Kidney beans and ginger cake

I never throw food away because whatever leftovers I have left is a good opportunity to recycle and try new things. I had quite a lot of kidney beans left over from making lobiani, so I decided to try something new and totally different with the kidney beans.

And here it is, a very unusual, moist chocolate and coffee cake (no butter too!):


1 tablespoon candied ginger, chopped but not too fine

500g cooked red kidney beans

1 tsp instant coffee

1 tbsps pure vanilla extract

6 tbsps cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

6 tbsps coconut oil

3/4 cup raw brown sugar

5 eggs

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place all the ingredients minus the baking soda, baking powder, and eggs in your blender. Blend until the mixture is too thick to blend. Add in the eggs, baking powder, and baking soda, then mix until a smooth and evenly mixed cake batter is achieved. Grease a loaf tin and pour in your batter. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the inside is firm.

Different, chocolatey but you can still taste the beans!!!!!!


Pint of milk – a lesson in love

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We live at the top of a steep hill, and when the sun is high in the sky, you’d be drenched in sweat by the time you climb to the top.

Yesterday, my daughter opened the fridge and there was no milk. She wanted to make a smoothie.

Immediately, her father said, “I’ll walk down the hill to get some.”

“She can do it herself,” the Asian tiger mum in me chipped in automatically. “She is a big strong girl.”

He waved me off. “No, I will,” in a tone that brooked no argument.

When he came back with the two bottles of milk, he was sweating profusely and slightly out of breath.

“You should’ve let her walk down for the milk,” I grumbled. “Look at you.”

He beamed at me. “No, no, I needed the walk. Good cardio exercise and I sweated out the alcohol from last night as well.”

I know he was just saying this, for who on earth would go walking up steep hills at the height of the midday in the tropics?

Except if it is for love of the purest kind. One without conditions or resentment.

And so, this reminds me of something beautiful in my favourite book that I read on Valentine’s day,


Let all that you do be done in love.

Especially in parenting ❤

Butter-less chocolate banana cake

I love experimenting. Today, feeling hungry, I decided to bake myself an indulgent (but simple) chocolate cake, but horrors, there’s no butter in the fridge.

This is my simple, butter-less, walnut, banana, double chocolate coffee cake ❤

2 eggs
1/3 cup sunflower oil
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp instant coffee
1½ cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Mixed everything together, pour into a greased loaf tin and bake in a preheated oven (set at 350deg) until firm but still moist on the inside.

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A very simple focaccia

I absolutely LOVE focaccia and I think I have indoctrinated my children to love them too. Whenever I bake one, it is almost gone before it cools down.

It’s ideal for picnics too.

This is my very, very simple version, that takes a very short time to make:


400 g strong white bread flour
100 g fine ground semolina flour
sea salt
1 sachet dried yeast
½ tablespoon golden caster sugar
300 ml water, lukewarm
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350deg.

Mix all the ingredients together and knead until the dough is bouncy (see my post on bread making). Leave to rise in a warm place (cover with a towel) for about an hour until the dough has almost doubled in size.


This is my favourite:

Mixed together halved cherry tomatoes, sliced onions, fresh basil leaves and sea salt in a tablespoon of white wine vinegar.

When the dough has risen, flatten it on a baking tray. Pour the topping evenly over the dough and press the tomatoes and sliced onions into the dough.  You may wish to sprinkle some dried oregano on it. I added some fresh moringa leaves for topping…anything goes, that’s how I cook!

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Drizzle generously with olive oil and bake in the preheated oven until slightly browned…there is nothing worse than burnt focaccia, so keep a close eye on yours.

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Serve dunked in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

JK Number One Rule for Parenting

I am JK. I have 5 children. I write parenting books and articles. And here’s my rule for parenting:

Have very, very few rules.

Don’t confuse children with a long list of do’s and don’t’s, to the extent that they dare not fart without your permission, get confused as to whether it is OK to eat ice cream at 6am or think they’re growing up in a correction unit for criminals.

Don’t nag children either about homework, dietary choices, bedtimes, etc, because they will develop selective hearing, i.e. they will perfect a mechanism for tuning you out very effectively.

Moreover, the longterm effect of nagging is it makes you sound and look like an old hag.

For my headstrong, impatient and extremely wilful youngest child, I only have three rules:

  1. Church every Sunday.
  2. Score goals on the football pitch.
  3. Learn Chemistry MY way.

This is the logic behind these three (only three) rules:

  1. Church because it is about being part of a community. My daughter is leads a privileged life, and she has to learn to be on equal terms with children whose parents do not own cars and who and to walk for miles to school. She needs to spend Sunday chilling out and “doing nothing tangibly useful”. This “going to church” rule is also about teaching her to believe in something beyond self, to wonder and to question, more so than indoctrinating her with specific religion.
  2. Scoring goals on the football pitch teaches her about commitment, hard work and dedication. And a certain amount of physical fearlessness (which translates into confidence). It is also about being outdoors, lots of exercise, learning how to get on with her peers and the thrill of winning.
  3. Many friends chide me for being a tiger mum when it comes to teaching my child chemistry. Oh dear friends, please understand that it is not about the marks (I know she will exceed her university requirements) but the process. One must learn how to obey before one can lead. Chemistry seems to push all her buttons….and mine, too, unfortunately. So we circle each other like a couple of warring hellcats, but we will get there in the end, battle-scarred and hopefully wiser as individuals and closer as mother-and-daughter: it has been said that the most challenging thing about parenting is being patient to a smaller version of impatient you. It is weird but in the last two years or so, we learn to find our way to each other hearts and about life though our shared, and sometimes contentious, journey in chemistry.

Note: hell breaks loose if any of these three (only three) rules are breached. But touch wood, I have a high level of compliance because my children know they have a good deal. Only three rules!