Thursday, 21 December 2017




EDITED: This recipe was featured on Cook Blogg share link party on 2nd January 2018, check here.

Christmas is a time of joy and fun for everybody, the same is for me and my family. A lot of fun activities take place inside and outside our house during the Christmas season or I should say for the whole month of December.

The first one is the decorating of the Christmas tree, which my grandkids really like and surprisingly, every year they bring in some new ideas for the decoration of the tree. Some of the ornaments are made by them in their schools every year, under the supervision of their teachers and some ornaments we buy from the shops. This year we got a white Christmas tree.

The other fun activity inside the house is the elf on the shelf, every morning the kids are so excited when they look for the elf and really enjoy all the places they find elf sitting. The next activity which they really like is the opening of the gifts on Christmas day, which they get from Santa.

Apart from these indoor activities, we go shopping, which is a lot of fun during this festive season because shops and malls are decorated with Christmas decorations and lighting. Another fun activity which we do as a family is a tour/ride of the neighbourhood area to see the decorations and lights of all the different houses. Some houses look really beautiful with a lot of decorations and colorful lighting. There is so much effort and money that goes into these decorations, it is commendable that people put in so much effort during these dark nights!

The other attraction in our town is the Airdrie festival of lights, which is one of Canada's largest light displays. This festival attracts visitors from the past 21 years and is open to the public from 6-9 pm every day in the month of December. If you are nearby and interested in this event, here is the link.

There is another family-friendly fun activity that takes place in Calgary is the Calgary Zoo lights. These lights are the center of attraction in Calgary, and a highlight during the December holidays for many Calgary families. So these zoo lights are a package of fun and learning activities for the kids. A lot of activities are taking place at the Calgary Zoo, even in the winter months, they are teaching children about the migration, hibernation, conservation and behavior of all types of animal. Here is the link

Coming to the recipe, this Christmas instead of baking any cookies I made this - a dried fruit cake. This is a very simple, tried and tested recipe in which I have used buttermilk. I am very sure; if you try this recipe you will enjoy this cake as I did. To make instant buttermilk, take one cup of milk and add one tbs of lemon juice/vinegar and let it stand for 10 minutes at room temperature and the buttermilk is ready.

Recipe link- Joy of


  • 1 and a half cup (200 grams) all-purpose flour/white bread flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar (150 grams sugar)
  • 2 cups dried fruits (300 grams)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (115 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  • Grease a cake pan with some butter and sprinkle flour on top of it.
  • Heat the oven to 190 degrees C.
  • Sieve the all-purpose flour with baking soda and add sugar and cardamom powder in it, now mix the dried fruits in it.
  • Mix all wet ingredients-butter, essence and buttermilk.
  • Now mix all the wet and dry ingredients together, mix well and pour the batter into the greased tray and bake for 50 minutes, till the toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool on a cooling rack, slice and serve.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017




In the 80's when I was in Kenya, I stayed in a remote area for a year, where there was only one boarding school together with 50 teachers’ houses and very few shops and a post office outside the school, where we could buy some basic essentials and nothing else around for many kilometers. One day my neighbour, who was a very sweet African lady, informed me, that every Wednesday there is a market (farmer's market) outside the school campus, where farmers (mostly ladies) come from nearby villages and sell their products. She asked me if I am interested in shopping for a few things from them.

I enquired about what they were selling, then agreed and told her that I will accompany her because I didn't know the local language of that area. Next Wednesday when I went with her to the market, I was surprised to see that those women were not using the weighing scale and measuring their small sized fruits and vegetables with cups, like one full cup of berries is one shilling and big fruits and vegetables they were counting and selling like a pile of 4 tomatoes is one shilling. Initially, I thought why so, but later I realised that they are subsistence farmers who cannot afford the weighing scales.

The other thing which really surprised me was, to see them selling red kidney beans and black-eyed beans in those cups. Until that time I had no idea that Africans also grow and eat those beans. Let me remind my readers that, at that time there was no internet and Google and that was my first overseas trip to Africa. I asked my neighbour lady, whether they also grow and eat these beans and informed her that we Indians also like them. I was really glad to see those beans, which they were selling at a very reasonable price, and bought them along with other vegetables and fruits from that small village market.

Black-eyed beans stew or curry is a famous dish of the state of Punjab in India and it is regularly made in our house. This is one of my favourite dishes and my elder grandson always enjoys and appreciates his grandma whenever I make this dish. Last week when I made this curry, he really enjoyed with rice and told me, “You are the best grandma in the whole world”. I love hearing such compliments from my grandchildren, they make my day! This recipe is very simple, healthy and tasty; this stew can be enjoyed with rice, naan, and roti or dinner bun with some fresh green vegetable salad.



  • 1 cup black-eyed beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tbs tomato puree or one big tomato, finely chopped
  • 1tsp ginger and garlic paste
  • 2tbs butter or oil
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp garam masala (optional)
  • salt and chilli powder to taste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder


  • Rinse black-eyed beans two/three times in water and soak them overnight in three cups of water.
  • Add salt and turmeric powder and boil in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes after the whistle or boil in a pot for 30 minutes till they are done.
  • For garnishing (tadka) heat the butter in a frying pan, add cumin seeds, then garlic/ginger paste, saute for 2 minutes, add onion and fry them until golden brown. Add tomato puree and mix well.
  • Add garnishing (tadka) and garam masala in boiled black eyed beans.
  • Serve hot with naan, roti or white rice.

A slow cooker can be used instead of a pressure cooker to cook this curry, in that case, you will have to cook for 7-8 hours on high. This can be served to three/four people.

I am sharing this recipe for the following blog parties Cook once and eat Twice and Meatless Monday
and  Hearth and Soul blog party and with Fiesta Friday, and Cook blog share and My Legume Love affairs with Lisa and Susan, and with Full plate Thursday