Watermelon Salad

Death has outrun us as it always will; and it outlived us as it always has.

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Rosa Bianca. From my garden

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So let’s not summon this inevitably deadly guest Death with a nuclear war. Let’s turn our severely bizarre, Raven-black, voodoo talks-wishes-thoughts for the enemy into a beautiful prayer.

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Joy of Gardening!

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And ……. let’s make a fantastic Watermelon Salad. It is a Summer-time salad as pleasantly chilled as Arctic ice. As gently flavored as the Camellia-kissed summer breeze kissing the Eldorado cascades.

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Colors.

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Ingredients:

½ a Watermelon

Salt to taste

Juice from 1 Lemon/Lime

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Handful fresh herbs, e.g. Basil-Mint-Scallion

Handful toasted Sesame seeds

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Methods:

Cut Watermelon flesh into 1cm chunks

Gently combine chunks with salt, lemon juice, olive oil. Put in the fridge for about 30 minutes

Right before serving sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and fresh herbs

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Watermelon salad

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Killing innocent lives, bombarding humanity has never been nor will it ever be a solution as Allah SWT warns the transgressors saying:

These are the bounds, the limits set by Allah. Do not then transgress them for who transgress them are evil doers. [Surah Al-Baqarah (2): Ayah 229]

Salad

Allah SWT said to his messenger Prophet Muhammad PBUH:

“And say to my slaves (believers) that they should only say those words that are the best in which no one’s heart is hurt. Because Satan, verily, provokes discord among them. Surely, Satan is to man an open enemy. ”                                –  Al-Isra 17:53

 

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Chicken meatball curry

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‘Adiy ibne-Hatim Radiyallahu ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said: Good and evil for a man is between his two jaws.

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Roasted Chicken legs

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Abdullah Radiyallahu ‘anhu narrates that he heard Muhammad PBUH saying: Most of the faults that the son of Adam commits are by his tongue.

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Celebrating Cherry Tomatoes ... from my sleepy, little garden

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Harith ibne-Hisham Radiyallahu ‘anhu narrates: I inquired Muhammad PBUP, “Tell me something which I may hold to firmly”. He pointed towards his tongue and said: Control this.

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Harvest of the day!

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Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu ‘anhu narrates that Rasulullah PBUH said: He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, should speak what is good or be silent.

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Life is less-stressful, if you stay simple and healthy :)

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Ultimate Summer Salad

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 small Cucumbers or 1 English cucumber. Unpeeled/peeled
  • 2 cups Cherry Tomatoes or 3 ripe, firm Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small red Onion or 2 Shallots
  • 2/3 sweet/hot green peppers
  • Handful roughly chopped fresh herbs ( Parsley/Basil, Chive, Cilantro, Dill, Mint etc)

Dressing:

  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp honey
  • Freshly squeezed juice from one medium Lime/Lemon
  • 3 TBSP Mustard oil or Olive oil

Method:

  • In a bowl, place diced the cucumbers, tomatoes and julienne red onion. If using Cherry tomatoes, cut them into halves
  • Remove the seeds from the green pepper and slice very thin. Add to the bowl
  • In a small bowl use a whisk to combine the dressing ingredients
  • Mix the dressing with the salad. Toss gently to coat.
  • Sprinkle the herbs. Serve cold.
Note: You may prepare the vegetables a few hours ahead and refrigerate without adding the dressing
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The ultimate Summer Salad

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Mu’adh Radiyallahu ‘anhu asked: O Rasulallah! Command me such a deed that may send me to Paradise. He replied: Believe in Allah and speak good words, reward will be written for you; and speak no evil words that will be written against you.

 

 

Yellow Split Peas Halwa/Fudge

Making this rich, velvety, amber hued Halwa/Fudge will require your utmost patience. It will ask you to stir until your hands get numb. But the end result is worth the pain. If you’ve tried just one bite, the pain will hide, deep inside. And the sweet aftertaste will leave you somewhere, swinging in the spring air.

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বুটের ডালের হালুয়া. Split Yellow Peas Halwa. Sweeeeeet :)

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Ingredients:

Split yellow lentil/peas 2 cups ( Available in Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Shrilankan groceries)
Whole milk or full cream milk 4 cup
Bay leaves 2 pieces
Cinnamon 1 stick
Sugar 1 cup
Ghee 1 cup and some more for frying ( Available in Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani groceries)
Ground cardamom 2 generous pinches

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Method:

* Wash lentils until water runs clean. Soak for a few hours.
* Boil lentil with milk. liquid will evaporate leaving the lentils soft and moist.
*Blend lentil in a blender or food processor. If it feels too tight, keep on adding milk little by little as you go.
* In a large, wide nonstick pan, on medium-low heat, add Ghee, bay leaves and cinnamon. In a minute ghee will smell fantastic. Now add lentil paste and sugar.
*Keep stirring continuously for about 45 minutes to an hour. Add 1 tbsp Ghee when you reach half time.  In the end, the mixture will look and feel silky, smooth. It will leave the sides of the pan.

*Sprinkle ground cardamom now. Discard bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
*Spread the Halwa in a flat, greased platter. Garnish with toasted chopped nuts, raisins if you want.
* You may use a cookie cutter to give the Halwa various shapes and sizes while its still warm.
* Can be refrigerated for 10 days.

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Yellow Split Pea Halwa...বুটের হালুয়া

For Her

সন্দেশ। Ricotta Fudge

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Now it’s your turn to let her sleep under your wings and warmth for she turned your dark, doomed days into an unthreatened, unchained kaleidoscopic rainbow.
Now it’s your turn to make her feel loved, cared, cured, appreciated for she gave you  wings and made you fly and lifted you all the way up to the sky.
Now it’s your turn,  with your soul uncovered, face unmasked to tell her, “Thank You”.

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Some soft and snowy Ricotta Fudge to the kindest and most BEAUTIFUL person ever: my Mom and your Mom.

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Ingredients:

  1. Home made fresh and moist Ricotta cheese. Also known as Paneer/chhana – 1 cup
  2. Powdered sugar 1/3 cup
  3. Ghee (clarified butter) – 2 tbsp
  4. Cardamom powder – couple of pinch
  5. Chopped nuts (optional) – A handful

Method:

1. Knead cheese for 5 minutes to make it nice and loose. Add powdered sugar and cardamom powder. Knead for 2 more minutes to mix the flavors.
2. In a nonstick pan, over  low heat, cook the cheese and ghee for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat, knead slightly for a minute when it cools down a bit. Make desired shapes using greasy molds while the mixture is slightly warm. Or simply make small balls and flatten them lightly.  Stick chopped nuts onto the sweets, if you wish. Serve as is or cold.

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Ricotta Fudge. Shondesh. Bangladeshi sweets.

 

 

Fish Stew

With her grief, loss, failure, resentment, disappointment, defeat, death, imperfection, heartache, scars and empty cups from the previous year,  Bangladesh greets the first day of Bengali year (14th April) with festivity and day long feasts.

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Devastating floods, lurking droughts, looming tidal bores, famine, oddities, hidden fears, riots, leaders pocketing relief money… still oblivion people of this emerald island would forgive the sacrilegious rulers every year and cook plethora of ancient, mythical, majestic as well as humble, peasant-like dishes on this auspicious day.

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ইলিশ fish Korma: deeply, essentially Bangladeshi ....

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Rural Bengalis do not belong to a world full of urban sleepwalkers where nobody was actually awake; a world full of churning hatred, human heart like verbal firing squad, bitter suspicions; a world busy with mocking, angry talk, spreading vicious debate, heated conversations. They do not spend their income on war and guns. Only hunting and survival tactics they practice which they Inherited from their ancestors.

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A small scoop of rice and couple of those tiny little fried fish (may be) ... that is what the poor peasants in Bangladesh live on. Everyday.

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Bengali Style Fish Stew:

The fish caught from sweet water lake shores or thunderous tumult oceans or rigorous rivers, would mesmerize your senses with its own aroma. And the spices would gently waltz in the amber broth. Spices must not shackle the fish.

Ingredients:

2 pounds fish fillets/cutlets. Bite sized pieces. ( I cooked Hilsa slices)

2 tbsp Mustard oil

1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

2 cups Water

Green Chillies/Peppers 4-5 pcs

Salt to taste

 

Method:

In a big enough pot, lightly fry pat-dried fish chunks for a couple of minutes in hot oil on medium heat. Set aside.

In the same pot, add water-turmeric-salt. Let the water come to a boil.

Add fish. Cut Chillies into half and throw them in the pot. Cook for 5 minutes on medium high heat with the lid on. Or, until fish is boiled properly.

Serve with steamed rice.

 

ইলিশের ঝোল। Fish stew: Bengali way

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To my ancestors, to the rural people of Bangladesh, God always appears in the form of rice and fish. These beautiful, straight-out-of-a-novel people never exhibit the savage practice of killing each other off; they labor hard for peace and catching fish.

 

The grave of dreams

You are spinning and wondering in the wilderness. Emptiness spreads through seven heavens. Silence howling. Icebergs crackling behind.

Standing at the red cliff of the mountain, your heart is breathing faint and fast. Dead sky crumbles into cloudbursts.

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A nightmare.

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Resurrected from the nightmare you grasp your dear one’s hand with a tight clasp. And you weep over the near ones buried under nameless graves in the fierce waves.

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Roast Chicken on a bed of Chive blossoms

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Vegetables

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Chicken wings ... hot!

 

P.S. Marinate the whole or cut-up  skin-on chicken with only four ingredients: tomato ketchup, olive oil, salt and red chilli powder. Measurement depends on your taste buds, kitchen and common sense. Let it rest in the fridge for a few hours. Then roast at 400 degree fahrenheit for about an hour. Roasting time may slightly vary based on the size of the bird and your oven. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds or fresh herbs.

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Hot legs!

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“Which is the true nightmare, the horrific dream that you have in your sleep or the dissatisfied reality that awaits you when you awake?”
― Justin Alcala

 

Being Dead

It took you light years to spit the pieces of your bad and broken luck.

………….Along came the King…………….

He stones you and crushes your soul and spits you in the eye.

Then he leaves you in the middle of nowhere to die.

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Pumpkin Soup

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Roasted Eggplants

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Fish fritters and pasta ... lunch :)

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Uzbekistani Lamb Pilaf

Uzbekistani Lamb Plov

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup canola or olive oil
1 pound boneless lamb meat, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
2 teaspoons each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds ( Toasted and crushed)
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
2 cups boiling water (pinch of saffron threads goes into it)
1 whole unpeeled garlic head, washed
1 big bunch of scallion, Cilantro or Parsley
1 cup fresh/frozen green peas

Method:

* Place rice in a large bowl, wash with hot water and cover with warm water. Set aside.
* Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until smoking, and then add lamb. Cook, turning occasionally, until the lamb is evenly browned, 10 minutes.
* Add onion; cook, stirring, until the onion has softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Mix in cumin, coriander and peppercorns. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. If you find the meat is sticking, add 1 teaspoon or so of water before covering the pot.
* Pour cleaned rice over the lamb mixture in an even layer. Add carrots. Place the raw garlic head on top of the rice and squeeze it into the center.
* Slowly pour in the saffron-infused hot water over a large spoon or wooden spatula. This will ensure even distribution of water over the rice. Do not stir. Season with salt, and reduce heat to medium-low.
* Cover until the liquid starts boiling. Now remove the cover to let the stock almost evaporate. Then tightly cover again and cook on very low heat until rice is ready, about 20 minutes.
* When the rice is ready, open the lid, remove the garlic head, sprinkle in scallion green tops, herbs, and peas, cover and let stand for about 10 minutes. Then fluff and carefully mix everything together and serve.

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Dig a tunnel. Hide away. Bury your fragile hopes. Grow some Roses and save them for your own funeral. Because the King’s ghastly white earth does not bear Roses anymore.