Friday, April 24, 2015

Artisan Bread in 5

Many of you must have heard of the bestseller bread book “Artisan bread in five minutes”. I thought of giving it’s basic recipe a try and boy was I pleased with the results!


This is how my bread looked:

artisan bread in 5

I couldn’t believe that we baked it at home!

artisan bread in 5

Doesn’t it look gorgeous? Ready to be devoured?

artisan bread in 5

I followed the basic recipe as outlined here except that I increased the rising time before baking to around 90 minutes. For baking I used a baking stone and preheated the oven for 30 minutes at the minimum, as suggested. Also I used a parchment paper to make it easy to slide the shaped dough into the oven and after around 20 minutes removed it (again suggested in the recipe).

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cleaning hood microwave filters

Till I came across this post I had no idea that microwave vents needed to be cleaned! Oh and especially after all the cooking we do, it certainly should be. We tried out the method outlined in the post and it works like magic! literally!

Here’s how our filters looked before cleaning:

cleaning microwave filters

and after cleaning:


cleaning microwave filters

Can you imagine?!?! The way to clean is pretty simple! Boil a big pot of water (pot should be big enough that you can put your filters in it). Once the water boils, add half a cup of baking soda (yes the elixir!). Then insert your filters. You’ll see grease and dirt getting off right away! Let the filters be in the pot till they’re clean and then just rinse!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Its time to plant!

Once again its that time of the year when activity in the garden begins!


I too these photos 1-2 weeks back when we cleaned up the bed to get it ready for spring plantation. Oh I should’ve taken the before photo! The beds look so good now – am so proud of them! Smile


We got a staple gun this year and stapled the chicken wire as well as the weed barrier to the raised bed. The beds look so neat and tidy after that! {pat our backs}


The two little plants that you see are basil and lavender. With some regret I need to report that the basil is probably not going to make it Sad smile After we planted there’ve been plenty of nights where the temperature dropped a little below 40F and I thought that wasn’t much to worry about; but I guess that took a toll on the basil. I’ve never had luck with basil. This is probably the 3rd year but somehow I don’t lose hope with it. I know hot peppers won’t do well in our climate and probably the same is true for basil but I think I chose to live in denial. When I see Lidia (from Lidia’s Kitchen) pluck fresh basil from her herb garden I want to do exactly that. I guess that’s what keeps up the hope Smile Maybe this is the last chance basil gets! Enough about basil. Let’s talk about other veggies. We also planted a little strawberry plant; then spinach, radish and coriander – all from seeds. Finally some 80 onion bulbs! Yeah we don’t know what we’ll do with them Embarrassed smile So stay tuned and I’ll post a new photo in a few weeks with the updates!

Friday, April 3, 2015

A House in the sky

A house in the sky

This book is a true story of a woman who spent more than a year in captivity in Somalia! It starts at the very beginning – with the childhood of Amanda. How, where and in what circumstances she grew up. Once she grew up, she took up a job as a waitress and one fine day she decided that she would save money from her job and try to travel and see the world. So she started saving money and soon she’d enough to make her first trip. After her trip she was fueled up and realized that she would like to do it more often. So it became a regular feature with her – save money for a few months and then travel to some far away place. As she started to do it more often, she became more bold and courageous; and started to venture into dangerous lands. Some didn’t do any damage to her, while some others almost cost her her life. One such being Somalia.

Almost the first half of the book is about her background – her growing up, travelling the world and so on. The second half is all about her captivity. It’s heart rendering and hair raising and sometimes hard to absorb (and that makes you wonder that if you can’t even read it how did this woman take it all in and still maintain her courage). Somewhere there she mentions that she always thought that at heart every person was good but experiencing what she was, she wasn’t sure of that anymore. I couldn’t agree more – I too would always like to believe that inside each of us there’s good but when you see humans treating other humans like they wouldn’t even treat animals, you have to tell yourself that no there are people who are inherently bad. There’s another anecdote that stuck with me. On one of her trips, in Afghanistan, she met with a sudanese woman in prison. She was there for drug trafficking. The imprisoned woman told her that she was sorry that she did what she did and that could Amanda please help her get out of prison. To which the author replied that somebody ought to pay for the crime that she committed. When the author was in captivity, she remembered this instance and realized that she was so wrong to not offer any consolation to her. It made me realize that before trying to be “right”, we should always try to put ourselves in others’ position. What the author said was not wrong, but in that situation nobody needed to hear right/wrong. One needed to hear what would be good for the heart.

The book is very well written. Since I’d read the summary I knew this was about the author being kidnapped so I spent the first half of the book for that to happen. I would highly recommend reading it.