite a sight…I was amazed by the piles of fish heaped on the shore and the locals seemed to be in a trance as they went about collecting their sardine stash. A few days later, I was sure that I overdosed on freshly fried spicy sardines! There were sardines everywhere and every home that visited also served sardines…I do see them on the menu at Portuguese restaurants but haven’t eaten one since!

There have been a few Facebook posts about the sardines in Durban and here is one of my Spicy Sardine recipes….I serve them with a spicy tomato chutney that coats the sardines keeping them moist and delicious!

I’m ready to give sardines a bash again…if only I could find one in Jozi and have it prepared the old fashioned Durban way! I really do miss Durban and all it’s beautiful people and treats!

Sardines in a Spicy Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients

12 sardines
10ml red chilli powder
2,5ml turmeric
5ml salt
Sunflower oil to shallow fry

For the Spicy Tomato Sauce

30ml sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs of curry leaves
15ml red chilli powder
6 tomatoes
5ml coarse salt
10ml roasted coriander powder (dhania powder)
5ml roasted cumin powder (jeera powder)
2,5ml turmeric
Handful of fresh coriander

Here’s how:

Slice a cross into the base of each tomato and place them in a bowl. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes and leave aside for 3 minutes. Remove the skins and chop the tomatoes.
Sprinkle turmeric, salt and red chilli powder over the sardines and gently rub the spices over. Place the sardines in a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave in a refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat the sunflower oil in a pot. Fry the finely chopped onion until light golden brown. Add the crushed
garlic and curry leaves. Stir for a few seconds and then add the red chili powder.
Stir the red chilli powder for 5 seconds and then add the chopped tomatoes.
Season with salt and keep stirring until the tomatoes soften slightly.
Add the roasted ground cumin, coriander and the turmeric. Lower the heat and continue stirring until the tomatoes dissolve and form a thick sauce.
Heat the sunflower oil in a non stick frying pan and fry the sardines in batches until crispy.
Remove from the heat and gently dab the sardines with paper towel to remove excess oil. Repeat this process until all the sardines are fried.
Spoon some of the tomato sauce over the base of a casserole dish and then spoon the remaining sauce over the sardines and sprinkle the chopped coriander over. Garnish with a few curry leaves.

Yudhika’s Tips

To clean the sardines: Scale sardines and make a cut along the bottom of the fish. Remove the intestines and entrails. Rinse the fish under cold running water and pat dry using absorbent paper towels.
Handle the sardines gently as they do tend to break up when handled roughly.

Five tips to perfect pilau…Spicy Brinjal Pilau!

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau with chickpeas and lentils by Yudhika Sujanani

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau with chickpeas and lentils by Yudhika Sujanani

The first pilau I made was from a recipe that I took out of the Indian Delights. I thought I would surprise my mom but it turned into a rather bad surprise…it wasn’t a recipe, it was my cooking skills! I was in high school at the time and without much patience! I cooked the pilau on a high heat and burnt it, the rice turned to mush and it was a complete mess! I am thankful to my creator for blessing me with determination….but still not sure whether it was determination or my ego that kept me cooking after the weeks of being teased about my kitchen disaster!

A good pilau is the perfect dish that turns meals into feasts. This is recipe that is perfect for Ramadan or it could make an appearance at your table served with roast chicken or lamb, curries and stews! For the vegetarians out there, it is a meal on it’s own, served with a salad and a creamy dollop of raita!

Here are a five of my tips to making a fabulous pilau…

Firstly, use a good quality rice. The broken grains in the cheaper brands cause the rice to cook unevenly and turn to mush.

Secondly, always cook the rice in advance and leave it to cool before adding it to the pilau. Rice that has chilled in the refrigerator works best and your pilau will be flop proof with fluffy steamed grains.

Third tip….slow and steady wins the race….pilau should be steamed gently to prevent it from sticking and burning.

Fourth tip….use a good quality pot with a thick base to prevent the pilau from steaming unevenly. I use AMC cookware without a hassle!

Fifth tip…back to the rice rice rice….I personally stick to basmati rice…avoid Jasmine and white rice as they are quite sticky….you can use long grain rice if you prefer but basmati for me is best!

Spicy Brinjal Veggie Pilau

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

2 large brinjals
Fine salt, to sweat brinjals
Sunflower oil, to grill or fry brinjals

45ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
10ml crushed garlic
10ml paprika or red chilli powder
400g tinned tomatoes, chopped
10ml roasted ground coriander
5ml ground cumin
1 x 400g tin butter beans
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
1 400g tin lentils
50ml fresh cream, optional
1000ml cooked Basmati Rice
125ml boiling water
10ml chilli flakes, to garnish
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how:

Slice the brinjals into wedges and place them in a colander.
Sprinkle fine salt over the brinjals and leave to sweat for 20 minutes.
Use paper towel to dab the excess moisture off the brinjal wedges.
Heat the sunflower oil and fry/grill the brinjals.
Gently pat the excess oil of the brinjals and leave aside.

Heat the sunflower oil in a thick bottomed pot.
Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaf until fragrant.
Add the cumin seeds and when they begin to splutter add the chopped onion.
Sprinkle the coarse salt over the onion and fry until they turn light golden brown.
Add the crushed garlic and stir for a few seconds.
Add the paprika and then stir in the chopped tomatoes.
Simmer for a minute before adding the ground coriander and cumin.
When the tomatoes soften completely, add the drained butter beans, chickpeas and lentils.
Pour in the fresh cream and layer the cooked basmati rice over.
Pour the boiling water over the rice and then reduce the temperature.
Simmer the pilau on the lowest heat setting until the rice has steamed through.
Place the brinjal wedges over the rice.
Garnish with chilli flakes and fresh coriander.

Yudhika’s Tips:
Fry the brinjals while the pilau is steaming though so that the wedges are hot when serving.
Par-cooked potatoes can be added to this recipe.

Ready for Ramadan…Moroccan Lamb Harira

Yudhika's Moroccan Inspired Lamb Harira

Yudhika’s Moroccan Inspired Lamb Harira

Time does fly and it’s already Ramadan. Most of my Muslim friends and colleagues will be fasting without food or water from dawn to dusk. I have always been completely amazed by the fast and how no matter where you were or who you were with, my Muslim friends stick to it! I envy this dedication and commitment. The month of fasting is not a hunger strike but a month of prayer and reflection. It’s a time that Muslims come together and re-connect over spirituality and end the day with a home cooked feast. I didn’t know much about Ramadan when I was a kid except knowing that my friends at school were not eating all day, but every year, I have learnt a little more about Islam while developing new recipes for Ramadan and Eid too! Here is one of those recipes perfect for the fasting month…I took some inspiration from Morocco for this one! This can be served as a soup or a stew. The temperature has plummeted and this hearty Moroccan Inspired Harira will definitely warm you up! To all my Muslim friends and followers, Ramadan Mubarak! Moroccan Lamb Harira Serves 4 Ingredients 700g lamb loin chops 50ml sunflower oil 1 bay leaf 1 stick cinnamon 5ml cumin seeds 2 onions, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, crushed 10ml crushed ginger 10ml paprika or red chilli powder Pinch of tumeric 2 stock cubes 400g tinned tomatoes, chopped 400g tin lentils, drained 400g tin chickpeas, drained Salt to season, optional Fresh coriander, to garnish Here’s how: Heat the sunflower oil in a 30cm AMC pot. Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Add the cumin and fry until the seeds begin to sizzle. Add the chopped onion and saute until light golden brown. Add the lamb pieces and seal the meat while stirring. When the meat is sealed, add the garlic and ginger. Stir for a few seconds and then add the paprika or red chilli powder. When the spices start to stick, pour in boiling water to cover the lamb. Add the stock cubes and turmeric. Simmer until the meat is tender. Stir the tomatoes into the lamb and cook until they soften. Add the lentils and chickpeas. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly. Check the seasoning and add more salt only if necessary. Garnish with fresh coriander. Yudhika’s Tips: Butter beans can also be added to this dish. Stock cubes contain salt so always check the seasoning before adding more.

Meat Free Monday…Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Meat Free Monday with Yudhika Sujanani - Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Meat Free Monday with Yudhika Sujanani – Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Another Meatless Monday…and today is also World No Meat Day! This is a quick and easy recipe that is absolutely delicious. You can serve it as a meal on it’s own or as a side dish. Mushrooms taste better when cooked in advance and absorb the spices from the sauce. Prepare the mushrooms and add the spinach just before serving, taking care not to over cook it.

Mushroom and Spinach Curry

Ingredients

50ml sunflower oil
5ml mustard seeds
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml coarse salt
10ml crushed garlic
10ml red chill powder
400g chopped tomatoes, fresh or tinned
5ml ground cumin
5ml ground coriander
2ml turmeric
400g mushrooms, sliced
400g baby spinach, chopped
Fresh curry leaves or coriander, to garnish

Here’s how

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC Paella Pan.
Add the mustard seeds and when the pop, add the cumin seeds.
Add the chopped onion and salt.
Saute until the onion is golden brown.
Add the crushed garlic and fry for a few seconds.
Stir the red chilli powder and mix for 5 seconds.
Add the chopped tomatoes and stir in the remaining spices.
Add the ground cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Simmer the sauce and use the back of a spoon to break down the lumps.
Once the sauce resembles tomato paste, add the chopped mushrooms.
Simmer until the mushrooms soften, add 125ml boiling water if the sauce is too thick.
Once the mushrooms are cooked through, add the chopped spinach and simmer uncover for a minute or two.
Garnish with fresh curry leaves and coriander.

Life’s a peach….

Yudhika Sujanani, getting ready for a new season of Sugar 'n Spice on The Home Channel

Yudhika Sujanani, getting ready for a new season of Sugar ‘n Spice on DSTV’s The Home Channel

Life can be many things but for me it’s a peach….It isn’t always the case but sometimes we can choose for it to be! Last week, I finished shooting the last episode of ‘Sugar ‘n Spice’ which will be airing on DSTv’s Home Channel on the 29th June. The show took over three months to shoot and we have had many fabulous but long days on set…early morning kick offs and late nights! I am pinching myself…still thinking of the days when I promised myself I would get my very own show! Stay tuned for more details! This cake reminds me so much of my days in Durban and when life is a peach, I have to celebrate.

When I was a kid, our trusted Defy oven would blow a fuse and we would be left without my mom’s famous cakes for months. Tinned peaches were always on standby when we were cash flush that is…they were served with chilled dessert cream and it was simply delicious. I love the distinct flavour of dessert cream and my kids think that it is a real treat when I haul out a large tin of peaches!

I made up this recipe which takes me back in time and I hope you enjoy it! A light sponge cake topped with luscious whipped cream and syrup soaked peaches! It might even be the perfect dessert making an appearance for Father’s Day on Sunday. I found a way of working around the sub standard fresh cream that just flops or won’t whip up successfully. Pick up a tub of Woolies or Weleda Double Thick Cream…you cant whip it on it’s own because it is too thick but add fresh cream or Nestle dessert cream to create a decadent topping!

Peaches and Cream Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Peaches and Cream Cake by Yudhika Sujanani

Peaches and Cream Cake

Ingredients
4 eggs
200ml sugar
5ml vanilla essence
250ml cake flour
10ml baking powder
Pinch of salt
65ml cold water
125ml sunflower oil

For the cream topping:

250ml double thick cream
150ml Nestle dessert cream
60ml icing sugar
Drop of vanilla essence

400g tinned peach slices
Fresh mint sprigs, to garnish

Here’s how:
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Grease and line 1 x 10 inch round cake tin.
Beat the eggs in an electric mixer and gradually add sugar.
Continue beating until thick and creamy – the mixture should leave a trail on the surface for 3 seconds.
Fold the flour, baking powder and salt into the egg mixture.
Add the water and oil, fold mixture again.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Turn the cake out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

For the topping:
Place the double thick cream, dessert cream, sugar and vanilla essence into a mixing bowl.
Whip until the cream thickens.
Scoop the cream onto the top of the cake and use a spatula to make little peaks.
Drain the peaches and discard the syrup.
Chop the peach slices into little pieces and sprinkle over the cake.
Garnish with mint leaves.

Yudhika’s Tips:
Make sure the mixing bowl is oil and grease free before whisking the eggs – oil prevents the eggs from incorporating air.

Sorry is…such a sorry word!

Yudhika's Spicy Lamb Rosti Bake

Yudhika’s Spicy Lamb Rosti Bake

Is it just me or does the word sorry irritate anyone else? My thoughts and feelings percolate over time. This is not something new or a revelation of sorts and no, I haven’t had my heart-broken over the weekend…the word just irritates me! I can’t remember when it first struck me. Perhaps it was when my kids were little and bashing each other in a fight over a toy but I can still remember my son, Rushil, saying, ‘Sorry doesn’t even help!’ Over the past few years and somewhere in the midst of my latest ugly divorce, the dreadful word ‘sorry’ has been thrown carelessly into life changing conversations. Sometimes ‘Sorry’ comes only after years of someone forcing you to accept that an apology wasn’t necessary and by then, it is too late.

Sorry isn’t enough…the word has made the world a worse place to live in. People have become careless with those most dear to them. People take chances knowing that when the cracks appear all they need to do is say sorry. Think back to being a child at school and playing with your friends…if you hurt or wronged anyone on the playground, we apologized by saying, ‘Sorry’…how many times did you say it without real emotion, regret and remorse? It has always been a mindless almost insincere response.

Human beings are flawed….we all are and mistakes are a part of life and us growing emotionally. In this modern tech savvy world we live in, is it not possible that we have become emotionally unintelligent? Whether you are ill, being cheated on, just lost your job or experienced some sort of tragedy…it’s met with the same generic response, ‘I am sorry!’ How can such a small word possibly become the ‘one size fits all’ plaster for life’s wounds, whatever they might be? I was in a relationship once and my partner dated his ex girlfriend…he said, ‘It was no big deal’. If it was no big deal, why was it not mentioned when I made him dinner the next evening or when he chatted to me for hours the next day? Why did he actually do it? He took the chance and me for granted is the short answer thinking that all he had to do is say, ‘Sorry’ and that would come only if I found out, of course! Well, he didn’t anticipate that it would not be enough to fill in the cracks it left in the relationship….and the one thing about cracks is that they often expand and distort our feelings. My question is was he really sorry or sorry that I found out?

Is this me moaning about my relationship experiences….absolutely not! I have been lied to, cheated on and emotionally distraught at different stages of my life. It is wretched and the most important thing I have to share is that at no point was ‘sorry’ ever enough to take the pain away. When I have been left feeling wretched, I often heard the same thing which is, ‘Well, I said I was sorry…Didn’t I…What more do you want?’ and it simply wasn’t enough. I have been soul searching, wondering what was wrong with me and why an apology wasn’t the plaster I thought it would be. I realize that these apologies lack sincerity. Why isn’t it good enough? What do we want? More than words….once the trust is broken, it’s a long hard road back. Maybe it is a women thing…I wanted to know why and deal with the underlying issues and was met by the, ‘Sorry, can we sweep this under the rug now?’

Over the last while, I have had my share of generic sorries…but it’s taught me a lesson too. I would like to share my advice, if I may that is…I have been thinking, agonizing over the apologies I have not accepted and going forward ask you to live your life after erasing the word ‘Sorry’ from your vocabulary. Imagine making decisions and considering the people around you knowing that if you messed up, sorry would not be an option. I know that this would not erase any chance of making mistakes but we have become careless….maybe it would get us to think for a moment about everything that is precious and taken for granted.

When we are wrong, we have to work harder than just an apology…we have to work harder than ‘Sorry’ to find a remedy, support the person we are apologizing to and put the ‘no big deal’ mentality aside! ‘Sorry’ is not an apology…it’s a word and it has no magical powers!

Sorry is a sorry word….it is one of the most useless words in the dictionary. I have yet to write a blog about my carelessness and the things that I have been sorry about and apologies I’ve made….coming soon!

It’s been cold over the past few days and all I want to do is tuck into some comfort food. It could be the weather but my guess is that my thoughts have also been keeping me busy and craving the comfort of Wintery bakes…I am endlessly entertained in my own company…with some comfort food of course! Here is a recipe for a deliciously spicy lamb rosti bake! I love a traditional Cottage Pie but with the weather playing up, I spiced this recipe up along the lines of Keema Masala or Curried Mince. It is delicious, quick to prepare and comforting! I used the spices from my Curry Me Home range and at first glance it looks like there is lots of red chilli…keep in mind that lamb and beef ‘hold’ a lot more chilli and it is the base spice of the dish. Mince tends to often be flavorless and bland so you have to spice it up a fair bit!

Spicy Lamb Rosti Bake

750g lamb mince
50ml sunflower oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
7ml coarse salt
30ml ginger and garlic, crushed
30 – 45ml red chilli powder
10ml ground coriander
5ml garam masala
2ml turmeric
200g chopped tomatoes

700g potatoes, boiled in skins – I used Up To Date variety
Salt, to season potatoes
100g butter

Here’s how:

Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC Paella Pan.
Fry the cinnamon stick and bay leaf until fragrant, add the cumin seeds.
When the seeds start to splutter, add the onion and salt.
Salute the onion until light golden.
Add the crushed ginger and garlic and fry for a few seconds.
Add the red chilli powder and warm through for 3 – 5 seconds.
Stir the lamb mince into the red chilli and fry until it changes colour.
Add the ground coriander, garam masala and turmeric.
Stir for a few minutes and add the tomatoes.
Simmer until the tomatoes soften.
Place the lamb mince into a casserole dish.
Peel the potatoes and grate them over the mince.
Season with salt and black pepper.
Melt the butter and pour it over the potatoes.
Bake the lamb in the oven at 180 degrees celsius until the potatoes are golden brown which would take about 35 -45 minutes.

Masala Chicken Casserole….

Yudhika's Masala Chicken Casserole....

Yudhika’s Masala Chicken Casserole….

Did somebody press the freeze button? I spent a few days in Cape Town and it seemed like the weather gods have been creating havoc….snow, rain and the worst part…the wind. The weather was awful but I still love Cape Town…and not even the weather could dampen my spirits. My colleague and GIBS Goldman Sachs graduate, Dudu Mofokeng and I were asked to join the UN Women and Facebook as panelists on the ‘Boost Your Business’ workshop! I was and am truly humbled to be a part of this initiative and will be posting more information about it in my next blogs.

Competition time...The AMC 30cm Skillet worth R3200

Competition time…The AMC 30cm Skillet worth R3200

There is some other news too…today we announce the winner of the fabulous AMC skillet…just another way that AMC Cookware and I share our happiness and love for food! The prize is worth R3200 and will be a beautiful addition to an existing set of pots or as the first one in your AMC collection….and the winner is…..ta daaaaa….YAAVNA MOODLEY! Congratulations, Yaavna…we will be in touch to arrange the delivery! I would like to thank all of you who entered the competition and follow the blog…stay tuned for the next competition!

With the weather being this awful, I thought I should also share a recipe that is slightly different to our usual curries….stock cubes and tinned tomatoes are not standard ingredients in the Indian pantry but have become part of my kitchen must-haves. I suggest serving this casserole with mashed potatoes and bread too. The bread is great for mopping up the spicy sauce.

Happy cooking, everyone….stay warm and hearty!

Masala Chicken Casserole

1,4kg chicken portions, thighs and drumsticks
15ml sunflower oil

30ml sunflower oil
1large onion, thinly sliced
4 green chillies, sliced
10ml cumin seeds
20ml coriander seeds
4 cardamom pods
10ml black pepper
25ml crushed ginger and garlic
20ml red chilli powder
2ml turmeric
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
200ml boiled water
1 stock cube
Salt, to season
50ml full fat yoghurt, optional
Fresh coriander, to garnish

Here’s how

Heat a 28cm AMC Chef’s Pan and pour in the sunflower oil.
Seal the chicken skin side down in batches until deep golden in colour.
Remove the chicken from the pan and leave aside.

Heat the sunflower oil in a 30cm AMC Gourmet Pan.
Saute the sliced onion until pale golden in colour.
While the onion is cooking, place the cumin, coriander, cardamom and black pepper in a mortar.
Ensure the cardamom is finely pounded and leave aside.
Once the onions are golden, add the green chillies.
Stir the ginger and garlic into the onions and fry for a few seconds.
Add the red chilli powder and turmeric, mix to heat the spices for a few seconds.
Place the sealed chicken into the pan and stir to coat in the red chilli.
Add the pounded spices and stir well, taking care not to burn them.
Add the chopped tinned tomatoes and boiled water.
Crumble the stock cube into the pan and season very lightly with salt.
Simmer on a low heat until the chicken is tender.
Dilute the yoghurt in 30ml cold water and add to the chicken.
Once the sauce thickens and coats the chicken pieces, garnish with fresh coriander.