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I am a professional and a cook,rather a cook by choice and passion.Cooking is something I fantasise about.When I first thought of starting a blog,a thousand ideas coursed through my mind,albeit,none stood the sands of time.Except for the thought of a food blog accompanied by subtle nuances from daily life and from the world around me!



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Sunday, January 30, 2011

A carroty tale to ebb the tide - Creamy Carrot Kheer

I had made a promise to myself to be a more dedicated blogger this year - in the sense that I would log in more frequently,loiter about more in blogosphere, peep into more beautifully crafted blogs and make more blogger friends.T'was a New Year resolution of sorts - if you might put it that way!

But that was not to be!With my head reeling from an astoundingly heavy workload, I found myself working my time away.The weekends somehow flew by,one Monday followed another with the days in between vanishing like the rice off a hungry man's plate!

I needed to water my plants as I helplessly saw them wilt away by my window side, I wanted to walk aimlessly down the aisle of the local grocery looking for nothing in particular but savoring the anticipation of chancing upon something that I might suddenly want to buy.Potter about my kitchen and suddenly rush off to cook something that has struck my mind like lightening.Live some time of my life absolutely uninhibited with no routine in particular,no timelines to meet,no nagging worries to pound my head!

But then,I realised it all comes in a package.A brutish day at work ends with a cosy day at home with a cup of coffee and nice chit-chat with Husband dear, a nice peaceful day eventually signs off with naive bickering - a peaceful day at work often extrapolates into a peaceful day at home as well!So if everything comes in nice proportions,so does my dear ol' blog and my ramblings! I will find time to post,and I will find time to make friends - at least I feel I can - whaddya say?

Having said so,I will post my recipe for Carrot Kheer today.I must confess that the photos of my dish have not been very good,since it was a cellphone camera at work rather than my usual machine!But behind the grainy veneer,the dish turned out nice and that is the reason why I would love to share it with you!So here it goes!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A 'sweet' beginning - Lobongo Loutika Pithe

I know I am lagging behind...pathetically!'Poush Parbon' or 'Makar Sankranti' just passed by last weekend and it is after all the excitement of biting into delectable pithes has dried down, that I found time to write a post!But ain't late better than never?Or that's what I'm told!So here's wishing everyone a (very) belated 'Makar Sankranti' and 'Poush Parbon'.

Being a quintessential Bengali I do have a sweet tooth - thats the good part!But the not-so-good part is that I have inherited, to some extent, the characteristic indolence of the Bong as well - specially when I know that my Maa (the great cook) will surely remember to rise to the occasion and churn out something terrific,in the event that I manage to fizzle out stealthily!

Based on this premise, I knocked on the door at my parents' place this weekend and waited patiently for someone to answer the door.The doorknob undone, I pried the door open and sniffed unabashedly to sense the heady aroma of coconut,cooking in sizzling amber-colored  'Gur', permeate my senses!As the sweet,somewhat intoxicating scent wafted across the apartment, I walked over to the kitchen space and just stopped short of admiring the whole treasure trove of love,affection and labor that lay before my eyes - Maa had been slaving the whole afternoon in the kitchen after getting all the things that she needed to mould her creation - and all of that just because she knew I would be visiting her!
My Maa is an innovation freak and I just wish I could have attained even half of her brilliant cooking ideas.As a kid,I would watch in awe how she would manage to rustle up something impromptu with whatever there would be there in the household,in case someone cared to drop in uninformed - which it would often be in those days!Not a soul left our place without being wonder struck at how quick Maa could be!I shudder to think what fiasco I might have done if ever in her shoes.Not all genes get automatically siphoned,do they?Not my fault!

So this day saw another of Maa's extremely creative ideas and it was 'Lobongo Loutika Pithe' this time! 'Lobongo Loutika' is a much-heard of sweetmeat, specially found in sweet shops by the street corner in North Kolkata. I know I have put an 'ou' instead of a simple 'a' but that is just to ensure that the 'Loutika' is pronounced as 'Loutika' as in 'Go' and not as 'Latika' as in 'Antartica'!It has a filling of 'Kheer' which is thick,evaporated milk,enfolded in a flour mould and deep fried in 'Ghee' or clarified butter.The prepared sweet is then drenched in sweet sugar syrup.The speciality of this sweet is that it is impaled with a single 'Lobongo' or clove before being fried and that brings a zing to the sweetmeat.
My Maa's version is christened 'Pithe' because it differs from the sweetmeat in the filling and the sugar syrup drench.The filling will have coconut instead of 'Kheer' and it will not be dipped into sugar syrup at the end.So for today's post, I will take liberty to post my Maa's very unique recipe of 'Lobongo Loutika Pithe'.Its not at all hard to make(believe me when I say that!) and is incredibly tasty!And it case you make and like it,you might give a silent word of appreciation to my Maa:)I'm sure she'll feel it in her heart!

Another favorite dessert recipe to go to 'Flavors of Bengal' event started by Nayna of 'Simply Food' and guest hosted by Priya of 'Mharo Rajasthan's Recipes'.Hope you have a sweet time!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Penne Rigate with Mushrooms a la Nigella

I had grown this strange obsession with cooking pasta a couple of months back.It was weird since pasta was one of the things that I admittedly was very scared to cook!

My household was full of noodles-lovers and we used to have different variations of noodles for our different meals - but not Pasta.Either we thought of it as too extravagant - considering that you have to have at least a  minimum of cheese and mushrooms to rustle up a pasta dish worth serving.Whether right or wrong,it happened to remain elusive for long.
But then,one day I took up the cudgels and geared myself up to cook a pasta dish - thanks to my very dear friend who was ready on her life to devour whatever I would manage to churn out provided that I give it a try!I tried a Rotini pasta recipe and it actually turned out to be good.I was so elated that I immediately blogged about it and everyone I served it to had only nice things to say!

That emboldened me - and my next step was to try out another pasta recipe.This time I took a more professional approach and whom to approach other than Nigella-the Kitchen Goddess!I type 'Nigella Pasta' and thanks to Google Instant, I had 'Nigella Pasta Recipes' on my browser.I wasted not a minute and went coursing through the recipes until I slopped on one - Nigella's pasta recipe with mushroom,garlic,thyme and parsley!

I flew off to cook my first Penne pasta dish under the keen and watchful eyes of my dear friend(yes,she was there to my rescue again!) and Nigella.I did tweak a good number of ingredients that Nigella used and even added a couple of new ones. I added brocolli florets and Romano tomatoes,Mozzarella cheese(that was there in my fridge!) and the parsley made way to fresh green cilantro.I did away with the thyme simply because I did not have it in my kitchen at that time.But the dish remained essentially Nigella-ish.And then there was no looking back!

This recipe of mine goes to the lovely event titled 'Forever Nigella ' being hosted by Sarah of Maison Cupcake.There is going to be a theme every month based on which one can either blog about one of Nigella Lawson's recipes from any of her fantastic cookbooks or else write about a recipe adapted from any of Nigella's recipes,keeping in mind that any two ingredients need to be changed.
In case one decides to stick to the original recipe,the name of the original source needs to be published and the recipe maybe published on Nigella.com which houses many of the Domestic Goddess's interesting recipes!No recipe is to be replicated verbatim from any of Nigella's published recipes.

The theme for this month is 'Seasonal Sensations' and the splendid rhapsody of fresh seasonal veggies coupled with the silky texture of Penne in butter, strewn with fried chicken struck me as the perfect recipe to suit the theme.So here goes my recipe for Crunchy Penne Rigate with Mushrooms.Enjoy,eat and let eat!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Home and hearth on a new morn - Happy New Year 2011!

And what a way it was to start the New Year!The New Year started off on a weekend.Seemed so prim 'n propah that the three sixty-five days chapter would close so correctly on a Friday and a new day and a new year would start fresh on a Saturday morning!

It was the harbinger of good tidings - I knew in my heart of hearts and yes it was!I checked the yearly holiday list and there were teeming long weekends gawking at me!Hurrah!Happy times ahead!:)

The very first day of the year,I decided to stay close to my hearth,the place that feels so therapeutic to me at times - almost like a loyal companion.There are times when I walk through the front door,tired after a particularly tough day at work and a throbbing head.But then when I freshen up and walk over to my little kitchen space,a cushiony warmth fills my heart.A tug here and a shift there - the cups go to the racks,the chopping board flies into one of the cabinets -  I sponge off a drop of water that has trickled down from the just-washed spoon.I fiddle about the things in my kitchen space,arranging and re-arranging them and although all of this may just seem humbug - for me,its like spending time in a place I can call entirely my own.

So,the day and this year started off with me rustling up a quick and easy chicken recipe in my kitchen- boneless chicken pieces cooked in the juices of slivered onions.I could not think of a fashionable name for this dish and thought of keeping it short and simple.Hence I've christened it 'Onion Chicken'.Here goes the recipe - an ode to my prized larder!

Does you kitchen fell therapeutic to you too?Do you let your hair down while rustling up dishes for your family or is it more of a daily chore?Do share your thoughts - would love to know!

Sending this to 'Friday Blog Hop' at Katherine's!!