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Happy New Year: Recipes for Holidays and Weekend

Here are a few recipes you can try at home; they are simple and easy to make

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Recipes for Holidays
Source: MyRecipes

The winter is here and so are the holidays and the much-awaited second weekends of a new year. Everyone looks forward to a treat on this day. Here are a few recipes you can try at home; they are simple and easy to make

Rich Plum Cake

Ingredients

1 cup raisins

1 cup figs chopped

1 cup dried apricots chopped

1/2cup dried ginger chopped

½ cup candied orange peel chopped

¾ cup Brandy

225 gm butter melted

380 gm flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp salt

300 gm breakfast sugar

150 gm packed brown sugar

4 large eggs

2 tbsp molasses

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 cup toasted walnuts

½ cup apricot jam

½ cup warm water

Optional

Liquid fondant

Marzipan (Optional)

Method:

Stir together dried fruit, candied ginger, candied orange peel and brandy. Keep overnight. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Butter two 9/5 inch loaf tins (you can use what you have). Line them with butter paper. In a bowl mix dry ingredients — flour, baking powder, spices and salt.

In a mixer beat butter and both the sugars until smooth. Mix eggs one at a time followed by molasses and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture. Mix till smooth. Add the fruit mixture and walnuts.

Divide the batter between the two tins. Bake for 1 hour and 35 minutes or till the tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and brush the top with more liquor.

Remove and place on a wired rack. Heat the jam and water till smooth and glaze the top of the warmed cake. Once completely cooled you can spread some liquid fondant and decorate with marzipan Christmas cutouts.

Brownies

Ingredients

200 gm best quality dark chocolate, (70% cocoa solids)

150 gm plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

120 gm soft unsalted butter

200 gm vanilla sugar

2 eggs, plus 1 yolk

4 tbsp freshly made strong coffee

For Buttercream

140 gm softened butter

280 gm icing sugar

Few drops of edible green color.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the bottom and sides of a 30 x 22cm roasting pan or baking dish with kitchen foil. Break the chocolate into pieces and gently melt in a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes until really light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the extra yolk. Pour in the melted chocolate and the coffee. Fold in the sifted flour.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Scatter the hazelnuts over the top, gently pushing them into the dough. Bake for about 25 minutes. Test with a skewer – it shouldn’t come out completely clean but the mixture should not feel raw. (It will go on cooking after you take it out of the oven.)

Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into triangles.

Beat softened butter in a mixer till light and fluffy. Slowly add the icing sugar. Add the colour and beat till well mixed. Scrape out from the mixer bowl and scoop into the piping bag already fitted with a 4 number round nozzle. Pipe onto the triangle brownie as shown in the picture. Serve immediately.

Just because you are Diabetic doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a treat on this day. Here is a sugar-free treat for all the Diabetics out there.

Sugar-free Christmas pudding

Ingredients

250 gm raisins

300 gm sultanas

200 gm currants

190 gm chopped dried figs

250 gm butter

200 ml Brandy

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground black pepper

Melted butter or olive oil, for greasing

300 gm breadcrumbs with crusts removed

125 ml hot milk

125 ml sweet red wine

5 eggs

90 gm sugar-free powder

Brandy butter

125 gm unsalted butter, softened 125 g

50 gm sugar-free powder

125 ml brandy

Method:

Combine raisins, sultanas, currants, figs, butter or suet, brandy, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and black pepper in a large glass or ceramic bowl. .over and refrigerate overnight. Brush a 2.5-litre pudding basin with butter or oil to grease well. Soak breadcrumbs with hot milk and sherry in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, use an electric beater to beat eggs, sugar-free powder and salt in a separate bowl until pale. Stir into breadcrumb mixture.

Add fruit mixture and mix well. Spoon into the pudding basin. Cover with greaseproof paper and secure tightly with string. Place the basin in a large saucepan. Add enough boiling water to come three-quarters up the side of the basin. Cover and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 7 hours. Check often and top up with boiling water as needed.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan-forced. Remove basin from saucepan. Remove the greaseproof paper and bake the pudding for 30 minutes. Boil the pudding for a further 2 hours on the day of serving. Serve with brandy butter sauce.

Brandy butter

Use an electric beater to beat butter with sugar-free powder in a bowl until pale. Add the brandy a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Place in a serving bowl.

Remember, Christmas is a day of giving and joy. Celebrate it with family and friends.

PS: Get yourself vaccinated; stay safe, stay healthy. Maintain COVID-19 protocols. Always wear a mask properly – it should cover your mouth and nose — when out in public places.

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Lifestyle

6 indoor plants and their upkeep

While almost all green plants can be kept indoors, some plants need more attention than others. Here best indoor plants for home in India.

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best indoor plants for home in india
Source: @Safer Brand

While almost all green plants can be kept indoors, some plants need more attention than others which can be cumbersome if you have a busy schedule. But that doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with greenery. Let’s look at some best indoor plants for a home in India.

Rubber tree plant

It is fairly easy to maintain but is fussy when it comes to the amount of water it needs. Here is what you need to know if you have this plant. Rubber plants are rainforest specimens. While they need consistent moistness, they don’t want it to be soggy. Ensure that the pot the plant is in has adequate draining holes.

Use a dish under the pot lined with pebbles to catch extra water. This will keep the roots from sitting in water but provide the humidity as the water evaporates.

Croton plant

Its beautifully patterned leaves can brighten any space. Now that the rains are here in full force, it is important to ensure that you take care of all your plants. Overwatering can lead to root rot. An important thing to keep in mind is that the pot is well-drained. There is moisture in the air, overwatering will harm the plant. Croton also needs at least six to seven hours of sunshine but excess heat will damage its leaves. Try and keep the plant either East or West facing to make sure that the leaves don’t lose their colour.

English Ivy

It looks pretty and while it may look like it is an easy plant to look after, it is not the case. Like any other plant, this plant too will rot and its leaves will turn brown if you overwater them. Before you water it, check the soil. If it is moist, don’t water it. Make sure that the soil is loose and is kept in a well-drained pot. The plant grows in bright light but it is away from direct sunlight. It is a beautiful plan that can be kept inside the home; potting it in a hanging basket is an excellent way to enjoy the beauty of this plant.

Fern

The delicate curled leaves that unfurl into long, lacy fronds look pretty. Go into the forest and you will find ferns carpeting the floor. They also make a great houseplant. They can grow in any kind of pot — clay to hanging baskets to ceramic and don’t require full sun to thrive.

But Indian weather is different. A plant that may live happily in any other environment needs a lot of care here. They love moisture. During the rainy season make sure you don’t overwater the plant or the roots will rot. You can even spray water on the leaves to lock the moisture in. You can keep this plant in the bathroom or even the kitchen.

Green Aralia

One of the most important things to keep in mind if you have a green aralia is that it has to be kept away from cold drafts and windows during the winter months to ensure that it thrives. It needs a feed once every other month during the spring. During the summer months, the plant needs liquid fertiliser. However, be careful if you buy this plant; it is mildly toxic to humans and pets. Ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

They are best as landscape plants. While watering aralia which is indoors, deep water is only when the soil is nearly dry. One of the most important things to keep in mind if you have a green aralia is that it has to be kept away from cold drafts and windows during the winter months to ensure that it thrives.

Pitcher plant

It is not always possible to ensure that the plant that you bring is going to live. Hence, it is important to take care of it properly. Let’s take the pitcher plant. So how does one take care of it if one wants to keep it indoors even if it is a carnivorous plant?

Depending on the species, some require full sunlight and those that originate in the floor of the rainforest may need filtered light. It requires moist soil, and keeps the potting soil moist, but not soggy. Allow the pot to drain thoroughly after watering and never let the pot stand in water or the roots will rot.

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Lifestyle

Mother’s Day 2022: Significance, history, and importance

Being a mother is a full-time job and gets no appreciation-one day where their worth is truly appreciated. Here’swhy we celebrate mothers day.

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why we celebrate mothers day
Source: @TOI

Most of us know that Mother’s Day is celebrated every second Sunday in May. But did you know why we celebrate mothers day? The whole idea behind Mother’s Day is to honour the mother of the family, to celebrate motherhood, maternal bonds, and the important role that they play in shaping society.

Why we celebrate mothers day?

It is said that the need to celebrate this day arose in the 1900s. Back then a daughter – Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis – to honour the sacrifices made by the mothers made for their children started this holiday.

It is said that Jarvis organized the first Mother’s Day service of worship and celebration at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, the US which serves as the International Mother’s Day Shrine today.

Did you also know that different countries celebrate this day in different months? Some countries celebrate this day in March. Mother’s Day in Egypt is celebrated on March 21, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. In Georgia Mother’s Day is celebrated on March 3.

In some countries, the date is adopted to signify religion, like Virgin Mary Day in Catholic countries. Other countries selected a date with historical significance. For example, Bolivia’s Mother’s Day is a fixed date, commemorating a battle in which women participated to defend their children. Or in Russia where it is celebrated as International Women’s Day instead of Mother’s Day.

In India, the concept of celebrating Mother’s Day is new. This could be because we have traditionally been respectful of our mothers and have been revering them for generations.

We didn’t need to set a single day aside for them. But then, we (Indians) tend to ape the West and what the West does needs to be done back home.

Irrespective of how and when Mother’s Day is celebrated worldwide, children go out of their way to make this a special day for their mother. Lunches, treats and gifts are part and parcel of this day’s celebration.

What can you do? Here are some mothers day 2022 gift ideas

For the foodie mom

If your mother is a foodie a last-minute gift can be a meal subscription box that speaks to your mom’s interests. The subscription boxes are becoming popular across India as they select the finest and latest products every month and ship them across to their clients.

As a gift, you can opt for ingredients, or complete meals, including gourmet food and global cuisine. Innovative subscription boxes share recipes and exquisitely packaged boxes that can be used as a collector’s item.

If your mother is all about fitness

If your mom has been looking to shed some weight, a gym membership is a great gift! There are several gyms in each city that offer membership. This would help your mother work.

If your mother is all about looking good

A woman’s body goes through many changes, and protein is quintessential to cope with it. One can gift herbal products to the mother for that perfect skin that will keep her young at heart forever!

 

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Lifestyle

5 health benefits of dancing, you might not want to miss

You see it on TV or in films. But did you know that the art form has several benefits of dance movement therapy as well? Read on

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benefits of dance movement therapy

Dance is the purest expression of emotion. World over, dancing has a different meaning for different people and cultures. But there is one thing that is common across the board — it is an expression of one’s emotions through movement. These movements are not always graceful or beautiful and most people don’t even understand them, it’s tough to see a perspective on one’s dance.

What Dance Symbolise:

But dancing is extremely therapeutic. Dance therapy can use various hand movements and creative expressions to promote socio-emotional, cognitive, and somatic integration.

This is based on the idea that the body and mind are inextricably linked. It aids in self-expression, resulting in a shift in an individual’s overall functioning.

One has to remember that dance movement therapy isn’t just for dancers, and it’s certainly not a dance class. A dance lesson emphasises style and form, whereas dance movement therapy does not. In the latter, people aren’t judged on how well they execute the steps or how they appear while dancing.

 

In dance movement therapy, people are encouraged to communicate their feelings and thoughts while moving during dance movement therapy sessions.

Dance treatments are used in a variety of settings, including health, education, and social services, in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

It may be recommended as a primary service or as a complement to other forms of ongoing treatment, rehabilitation or education. The therapy can be short- or long-term. Engaging an individual does not require any dance skills or training just the willingness to move. The focus is on the therapeutic process.

Here’s how it can help

Help differently-abled

Dance therapy can help individuals, with different abilities, capacities and life conditions since it works with their bodies at that particular phase of life.

Benefit kids with autism, ADHD

People with developmental, medical, social, physical, and psychological problems benefit from dance movement therapy.

It has been used to assist persons with learning impairments, and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, and ADHD, among others.

Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, mobility disorders, sensory processing disorders, trauma, and even violence prevention are just some of the conditions that can be treated.

Dance movement therapy can help those who are battling communication challenges, body image issues, chronic pain, and adjustment issues.

Communication tool

As language is not a barrier to movement, it can be used in individual, couple, family, and group therapy forms with people of different ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds.

Leads to self-awareness

Self-awareness, self-perception, confidence, producing a sense of peace, relational talents, and mindfulness are all benefits of dance therapy. It has been shown to reduce pressure, anxiety, and nerves, as well as feelings of disengagement and body strain.

Faster recovery

Dance movement aids in the learning of how to transform nonverbal movements into insights that can be applied to one’s recovery process.

Each one of us can move, each one of us has a movement language — we call it body language. All of us can dance! The idea of this therapy is getting aware of your body, feeling, accepting, and working on yourself.

People in dance movement therapy are not required to start dancing as soon as the music starts, unlike in a dance class. It’s all about the journey, not the destination!

Disclaimer: The idea of this article is to create awareness and is not meant to be followed without a doctor’s proper advice.

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Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Missie Crawford ,Food Stylist: Rishon Hanners