This year has been an interesting adjustment for No4. Her best friend from daycare, Miss A, went to school. No4 was left behind, as one of the oldest children at the centre. While she loves that sense of being in charge, she really misses Miss A. She has taken to bringing a comfort toy to daycare so that she has something to cuddle when she feels like she is missing Miss A too much. I remember when the older boys were young and they wanted to take a comfort toy somewhere, I would stress that it would get lost. By the fourth child, I’m much less bothered by this. Yes, the favourite comfort toy can’t leave the house – the drama that would ensue if the blanket, buffalo, crocodile or dragon got lost isn’t worth it. No4’s second favourite toys often come on adventures with us. Lately, it’s been Lavender Bear, and this morning it was Chase the Dog.
Fortunately, Miss A goes to school with the older boys so No4 gets to see her before school a few days a week. The friendship continues, and No4 was able to spend the first few weeks of school helping Miss A acclimatise to the school environment. The beauty of being a younger sibling is that No4 has spent most of her life at school already. She’s been there for drop off and pick up most days. She’s grown up playing on the grounds and having her brother’s friends interact with her.
All the teachers know her and have watched her grow up. So when Miss A was very upset one morning in that first week, it was no problem for No4 to go and sit with Miss A and her class during assembly. I’d like to think that having No4 there in those first few weeks was also helpful for Miss A. Now that we are almost at the end of term one, Miss A has adjusted well to school and is enjoying herself. Together these two small people play wildly in the playground before school. When I arrive at after school care with No4 to collect the brothers, No4 goes charging off in search of Miss A.
Next year, No4 will be a school kid too, and I hope that this friendship remains as sweet.
Holi is an ancient Hindu festival that celebrates spring, colours and love. While in the Southern Hemisphere, it is autumn when Holi is traditionally celebrated, that shouldn’t stop us folk from down under enjoying a few traditional sweets.
The selection I have chosen below are all quite simple to make with simple ingredients. These recipes all call for the use of ghee; which is clarified butter. You can make it from butter by placing the butter into a pot, and melting it. Once it is melted, keep the butter at a very slow boil for about 25 minutes. The milk proteins will separate, so you have a layer on top a melted bit in the middle and some bits on the bottom of the pan. Use a slotted spoon to remove the top layer, then cook until the bits on the bottom go slightly brown. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Now you have ghee.
For these three recipes, you’ll need just over 1.5 cups of ghee, which you can make from 2 cups of butter.
Or you can just buy ghee from an Indian supermarket.
- 1 cup raw cashew nuts
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1⁄4 cup water
Put the nuts in the blender and smash into a mash. Put the sugar and water into a pan and dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and throw in the cashews. Mix well for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and let cool until you can touch it. Wet your hands and roll into a ball. Rub a baking pan with ghee, then put the ball onto it. Once it is cool enough to work with, but still warm, grease your hands with ghee and knead the mixture until soft. Roll it into balls, or if you want into a thin layer and cut into pieces or shapes. If the mixture is a bit sticky after it has cooled, roll it with extra cashew nuts. I decorated mine with a few extra nuts.
Seven Cups Burfi
- 1 cup Besan (chickpea flour)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup grated coconut
- 2.5 cups sugar
- 1 cups of ghee
- 1⁄2 tsp cardamom powder
- Sliced Almonds to garnish
Grease a baking tray and keep aside.
Roast the sliced almonds in a tsp of ghee until a light brown colour. Put them aside. In the same pan, over a low heat, put in the besan and stir until the colour changes slightly but isn’t burnt. Put it aside.
In another pan, heat the sugar and milk slowly until the sugar dissolves. Add in the besan slowly, then the coconut and cardamom powder. Add the melted ghee. Mix well to avoid lumps. Keep stirring it over a low heat until the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan and looks porous (has holes). Immediately pour the mixture onto the greased tray. Use a spatula to level it out, then sprinkle the roasted almonds on top. As it cools, cut into pieces.