old fashioned recipes

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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The Great Idli Revival…

Yudhika's Durban tea party at Holi Cow...with Joanne Joseph.

Yudhika’s Durban tea party at Holi Cow…with Joanne Joseph.

There’s been a wave of enthusiasm about Idli…and some people have been asking what is this thing that makes everyone go a little dippy. A description doesn’t do them justice…they are steamed semolina cakes made with rice flour and fresh coconut. It’s a humble treat but an irresistible one!

I shared my recipe in the Post Newspaper a few weeks ago…I had been reminiscing about my childhood and the specialities that ‘oldies’ used to make….and I say ‘oldies’ fondly. I miss that feeling…eating and indulging in the food these ladies prepared could only leave you feeling loved in that very special way!

There’s been an overwhelming response to this recipe and a similar one to the snowball blog too…I was surprised that so many people shared the same sentiments about growing up in Durban and snowballs too! You can find the recipe here,

I had a group of phenomenal women around for a little Durban style tea party recently. We feasted on curry pies, samosas, idli and snowballs…what a treat to be in such great company but also to reconnect over the treasures that we relished from our childhood in Durban. Devi Sankaree, Joanne Joseph, Aasra Bramdeo, Krivani Pillay and Uveka Rangappa…thanks so much for a delightful afternoon at Holi Cow with loads of giggles!

Phenomenal women...Krivani Pillay SAFM, Devi Sankaree Govender - Carte Blanche, and Koo Govender - Phakama Women's Academy  enjoying the treats at Holi Cow!

Phenomenal women…Krivani Pillay SAFM, Devi Sankaree Govender – Carte Blanche, and Koo Govender – Phakama Women’s Academy…enjoying the treats at Holi Cow!

I have been making idli flat out since and there seems to be a bit of a revival…some people have rocked up at Holi Cow desperately seeking one, and others brought their kids over to give it a try…some have sent their kids to urgently collect! It gladdens my heart to know that there is so much love that can be shared through food.

I used fresh yeast for this recipe…you can use half the quantity of dried yeast if you prefer. I prefer the fresh yeast though….might be my imagination but I think there is a difference. I have to say that I can be quite superstitious and old fashioned with baking. There’s also been quite a few queries about where to get fresh yeast…it used to be available and kept in the refrigerated dairy section in supermarkets. With so few people baking, fresh yeast isn’t always available.

You can pop through to your local supermarket and get some from the bakery section. It is inexpensive and good supermarkets are happy to share…I normally get my yeast over the counter at the Broadacres Superspar or Hobart Superspar…I don’t think you would have much luck at Woolies or Checkers but the Spars are individually owned and there is a good chance they would help you out…you could also try your local bakery…it sounds like a schlep but it is worth the effort!

Steaming the idli in an AMC pan using the egg poacher

Steaming the idli in an AMC pan using the egg poacher

Now, you don’t have to run out and get an idli pot…I have one that I bought from India and it is nothing to hoo haa about. The pot is quite thin and rattles around on the hob….also the stacked idli stand leaves some of the dumplings squashed. I use an AMC egg poacher for this and it works perfectly. You do not need a fancy pot just for steaming them. It’s also better to steam them in one layer as they cook evenly and in the same time. If you are looking to start your AMC collection or adding to the existing one, click here for the latest AMC competition, https://yudhikayumyum.com/2015/05/04/cookware-for-queens-and-a-few-kings-too-the-amc-cookware-competition/

Take a browse through the blog….I love hearing from you and your comments point me in the right direction…so feel free to drop me a line or two!

Sweet Idli by Yudhika Sujanani

Sweet Idli by Yudhika Sujanani

Sweet Idli

Makes 18 – 24

Ingredients

10ml sugar
20g fresh yeast
500ml tepid water

250ml self raising flour
125ml rice flour
125ml semolina
250ml maize meal
2,5ml salt

225ml sugar
185ml desiccated coconut
125g melted butter

Here’s how

Place the sugar in a jug, add the fresh yeast and the water.
Stir well to dissolve and leave in a warm place.
Bubbles should appear on the surface – if not it means that the yeast is inactive.
Place the self raising flour in a mixing bowl.
Add the rice flour, semolina, maize meal and salt.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture.
Stir well to combine and ensure the mixture is smooth.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 3 – 4 hours or until the mixture has doubled in volume.
The batter should have large bubbles on the surface.
Stir the sugar, desiccated coconut and melted butter into the batter
Bring 500ml water to boil in a 24cm AMC pot.
Place an insert ring with a 6 egg poacher on the pot.
Grease the poaching cups with non stick spray.
Spoon the batter into the cups – it should be about 3/4 full.
Cover with a tight fitting lid and steam for 12 – 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean with the idli is tested.
Serve hot with butter and syrup.

A snowballs chance in hell…..

Yudhika Sujanani prepares Snowballs - another trip down memory lane!

Yudhika Sujanani prepares Snowballs – another trip down memory lane!

When I chat to people from my hometown, we inevitably end up time travelling through reminiscing about our childhood treats. The were wealthy families and poor ones too, but the one thing that they had in common was a love for all things delicious. Some of us look back and for sure, we feel like we were deprived of so much but we also take note of the things we had then that our kids will never experience…and childhood friendships are the first thing that come to mind. I don’t feel so bad about having so much less than most people did…it was just my perception at the time and without my so-called hand, my life could have turned out differently….but thinking back on those days, there was an unspoken reality that most of us from Isipingo faced…so many talented people thinking….I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell!

Without money, a troubled secondary education or a chance at tertiary education, there was a sense of hopelessness that hung over the town like an unspoken destiny. It was only much later that I realized that we never actually needed to leave to make it…growing up in Isipingo taught us the lessons we needed to succeed. It frustrated some to the point that they became the most driven people who have succeeded not only in South Africa but abroad too….a few names that pop into my mind…Nanda Soobben, the political cartoonist, and a missile aerodynamicist who’s name I care not to mention! That’s a story for another day….but the children of Isipingo made it to the big time….Doctor’s lawyers and accountants…not to mention entrepreneurs…the common thread amongst us was that we learnt to hustle! We did after all have a chance in hell, we just didn’t know it at the time!

People who left South Africa to holiday were celebrities and those who left to study abroad had super stardom status….hardly anyone ever got out so it was really newsworthy! We grew up in a time when we went to the Old Louis Botha airport to bid farewell to a person going on holiday. I can still remember my uncle leaving to London and my mom wearing her best silk sari to the airport. She pulled out an old leather suitcase from under the bed and in it was a treasure trove of saris…they smelled almost religious to me, with a faint hint of incense…also they were old which reminded me of how little she had and how much she treasured her little stash of silks. I remember burying my face in the pleats and pissing her off, but she had no idea then that the scent of her would live in my memory forever! She had incredibly long hair and she pulled it into a ponytail and in seconds almost like a magic trick, she coiled it into a fashionable bun…it was my job to pass her the hairpins and she got really irritated when I was a bit slow from day dreaming. How many of you remember this ritual….the sari, the makeup, the bun and lastly….the hairspray that made us choke….and then of course, she would cover her hair with a handkerchief to control the fine, wispy strays!

These were the days before new age cakes and baking…no red velvet cakes and croissants or chocolate ganache anything! Wareings Bakery was a name that every kid knew…they made pies, mock cream doughnuts and the amazing snowball too. On a school sports day, each kid got a doughnut or sometimes a snowball with a Coo-ee to go with it…it was tradition and something our kids will never experience! Snowballs and doughnuts from the corner shops around Isipingo were incredibly popular…Uncle Goolam from the Curry Tray, or Colleen’s Tearoom across the road from the Isipingo Beach Library or Jeena’s in Isipingo Hills…or the Busy Bee on Old Main Road…they displayed the doughnuts and snowballs on the counter, sometimes behind glass, but always on newsprint! They were fresh and delicious and we never tired of them! Anyone knows what happened to Wareings? I haven’t spotted their stuff in years and why is it so hard to find a good snowball???

After numerous requests, I finally got around to making up a batch…there is always some hesitation around a recipe that isn’t just a recipe…it’s so much more than that! It’s a memory of a time that life was a lot simpler, friendships were real, and no one real cared if you got the snowball coconut all over the back seat of the car! For some that don’t know what a snowball is, I can best describe it as a delicious whoopie pie, sandwiched together with an icing paste, dunked in a syrup and then rolled in tinted coconut! Keep them in an airtight biscuit tin for a day or so….if they last that long! I got the kids to help with weighing, measuring and coconut tinting, snowball syrup dunking too so click here to watch the clips…https://youtu.be/GgCqH2GL35s and here for how my kitchen helpers, Rushil and Tanvi, finished up their task so watch for their theatrical ending in this clip, https://youtu.be/vn8KBCAiGmQ

Lastly, I dedicate this recipe to all those ‘Snowballs’ from Isipingo!

Snowballs

Makes 10 – 12

Ingredients

400ml desiccated coconut
Few drops pink colouring

140g butter
125ml sugar
2 large eggs
5ml vanilla essence
375ml self-raising flour
Pinch of salt

For sandwiching the cakes…
200ml icing sugar
20ml boiled water

For the syrup…
120ml sugar
120ml water
150ml smooth apricot
7ml red food colouring

Place the desiccated coconut in a mixing and add few drops of pink food colouring. Rub the colouring into the coconut to tint the coconut until evenly coloured.

Kitchen assistant on coconut duty...Tanvi Sujanani on the job!

Kitchen assistant on coconut duty…Tanvi Sujanani on the job!

Cream the butter until light and fluffy, then gradually add the sugar.
Continue creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Whisk the eggs lightly then gradually add this to the creamed butter, add a 2 teaspoons flour with the eggs to prevent curdling.
Add the salt and vanilla essence.
Add the flour and work the mixture into a soft dough.
Divide the dough into portions – I weighed them into 25g balls.

Snowballs...ready for the oven!

Snowballs…ready for the oven!

Roll each one until smooth and place on a baking tray lined with greased paper.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170°C for 12 – 15 minutes. They should be pale in colour with the bases turning light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Just out the oven....

Just out the oven….

Make the syrup – heat the sugar and water in a 24cm AMC pot. Bring the syrup to the boil once the sugar has dissolved. Add the apricot jam and simmer until the syrup is slightly thick – not too thick as it will prevent the syrup from penetrating the snowball. Tint the syrup with red food colouring.

Snowball syrup made with sugar, water and apricot jam...in an AMC Cookware unit!

Snowball syrup made with sugar, water and apricot jam…in an AMC Cookware unit!

Once the snowballs are cool, mix the icing sugar and boiled water into a thick, smooth paste, then sandwich the snowballs together.

Glueing the snowballs together!

Glueing the snowballs together!

Sandwiching the snowballs....

Sandwiching the snowballs….

Leave to harden slightly – this takes a minute or two, then dip the snowballs into the hot syrup and toss them a few times to make sure they are coated. I used tongs for this as the syrup was quite warm.

Place them into the coconut and toss to coat evenly.

Pretty in pink...the snowball  done and dusted!

Pretty in pink…the snowball done and dusted!

Dust off the excess coconut and place on baking paper.

These are delicious eaten fresh but may be stored for up to two days.