A couple of months ago, I heard of a program in our community that delivers food to seniors in need. Someone came up with the idea to add homemade bread to the food delivery as a gesture of love, and asked for volunteer bakers. I volunteered to send two loaves, and decided that one would be sweet and the other savory. I ended up being a cake baked in a bread pan and a bread baked in a cake pan.
This happened back in March, and for the sweet bread, I decided on a pumpkin loaf to use up the last can of pumpkin puree for the season. I found a recipe for easy pumpkin bread that uses a whole can of pumpkin and makes 2 loaves- one to share, and one for home.
For the savory bread, I wanted to make a focaccia, because it is a versatile bread that can be made into a sandwich, or toasted, or served with soup. I hunted for a recipe with the main criterion being that it would make two loaves, again, one to share and the other to keep.
And somehow I stumbled upon this gem of a recipe. The ridiculously easy focaccia- as it is titled- is really, truly that easy. I followed the recipe closely. However, I was able to avoid using plastic wrap, just covering the bowl with a lid and also avoided lining the cake pans with parchment. My cake pans are dark non-stick metal and the focaccia slid out easily after baking.
This recipe is a total keeper! With no effort at all, I got focaccia that was flavorful, airy, pillowy with all the good hallmarks of pav, being crusty on the outside but soft on the inside.
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This weekend I made the focaccia again, as a pav to dunk into pav bhaji.
My pav bhaji recipe has been a popular one on this blog, and one I've used for years, and I made the same recipe, just in an instant pot, using the saute mode followed by the pressure cooking mode.
- Saute 1 minced green pepper
- Add ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, pav bhaji masala
- Add 1 cup of tomato puree
- Add rough chopped 2 potatoes and 1 medium head cauliflower.
- Pressure cook for 4 minutes
- Natural pressure release (or quick release after 10-15 minutes)
- Mash it up
- Simmer for a bit to thicken
|IP pav bhaji|
|Serve with onion, cilantro, lemon and extra spice! |
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Some good reads from the last few months-
Three Keys by Kelly Yang. This is the sequel to Yang's middle-grade book, Front Desk, which I adored. Mia Tang is back- a sixth-grader who helps her parents run a motel. This book is set in the 90s and covers the immigration-related political events in California at the time.
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga. This book was a very thoughtful and unexpected gift. The cover art is gorgeous. 12 year old Jude tells her story- in free verse- of leaving an unstable situation in Syria with her mother and fleeing to her uncle's home in suburban America. With ups and downs, she finds her footing in middle school. A beautiful story!
“There is an Arabic proverb that says:
She makes you feel
like a loaf of freshly baked bread.
It is said about
The type of people
who help you
Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This one is a non-fiction parenting book by my favorite duo who wrote another book that I adore. My two kids are typical siblings in the "can't live with you; can't live without you" style, and it is always nice to find ways to quell some of the sibling drama that inevitably happens. A few of their tips:
Feelings-- Acknowledge negative feelings about a sibling in words and express what the child might wish. Show better ways to express anger but stop their hurtful actions.
Comparisons-- Avoid unfavorable comparisons AND favorable comparisons. Instead describe what you see, what you feel or what needs to be done.
Equality-- Instead of worrying about giving equally, focus on each child’s needs. Instead of claiming equal love, show each child how they are loved uniquely. Give according to need.
Roles-- Don’t lock a child into a role and don’t let the child themselves or their sibling lock them into a role (the bully, the victim, the smart one, the pretty one)
Fights-- In case of physical fights, pay attention to the injured party, not the aggressor.
Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz. Just a good escapist cozy mystery. Or actually, two cozy mysteries in one book!!
Humans by Brandon Stanton. Stanton goes around the world interviewing people. Everyone- absolutely everyone- has a story and Stanton wants to hear it. This book is a collection of some of the photos and stories and it gave me all the feels. Stanton runs a blockbuster Instagram account- here's one of my favorite stories that he has featured- I dare you not to tear up.
The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon. I read this book for a task in the Read Harder challenge: Read a book that demystifies a common mental illness. Solomon has written an absolute tome on depression- part memoir, part investigative journalism, part history.
How are you doing? What are you cooking and eating?