This dear blog of mine has been royally ignored in the past few months as I was busy setting up another baby – The Goody Box – a venture very close to my heart that my friend A and myself have started. Its an endeavor on our part to take this love for food that we have to the next level and share it with the world. You can know all about it The Goody Box here!
But My Food My Life is my first love and theres always coming back to it. I remembered to soak some fruits in rum few weeks back and last evening was just perfect to bake a boozy Christmas cake to mark the beginning of the festive season. Everyone has their own version and mine turned out to be easy and fun to make. Here’s hoping that the coming year brings in loads of positivity and good cheer for my loved ones and yes many many more recipes and food stories! You go note the recipe.
Soaked fruits - 1 cup - Mix together chopped candied peel, tutti fruti, dates, raisins , almonds in some dark rum along with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. Put the mixture in a glass jar and refrigerate for a week atleast.
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Sift together flour and baking powder.
Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the vanilla essence.
Fold in the flour gently into a smooth mixture.
Add the soaked fruit along with the liquid.
Give it a mix.
Bake in a pre heated oven for 35-40 mins at 175 deg C
Diwali is here with so much light and sparkle all around as. I had a super busy week cleaning and prepping my home for the festival. My single point focus becomes putting up lights all over my house, changing up the décor and prettying up every nook and corner. So much so that I completely ignored the food front. Now whats Diwali without some homemade sweets and finally got the time to whip up some sweet deliciousness in my kitchen. Moong Dal Halwa is something I totally love and the nip in the air calls for a bowl of hot hot halwa.
The best part about hoeme made sweets is that you can control the sweetness and know what exactly has gone into it so that your little ones can enjoy it without any fear. I used condensed milk instead of sugar syrup and that kind of makes it so very easy to make this dish. So don’t wait just head into the kitchen!
I also take this opportunity to wish each one of you a Diwali filled with love and light. Spread joy all around you, dress up and indulge in the festivities with your friends and family coz that exactly I love to do.
The recipe I am sharing today is a feasty dish but requires very little effort. Qalia has its roots in Mughali cuisine where mutton was cooked in large cauldrons with a concoction of spices, essentially in a yogury based gravy. We Bengalis also have a version called the Kalia – essentially Rohu Kalia( fish kalia) mostly made as a part of wedding menu. I made it with Paneer as every Tuesday I need to roll something delicious out of my kitchen for the man who sticks to veg food – that one day! The use of mace (javitri) is essential as it lends a royal taste to the gravy. This curry dish goes very well with rotis as well as rice.
For as long as I can remember, Durga Puja meant visiting our ancestral home in Silchar, getting together with the entire family and celebrating Pujo at home. That was when my grandparents were around, the tradition however continues in my parents ‘ house and we continue to celebrate Durga puja with age old traditions. Getting up early morning, dressed up in new clothes helping in the ‘Thakur ghor’ (puja room)
Another very important aspect of Durga Puja for us Bengalis is food! Planning menu for each day and community dining is what pujo is all about. Pandal hopping is incomplete unless we gorge into the unlimited delicacies on offer. And then there is icecream gorging too. It’s the same for kids and adults alike, there’s no stopping anyone. Who cares about calories, these 4 days of pujo!
Mother Dairy – an age old institution has been treating us with delicious goodness for years and this year they take it up a notch higher with the introduction of Nolen Gurer icecream. Nolen Gur or Date Palm jaggery is a seasonal delicacy that is a quintessential part of Bengalis food scene. While we would otherwise wait for the winters to savour it but not anymore.
The luscious icecream is now on offer year long, a big thank you to Mother Dairy. It is available in a take home tub or as single serve packs. This year pujo is a whole lot sweeter for me.
Nolen Gurer icecream is easily available in the market in 750ml & 90ml and priced at Rs 150/- & Rs 20/- respectively.
This post is a part of a campaign for Mother Dairy
Whenever I get down to baking a cake, my first instinct is to make those healthy robust warm cakes that we can enjoy with our cuppa and my boy can team them up with his glass of milk. As a mother and (also a wife) to very fussy eaters who squirm at the sight of vegetables, I also like camouflaging as much as I can in cakes and curries and soups and everything possible! Hence the idea to do this Spiced Carrot Tea Loaf. And the fact that its 100 % wholewheat adds to the value.
While making these cakes, I usually stick to my 1 cup each measurement and that works in most cases. This one here is made with aata and brown sugar, spiced with cinnamon and raisins. Served with a dollop of icecream this can turn into a very wholesome dessert for kids and adults alike.
My love for cookbooks is no new news! I own a lot of them and its not restricted to any particular cuisine. However sometimes I do miss out on trying something that would be earmarked for months, till I stumble upon them again. So ,its now a conscious decision to cook atleast two or three dishes from each of these books. With this motive , I started reading this beautiful book The Food of Oman by Felicia Campbell. Its a memoir of her exploration of the Omani cuisine, that is still very unknown to the world. She talks about the people, their lives and their delicious food.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the similarity in spices, a huge influence of Indian spices in their cuisine. As its rightly said, food binds the hearts and the world! I could go on and on about the book , but I rather share a lovely recipe with you all. Very similar to the Kerala Chicken stew yet so different. The warmth of this curry dish – Kuku Paaka will nourish your tastebuds. As the book suggested I made some Maldouf – Date Chapati or Flatbreads with pureed dates to go with the curry and it was a match made in heaven.
The addition of vegetables like potato, carrots and beans add to the flavour and makes it a complete meal. The original recipe is a little on the drier side, but I preffered leaving some gravy on to be mopped up with the Maldouf. Btw, Omani cuisine is a treasure trove of flatbreads and to know more I suggest you invest in the book, its truly a collectors item.
A subtle curry dish with vegetables in a toasted coconut gravy as adapted from the Food of Oman by Felicia Campbell
Chicken - 500 gms - on the bone, cut into pieces
Onion - 1 large - finely chopped
Garlic - few cloves - minced
Ginger - a small piece - minced
Green chillies/Fresh red chilies - 2-3 - finely chopped
Coconut powder - half a cup
Ground cumin - 1 tsp
Ground coriander - 1 tsp
Ground turmeric - 1 tsp
Ground cinnamon - 1 tsp
Carrots, Potato and green beans - a handful, cut into cubes
Ghee - 2 tbsp.
Warm water - 1 cup
salt to taste
Place half the coconut milk powder in a non stick pan and roast for 2 mins till fragrant.Remove and keep aside.
In another pan, heat the ghee and sauté the onion, ginger and garlic.
Next add the chicken pieces and the vegetables and sauté for 2 mins.
Put in the dry spices - cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and the roasted coconut milk powder till fragrant.
Add half a cup of water, cover and let the curry simmer till the water dries up.
In a small bowl, dissolve the remaining coconut powder in some warm water and add to the pan. Add the chopped chilies. Cover and let it simmer for another 5 mins or till the chicken and vegetables are cooked through.
A conversation with a dear friend made me realise that this blog is something that means a lot, a lot of hard work and sweat and passion has gone into making it, so no matter how many “sabbaticals” I take, I have to get back to it. So on that very positive note, I present a new recipe to you all! I made Dimer Korma few days ago after I saw a video on FB by Banglar Rannaghar, a very popular website of great recipes. I made some minor changes and the result was a great dish.
Eggs are a constant favourite in my household and is well accepted by both my boys, whichever way it is served. This Korma went particularly well with tawa rotis and made for a lovely treat. It is a great party dish and requires very little ingredients.
So my dearest sis in law A made me a part of an online cookbook lovers group and I cant thank her enough. It was just what I needed to positively channel my love for cookbooks. Its a close knit group with some members owning more than 300+ food books and that is so inspiring ! We are to choose one book every two months from the Piglet list and read, cook and discuss our way through it. The very first book we picked up is the wonderful ‘My Kitchen Year’ by Ruth Reichl. Ruth not only shares her favourite recipes but also her life story and how food became her anchor to overcome some difficult times. Food to me is something that comforts me, engulfs me in warm memories and take me closer to my family, to my mother, who has been a single point inspiration when it comes to cooking. She always fed with love and that reflected in her cooking, in the dishes she made .
Ruth Reichl’s recipes are easy and something that can be whipped up in your kitchen. Mostly staples but some with her interesting spins. It was quite hard for me to pick up one recipe and I ended up book marking quite a few. This one I am sharing here is something I made as an easy dessert and everyone at home loved it. Its a cross between a light cake and a fluffy pudding, with that lemony tang, quite refreshing .
As a part of this book club, we will be picking up a lot of interesting books and I will be sharing some very interesting recipes with you all , so stay tuned and until them enjoy this recipe.
While you wouldn’t really pick up raw bananas as a part of your regular vegetable shopping, but once a while you can , to make this raw banana Kofta Curry, that’s very high on nutrients as well as taste. This recipe here is onion and garlic free too. The Bengali in me, loves her Kaanch Kola (raw banana) as we call it . I could even relish boiled raw banana mash with green chilies and mustard oil, our most trusted dish whenever tummy issues crop up. My boys however would squirm at the very idea. So I have to get as innovative as I can be and camouflage such vegetables in more appealing looking dishes.
This recipe here is onion and garlic free. To make it a bit fancy , I have used cashew and sunflower seeds paste to give the gravy a lovely texture and taste. You can easily make the koftas a day in advance,store it in the fridge, fry and add it to the gravy later.
So the much elusive monsoon finally arrived in the city. Not sure this respite is for how long but atleast the temperatures have dipped a little and that makes us all feel better. With my little boy back in school, I am left with a lot of time to myself. My 8 yr old soccer fan has opted to join his school soccer club which means he gets back home only early evening. So the mother doesn’t know what to do with so much time! Ironical I would say, there was a time I would itch to get my time off from the toddler but now I miss him all the while he’s in school. Anyways, so the next best that I do is try out new things in my kitchen and I intend to dedicate a lot of my time to blogging.
These Mozarella Stuffed Mini Buns are a perfect accompaniment to your evening tea or even as a snack in your kids lunchbox. It stays well for a couple of days and you can serve them warm.
I don’t need to tell you again that baking is therapeutic but I do need to let you know that I find these adult colouring books extremely soothing too! They calm me down and helps me focus , which is a good thing considering how impatient I can get at times. So there, that’s is how I am trying to constructively put my time to good use.