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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, March 27, 2011

Announcing my first Blog event - Let's break Bread together!

For quite some time,I have been ruminating about the idea of hosting an event on my Blog. I have been hopping around events and have always been amazed by the indigenous creativity of so many wonderful bloggers out there. I guess that was what dared me to host one of my very own!
So here I am today,about to announce the first ever event on my Blog space:) The event is named 'Let's break Bread together'.As the name suggests,the theme is 'Bread'.I am a self-confessed Bread lover and am so enamored by the smell of freshly baked Bread that I can almost grab a loaf of bread hot from the oven and sink my teeth into it without much ado!I know I sound gluttonous - but that is actually the extent of my love affair with Bread - and hence the event!


To start off,the event is pretty pretty simple!You just need to rustle up any veg or non-veg dish which has a hint of Bread in it - it might be any sort of dish (either a pudding or a savory fry or a dessert or anything under the sun!).Just has to use Bread in whatever possible form. Or else it may just be plain and simple home-baked Bread! You can also send in any recipe wherein Bread might not be the base ingredient but may be used for any other purpose.Could it be any simpler guys?!?!?


So now for the Rules-
1. The post having the recipe on your blog should carry a link to this event page on my blog.
Also I would be more than glad if you can use the event badge above in your post or anywhere on your blog!
2. The post may be a recent one or an archived post - I wouldn't mind as long as it links back to this page!
3.I would love to have as many posts as you care to send me - but for time and space restrictions I would be glad to have a maximum of 2 entries per participant.
4.Please use the Linking up tool below to send your entries.
5. If for any reason you are unable to use the linking up tool,please send me the details of your entry in the following format to my mail id - the.chef.sings@gmail.com and I'll take care of the rest!


i. Blog post URL(not the Home page plz!)
ii. The name of your dish
iii. A photo of your dish that you want displayed


The event will be on from Mar 27 to April 22 - hence you've got lots of time to rush me a recipe! So start linking and hope you have fun!:)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Homemade Chicken Cutlet - celebrating the first summer rains and (hopefully)a win!

Linking this post to Torview's awesome event 'Food palette series brown',  'Friday Blog Hop' at Katherine's, 'Hearth and Soul' Blog Hop#43 and 'Midweek Fiesta # 6' at Amy's place!
The television is blaring at my place - the second Quarterfinal match of the World Cup is on and India and Australia are heavily pitted against each other.I have a roomful of people in the den - some perched on sofa handles,some sprawled on the floor - someone bundled up on ready-to-burst cushions and one simply spread out on the couch without a bother in the world!Yes,we Indians are darn cricket fans and this is how my living area looks when the Husband and his dear friends moot for a cricket match and a World Cup match at that!Not that I mind though:)


Its only that the decibels run too high at times and my kitchen space is the only place where my ears find refuge and respite!I had been too engrossed in the match to notice that the summer skies had overclouded in the meantime.In no time, the usually warm air became laden with a damp veneer and my skin bristled when the cool breeze brushed against my arms.
Within a couple of minutes,the raindrops tumbled down in big droplets - first summer rains!The parched earth greedily drank in the water as if to quench the thirsty crevices inside.And the earthy smell of the dank earth swirled about in the air.


I was taking this all in when suddenly I remembered my flower pots!The pots must be brimming with water - now that the pattering had almost turned into a downpour.Sure enough the petunias were all drenched and shivering in the rain.Seemed as if they watched me with bitter slight as I arranged them on the porch under the shade:)


With this done,I now turned my attention to the hungry pack that brawled and bantered in my living area.I knew that the popcorn could not keep the tempo on for too long - something had to come out of my kitchen!So on this cacophonous summer evening, I stepped into my kitchen to prick and prod and prepare my Homemade Chicken Cutlet.The summer rains on my rooftop,the pitter-patter on my windowsill - the sizzling oil in the wok and a burgeoning battle in the den - I'm not sure if India will make it to the Finals,but I hope my cutlet will be wiped clean off the plates!Hope for the best!


Asha from Fork Spoon Knife is hosting a very thoughtful event titled ' International Food Blogger's Action for Japan' in a bid to accrue some humble contribution for the disaster-hit people of Japan. The auction amount will be handed over to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

I wanted to help by spreading the word through my blog - please take out  some time to visit the event details at Asha's place and help to spread the word!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Exotic Chandan Pithe - and festive wishes for all!

This post goes out to the lovely 'Monthly Mingle' event originally started by Meeta on her lovely blog ' What's for lunch Honey?'.For the month of March,it is being hosted by Sarah of 'Maison Cupcake'.
It also gets posted to Torview's awesome event 'Food palette series pink'
So just as I had promised in my last post,I am back quite early!

Well in my part of the world,spring has slowly started breezing in.Its feels nice to feel the peppery flavor in the air - a rustic smell of nascent pollens and fresh new leaves.The newborn twigs peep through the stout branches while the wizened ones try to shake off the remnants of the last few frozen dewdrops.I just love to plunk down by my window with a tumbler of freshly squeezed out orange juice and sip on it while penning away my thoughts! 
With this,my thoughts turn to the present,and yes,its festive time again.For the uninitiated, Holi or 'The festival of Colors' is an Indian festival that does have a religious connotation to it - like most festivals usually do- but it also has a celebratory camaraderie about it which appealed to us and set our hearts aflutter more, as kids.

For me,Holi would be the time when my Maa would make some typical Bengali sweets at home along with some savories.The hullabaloo  about all this would ensue a good couple of days before the actual festival day,since the goodies actually required elaborate arrangements. Somehow,I would always derive an appeasing pleasure from all these exotic arrangements and would be more than eager to pay a helping hand.The 'Nimki' or crispy diamond-shaped fritters made from spiced flour flavored with Nigella seeds and deep-fried in hot oil would be made just the day before - lest they turned damp on D-Day - while the 'Ranga Alu'r Pantua' or rounded balls fashioned out of boiled and mashed sweet potato,deep fried in piping hot oil and dipped into sugar syrup would be prepared days earlier for the sweetened syrup to soak in nicely into the soft,fluffy balls.

 I remember last year,I was far away from home and was trying desperately to make myself feel that it was Holi!In that melee,I tried to rustle up 'Malpoa' which is an authentic Bengali homemade sweet.This time around,I planned to be a bit more extravagant and made arrangements to try my hand at making 'Chandan Pithe'. 'Pithe' is the Bengali name for a sweetmeat and this sweetmeat is an exotic and rich flavorful item which gets made only on special occasions.
Although Holi is still a couple of days away,I did not want to procrastinate and miss out on the opportunity to post something for Holi.So here goes my recipe for 'Chandan Pithe'.

Wish everyone a very happy Holi and have fun with Colors!~Happy Holi~

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Curried chicken stew recipe - panacea for an overworked day!

I am sending this post to the 'Hearth and Soul' Blog Hop # 42and 'Friday Blog Hop' at Katherine's!!!

Also sending this curry recipe to the lovely event 'Hot n spicy treats' being hosted by Amy at her lovely blog 'Food Corner'. Do take a peek and join in to enjoy the spicy party!!
 I admit that I am obnoxiously busy!Almost disdainfully so!


I have not had the time to breathe even a full breath peacefully for the last two weeks.And eventually that has taken its toll on my resolve to update my blog on a gentlemanly regular basis. But I have really been feeling very very guilty about it all.


But then,luckily enough my workload has been coming down slowly over the weekend and this week it will hopefully be under my control.Which now leaves me some time to browse all the lovely posts that I had been missing all this time. So does it really become a habit,an obsession after some time - I was wondering the other day!I missed seeing the lovely posts,the beautiful pictures - missed drooling over the sumptuous spreads.More than being appeased gastronomically - because after all you can't eat out of a laptop screen - it feels like my eyes feel this almost ethereal comfort at just gazing at the lovely arrangements on offer. Not only the food,the embellishments that come along.I really feel so wonder struck at how creative people can actually be!


Speaking of creativity, my extreme busyness all this time helped me cook up a very easy peasy chicken curry which is almost like a cross between a curry and a stew,being bit heavier on the curry side.Ok,so I am being diplomatic here - I put is so cleverly across but to be honest,it was a very shortcut way of cooking chicken for an over strained body and mind that longed for something filling and tasty,but not fussy at the same time.This requires no marinating and cooks in less than 30 mins.
So any time,you are in the same situation as me,remember that this thoughtful albeit unabashedly lazy soul is here to your rescue! Till next time - happy living and happy cooking!


Simple 'n easy Chicken curry
You will need - 
Chicken - 500 gm,skinned and washed well.
Potatoes - 2 medium;Skinned and cubed.
Onion - 1 large;finely chopped.
Garlic - 2 cloves;finely chopped
Ginger - About 1 inch;finely chopped
Green Peppers - Finely chopped
I tomato - Finely chopped


Turmeric powder - 1 tablespoon
Cumin powder - 1 tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Salt to taste


Cooking oil - 2 tablespoons


How I made it-
I always use a pressure cooking for cooking my stews and since this was desired to be one,I have used a cooker for this.In case you do not have one,you can use a wok,but that will revv up the cooking time bit.


1. Wash the chicken pieces and potatoes very well and pat dry with a kitchen towel.Smear 1 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 tsp of salt over the chicken and potatoes together and dust well.


2. In a pressure cooker,heat up the oil and fry the cubed potatoes first.When they are a slight golden, take them out of the oil and next add in the finely chopped onions,garlic and ginger. When the onion starts turning pink add the chopped Green Peppers and stir well.


3. Next add in the chicken pieces and the fried potato cubes back and mix well with the fried masala.Take care not to sear the masala as that may ruin the lightness of the stew. Add in the remaining turmeric,cumin and coriander powder and add some more salt if required.


4. After stirring around for 2-3 minutes, add the chopped tomatoes and give a final stir. The curry will now change its color to a glorious ochre and this is the moment when you will add about 3 full cups of water to turn the curry into a stew.


5.Give a good mix and then put on the cooker lid. Allow the chicken to cook up to 3 whistles and then put off the heat. Do not take off the lid immediately. Allow the chicken to cook some more time in the steam before the whole steam is exhausted.


6. Serve hot with plain white rice or you can even have it with roughly torn pieces of fresh,baked bread.Feel your nerves open up to the lightness of the stew and relax while you enjoy your meal!