Thursday, April 25, 2013

In full bloom

Winter is over. The temperature is increasing.The trees and plants were awaiting the time for the spring to begin. The trees are already sprouting leaves. The small flowers plants which were sleeping through out the winter get back their life. Suddenly all around us is blooming with different colors of flowers. It is truly a color riot. I'm carrying my camera almost everyday ( Unless I don't forget to take it with me while going out). I'm trying capture the riot through the lenses. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Paper holder from cake-mix box

For a long time I was thinking what could I do with some cake-mix cartons?  Few days ago I searched on the Internet and found something interesting. I didn’t bookmark the URL, so I can’t provide that. However, I can provide the step by step instruction with snaps.


Here I used two boxes. One is little bigger than the other. Cut the boxes according to the picture.

Cut a piece of paper with width of the back of the box, and long enough to cover almost to the bottom of the box from inside. Put glue on the top of the paper and stick on the back of the box. Fold down the rest of the paper in side of the box. Similarly cut two small strips of paper with breadth of the box and glue in the similar way.

Cover the two boxes separately with papers of your choice and glued them together. The paper holder is ready. Now you can decorate how you like.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pumpkin-mustard curry

I’ve never had pumpkin curry with mustard paste. One day my hubby asked me to cook that. I told that I had no idea about such a dish. Then he told me the recipe. My mother-in-law used to cook pumpkin –mustard curry, but I never had that in my in-law’s home. Anyway, maybe she currently has stopped cooking that. Anyway, few times I cooked pumpkin-mustard curry according to my hubby’s recipe. The taste turned out very good, especially when was taken with roti. Actually I followed the same recipe, with butternut squash. I mainly use butternut squash instead of pumpkin. One day I decided to cook the same to put in his lunch box. However, I had less quantity of the squash in my stock. So, I decided to add French bean in the curry. In the morning I always stay in hurry. After cooking I just packed the curry in the lunch box, without knowing the taste. After lunch hubby dear called from office and told that the curry was very tasty. 

Here I’m sharing the recipe:
One cup finely chopped butter nut squash or pumpkin
One cup finely chopped French bean
One green chili (finely chopped)
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp of sesame seeds
Pinch of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp of oil
For tampering: 1/2 tsp five-spices ( panch phoron)

Make fine paste of mustard and sesame seeds together. Heat 2 tbsp in a wok. Add panch-phoron in the oil. When the spices start crackle add squash and bean in the oil, and sauté for few minutes. Add salt and turmeric, and fry for few more minutes. Then add the mustard-sesame seed paste into it and sauté again for few minutes. Then add 1 ½ cup of water and bring it to boil. Put it in medium flame until all the vegetables become soft. Then if needed, bring it to boil in high flame to reduce the water. Serve hot with roti. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spinach Salad

Spinach salad
I had a big bag full of baby spinach. It was getting spoiled in my refrigerator. So, I wanted to use the quickly. However, what to do? I decided cook different dishes with the spinach. Currently my hubby dear wants to have “healthy food”. Salad always comes in my mind whenever I think about healthy food. So, I wanted to give a try of ‘Spinach salad’. Though my foodie hubby didn’t like spinach, but found that tasty. As he didn’t show much interest in spinach salad, the next day I served our normal food during lunch. However, to my astonishment, he asked me why I didn’t serve spinach salad. A smile of satisfaction came across my face.
Here is the recipe:

A handful of Spinach
One small tomato (you can roma tomatoes which taste even better)
A handful of grapes
One cucumber
Juice of one orange
One tsp. olive oil
Salt to taste
Pinch of black pepper powder
Chop the spinach leaves. Cut tomato and cucumber into cubes. Then mix all the ingredients except the black pepper powder in a big bowl. Sprinkle black pepper powder from the top.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Onion Soup

When you have a runny nose and you are craving for something hot, and no one there to help you out, you can make onion soup which is very easy to cook yet very enticing. I did the same few days ago. I was suffering from a bad cold, water was coming out from my nose and eyes like a leaking pipe. On the top of that it was very busy day. Since morning we were running errand. I wanted to have some rest in the evening, but I had to go to my son’s school to attend a meeting. After the meeting I was craving for something hot apart from tea or coffee. After coming home I couldn’t find what to cook. Suddenly I remembered about one TV show long back, where I saw the making of onion soup. I heard that onion soup is a French dish. This is soup is very popular in France as it is very easy to cook. On the top of that you need very less ingredients to cook. When there is nothing much in home you can easily cook this one. Even suddenly if some guests appear at your door you can easily treat them with a delicious soup with little effort. 
Something like that happened with me. That day when I came back home I had no time to cut vegetables and cook  a soup so I opted for onion soup. I served the soup with toasted bread. Even the little one also enjoyed a lot. 

The Soup
One large onion
One tbsp. flour
One and half cup milk (If you want to make less thick, then you can use more milk. I use 2% reduced fat milk. You can use whole milk, which tastes even better than reduced fat milk.)
Salt to taste
One tbsp butter (I used olive oil.)
Black pepper powder
Half cup grated cheese, and some more to sprinkle over the soup(I used cheddar cheese)
Finely chop the onion. Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onion. Fry for few minutes then add salt and fry until the onion becomes translucent. Add the flour and stir until the flour totally blended with onion. Add milk and stir continuously. When the soup starts thicken, stir cheese into it and pour into a bowl. Sprinkle cheese over it, and then sprinkle black pepper powder for from the top.
Bread Toast
2-3 slices of bread
Butter (I used margarine)
Preheat the oven at 350 degree F. Apply butter over the bread slices and cut them into strips. Bake the strips approximately for fifteen minutes or until the edges become brown.
Serve the soup with toast slices, definitely it is going to be an instant hit

Monday, April 15, 2013

Beet-root curry

The day was too hectic, though we enjoyed a lot. I went to my son’s school to volunteer. The Pre-K was going to library and I went to accompany them along with some other parents. Somewhere around 9:15 in the morning we started walking towards the library. With twenty little kids and 10 mamas it was looking a big procession of small ones. People were looking back with an affectionate smile on their faces. We were walking and walking in baby steps to match with kiddos. Sometimes, I was feeling that the library was too far to reach. After reaching the library they had their morning snacks. All the kids were in a different mood. They knew that their mamas were around there, so, they could do all this of mischief. Every now and then, ‘Please don’t do that and please don’t do that, became a continuous process. I always enjoy the family story time in the library like a child. After the story session, the librarian showed the whole library. My son goes to that library very often, so he knows everything. Then it was lunch time. All of us went to the nearby park. After lunch the children enjoyed a lot in the park. They became too excited to control. When mamas failed to control them, the teacher came to rescue the mamas. Just by the single word ‘Stop’, from teacher’s mouth, all became obedient children. Then the time came to going back to school. Again it was a long walking. We reached school at 12:30. My husband was already there and we came back home around 12:45. It was really a playful day. I was thinking, how easily you can make those little ones happy. You don’t need any expensive games, you don’t need to give them i-pads, but let them play outside, read story to them, and those simple things give them immense pleasure. I felt going back to my childhood, when I used to enjoy the same.
After coming back my real day started. All enjoyment was over. I entered my kitchen in hurry after having lunch. My refrigerator was almost empty. To keep the family away from starving at night I had to cook. So, I opened up my ten hands and started cooking, cleaning, and rest of the household jobs. I did a new thing today that turned out very helpful. Instead of frying the fish I put the pieces in the oven. That turned out as nice as fried fish. Anyway, I cooked 4-5 dishes, so that at least I could skip cooking for few days. Then I made 20 patisapta (Bengali version of stuffed pancake), all for my hubby’s office colleagues!!! When I finished everything, clock was ticking 5:30.
Why I’m writing all those household nitty-gritty?? Actually, among those 4-5 items I cooked beet-root curry. The dish is so simple that anytime you can cook that. Previously I used to buy beet-root very rare, because I didn’t know what to cook with that? One day while talking with my sister, I asked her what to do with beet-root, and she gave me this recipe. This is a not also his recipe. This actually my kajol-didi’s(my cousin sister) recipe, who hails from my native place. I’ll write about her in details later. Now I’m sharing her simple recipe of beet-root.
Two beet-roots
One medium sized onion
4-5 cloves of garlic
One tbsp. of oil ( I used olive oil)
Pinch of turmeric
Salt to taste

Finely slice the beet root. Finely chop the onion and garlic cloves. Pressure-cook the beet roots with one cup of water. Heat oil in a pan, add chopped onion and garlic. Fry until the onion becomes transparent. Add the boiled beet-root into the pan. Cook until the curry becomes dry. Serve hot with roti.