It was the global Mother's Day this weekend gone. Though UK and a few other countries have different Mother Days but we still felt the love and mushiness on Sunday as everywhere on the internet I could see special messages, wall posts, photographs and fond memories.I was, hence, trying to remember what it was like when we were small. Did we celebrate Mother's Day, Father's Day or even more common ones like Valentine's Day or even Birthdays. I don't know about others but being from a middle class Bengali family, celebrating Birthdays or Christmas were joyous occasions that me and my brother used to look forward to all year round. Birthdays meant we got to eat our favourite meals cooked specially for us at home, new clothes, a home made cake, a few friends invited over for dinner and a few story books as presents. Christmas was special not only because we got a present each and a tiny little bright sparkly Christmas Tree from the Hogg Market, but also because Ma used to make the best fruit cake in the world and me and Dada used to steal the chopped mixed dry fruits in the middle of the night. Yes that was the best part of our childhood Christmas Days. We didn't even know that days specially dedicated to mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or lovers existed. Maybe because Archie's Gallery or Hallmark Cards didn't exist either.
How I wish now that we were aware of Mother's Day or Father's Day when we were small kids. We loved our parents then as well. But I am sure they would have loved a special day too, a day when they would be treated like royalties, showered with presents and cards. Cards that are not shop bought, but hand made with clumsy drawings on them and tiny little prints of fingers and palms all over them. Thinking back now I realise that we never thought of expressing our love to our parents very often. I hardly ever said 'I Love you' to Ma or Baba. I say that quite often now to Ma now. But you see talking to photos is not a very sane thing to do and fortunately or rather unfortunately photos cannot say 'I Love you too' back to you. But I am sure somewhere she is still there and she knows how much I love her or how much I used to love her when I was as small as Little T or a troublesome teenager or even a nervous bride desperate for the mom-daughter talk before the big day. Missing out on so many things have made me determined to not miss a single moment of my daughter's life.
And there are times when I daydream. And....I have this really crazy wish! You know when you see a movie where somebody's wishes are granted by the Almighty posing as a janitor or even in those flicks where you can time travel and all that crazy stuff. So if I ever by some miracle see my Ma again, I will definitely tell her how much I love her and how much I miss her every waking second of my life. And I will give her a hand made Mother's Day card and see that beautiful heartwarming smile for one more time!
''If wishes were horses, beggars would ride!''
Happy Mother's Day Ma.
Caribbean Chicken with Rice
This is an One-Pot dish and is ideal for mommies on the go. It's perfect for any kind of meal and is best served with some green salad on the side.
Recipe by Sara Lewis
Serves - 4
Prep time - 30 mins
Cooking time - 7-9 hours
Cooking temperature - medium to high
Chicken thighs and drumsticks - 8, skinned
Jerk Marinade - 1 small jar *
Sunflower Oil - 2 tbsp
Onions - 2 large, chopped
Garlic - 2 large cloves, minced
Coconut milk - 400 ml, reduced fat
Chicken stock - 300 ml
Canned Kidney beans - 410 gm, drained
Long grain rice - 200 gm
Frozen peas - a couple of handfuls
Salt and pepper
* This is a fruity curry paste that is available on the shelves of all leading supermarkets.
Slash each chicken drumstick and thigh two or three times. Rub the chicken pieces with half a jar of Jerk marinade and keep aside for 5 minutes.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan, add the chicken and fry over a high heat until browned on both sides. Lift out and transfer to a plate. Add the remaining oil, onion and garlic, reduce the hear and fry for 5 minutes or until lightly browned and softened. Add the remaining Jerk marinade and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and stock, season with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to boil.
Transfer half of the mixture to the slow cooker pot, add half of the chicken pieces, all the beans and then the remaining chicken and onion and coconut milk mixture. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is tender and cooked thoroughly.
Wash the rice the rice about 1 hour before adding to the pot and drain the water completely. Stir in the rice after the chicken is cooked completely, replace the lid and cook on high for 45 minutes. Add the frozen peas(no need to defrost) and cook for 15 minutes more. Spoon on to plate and serve with a green salad.