It is the second day of a long weekend.  The morning was spent in collecting fresh vegetables from the kitchen garden. A basket full of fresh Lady finger and some brinjals were harvested. Rains have rendered the landscape green. We spotted a variety of caterpillars in our garden. 

One huge brown caterpillar seemed to be staring at us with its big eyes.

 Another was perched on the edge of a tender stem.
Post lunch, we made some whole wheat soup sticks. 

This is our favourite recipe. We added some dried chopped figs to the dough. The subtle saltiness of the bread sticks studded with sweet, succulent, chewy figs makes a delicious combination. 

We love them with our tea, kids love to eat them when hungry, we take them on journeys and enjoy them as a snack. We bake one big batch often.

100% WholeWheat Breadsticks (Grissini)


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 to 5 dried figs
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoon Instant dry yeast


  1. In a large bowl or plate, whisk together first three ingredients.
  2. Wash figs. Dry between the folds of a kitchen towel. Chop figs into small pieces.
  3. Add chopped figs to the flour mixture
  4. Add yeast to warm water. Stir to mix.
  5. Take a little water at a time and begin to knead the dough. Knead till you get a soft and supple dough.
  6. Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Turn around so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and leave to rise for 1  ½  hours or until double.
  7. In the last 15 minutes of rising, preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line one baking tray with the parchment sheet.
  8. Punch the dough and roll out small pieces of dough into thin sticks (about ¼  inch thick)
  9. Place the breadsticks on the tray keeping some gap between them.
  10. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.
  11. Cool and serve. Store in an airtight container.

It is the first day of the long weekend. A list of chores long pending has been discussed with the kids. The first day has been assigned to arrange the cupboards that have been holding a lot of stuff just hoarded and seldom used. A lot of clothes not fitting anymore, a lot of magazines read over and over again, some toys and a lot of stationery. A big bag has been filled to be dispatched to its needful destination. Racks look clean and roomy. We feel lighter and better and decluttered inside out.
Besides the physical clutter, we need to cleanse our inside as well. We tend to collect so much litter of thoughts and emotions that we don’t let go. A burden that we can’t afford to carry or throw off. But once ridden, it lightens and eases life.

Later in the evening, we baked a Marmalade Cake. It was relaxing after all the hard work. We used Lemon Marmalade in the cake and loads of zest.

 The evening after a heavy downpour was pleasant. We spotted a Grey Bushchat in our backyard.

We often bake Marmalade Cake when heart pines for a bake that is healthy, wholesome and guilt free. The lemony cake with citrusy glaze makes a perfect accompaniment to a hot cuppa. 

You can bake the batter as cupcakes also.

Marmalade Cake (Whole Grain And Vegan)


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • ½ cup marmalade
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons zest of a lemon (optional)


  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 1-2  tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line one 8 inch round cake pan. Or, generously grease and dust one 3 cup bundt pan.
  2. Whisk together first four ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix the next four ingredients. These are liquid ingredients.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the bowl that has liquid ingredients. Mix gently till well combined. Do not over mix.
  5. Stir in zest.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or till the top turns brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the pan after 5 minutes. Invert on the rack to cool. Slice when cold.
  8. For the glaze, mix lemon juice and icing sugar. The glaze should be thick and not runny. Pour over the cake.

We are back from the hills and we are bringing with us a box of peaches from our friend’s orchard. Excitedly we removed the nails from the wooden box and kids squealed with joy to see the ripe peaches hiding in the pine needles. One after the other the fruits were taken out. And we ended up with a huge cache of peaches, some ripe and some semi ripe. Semi ripe peaches were carefully tossed back into the box.

Ripe peaches were red, robust and sweet. A squirt of juice filled up the mouth with every bite. We enjoyed the fresh fruit to our heart’s content.  Ripe peaches have a short shelf life, so we decided to bake a Fresh Peach Snack Cake, some muffins and also planned to use the remainder to make Peach Preserve.

We used peaches liberally in the cake and the cake was delicious. Being eggless and low fat, this cake makes an ideal snack cake. We loved it.

Fresh Peach Snack Cake (Eggless)


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup raw sugar (boora sugar)
  • 1 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups peaches diced (peeled and cut into small and thin pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon corn flour


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line one 7x7 inches square cake pan.
  2. Take diced peaches in a bowl. Sprinkle cornflour and toss the pieces so that the pieces are coated with cornflour.
  3. Whisk together first four ingredients in a large bowl. Keep aside.
  4. In another deep bowl, Mix together milk, sugar and butter.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to get a smooth batter.
  6. Fold in diced peaches. Reserve some pieces to arrange on top.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. The batter will be thick and not runny.
  8. Arrange some peach pieces on top. Bake for 60 minutes or until the top turns golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then invert on rack. Slice when cold.

Rain spoilt our weekend. It marred our plan of going out for bird watching. The sky remained slaty all day, and the rain came down in torrents. The day was dull, wet and cold. However, some respite came in the evening when a part of the gray sky tore apart and a pinkish hue appeared that soon transformed into a dull orange. It stopped raining and it looked bright again.
We decided to go for a walk to a nearby lane flanked by fields on both the sides. It was breezy, pleasant and the air was fresh and energizing. The sky looked like a massive kaleidoscope, changing colours and patterns continuously. The rhapsody of changing tints and hues was hypnotical. Our walk was accompanied by the shrill croaks of the frogs hiding in the paddy fields, a tom cat pouncing on grasshoppers, some Red Wattled Lapwings wading in the waterlogged corners looking bewildered at our walking up and down.
We watched birds returning home, and as it got darker, the bats started emerging out from their hideouts.
It was time to go home. On our way, we purchased some soft milky corns from the farmers market. Some were boiled and enjoyed with a generous smearing of lemon and salt while some went into a tangy veggie that we had with a Mango Bread baked earlier in the day.

The bread is mildly sweet, very flavourful though the flavour of mango is not very evident, it is cinnamon that does the magic. The bread toasts well and is delicious with a generous lashing of butter. If your mangoes don’t make the bread look colourful, you may add some vanilla custard or a pinch or turmeric. This is entirely optional.

Mango Bread


  • 2 medium size ripe Mangoes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla custard powder (optional)


  1. Peel slice and puree the mangoes. Measure 1 ½ cup.
  2. Add sugar and stir till it dissolves. Add melted butter.
  3. In a large plate, whisk together flours, yeast, salt, cinnamon powder and custard powder.
  4. Make a well in the centre and add mango puree. Combine with hands to get a shaggy dough. Cover and keep for 10 minutes. The dough will be easier to handle after rest
  5. Knead for 6-7 minutes or till you get a soft and supple dough.
  6. Shape it into a ball and keep in a greased bowl. Turn around once so that it is evenly coated with oil. Cover and keep for 1 1/2 hour or until double.
  7. Punch and knead again. Dust your counter with flour. Roll out the dough into a rectangle and then roll it back with hands from the far end to shape a loaf. Pinch the ends.
  8. Place the loaf seam side down in a greased loaf pan 8 ½ x 4 ½   inches in diameter.
  9. Cover and keep in a warm place for another 1 ½ hours or until double.
  10. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees C for 40- 45 minutes or till the bottom sounds hollow when tapped and the top turns golden.
  11. Cool on the rack. Slice when cold.

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