Friday, September 23, 2011

Birth announcement

There's a new addition to the cast of characters on One Hot Stove. This weekend V and I welcomed our precious daughter into the world. Her name is Lila (rhymes with vanilla). She is incredibly tiny and adorable and we are just so in love with our wee babe. She has already demonstrated an inborn ability to throw world class hissy fits when things don't go her way. The nurses at the hospital informed me that "this one sure has a set of lungs on her".

Big brother Dalu looks at her as if he is thinking, "What is this- some new kind of chihuahua?". He gave her a good sniff and then more or less proceeded to ignore her. He does look very concerned when she starts bawling in the middle of the night.

My mother is here to help us with baby Lila and she has been force-feeding me lovingly supplying me with lots of great food. Here are two sweets that are traditionally eaten by post partum and lactating women in Maharashtra-

The first is called dinkacha ladoo- a sweet calorie-dense confection of edible gum and many different dried fruits and nuts. This batch was bought at Chheda Stores in Andheri, Bombay and sent over by my aunt.

The second is called aleevache laddoo- my mother made these from seeds that are called aleev or haleev in Marathi. Aleev seeds have been found to contain a substance similar to the obstetric drug methergine which is used to help the uterus contract post-partum. They are also rich in calcium and iron so everyone, post partum or not, can benefit from eating these seeds. Anita has a post with pictures of aleev seeds and links to information about them.

This is how my mother made them:

  1. Soak aleev seeds (she used approximately half a cup) for 2-3 hours. They swell up and become gelatinous. 
  2. Mix the soaked, drained seeds with 2 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed) coconut and 2 to 2.5 cups grated jaggery.
  3. Heat on a slow flame to let the jaggery melt into a syrup, then keep cooking and stirring until the mixture cooks down and leaves the sides of the pan. It will come together in a lump.
  4. Form the mixture into ladoos or eaten as a halwa. You can use some ghee in preparing the ladoos but it is not necessary. 

The blog is an important part of my life and I certainly don't intend to neglect it entirely in the coming months as our family settles into a new routine. What I will do is to post as and when I can. Life is all about balancing the priorities; when I have something to say, you can be sure I'll come and tell you about it. Meanwhile, I continue to be very grateful for the love and good wishes that I get from my blogging friends and the readers of One Hot Stove. Thank you all!