My Home and Garden

Mid-week Cheer

7:03 AM

Winter has finally entered our part of the world. After a month long peek-a-boo we can finally feel the chill in the air. And to cheer us all various fairs and exhibitions have started all over Kolkata. Every weekend is like a fun trip around the city. But things are always not such fun. This weekend at the handicraft fair my purse was stolen. This is my first such experience and I was stunned. It took me a couple of hours to believe what actually has happened. By that time we reached home and hubby and I were busy blocking the various credit and debit cards that were also lost. Finally after 2 days the works are done and to cheer my gloomy self I baked a fresh batch of Moroccan Orange muffins. Will share the recipe soon but today here are some clicks that brought immense happiness to me.

First, my 2 and half year old little sunshine. This is his bunny face that he makes if given something that he does not like. I gave him some carrot juice to drink when he was back from school…rest of the story is written on his face.
This is what I did with the leftover orange peel. Saw this at pinterest and wanted to try this at home. Very easy to make. check out this video for the how to part. That smelled amazing.
Filled the home with a soft and sweet citrus-y aroma. Am definitely going to make this again and again through out winter.
Last but not the least the handmade dry flowers. I bought some at the craft fair and was so enthused, made some at home too. 
What do you think of them? Aren't they gorgeous?


What brings you cheer in the middle of the week? Share you stories too.

Bengali

Fulkopi Alu'r Dalna to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

10:42 AM


Few years back I dint know what thanks giving day is all about and frankly speaking I dint care. As a young girl I was not aware what real responsibilities mean. I loved my family, took care of them, did whatever work they gave me but somewhere in my mind I knew I am taken care of. I knew whether I do it or not works would be done to make our life smooth and running. But today it’s a different story. Yes every now and then I complain for being stuck in the household chores and how the hubby is getting all the fun by going to work. I get angry on my little one for scattering his toys and creating a mess. I argue with my father for little little things and throw a feat every time Maa says something critical. Forget about the way I argue like a mad woman when traffic is stuck in the road or the summer heat is unbearable.
A bunch of water Hyacinth flowers, collected on our way back from the property in the suburbs. Its a spectacular scene  when they bloom together all over the water bodies. 
But at the end of the day when I come to bed to my family, that little soft bundle smelling of milk and innocence gives me comfort. I feel blessed to have him in my life, for having this luxury and stay at home to watch him grow, to hold him tight anytime I feel like. So every night I count my blessings and Thank God for everything. For having this opportunity of being treated as equal with my brothers,  to have such loving parents and siblings providing me a cushion to fall back upon, to have such a wonderful husband like ‘A’ who listens to my every whim and unconditionally supports and believes in me, to have wonderful friends and family who appreciate every little things I do for them, to have a beautiful son in ‘R’ who never never forgets to tell me ‘tumi khub bhalo Mummum (you are a very good mother)’, to have a family to come back to, to have enough food to cook and feed them, to do things that I enjoy and mostly to be myself.
A visitor who came to say Hi!!! 
But life is not fair everywhere and sometimes without any reason. This relisation have made me more optimistic. I have learnt to thank, to appreciate and to be grateful. The glass is always half full for me and nothing is taken for granted anymore. So today when I feel gratified I also pray to God to bring good health, peace and happiness to everyone. While I write this lets look around ourselves and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. It's the little moments that make life big.

Fulkopi’r torkari is a light flavourful curry made with cauliflower, potatoes and green peas. This dish is also a simple everyday dish, but what makes it special is the fresh seasonal produce. I waited for my mom’s vegetable garden to deliver the first homegrown cauliflower of the season to cook this dish. The cauliflowers she grew are small and not perfect. But the fact that they are Tended and cared for with love brings joy to the table. Its not only food that nourishes our body but also something that soothes our soul.

Cakes cookies n savory goodies

Best Ever Eggless Banana Muffin

1:14 AM

This shot is inspired by a similar picture of Dario Milano
Everyone makes lemonade when life gives us lemon. But a foodie thinks differently and she rather chooses to make some lemon curd. So few months back when I was endowed with huge piles of bananas I exactly knew what I was making. This dates back to this when my uncle was hospitalized for his bypass surgery. Its another story that the operation took him a whole of 3 months to finally  being discharged from the hospital.He kept going in and out of the hospital for several wrong reasons and negligence of the doctors.Thank God that he is finally fine and has joined work as well.

My Meso works for Idian forest department and is an avid gardener. In their ancestral house they have a huge garden where every variety of fruits and vegetables are cultivated. It was pretty obvious that everyone who came to visit him during his stay brought bagfuls of fruits and vegetables from their garden. The variety kept on changing. Sometimes it was bagful of spinach, pointed gourds, brinjals and other times it was pumpkin, bottle gourd and mangoes. But one thing that was pretty constant to appear on a weekly basis was banana. Every time someone came, they brought bunches of banana, consisting of 50-60 fruits. So much so that even after eating them for breakfast, evening snack and after dinner dessert we had huge piles of bananas.  My so deep fry loving maternal uncle jumped with joy and advised us to make some kalar bora or sweet banana fritters. But I went bananas at the thought of using so much oil.
So I came up with this idea of making eggless banana muffins, full of nutrition from almonds and banana…healthy and delicious. The best part is it’s easy to prepare, easy to store, easy to carry and one can enjoy this as a snack or as a nutritious dessert. With this in stock you are sorted. Serve them to your sudden guests, pack them for hubby’s evening sncak or kids tiffin box. Everybody loved it when I first served it with evening tea. When my MIL who does not have much appetite for sweet things(including me*) reached for the second muffin I knew it’s seriously good.


On another note I went through a root canal treatment this weekend and its painful. while I recover and kill time with the internet you enjoy this recipe.

Here is my version of turning scrap to fab!

Noodle and Pasta

Pasta Primavera with Fresh Basil

3:19 AM

I always love this time of the year and loving it more here in Kolkata. The weather is pleasant with bright sunny days and soothing nights. There is a crispness in the air which makes it impossible for us to stay home in the evening. All we want is to go out and enjoy the fresh air. Though that is not much possible in a crowded city like Kolkata still we are going out every evening to have a walk around the locality.

Another thing that brings cheer to me is the fresh winter vegetables that have started appearing in the market. Though in this age of preservation almost everything is available the yaer around yet there is something special about the seasonal fresh produce. I love roaming around the local vegetable and fish market, touching and smelling just from the farm greens and vegetables.
All these together make me crave some fresh flavours and light saucy meals, which could be enjoyed while watching our favourite Programs. So this weekend when I found some fresh basil in our local Spencer's I instantly knew what I am going to make. So Pasta Primavera it was for us that night with loads of fresh basil thrown in for that heady aroma. I paired that flavour with some freshly squeezed lemon juice…together they were refreshingly comforting.
Pasta Primavera is an Italian –American dish where loads of crisp spring vegetables are added to the pasta. Primavera means spring so its wise to choose crisp fresh vegetables like broccoli, carrots, beans, onions, corns etc. The flavours here are kept very simple and mostly are finished with sprinkling of fresh Parmesan cheese. Our kid is a sucker of cheese and he could eat it as is. I chose an array of fresh vegetables including new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, beans, fresh corn, capsicum, carrots, onion and loads of garlic. Here is how I did…

Bengali

Tinkona Parota Ar Alur Dom; Perfect Bengali Breakfast for the Festival

1:10 AM

This Diwali I was extremely lazy and trust me or not dint prepare a single thing for the festival.Managed to clean the house for Durga puja and luckily my new maid is very good at keeping things as it is. Hubby would be soon off for a long abroad trip so the only thing that I find myself doing is washing, ironing and packing things for him. In between that am cooking meals in a ziffy and  lazing with books in front of the TV, where its ‘Chota bheem’ playing all the time. The baby on the other hand was home as his school was closed for the week and he did whatever he wanted to with double the energy. Really Wished could have borrowed a little enthusiasm from him to cook at-least one festival item for Diwali. Rather I searched for restaurants near our locality and finally went to Rajdhani for a huge festive thali meal.

The baby though was very happy. Now he is at an age when he has started understandng and enjoying things. That whole morning he kept on jumpng and screaming when the electricians fitted fairy lights around our housing. Went out with his father and Dadu with a long list of various coloured lighting crackers and candles that he needed. By evening he stared shouting for some red, blue, yellow tinkle tinkle lights (twinkling fairy lights) and candles around the house. He was so stubborn that finally I had to get out of my ‘lazing all day round’ mode and take him to the nearby shop. Once home he demanded to light up all the candles he bought.

So it was lights and candles all around the house. Below are some clicks of that evening...
The various candle holders from my collection
Lavender scented Candle on the Dining Table 
Some Diyas to the Deity and a hand painted Lantern
A Half-done wall painting project glowed in the soft lights
on the Fridges and Shoe rack
 On the bookshelf where the little one neatly arranged the leftover candles around the lit one

But am not that a bad and lazy person you see, rather am clever so even when hubby could have started complaining about no festive food at home, the next morning I prepared this typical Bengali breakfast. which is the Bengali style triangular and layered fried flat bread with potato gravy. Its like the Eastern counter part of North Indian paratha for breakfast…only difference is our parota is sinfully made with bleached white flour and loads of oil. Which is poured right from the word ‘Go’. First we add generous amount of oil as shortening then we roll and shape it with little more oil and finally oil is drizzled in an generous manner on the paratha while cooking….pretty scary. Though this paratha is a regular fix in most Bengali families for Sunday breakfast but in our 5 years of marriage this is the first time I prepared it.
 Any potato curry complements this dish really well to give you an instant nirvana. You can make simple alu bhaja (fried potato juliens) or alu’r bati charchari but both of us like it with some gravy. So I prepared a simple and light alu’r dom. If you like the spicier version of this curry please see this. Though all purpose flour and me are not best of friends still once in a while we love to have this. Have this on a lazy weekend when no work is scheduled. Enjoy this breakfast with your favourite newspaper and a cup of tea. for me the best part is its so heavy and filling that instantly you will like to hit the bed and doze off, skipping the lunch.No more cooking for that day.

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