This year I decided to participate in the interesting A to Z Challenge. The challenge required me to blog every single day in April (except Sundays) upon something that starts with the corresponding letter for the day. I started with a great start, got sluggish […]
I have got the gardening bug for a while now. Although I must accept that I am not really the caring type and often forgot to even water my plants. But whenever I can, I do my best to make sure they are well cared for.
I must have marveled at a tiny ant striding at its own will or enjoyed water pouring out of a sprinkler by bathing in it, but all that must have happened when I was still a child. As I turned into a grown up, I forgot the beauty that lies in the bits of insignificant mundane objects. Now with Little B, I am rediscovering joy and life once again; by not looking at the big picture, but by zooming into a moth while sitting in the middle of the road.
So when I saw the dragon fruit lying unattended in the grocery store, I knew it would be a perfect experiment for me and Little B.
To some dragon fruit looks unappetizing, a little odd and hence it is left alone. But believe me when I say this, if you think kiwis are amazing, wait till you have your first dragon fruit. Dragon fruit or pitaya comes from a cactus tree. Now that’s the first you might have heard of! It looks like dragon’s flames and hence the name. It is sweet with flavor and texture matching with that of kiwi or a ripened soft pear. And just like kiwi it has tiny edible seeds in its flesh.
Dragon fruit might intrigue you and you might wonder what to do with it. However, it is quite easy to prepare and enjoy a dragon fruit.
Dragon Fruit Preparation and Tasting
Rinse the dragon fruit as is under water to clean it. Though we will be removing the skin of the fruit completely, however, I feel better giving it a good wash anyway.
Cut off both the ends of the fruit.
Slice the fruit down the middle to cut it into half.
The moment you cut the fruit, you will see this black-polka-dotted white flesh encased in a pink shell. This one is one of the most beautiful fruits I have ever seen in my life.
Nature is such an amazing engineer! Just enjoy the sight with your kid and take in this lesson of wonder!
Keep a half upside down and start pulling the peel of the flesh with your hands gently.
The flesh of the fruit will be out and you can cut them into desired pieces.
Dragon Fruit Seed Planting
A dragon fruit has hundreds of tiny seeds scattered all across its flesh. Google told us that these seeds can be planted at home and we were all game for it. Here’s how we did it –
Using a fork, gently scrape some seeds off the flesh of the fruit. Collect the seeds on a paper towel. Just spread the seeds a little apart. I grabbed about 30 seeds or so.
Take a small pot and fill it with some potting mix. The pot that I took was about 4 inches deep and I filled it halfway with the potting mix.
Tear away the excess of the paper towel with seeds and place it gently on the potting mix. Cover it with more soil, just a thin covering of the soil.
Sprinkle a little water on the soil. Cover the pot with a lid or cover it with a cling wrap.
The Lesson in Patience
Once we planted our dragon fruit seeds, there was nothing else for us to do but to wait patiently. Initially we tried checking our seeds every day. However, we could spot no activity so we started checking them only once in a couple of days.
Some seeds germinate in a couple of days, but not dragon fruit seeds. It took our seeds almost two weeks to germinate. It has been more than a month now and still the size of the seedlings has been just an inch.
Hence, the lesson in patience. I know children are restless and it is almost impossible for them to pay attention to something for long. However, we must still try and make them understand the importance of patience. I think our dragon fruit planting experiment did that for Little B in some ways. She is trying to understand that sometimes it is easier to get things, but sometimes, it takes a lot of time and patience.
One Month Update
Ma Have You Got The H1N1? Maybe, And So I Might Die Today (blog at mycity4kids.com for Mother’s Day)
Writing gives me happiness. And blogging lets me share my happiness with you guys. A while back I got the opportunity to blog for MyCity4Kids. I have always liked the website. However, writing there as a blogger made me fall in love with it. I feel like a […]
There is something so empowering about reading a book while breastfeeding. I felt along with all the fats, carbohydrates and antibodies, it was also the thoughts, predicaments and resolutions of the author that I was passing on to Little B. What better can I give […]
Sometimes I feel that Diwali is absolutely overrated. And at other times I feel that Diwali is the purpose behind everything else happening throughout the year. As if I celebrate other festivals only so that they can lead me to Diwali. The thought of it is a bliss!
Diwali is a lot of hard work as well. It calls for cleaning, decorations, a lot of shopping and even more cooking. This Diwali there was just too much going on, I had dozens of things on my mind. I even felt as if I was just rushing from one thing to another.
Then in the evening, I lit up the very first diya and I felt the frenzy inside me going away. The light brought warmth and it brought calm. Now that I had this twinkling lamp in my hand, every ‘up and down the hill’ effort that I did throughout the day was worth it.
And it definitely felt special that I was sharing that moment with Mr B and Little B.
Here are some sights from my festival of lights –
Decorations for Diwali – Craft done by me and Little B from Eric Carle’s tissue paper project.
Mehndi on the eve of Diwali,
Early morning puja,
My Ganesha from Hampi,
Every time Little B wants to play Lego, she wants to play with all sets together. And every time she is done playing, I have to clean up by sorting and storing them in a couple of different ways. This storing was making me go mad!
Isn’t there an easier way to organize Lego which makes playing with it and cleaning afterwards simpler?
For the last few weeks I am hooked to the YouTube videos of the four wild guys of Sorted. The amount of ‘crazy’ they bring into their kitchen is surely entertaining. They monkey around and use shortcuts to cook food. Their recipes are easy and seem pretty quick. But I have often wondered, do their recipes work?
I saw them cook Ratatouille and their dish looked amazing. AND mouth watering enough for me to finally give Sorted a try.
This is basically Thomas Keller’s recipe of Ratatouille with some tweaks by Sorted. I edited the recipe further based on what ingredients I could find and what I couldn’t.
Ratatouille From Ratatouille Recipe
What You Will Need
For The Sauce
2 medium-sized red bell peppers
6 medium-sized tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon saffron
1/2 cup water
Salt and Pepper to taste
For the Ratatouille
2 small eggplants
1 large onion
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
3 medium-sized tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon dried thyme (fresh thyme can also be used)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon grape vinegar
How to Go About It
Cooking Red Bell Peppers
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
De-seed and cut the red bell peppers into big pieces. I cut each bell pepper into 5-6 pieces.
Drizzle olive oil on them with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Let them cook in the oven for 25 minutes. They will look soft and a little charred around the edges.
Roughly chop the garlic and the tomatoes.
Heat up about a 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add in garlic and saffron. And then immediately add in the chopped tomatoes.
Also add in salt and pepper to taste.
Add in 1/2 cup of water and let the sauce come to a simmer. Once that happens, cover the sauce and let it simmer for 10 minutes. The tomatoes will soften, the water will get incorporated and the saffron will get the whole sauce an amazing orange color.
Add in this tomato sauce and roasted bell peppers in a blender and blend into a smooth sauce.
For the Ratatouille
Slice up the eggplants, onion and tomatoes into slices with each being about 1 cm thick. Cut yellow and green bell peppers into pieces approximately the same size as the size of other vegetables.
Dump all sliced vegetables in a big bowl. Add in finely chopped garlic, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss and coat all vegetables gently.
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Ladle the sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. We do not want excess of sauce, so just add about 3/4 cup of sauce for now.
Arrange all sliced vegetables in an overlapping pattern. Keep adding and fill up the dish.
You basically want enough sauce so that your vegetables are dipped up to half. So if you feel that the sauce that you added earlier wasn’t enough, add more around the edges.
Drizzle grape vinegar and some more olive oil on the dish.
Let the ratatouille bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. After that increase the temperature of oven to 200 degrees Celsius and bake it again for another 30 minutes.
Take out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Dig in!
I should mention that I had some sauce and about a handful of raw sliced vegetables left from the dish. I froze the sauce and vegetables separately and used them a couple of days later for another serving of ratatouille.
My verdict on Sorted’s Ratatouille recipe?
The dish Ratatouille sounds so French and you might feel it is one of those things that you can eat only at a restaurant. But Sorted’s recipe made cooking the dish so easy that it was unbelievable. Thank you Sorted, you’ve got a fan for life!
I am not going to ask my daughter to stop dreaming because she might get a few nightmares along the way. I am not going to ask her to stop hiking in woods alone because she might find a stranger there. I am not going to stop her from picking up bees in her palm because one of them might sting.