Saturday, April 28, 2012

PasTa iN arrAbiata SaUce with HaM & baC0n


Pasta has become a staple in my kitchen these days. Not a comfort food as yet, but certainly a way of comforting others, when caught off-guard. I consider this italian staple a blessing for human kind. and surprisingly my mom doesnt get irritated if at times i wanna substitute pasta with rice for lunch or dinner.

Pasta comes in variety of shapes & sizes. I don't really differ between these flour species. at times i buy pasta, falling in love with their shapes. and cooking pasta is an easy affair. there are various ways in which you can make it. i am not very sure how it tastes in salad, because have never used it that way till now, but i am sure will not be too bad. i however, make two kinds of pasta sauces at the begining of every week. and they sustain me for a week or so. only is tomato based, and the other one basil & garlic.

Arrabiatta saUce:


this sauces is another thing you will always find in my freezer. its the simple tomato & basil sauce. though the recipe asks you to use fresh basil leaves, but since i didn't have it, i have used up my dry basil powder, nd the result wasn't that bad. here's how you can make it. try it, its easy.................... and yummy too!!!

INGREDIANTS:


  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 crushed garlic
  • 400g chopped tomatoes, use fat red tomatoes
  • 1/2 crumbled vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1tsp sugar
  • few basil leaves, torn.
  • crushed black pepper, for seasoning


METHOD:


  • wash & chop up the tomatoes and keep aside.
  • heat the olive oil & add crushed garlic in it and fry for a minute.
  • tip in the chopped tomatoes and give a good stir. next add  in the crumbled vegetable stock cube, tomato puree & the sugar. cook on high flame for a minute and then reduce the heat.  (i had added some water also at this stage).
  • cover & cook till the tomatoes are tender and it comes to a boil. it will take around 15 mins., stir occassionally.
  • tear the basil leaves and pop in along with the freshly crushed black pepper. mix well.
  • if your tomatoes were still in chunks like mine, you can blitz the entire thing in a mixer like i did!!!


trust me, this sauce will be your saviour on those late part nights, or craving for something itsy-bitsy while preparing office presentation late at night. this sauce if thickened, can work as your pizza topping as well. and topping can be of your choice. its of great help when my friends turn up without informing, or when my empty stomach growls at the middle of the night. here's how to make the pasta. i used fusili for this, because that's what was there in my kitchen.




  • boil half a packet of fusili in hot salty water till al-dante.
  • keep aside a cup of this pasta boiling water & drain the rest.
  • chop up the garlic clove, ham & bacon (qnty depends on ur choice), and some parsley.
  • heat a little oil and fry the bacan and ham and keep aside.
  • heat oilve oil in pan and add in some fineley chopped garlic & chilli flakes. once it starts to turn brown, add a couple of tablespoons of the arrabiatta sauce, and mix well.
  • tip in the pasta with the reserved water and mix well. add seasoning, crushed black pepper & mix well. 
  • cook till the water evaporates.
  • top it with the chopped parsley & cheese.


enjoy the late night dinner!!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

ShAntiNikeTaN dIaRieS

This summer will be memorable for me. i kick started the Bengali new year at Shantiniketan this time, and trust me i had loads of fun. its not only the place that i am in love with, but also the company. and moreover at times brushing with the past really means a lot. me & my friend , both were nostalgic about Shantiniketan. it was one of our best outings ever, with all our batch mates. also an innate experience in learning to identify human beings, separate friends from acquintance.
d GANG @ Khoai haat

Bengali new year, or Noboborsho still means a lot to me, not only because of the new clothes that i get, but becoz of the food prepared at home. this time i didn't have to worry about missing the  food, because owing to a Saturday, my mom had decided to stick to vegetarian spread. and i am a strict non-vegetarian. this post is just a small effort to make you aware of the various types of food that galore at Shantiniketan.

we reached Shantiniketan on Friday, the 14th at night, we were welcomed by a hoard of screaming rickshaw-pullers and a gust of cool breeze and couple of drops of rain!!! the food talk starts with the red cupcakes i had taken along, baked a day before, for my friend & her family. i would like to think that added some more colour to our enjoyable train journey. we called it a day after having a not-so-good meal at Hotel Shantiniketan, but what i loved was the fat rice, so typical of Birbhum district.  the hotel however was good only!!! the nights definitely had there share of rum & V0dka........
hey, its me at ALCHA!!!!! i gt this bag 4 my mom.......

d sarees @ alcha

15th,saturday, Poila Boisakh, started with a delicious breakfast, ordered from the hotel itself. it consisted of Luchi, Aloo-dum & Rosogolla, keeping in theme with the Noboborsho. then it was time to visit ALCHA. those who havn't heard about alcha, lemme tell u its a small boutique, specialising in modern products made with local handicrafts, in the quaint part of the town. very near to the university. its actually housed in the ancestoral property inherited by the owners, Keya & Aloke sarkar, located in a dead lane at Ratanpally.

d ALCHA CAFE


d cold coffee @ alcha

grilled cheese & tomato sandwitch with ketchup served in dona!!!

my entire order

along with the handicrafts whats more inviting is the cafe, that they have opened. its called the ALCHA CAFE. i loved everything about this cafe, the decor, time chirping of birds, the presentation, the menu, the pricing, the bread they make............ every damn thing!!!!!! just that i would love to say a ddition of bit more non-veg fares. the decor has that old world meets modern flat concept. whats more intriguing was the presentation. foods were served in bowls made of shaal leaves, rather our very own , the forgotten shaal-pata r bati. for me it added to the taste. after a late morning breakfast we started with our shantiniketan tour once again.
d sumptuous chicken meal @ manorama guest house

the red soil always holds something special for me, and i just can't seem to get enough of roaming around this  bard's town in a rickshaw. beating the heat, we started with our rickshaw guides. i am not going into the details of the places visited, but what comes next is the sumptuous lunch that we had. it was at Manorama Guest House. a  clean & tidy, pretty big guest house which also serves food to non-boarders. we ordered the normal chicken meal which came for 85 bucks. the rice, dal & aloo posto helping was allowed within this price & the food was a yummy Bengali affair.

d not so gud momos, nd d tasty shorbot

d menu, both in english & bangla!!!!

we started with another round of sight seeing. but the main attraction was Khoai haat. the haat not only gives you a chance to browse through handicrafts, works of some of the local artists, but also gives you a chance to taste an array of dishes, prepared by the local ladies. i didn't like the momo much which came for Rs. 25 a plate, but loved the aam-pora shorbot, Rs.12, per glass. 

another menu
d lady selling the bread jilapi

d bread jilapi

I was quite excited to see a dish named bread jilapi. but was disheartened while tasting it. its actually a deep fried bread slice, dipped in sugar syrup. but somehow the bread was still crisp. with memory in our heart and cigarette hanging from lips we returned to hotel after a tiring day.
doi phuchka


the evening was kept for tasting the local junk food, rather jsst trying to see if they were the same as it was, a couple of years back. the first stop was the momo stall infront of the SBI atm, beside the University. the price of the momo has increased now, while the quality & quantity has decreased. previously it was just the opposite. then it was time for dahi phuchka. 7pcs for Rs.10. we had ordered for around 4 plates, and we had place for more also. 
d much antisipated dosa stall @ ratanpally


d egg dosa
aam-panna, cold coffee @ dosa stall

next it was the most anticipated and long awaited chicken dosa stall, named akanto apon @ ratanpally. but chicken dosa isn't available anymore now!!!!!!!!!! it was a huge shock for all of us!!! we all have secretly relished the taste of chicken dosa, during those day, and probably thats the first thing that comes to our mind, with the first mention of Shantiniketan. never mind, we chose aam panna, cold coffee, lassi & egg dosa which was a pretty good experience. however this stall also sells, noodles, soups and i believe its a common hangout for the university students. the egg dosa is available for Rs. 30- 40. we were pretty full to accomodate anything more. a nice walk to our hotel and a beautiful sleep ended the day.

next day, Sunday we returned. back to square one, our very own kolkata!!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

rEd cUpcAkeS

hii people,


sUbh0 n0b0b0rsH0 to all of you!!!!!!!!!!! i had an awesum begining to this year, thanks to a couple of people for that. And also SHANTINIKETAN, where i had spent the first day of this bengali new year. My gud friend Parineta & her family fo taking me along, my boss for giving me holiday & myself, that i finally decided to go out for a vacation, thus search the "me" in myself, needs to be thanked. they tasted the cupcake in the train on our way to shantiniketan, and luvd it............ ami sottii bolchii!!!!!!!

d red cupcake

me & pari


i had decided to bake a batch of some goodies for Pari & her family, as a gesture of thanks for not only tolerating me, but showing great pleasure in doing that. so i  decided to bake a batch of cupcakes. and in keeping with the theme of noboborsho, i decided to colour them red. as always these were pretty easy to make, and also gave me the idea to add some food colour to cupcakes, thus to make them more interesting. the recipe is here for you to try, if you wish to.

INGREDIANTS:


  • 60g butter, at room temp
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red food colour
  • 120ml yoghurt, beaten
  • 250g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence


METHOD:

the mixture before adding flour

after the flour has been added to the butter & colour mixture

d red babies before entering the furnace

ymmyy babies!!!!!!!!!! gorge in!!!!!!!


  • pre-heat oven @ 170 degree C
  • mix together flour, baking soda & baking powder and sieve it, so as to get rid of any kind of lumps.
  • in another bowl, beat together butter & sugar, & then slowly add in the egg & beat everything properly.
  • mix the food colour, vanilla & cocoa powder in another bowl. add this to the butter mixture & mix well.
  • add to this 1/3 flour, 1/2 yoghurt & mix well. follow this for the remaining flour & yoghurt. you can mix the last part of flour with hand also, fold well.
  • pour in the mgreased moulds & bake for 20- 25mins @ 170 degree C.



d box in which i carried these babies


this might prove to be a good Valentine's day gift also for your loved ones, and one can also surprise kindergarten students on earth day, by replacing the red with green. i didn't use any frosting but think the cream cheese one will suit it the best, not only for colour combo, but also taste. this as most, is one of those quickly made recipes. try it, for best results, make it a day before.

it adds colour to your vacation............
m not sure whether it adds colour to life also or not, didn't add for me though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!