Catechized with a gun to your head – ACTS 19:1-8

I am sure that at some stage you have heard people call the members of the charismatic renewal, ‘crack-matics’. What is not clearly comprehended should not be glibly condemned. While this rather unfortunate term has been used very flippantly it exposes the fact that many Catholics and those who use such derogatory terms have no idea that what they criticize so callously is really their own ignorance.  The first charismatics were Peter and the apostles at Pentecost and that number of ‘grace filled people’ kept increasing as we read the Acts of the Apostles.

Where are we in our study of the Acts? Paul is on his third missionary journey (Acts 18:23-21:16). The text of the Acts immediately introduced us to Apollos of Alexandria, already a Christian, who was preaching in Ephesus (18:24-28). We are told that Apollos’ knowledge of the faith was inadequate, and it fell to Priscilla and Aquila to explain “the way of God to him more accurately” (18:26). One of the things lacking in his understanding was a fuller view of baptism, for “he knew only the baptism of John” (18:25). Through fraternal correction Apollos was re-evangelized and now heads off to Corinth on mission.

Paul now arrives in Ephesus, and encounters a group of ‘disciples’, twelve of them, who like Apollos, had an inadequate understanding of baptism. They had never heard of the Holy Spirit, and they had been baptized “into John’s baptism” (19:3).

Paul has to explain to them that John’s baptism was a “baptism of repentance” anticipating the coming of the Messiah. Subsequently, Paul baptizes them into “the name of the Lord Jesus” and lays hands upon them. The Holy Spirit comes upon them, and they speak in tongues and prophesy.

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Chicken Haryali

6 pieces of chicken on the bones or about 350 grams of chicken
Make a few slits on the chicken if they are large pieces. Marinate with salt and line juice and set aside for about twenty minutes .

In a blender add the ingredients given below and blend with a cube of ice to retain the lovely green colour. Add this paste to 2 tablespoons of thick hung curd or fresh cream

1 heaped table spoon of cheese or two slices of cheddar or any slice cheese
4 or 5 green chilies.
6 cloves garlic.
1″ piece ginger.
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves.
1/2 tsp black pepper.
1/8 tsp small cardamom powder

Salt to taste.

Marinate the chicken pieces with the ground paste and keep it in the refrigerator. Leave it in the refrigerator for about twelve hours. The very process of marination softens the chicken and helps in the cooking process. Before you cook the chicken leave it standing out for about an hour so that the mixture is now at room temperature. You can bake this but I chose to fry this.

After frying the chicken you will still have some marinade left. In the pan that you have fried the chicken, remove any excess material that is left over and add the marinade and cook this for about two minutes. To this, add a slice of cheese and this will provide you with a nice thick sauce that you can pour over the fried chicken.

 

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Christian Art 101 – The Catacombs of Priscilla & Early Christian Art

 ‘When I was a boy, receiving my education in Rome, I and my schoolfellows, on Sundays, used to make the circuit of the sepulchres of the apostles and the martyrs. Many a times did we go down into the catacombs. These are excavated deep in the earth and contain, on either hand as you enter, the bodies of the dead buried in the wall…we would enter the galleries dug into the bowels of the earth…rare light coming from the above land attenuated the darkness a little…we would proceed slowly, one step at a time, completely enveloped in darkness.’ – St. Jerome, Church Father

The cramped corridors of the curving catacombs of St. Priscilla were dug amidst the faint flames of earthy lamps. Their dancing shadows illuminate one of the earliest expressions of Christian faith voiced through the vocabulary of art. Doctrines such as the Baptism, Eucharist, Resurrection and Salvation were communicated emblematically. For example: the Fish exemplified Christ, the dove –peace, the anchor – hope, bread – the Eucharist and the peacock – resurrection. The scriptural Story of Salvation was also enlivened through painting and sculpture.

We are ushered into a small chamber by the gravelled galleries of the catacombs. Popularly called the Greek Chapel, this cubicle contains three niches for the sarcophagi as well as a long seat for burial meals called the ‘agape’. The ‘Greek Chapel’ bears no affinity to the Greeks. The name was assigned by the early excavators who observed two Greek inscriptions in the right niche of the enclosure.

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Prawn curry with lady fingers

Here is an interesting recipe that teaches you how to retain most of the flavours of the prawn while cooking it in a curry.

Prawns – about half a kilo or whatever you have
Ladyfingers – ten
Kashmiri chillies- 18 to 20. If you don’t want it too spicy, de-seed it but don’t reduce the number.
Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Onion – one small
Cumin or Jeera seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander seeds – two teaspoons
Black pepper corns- one teaspoon
Garlic – five large cloves
Tamarind – the size of a lime and make sure it’s that size
Coconut – 1/2
Salt to taste

Method
First clean the prawns and make sure you retain all the shells with the head. It is preferable to leave the tail on the prawn but if you don’t like that then have the tails removed. Make sure your fisher monger gives you the shells, the heads and tails which you need to wash under running water and boil for ten minutes. Let this cool and then drain the stock squeezing out every goodness from the shell. Set this aside.

Grind all ingredients into a very smooth paste. In a pot, heat oil and add all the ground masala. Cook this through for about four minutes stirring constantly and adding little water if needed. Make sure the oil separates from the masala (that’s a sign that the spices are cooked).

Now add about 3/4th  prawn stock making sure that the gravy is not too thick nor too runny. Cook this for about ten minute on slow fire or till the oil begins to float on the gravy. Add the prawns and lady fingers and cook on a low heat with the lid on for about one minute or so if they are medium size prawns. If king size prawns give it a minute more. Turn off the gas and let the prawns cook in it own heat. Prawns should never be overcooked or else it tastes like rubber. (Sadly most of us have got used to this and think this is how it ought to taste)

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Goan Ambot Tik (sour and hot fish curry)

Fish – 500 grams
Fresh raw mango ( if available) a slice
Sugar -1/2 teaspoon
Oil as required
Salt to taste

To grind together
Kashmiri chillies – 12 ( de-seed if you want it less spicy but don’t drop the number )
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece
Garlic – nine cloves
Cloves – 5
Cinnamon- 1/2 inch stick
Onions – 2 medium
Cumin – 1/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
Tamarind – half a lime size

Grind the above with four tablespoons of vinegar. You should get a thick paste

My gyaan….
I used Bombay ducks today for this preparation. The exciting element in this dish is the raw mango which makes this dish special. Raw mango is seasonal so if you don’t have it don’t sweat. Some recipes do not add the onion while grinding bur rather fry the onion and then add the masala paste. I like it this was as the curry turns out super smooth and silky. 

Wash and clean the bombay ducks or bombils (for those not familiar this is a fish not a duck). Grind all ingredients as mentioned above in a blender to form a smooth paste. In a pot, heat oil and add the ground mixture. Cook this well for at least five minutes till the oil separates from the masala. You may have to add a bit of water while doing this as you don’t want to burn the masala.

Now add more water till it reaches a curry consistency and cook this for about ten minutes. At this stage add the sugar and salt. You want the consistency to be medium so that it coats the rice and not sink to the bottom forming a curry pool. Now add the fish and cook on slow fire for five minutes. Remember fish cooks quickly. Drop in the slice of the raw mango and turn off your gas. The addition of the raw mango which is seasonal takes this dish to another level. 

I suggest you let this dish rest for about two hours for the flavours to marry. When re-heating do so on slow fire or the bombay ducks will disappear and become a mash.

your comments are welcome, there is no charge 😊

Enjoy

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