December 7, 2012

Grilled Chicken Stuffed Mushroom and Spinach 


Winter steps in and the oven becomes more active than ever. Not only for baking the cakes and cookies to welcome the month of joy and jingles, but also for the aromatic healthy baked foods that the hearts crave for. The freshly salubrious colourful vegetables in the market, never let you return empty handed. And this is the magnificent part of winter where you can manipulate your creative culinary skills by using these vast miscellanea of vegetables available during this season.

 This time I got big spinach leaves. First I thought of using that spinach layering in between some mixture and bake it. But then I decided to use them as a wrap. And I had some mushrooms stored in my fridge and felt gallant using those as a stuffed dish. No doubt those taste so delicious that the family members raised a request to make it soon.  So here is the recipe:Ingredients:
Minced Chicken: 300gm
Pasta Sauce: 2 table spoon
Oregano Seasoning: 1/4 tea spoon
Salt: According to taste
Button Mushroon- 5-6
 Spinach  (the big leaves ) -6-7
Method:-
  1. Mixed all ingredients except the mushroom and spinach nicely.
  2. Take each spinach leaf and put a spoon full of stuffing in it and fold it nicely and tuck it up with a tooth pick.
  3. Take out the stem from the mushroom and put the stuffing in it.
  4. Place them on an oven proof tray and grill for 15 mnts.
  5. Serve it with a bowl of hot soup and bread.
This recipe is off to Indrani's Healthy Baking Event.

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November 29, 2012

Baked Chicken Balls with White Sauce


Ingredients:
For the Chicken Balls:-
Minced Chicken: 500gm
Garlic+ Ginger paste: 1 tea spoon
Soya Sauce: 1 table spoon
Szechuan Sauce: 1 tea spoon
Tomato Sauce: 1 table spoon
Salt: According to taste
White pepper: 1/4 tea spoon
For the white sauce:-
Garlic: 1 table spoon (chopped)
Mushroom: 1 cup (Sliced)
Spring Onion: 1 cup (chopped)
Salt & Sugar according to taste
Cream: Amul's 200gm
Oregano Seasoning: 1/4 tea spoon
Olive oil: 1 tea spoon
Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 230 degree C.
  1. Mix all the ingredients comes under chicken balls nicely. Take a baking tray. Grease it. Then make small balls out of the chicken mixture and line on the tray.
  1. Put the tray in the oven and bake it for 15 mnts. Then turn them and bake for 10 mnts more. Take out from the oven and reserve.
  1. Heat a pan. Put oil. Add the garlic. Sauté it till it turns light brown then add mushroom. Fry for couple of minutes more then add all the seasonings (Salt, pepper, oregano, sugar). Sauté it for a while till the mushroom starts to lose the water then add the chicken balls and the spring onion. Fry for 2 mnts more then add the cream. Sauté it till the gravy thickens. Then serve hot with some flavoured breads.
Note: If you don't want to use cream then go for the original white sauce recipe. Please find out HERE.

This recipe is off to Indrani's Healthy Baking Event.

November 26, 2012

Baked Chicken & Vegetables


It is obvious that winter is slowing crawling in as- the early sunset is  gobbling up the bright warm evening, the early morning is craving to spend few more hours under the comforter, skin is itched  to be  dunked in moisturizer in every two to three hours.  And of course you will feel a sudden change in your taste bud more prone towards something hot but light food. When it comes to food, I love baked food served along with a bowl of warm soup and bread during the winter. Though baked dishes are always welcome in every season, for me I love enjoying this in the winter more. It gives an ultimate delicacy when you open the oven, the warm aroma spreads all over the house and my spects become blur with the sudden vapour from the hot dish  right out from the oven that gives an ultimate feeling of comfort in this winter season.
 I prepared it out  of whatever handy ingredients  I gathered from my pantry. And no need to say, after tasting it I wanted to pat my back with a proud smile. My daughter and my hubby enjoyed it till the last bite. So here is the recipe.



Ingredients:
Chicken- 500gm (Cut into small cubes)
Baby Corn: 1/2 (in cubes)
Carrots: 1 Cup (in cubes)
Beans: 1 cup (cut into 1/2" long)
Green Peas: 1/2 cup
Broccoli: 1/2 (cut into small florets)
Mushroom: 1 cup sliced
Pasta Sauce- 6 table spoons 
(I used Weight-watcher's Roasted Garlic)
Dry Parsley: 1/2 tea spoon
Dry Lemon grass: 1/4 spoon
Dry Tarragon: 1/2 tea spoon
Oregano Seasoning: 1/2 tea spoon
Salt & Sugar: according to taste.
Cream: 200gm (I used Amul's tetra pack)
Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 230 degree C.
  2. Mix all the ingredients except the cream nicely on a baking ware. Cover it with an aluminum foil.
  3. Bake it for 15 mnts. Take it out. Open the cover. Taste it to check whether more salt and suger  are needed or not. Then put it again and bake for 10 mnts more.
  4. Again bring it out and add the cream nicely with the potpourri and again bake it for 10 mnts more. Serve hot with bread.
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This recipe is off to Indrani's Healthy Baking Event.

November 23, 2012

Sweet & Sour Baby Potatoes


Tiffin for the kid becomes a big trouble mainly when your kid is very choosy. My Little one makes most of my options closed for a healthy meal. She doesn't want any  noodles, vegetables, Fruits or  Roti in her Tiffin box. So I have three staple meals that I rotate in the five working days what my little one enjoys - Sandwich, French Toast and Bread with Sweet & Sour potato. Yes she does like Pistachio what I add and a small Banana. I have to wake up 5.00 am in the morning to make her tiffin and the breakfast for the family as K (read my daughter) leaves for school at 7.00 am. I have only less than hour to make  something tasty, brisk and healthy for her.  
Most of the kids love potato very much. So here is a very easy to make and very tasty dish that all mom can try it out. So here is the recipe. It takes hardly 10-12 mnts to cook. Taste wise it is a Kid's as well as an adult's delight for sure.

Ingredients:
Baby Potatoes -  15 
(You can make it with large potatoes cut into cubes also)
Tomato sauce- 1 & 1/2  table spoon
Soy Sauce- 1 tea spoon (Optional)
Salt and Sugar according to taste
White pepper- a pinch
Oregano Seasoning- 1/4 tea spoon
Oil/ butter- 1 table spoon
Method-
  1. Boil the potatoes with salt. 
  2. Heat the oil in a pan. Pour the strained potatoes . Fry it for a minute. Add the sauces, pepper, oregano seasoning and sugar. Taste it and see if salt is required. Fry it for couple of more minutes. And serve with bread.

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November 18, 2012

Grilled Basa topped with Cream Mushroom & Green peas Sauce


It might sound insane, but it is a serendipitous truth that when my cook-maid sometimes takes a leave I feel like conquering back my kitchen again.  The persistent theory that the cook-maids in India swear before joining the kitchen is - Too much Oil and Spices make a dish perfect and tasty. Not to lie, it really tastes heaven and delicious, at the same time it opens the gate to hell if every day the spicy foods are served and the health disapproves the food to digest. For me it has become a mandatory routine to utter every day the six words to my cook maid- Use less oil, less spice please. The verity of India stay, mainly if you are staying in Bengal, is the luxury of indulging the budget on maids (Of course how much money you spend on them, you can't snip their attitudes and demands). On one hand it feels like a restful bliss, on the other hand the lazy part slowly curb the body and mind to coddle to this epicurean opulence and makes  one a perfect lazy boon when it comes to C2- cooking & cleaning. 

After I stepped in India, I have become an occasional cook in the kitchen. I only enter there in need. Sometimes I feel like I am getting detached from one of the creative parts of me what I enjoyed thoroughly last 6 years. But too much dependency on the maids makes the life easier and at the same time obligates to use the spare time some other way. As my cook has taken leave for a day I felt happy. This kind of furor excitement works well in me. I wanted to make something less oily, less spicy, something grilled and no curry, rice/ or flat wheat bread/roti at all. So to make the opportunity satiated, I rush to the market grab some frozen Basa fish fillet, mushroom and an Italian Cheese Bread loaf. During my USA stay I tried different kinds of fish/ sea foods et al, but never tasted Basa fish. After coming to India I first tasted it. I grabbed it from the frozen fish section and cooked it. And I am really impressed with the taste and the soft texture of the fish that dilutes in no time in the mouth.


The basa fish, Pangasius bocourti, is a type of catfish in the family Pangasiidae. Basa are native to the Mekong River Delta in Vietnamand Chao Phraya basin in Thailand.[1] These fish are important food fish with an international market. They are often labeled in North America and Australia as "basa fish" or "bocourti".[2] In the UK, the species is known mainly as "river cobbler",[3] with "basa" also being used on occasion. In Europe, these fish are commonly marketed as "pangasius" or "panga".[4] Other related shark catfish may occasionally be falsely labeled as basa fish, including Pangasianodon hypophthalmus (iridescent shark) and Pangasius pangasius(yellowtail catfish).”- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basa_fish 



 Here is the recipe how I cooked it:


Ingredients:
Marinating the Fish:
Basa Fillet: Cut into 3 pieces (5"/5")
Hoisin Sauce: 1 tbl spoon
Plum Sauce: 1 tbl spoon
Red chili Sauce: 1 tbl spoon
White pepper Powder: 1/2 tea spoon
Oregano Seasoning: 1/2 tea spoon
Tarragon seasoning: 1/4 tea spoon
Salt: According to taste.

For the Cream Sauce:
Cream: I used Amul's 200gm tetra pack.
Garlic: Chopped 1 tbl spoon full
Mushroom: 1 cup sliced
Green Peas: 1 cup
Salt & Sugar: According to taste
Lemon Grass seasoning: a pinch (optional)


Method:

  1. Marinate for 15mnts the fish fillets with all the ingredients listed under the marinating head. Then lay the fillets on a grill pan and grill it for 10mnts then turn the fillets and again grill for 8mnts more. Take it out and put it aside.

  2. Heat a pan and then add oil. Put the garlic when the oil is hot enough. Fry until the garlic turns light brown. Add the mushroom and the peas. Sauté for couple of minutes then add all the other ingredients except the cream.  When the vegetables get semi tender then add the cream. Cook on low flame until the cream thickens enough. Take the sauce off the flame. Put the fish on a serving dish, top it with the Cream mushroom and green peas sauce and enjoy it with some flavoured bread loaf.


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November 10, 2012

Behind the Lens

Recently I am experimenting with the shapes around me. Few of them are here to share. At the same time would like to tell that now Silence Sings is available in Facebook also. To get more updates with Silence Sings visit - HERE.


SHAPES:










October 1, 2012

Chocolate Cheese Cake


This is the Cake-Baking month for me. I have 4 birthdays from my family. And on each birthday I presented self-made cakes to them as a gift from me. On my Father-In-Law's birthday I prepared Chocolate Cheese Cake. Cheese Cake is one of the most demanded and a must do dish in my kitchen. The lil one almost every day demands to make Cheese Cake. She enjoys Cheese cake more than any other cakes. The gooey pungent taste of the cream cheese melts in mouth and gives a divine feeling. But buying Cream Cheese in India is very pricey when Philadelphia cream cheese is the only option. You have to pay 575 rupees for each bar. But if Britannia cream cheese is available in the market it is within your budget as each tab costs 150 rupees. As a matter of disdain most of the time our Kolkata hyper link markets are running out of stock of Britannia cream cheese. Therefore for family’s taste sake you often have to lose your purse to indulge in this exorbitant dish by buying the Philadelphia one. So whenever I see Britannia Cream Cheese in the stores I buy them in bulk to store for my usage.

 Usually I always prepared white cheese cake with chocolate ganach layer and make the crust  with merry biscuits. This time I made chocolate cheese cake with ganach layer and the crust with oreo biscuits. And I found my daughter and my husband along with my in-laws loved this one much. At the same time I tried the "Latte Art" too. So the recipe goes this way-


Chocolate Cheese Cake
(Measurements according to 7” round baking pan size) 

Ingredients:-
For the Cake:-
Cream Cheese -8oz /1 packet  at room temperature (Philadelphia / Britannia)
      Egg - 2
     Powdered Sugar - 1/2 cup
 Chocolate (cut in to small pieces)  - 1/2 cup (Bakers/Harshly/Morde{available in India})

For the crust-
Oreo Biscuit - 1 packet (127.4g) (Optional -Merry Biscuit)
Butter - 1 /4 cup

For the Ganach-
 Cream - 1 pack (I used Amul's small tetra pack one. Please keep aside  3-4 tb spn for the Latte Art )
Chocolate - 1 and 1/2 cup


 Method:-
The Crust:-
Take a Ziploc bag pour the biscuits and crush them with a rolling pin till dust. Melt the butter and mix it with it nicely. Then take the baking pan. If you are using a Springform pan then just put a butter paper on base according to its size. But if you are using a normal cake pan then cover the whole inner vacant area with an aluminum foil and then grease it nicely with butter. Put the mixture in the pan and then dab it with a spoon evenly to cover the bottom nicely. Put it in the oven and bake it for 5 mnts on 170 Degree C. Take it out and put it aside.

The Cake:
   Pre-heat the oven in 170 degree C. Beat the cream cheese until soft. Add sugar and mix all together nicely. Add egg one by one and beat till all the ingredients and nicely get mixed and turned in to a creamy texture. Melt the chocolate. You can melt it in the Micro wave. It takes 15-20 secs. But pls keep on checking in every 5 secs so that the chocolate should get over heated. Cool it little bit. Then pour in the cream cheese mixture slowly and at same time keep on beating.  Pour the mixture in the already made crust and bake for 20-30 mnts or till a tooth pick pricked in the cake comes out clean. Take it out and leave it to cool down.

Chocolate ganache:-

Heat a pan and pour the cream. When the cream will become warm add the chocolate. Keep on stirring on a low heat until the chocolate melts and mixes in the cream nicely. Let the sauce make semi thick and then pour it on the cheese cake as a top layer.


The Latte Art:
It is quite easy.  Pour small small drops with the left over cream on all over the cake. Take a toothpick. With a very soft touch just keep on moving each cream drop with a forward and backward move to bring it an impression of a flower. You will see the chocolate colour and the white colour are slowly blending together and forming beautiful designs. For best reference view Youtube.com.

 Refrigerate the Cake over night to set. If you are baking the cake in a normal cake pan, then in a very slow process pull the aluminium foil out. Release the cake from the foil. Then serve and enjoy.



September 14, 2012

Timepass (The memoirs of Protima Bedi with Pooja Bedi Ebrahim) - Book Review


Title: Timepass
Author: Protima Bedi with Pooja Bedi Ebrahim
First Published on: 1999 in Viking by Penguin Books India
ISBN: 978 0 14 028880 3
Pages: 333
Price: 375/-
Rating: 1.5/5

If you are a bookworm then you must know when you crave for reading, you succumb yourself to read anything. And the same thing unfortunately happened with me.

 My online library site was under construction. The book providers were not able to track my requested book list. So they asked me whether they could send me any book available right at their desk, of course they asked my choice of categories. My options were- fiction in English: preferably by Indian writers and recently published. And what they sent to me was the autobiography of Protima Bedi. Seeing the book and the cover picture I wanted to return the book right back. But to my surprise I didn't do that.  I had a faint knowledge about Protima Bedi which was too ignorable to be stored in my memory box. What much more I gathered from that, that I have a kind of apathy towards that lady. I took the book and spend few minutes in dilemma whether I should read it or not.  But right at that moment I was craving to read some book, so why not this one!!!!! So I started the book and I finished it too.

I have never read any bold and honest autobiography like this yet. I used the word 'bold', because Protima Bedi's utterly frank declaration of what she was and how she led life was the boldest part of the book. She was the most controversial lady of her age- who had changed her boyfriends almost every day, stripped herself in public, had cohabit relationship with whoever came to her way, led life how she wanted to. In her autobiography she bluntly stated about the depth and detail of her each relationship. Her ' open marriage' with Bollywood star Kabir Bedi and two kids with him were the most cherished and on the same run the most dissatisfactory part of her life. This is a book of a lady who loves to lead her life whimsically, always how she wanted, never care about her family much but always grab the opportunity to gnaw on others. Within her span of life she did achieve what she wanted. She became a model, she became a wife, then a mother of two, she became one of the most hailed Indian Classical Odissi dancers within a short time, and she established Nrityagram (an Odissi dance society). She tried to taste every side of what life may provide. But throughout her whole life she kept on haunting for something what led her to take Sanyas at the end of her life. Once her daughter Pooja Bedi pointed: “Why are you always running away? You ran away from your mother and father, you ran away from your husband, then you ran away from us, your children, and now you’re running away to Nrityagram. Why?”(P: 301) And she replied: “I was not running away from anything, I was running towards something.” (P: 301). What is that ‘something’, that even she didn’t understand might be till her death!!!! Her life was quite tragic too. At the beginning of her adolescence, when she was merely 10 years old, she was sexually abused by her relative for several times.  That incident may be changed her life to open her arms to taste the forbidden freedom of life to the extent. Even she lost her young son who was suffering from schizophrenia. That incident made her life more aimless.  And at the end of her life she met a tragic death too collapsing in a landslide.

I appreciate Pooja Bedi, who accepted how her mother was and proudly compiled the book to publish. Though I read the book in utter disdain, at the same time in the core of my mind I build up a kind of respect for this Protima Bedi too. How a woman could lead life like that and had the boldness to declare it publicly about it and could narrate it so nicely. I pay a respect to the fact that yes somebody has the guts to tell the good and bad stories of one's life. I appreciated her ‘unflinching honesty’ and some her treasured moments that she shared with her children.  But apart from that, I felt a bitter taste after finishing the book. Even after finishing the book I kept on wondering for many days, how one can be like this!!!! Protima Bedi was a weird woman for the world, Protima Bedi was the Best Mom for her children, and Protima Bedi was the daring Lady what she loved to be. But does anybody dare to be like her!!!!!

(This review can be read HERE too.)


June 21, 2012

Aam Doi


Mango, the king of the seasonal fruits during summer is also one of my favorites. And the best part of it, Raw or ripe, it furnishes well one's creativity in culinary to experiment in vast ranges of different dishes. In Bengali cuisine mango is not only used in the sweets or desserts but in the main courses too, as raw mangos are used in Daal, fish etc. My recent visit to some eminent swanky Bengali Cuisine Restaurants in Kolkata, enamored my attention to the dessert section. Aam Doi  (Mango Flavoured Sweet Yoghurt) is mostly common in the dessert sections during this searing summer. I often make Mishti Doi (Sweet Yoghurt) at home but never tried Aam Doi. So this time I tried my hand to experiment Aam Doi in my kitchen. And no need to say, everybody in my family savoured it in no time. Of course on the same run, I would like to refer Bong Mom' s CookBook where she gave a nice recipe of Aam Doi. Following is the recipe, how I made it:

Ingredients:

Mango - 1 (medium sized, I made a pulp out of it.)

Thick curd - 1 cup (I used Amul's Masti doi)

Condensed Milk - 1 can (400g pack)

Pistachio - for garnishing


Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 130 degree C.
  2. Beat the curd in a smooth paste so that no lump can be seen.
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the pistachio and blend together nicely.
  4. Take ramekins or an oven proof bowl. Pour the mixture in it and bake it for 10 -25mnts. If you are using ramekins it will take 10-15 mnts. If you are using a single bowl for the given measurement it will take 20-25mnts. Pls keep on checking pricking a toothpick until it comes out smooth.
  5. Take out from the oven cool it. Then refrigerate for an hour and serve with garnished pistachio.

Note: If you want to make Mishti Doi at home, dont add mango and do the rest.


May 30, 2012

Another Chance by Ahmed Faiyaz (Book Review)

Title: Another Chance
Author: Ahmed Faiyaz
 First Published on: 2010 in India by Grey Oak Publishers
ISBN: 978-93-81626-02-3
Pages: 210
Price: 195/-
Rating: 2.5/5

Love has been the true hidden agonist in the novels from the decades, which amalgamates the theme and the characters to develop and to give a form of a successful storyline. My recent read Another Chance is a novel where the protagonist's love-life keeps on giving another chance to several relationships in search of true love.

The story is about Ruheen Oberoi, a nubile gorgeous girl, lives life in a carefree way and the love affairs she confronts with as time progresses. There are Varun Shetty, Vishal Chaturvedi, Aditya Sharma and Rohan Aluwalia with whom Ruheen had relationships and all these characters keep on popping out in intervals throughout the novel. Though apart from all the ups and downs, Ruheen’s relationship with Aditya Sharma ultimately announces the dictum that true love does exist.

Aditya Sharma and Ruheen met in college in Mumbai. Then they got separated. Then again they bumped into each after few years when Aditya had a good career and Ruheen was concealing from her first marriage with Rohan in Amsterdam. They started to cohabite life together again. They gave the relationship another chance to make it successful which was weaved only with the language of love. But again dark clouds shattered their life when they lost their first unborn child. Misunderstanding and emotional imbalances create a distance in their life when Ruheen decided to estrange again. But Aditya's faith in Love ended the novel by convincing Ruheen to give another chance to their relationship.  

It is a fully passionate love story of the modern age where marriage is not the true bonding but the heart that bonds two souls. It’s a 'roller coaster' ride of emotions that upheaves the novel till end. The relationships showed here are very easy to get in to and very fragile to break in a moment too. There is one crazy guy Vishal Chaturvedi, ex-boyfriend of Ruheen, for whose deadly threaten Ruheen gets to get separated from Aditya. There is Rohan who has married Ruheen only for her fortunes. There is one Malika who has almost taken Aditya in her seducement when Aditya is deep into relationship with Ruheen. Then there is Varun Shetty, Ruheen's frist adulterous boyfriend whom she meets after 11 years and almost ready to tie up knots when her relationship With Aditya is resulting very low in rate. But it is Varun who incited Ruheen’s thought to give Aditya another Chance. And as always happens - everybody lives happily ever after, Including Varun the shattered heart, got a girl at the end. 


This novel is getting filmed in June 2012. And I bet, What an entertainer movie script needs it has all the elements in it, like- actions, love letters, passionate love story, several picturesque spots like Simla, Amsterdam, Mumbai, etc. To be honest I didn't have the tenacity to read the novel line by line as I found it quiet boring and nagging with the same sequel emotions. Though to praise the author, the author has a well narrated storyline and portraits the characters with a very skilled and minute detail.  I would like mention one more thing that raised confusion in my mind. The author has used few Bengali words. Among them I am not able to find out the meaning of – “Subho Aprohano” (Page: 182). Does he want to mean “Shubho Aporanho”(Good Afternoon)!!!

This novel is Ahmed Faiyaz's second novel. His first novel is Love, Life and all that Jazz. He was born in Bangalore. He is a management consultant by profession and works for Health Authority of the Government of Dubai in a Strategic Planning and Execution role. He lives in Dubai with his wife. He acquired a Chartered Accountant's Degree and also an MBA degree. He writes about his writing:"Writing is not about making money for me nor am I considering a career switch. It's much more than that. It's something that is self- fulfilling. I aim and hope to write the kind of stories I enjoy reading and hopefully what you enjoy too. "
 
This review can be read HERE too.