Thursday, October 23, 2014

Narkel Naru Truffle and Pop: Perfect last minute dessert recipe for Diwali

Today is Diwali, The festival of lights...the day when Hindus all over the World celebrate the victory of good over evil...light over darkness. Spiritually its all about celebrating togetherness, celebrating everything good with your family. Be it new clothes, good food, decorated house, sparkling new gifts, fun frolic and laughter or prayers for good health and better days...Diwali signifies nothing if its not shared.

Growing up we never called this day Diwali, it was the day of Kalipujo for us Bengalis or 'Deepaboli'. As Kalipujo is never performed before midnight it never attracted the kids. What kept them busy the whole day is the preparation for the evening. We would buy, wash, dry and prepare the clay deep or diya (lamps) and pester the elders to roll the cotton wicks. In the evening the diyas would sit in a neat row around the edges of the balcony or the parapet filled with mustard oil. After the sun goes down they would be lit up one by one. Those flickering flames against the haze of the Autumn nights never failed to create an ethereal beauty.   

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rasmalai and my very innovative take on it

In more ways than one Bengalis and mishti are synonymous. This is Bengal's most prized gift to the World. So much so that now a days sweet shops all over India proudly highlight the fact that they also make Bengali sweets. I can bet if you look around in your locality you will at least find a shop which has that quintessential banner saying 'Bengali Sweets are available here'.

While growing up I never took sweets seriously. I mean it was available every where, whenever I had a craving I could go to the corner mishti'r dokan (sweet shop) and can have my share from numerous types of offerings in every possible size, shape, colour, taste. It was later, much later when I moved to Delhi and found how crazy people are about Bengali mishti. no matter how everyone love making fun of our Bengali pronounciation with excessive stress on the 'O' sound people take Bengali mishtis seriously, very very seriously. and why not this art of sweet making dates back a long long time and needs a lot of patience, skill and finnesse.

As per Dr. K.T. Achaya Bengalis appear to have possess a sweet tooth since time immemorial. It evolved as part of the plentiful availability of fresh milk. The fact that cheese making were never practiced in this part of the world, eventually it led to sweet making either by curdling the milk to get chhana (homemade cottage cheese) or by reducing the milk to prepare khoa or khoya (milk solids). Though initially curdling milk was not considered auspicious. Mainly because Ayurveda never encourages Hindus to take any spoilt food and splitting milk was considered the same.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mochar Chop (Banana Flower Patty, no onion-garlic)

So I am back after what seems like a long long time. Well a month is a big enough time to miss someone...and you did, I know from all your mails and messages. Thank you. No not all were rosy here. first a nasty throat infection followed by a viral drained away all my energy but what got us zapped was when the same viral attacked the daughter. She is only 9 months and had to put on heavy antibiotics. But by God's grace things are better now. a fortnight long holiday at mother's does wonder to a tired drained soul. That familiar smells, things, textures definitely triggers the release of happy-feel good hormones. and After what seemed like the longest period of my life finally I could spend some time with myself. Read a few books after ages and slept like a baby.

Ribhu, my son loves being there too. He got the whole garden to himself and played there for hours. occassionally came rushing to us with big eyes to show us his newest finds. sometimes it's as small as the velvet bug or as big as a fallen papaya leaf. He weaved stories and imagined things with them. and in the afternoon when Didu would feed him his favourite meal he shared his world with us. One day I cleaned my old rusty ladybird cycle and took him to my favourite places...who says you can not take a journey backward in real. 

The daughter enjoyed the fresh air and nature as much as his brother. Especially S the girl helping my mother is very fond of her and took her around. All in all a great break after a really long time and as usual it made me super lazy. Ever since I came back I have been procrastinating everything...including the unpacking. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5 Course Global Vegetarian Masterclass at The Corner Courtyard

This was my third visit to this quaint little one of its kind property called 'The Corner Courtyard'. and I must confess I love coming here again and again for the old world charm it has to offer. With its beautifully curated 110 years old British architectural style building, It transposrts youback in time.  Right from the beginning the warm gracious smile of it's attendants, the luxurious colonial feel,  comfy and cosy sitting, an eye for detailed decor and beautifully laid out food will make a promise of a very very good and relaxed time.
from The Corner Courtyard FB page

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lau Pata Bata (Spicy Bottle Gourd leaves Paste) and foraging

Foraging, an ancient art to gather food from nature. Its an age old way to live off mother Earth by gathering or harvesting wild foods. From time immemorial people have depended on this process, either by hunting, fishing or collecting food which is not cultivated formally. Think of the beginning of Human civilisation, people depending on nature, living off a diet of the fruits they picked and the animals they hunted. They raiding the jungle and the fertile shores to look for edible grains, digging up the soil for sweet root vegetables and at the evening goes home and using minimal tool known to them creates a meal for their loved ones.