Cakes cookies n savory goodies

Light Fruitcake: for Christmas

4:56 AM

Of all the festivals, Christmas always has a special appeal to me. No mass celebrations, no offerings, no show offs but a pure way of celebrating relationships and togetherness. . I love the way the celebration revolves around family and bonding. Bringing all our loved ones close to share some beautiful moments of togetherness. It’s a time to give, to share, to bond, to hope and to remind ourselves how much we are cared for.

I adore the way Christmas time weaves a beautiful utopian world for kids. An innocent, magical world of hope and faith. It’s a pleasure to watch their eyes twinkle when they hear the stories of Santa and his gifts. Their bright expecting eyes and the happy smiles with which they hang their socks, offer cookies and milk and awaits their gifts belongs to a time which is not long lived. But no matter how young or old we are, nothing beats the delight of receiving unexpected gifts from others.
What could be a better way to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus and the blessings of hope, peace and love that came down from heaven above than to celebrate and pray together as a family.

Christmas for me is never complete without some good fruit cake. Either store bought or home made. But after tasting the homemade one I definitely would never go back to any shop for my dose of Christmas fruit cake. If you remember I posted one rich fruit cake recipe some 2 years back. I pretty much follow the same recipe till date, but with time have devised my own way of preparing it that suits me the most. Now, am confident and can bake it without fail. Am planning to post that revised recipe next but today I would like to share a light fruit cake recipe which could be prepared any time the cravings strike. It doesnot require the month long soaking of fruits or stirring your own caramel but is just as delicious.

Light fruit cake

Please mail to ahomemakersdiary@yahoo.in for the recipe. Thanks
I got this recipe from a book baked it this year for the first time. Trust me its gorgeous and perfect for those who doesnot like boozy flavours in their bakes. So if you think this year you missed the mark and cannot make some fruit cake for your family, don’t worry. Gather the fruits and nuts of your choice and bake it today. You have enough time to rest the cake before Christmas to mature the flavor and taste. 


Cakes cookies n savory goodies

Oats and Coconut Cookies with Nutella icing

8:39 AM


Some people are lazy and then some are lazier. And if you are looking for the laziest then look no where here I am. don’t know what has gotten into me this year but am feeling uninspired. Planning to make a lot of things but when it comes to cooking I don’t want to enter the kitchen, or more strangely am cooking and eating but don’t feel like clicking the food. Such a bad phase for a food blogger.

But given the circumstances I should have simply divulged in baking.  as this year would be the first time when am around my own people. First time when during Christmas I would get some 20 hungry mouths to stuff my cakes and cookies with. Almost all my cousins have planned to visit us in Santiniketan for Poush meal. But rather than baking gorgeous goodies I kept on procrastinating the whole process.

Anyways finally yesterday was able to gather myself up and baked the family favourite oats and coconut cookies. And while am writing this post a light Christmas fruit cake is being baked. This cookie is one of those recipes that made me confident about baking. Its easy and almost no fail recipe. I have been baking these for 3-4 years now and it has never let me down. Its easy and even an amateur baker can bake these cookies with perfect end result. the best part is the oats gives it a nutty flavour and an healthy edge. Sometimes I add chocolate chips but today wanted to jazz them up for Christmas. So iced and decorated it with melted nutella, white chocolate and chopped pistachios.

Desserts and Sweets

Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa)

8:57 AM


I am sucker of seasonal produce. I know am repeating the same thing again and again but there is something in the freshest of vegetables that makes me happy instantly. I also love this fact that we Indians highlight seasonal produces in every aspect of our life. Take any season and we have some delicacies planned around that season’s availability. You cannot name a home. Though available almost all year around but you cannot name a home where pickles are not made in summer or gobi ka paratha is not enjoyed for winter breakfasts. In our home though we eat healthy light food almost the whole year but winter is a different story altogether. We simply cant resist to cook with the colourful vegetables this season offers. So fresh, so juicy, so colourful it’s a sin not having them this time of the year. At least once we would make karaishuntor kochuri (green pea stuffed fried flatbread)and notun alur dom (newpotato curry), nolen gurer payes (rice pudding with date palm jaggery), pithe and Gajorer halua or gajar ka halwa. It’s a tradition and I don’t want to break that.

Last weekend when my local sweetshop finally declared that they would now sell milk solids or khoya I knew tht this is the time to make one of the most enjoyed Indian delicacy, Gajar ka halwa or carrot halwa. This is so famous and so much loved that it almost enjoy an iconic status. take any old hindi movie from the 70’s or 80’s. Somewhere in the movie gajar ka halwa is mentioned. Either it is made by a mother to treat the son who was away on some noble mission or by a daughter in law to prove her culinary skills. Growing up watching all these I always thought preparing this delicacy must have been very difficult. Though maa prepared this every year but as long as I had my bowl full of warm ghee soaked halwa, I never bothered to check how she made it. I first made this when after marriage a group of husband’s friends came for dinner. I prepared the dish for the first time and then with time I have devised my own way of cooking this. I really don’t mind making it rich and with lots of dry fruits because in our home its made only once or twice each season. Below is my version.

Memoir

Let's Pray...

11:06 AM

By now you all must have seen this  tragic fire in AMRI Hospital in Kolkata, which has claimed 91 lives so far. The worst tragedy of recent times when people dies at a place where they think they are at safe hands. Its not the death of some helpless patients but with them our faith and trust in such institution also dies. We are shocked, angry, sad, scared and helpless all at the same time and are still shivering every time the footage is shown on TV. All we can do is to pray to God to bless the souls who died and give courage to their families. Who were forced to watch helplessly when their near and dear ones were choked to death. though not family but I mourn with them. 

Rest in Peace....

Meat n Poultry

Winter Warmth: Warm Mediterranean Salad

11:07 AM

Here is a quick post to bring you some winter comfort. A perfect bowl of warm vegetable and egg salad. We love this salad and it fits the bill perfectly when you don’t want to slog in the kitchen for hours to prepare dinner. Just cut the veggies thickly, blanch them in salted water, toss with some olive oil and herbs and there you are, with an warming meal. Serve in pretty bowls, curl up on the sofa, wrap your finger tightly around it and enjoy the goodness.

I prepared this long back in Bangalore, when the single cherry tomato plant from my green patch was generous enough to fulfill all my requirements. It was difficult even for us that the tree grew from a single cherry tomato that I brought from my favourite super market and just buried the whole thing in the vegetable garden. Almost a year later that turned into a huge bush laden with small cutesy tomatoes. I really miss that garden especially when am tied here with two tiny spaces passed on as balconies.

The recipe belongs to a cookbook called ‘Mediterranean; quick and simple recipes’, which I got from my library. it’s a paperback but contains some real good recipes. After drooling at the picture for some days I finally decided to make it with some minor amendments to suit my situation. So here is my version. Pardon the lousy pictures which were clicked at night and we then were really struggling with the new DSLR. Give it a try this season. It’s a bowlful of goodness, which will keep you warm.

Chutney Pickle n Preserves

No Oil Sweet and sour LemonPickle

11:13 PM

Pickling is an ancient art of preserving seasonal produce. All over the world fruits and vegetables are preserved in oil or brine to enjoy in lean seasons. But for us Indians its much more than that. Pickle for us is that inevitable part of our meal without which our taste buds are not satiated. A breakfast of hot alu paratha on some chilly winter morning is unimaginable without a spoonful of chili pickle on top. Or take our very own humble khichuri. It does not taste the same without some sweet n sour mango pickle at the sides.

And to satisfy that cravings we have a long list of varieties of pickles. In India pickle making is a tradition, which is shared by almost all households. Our mothers and grandmothers have always taken out time in every summer and winter to make those special pickles using the secret family recipes. They will order mangoes in summer and many an afternoons will be spent peeling and cutting and drying them under hot sun. In winter aunts and elder sisters from the neighbourhood will also join in the pickle making process while enjoying the late afternoon sun. They will talk for hours while picking through the tomatoes, chilies or limes with careful eyes. The vegetables would then be cut and mixed with spices. Pungent mustard oils would be poured and the cooking of all the spices with the oil will create a heady aroma, which will stay there for some days bearing the memory.

In our ancestral home we used to have a huge room called Bhandar ghar or food storing room. The room had huge ceramic and earthen pots and most of them were filled with various types of pickles and murabbas. I can still remember those early afternoons when men of the house went to work and unlike other such normal days the kitchen still buzzed with activities. It was a long time consuming process of measuring, dry roasting, grinding, mixing and cooking the spices. but everyone seemed to enjoy that over some chitchatting, leg pulling and gossips. Even they did not mind the month long process of bringing the jars outside every morning to cook it. Later the finished pickles were poured in huge jars with utmost care and stored in the pantry. Every time someone left home for hostel or for work small batches were taken out to pack for them. To make their bland hostel food bearable and also to remind them the love and warmth of home.

My mother still do the same every summer and winter. Though not such big batches that my grandmother used to make but still pretty much a decent quantity to feed her three kids and their families. The two little ones in the family have already picked their favourite and never stay away from ordering Didu to send some more when their jars are empty. Lately I also have started learning and making these pickles and preserves sharing them among family members. I love this process where so much of my family tradition is attached. Every time I refill my elder brother’s stock of Gur aam, his eyes light up. This makes me proud and makes me believe that am walking on the footsteps that have a long history of tradition.

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