Cake

Winter evening shadows are creeping and deepening around your solitary soul. But baking a cake takes no time to unfold your soul.

This quietly beautiful cake, maintains a relaxed warmth whilst keeping in it satisfyingly minimalist ingredients. It makes an unbeatable visual impression ♥

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Chocolate cake

The cake is so fluffy, improbably airy that it looks like it’s ready to levitate.

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  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

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Preheat oven to 350 degree for metal/glass pans. 325 degree for dark/coated pans.

Grease sides and bottoms of the pan using softened unsalted butter.

Blend above ingredients at low-speed first and then at medium speed for 2 minutes using an electric hand-mixer.

Pour batter in the pan and bake for about 40 minutes (more or less).

Cake is done when it fluffs-up, shows a few cracks in the center of the surface and when inserted in the center a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack to allow the cake to cool completely. Remove cake from pan.

Sprinkle sweet and glossy flurries of powdered sugar.

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Chocolate Cake

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This cake, like a Nightingale, would sit in darkness and sing to cheer your solitude with sweet sounds. Just one bite and suddenly moonbeams will splash and spill wildly in the fog; from the deepest wells of silence you’ll hear its bubble of sound,”Stay Warm” ♥

To Peace

The rainbow will crush,crumble and sink in the quicksand. The amber full moon will be buried in deep darkness. The Eagles and Seagulls will be sun-struck and die high up in the sky. Scarlet-tailed Nightingales and Pelicans will stop clucking, paddling and flapping their wings in the pink Lotus lagoon. The wind will no longer shake the pink-petal Cherry blossoms like the wind chimes. The tower of stone that you built with your flesh and bone for stargazing will collapse.

 –    Because they will bombard, blow-up, wipe-out, gun-down, tear-apart, shoot, slay, search & destroy every happiness and heritage that we’ve inherited.

But today is not that day. Today we’re alive and we’ll thank God for one more sunrise. Today we will celebrate life with couple of light-bright-beautiful-healthful snacks.

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Curried Chickpeas: It’s rustic, loosely knit yet fresh, balanced and full of vibrant flavors.

Curried Chickpeas. ছোলা/বুট ভুনা

 

Fry one small onion till translucent, to that add handful of canned chickpeas along with a pinch of salt-pepper and turmeric. Fry for five minutes on medium high-heat. Savor with puffed rice or garden salad as an evening snack or brunch. You’ll feel light like a Hummingbird … like you can carry the entire sky on your one wing.

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Crispy, tender vegetable noodle salad: With this noodle salad, your senses will know how lovely it is to witness the light summer wind stirred amidst the rich odor of Roses.  The lighter the spices, the merrier, ethereal the Noodle gets which shows grace, finesse and precision along with savory and sweet flavors.

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Noodle Salad

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Ingredients:

1 small Zucchini or 1 small cucumber

1 small yellow squash

1 small carrot

1 small red onion. Thinly sliced.

2 tbsp fresh Lemon juice

½ tsp grated fresh Ginger

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Your choice of herbs

1/2 pound thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta noodle

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Method:

Boil noodle according to package instruction. While it’s boiling, prepare the veggies.

With a shredder or mandolin or spiralizer tool, cut first three ingredients.

In a bowl combine noodle, veggies and spices.

Note:  You’re welcome to add more veggies like (boiled/blanched) cut-up Tomatoes, Sugar Snap Peas, Broccoli, Bell Peppers etc.

Instead of ground/crushed black pepper, try chopped fresh green chilies for more aroma, heat and warmth.

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Extreme cuteness alert!

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Soon the Army will parade with Rose-bouquets in their hands, not guns. Tanks, drones, rocket-launchers will cross boundaries and brush-fire loads of chocolates in our backyards. – a Utopian dream, I know. But how long can you live with the true and terrible fear of getting killed? How many times do we need to pull ourselves from life? – Let the fear go. Let it snow.

Cheers to a fear-free 2016. Cheers to Peace.

Hot and Sweet Egg Curry

Your garden is the place where you find yourself when you need to lose yourself.

Growing peace-prosperity-serenity-tranquility and beauty in your garden will reach you towards God.

There’s this beautiful garden sprouted afresh on the scorching sands … on the burnt, blackened land of my backyard.

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Okra and Okra blossoms from my garden :)

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Red Hot Chili Peppers :)

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Cherry Tomatoes. Homegrown.

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Beans from my garden. শিম :)

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That garden is also a lush harbor of flowers, bees, birds, butterflies.

pastel color

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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clematis

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Gardening is an ancient act of art and independence indeed. And cooking is the most beautiful act of survival. Cooking a simple curry that tastes like the night sky dressed in midnight pearls and stars is like creating a majestic masterpiece.

A taste of sweetness mixed with heat, dirt, earth….

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Eggs cooked in onion-tomato-ginger. Darn yummy :)

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Ingredients:

6 hard boiled eggs

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion. Finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ginger. Grated

1 medium tomato. Chopped

4-5 green chilies/peppers

Cilantro/parsley

Salt to taste

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Method:

In a heated pan, pour oil and sauté onions and ginger in medium heat for 5 minutes. Add eggs, tomato chunks and salt. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle whole peppers and chopped herbs. Put the lid back on. Turn off the stove. Let the caramelized onions waltz with the gentle, humble heat of the peppers and earthiness of the ginger. Serve with rice/roti.

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Your eyes will admire the amber glow of the curry. Your ears will listen happily the subtle sizzling wind chime-like sound while it’s cooking. Your hypnotized heart will stretch skyward after savoring it.

Chicken Kebab

Self Reminder 1:

In those pitch-black eclipse nights, darkness will fold your soul like a thick-as-a-brick, deep, dense, thorny blanket. Your misguided feet will step into the quicksands in some sandstormy nights. You will be lost in the saddest city lane. Tears will fall from your sand-soaked eyes like falling piercing rain droplets. But you must journey on. And pray to the ONE who rules the thunder. Soon you will see the star-studded sky and twinkling twilight. Pray hard.

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Strawberries and powdered sugar :)

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Self Reminder 2:

Eat simple, clean and fresh for food in your plate has a marvelous, magical story to tell, a legacy to leave.

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Chicken Kebab

 

Ingredients

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 whole Lemon/Lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (you may use Thyme, Parsley or your choice of herbs instead)

Good pinch of salt

½ teaspoon crushed black pepper

1 teaspoon tomato paste/sauce (optional)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Vegetable oil will work just fine

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into cubes

3 Capsicum aka Bell Peppers -red, yellow, green- seeded, cut into pieces (optional)

1 Red onion, cut into cubes

3-4 wooden skewers ( soaked in water for a while to prevent from burning while grilling)

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Directions

Mix first seven ingredients in a bowl.

Rub the paste on chicken cubes and let them marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow the meat to come to room temperature; it will take about 15 minutes.

Thread the chicken and veggies onto wooden skewers, then cook on a griddle/grill pan for 7-8 minutes each side or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and golden brown. Turn the kebabs frequently and brush the marinade from time to time until evenly cooked.

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Chicken Kebab. Special ingredient used: Tomato sauce

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Self Reminder 3:

If you have a candle, let others light off theirs from yours. Your light won’t glow any dimmer. Then like Fireflies in the night, twinkling love surrounds you.

Chicken Curry

With drought in my mouth, storm brewing in my stomach, whenever I knocked on Grandma’s door, uninvited, she would greet me with a spatula in hand wearing a full blown smile. Smile like a brightly blazed flaming flower. A Sunflower.

Crimson colored oil drops dripping down her spatula. Drops like the Daffodils gone wild in the hills in a sizzling summer noon.

I loved sniffing the scent of passion, promises of Ruby red chicken curry. A truly treasured, real, rural, authentic, esthetic lunch dish. The treasure still holds my soul captive.

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pic1Grandma knew how to make a dish jazziest, how to make a soul happiest and how to be friendliest. She found soul and solace in sharing home cooked lunch every single day with whoever walked past her yard.

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Recipe

Ingredients:

2 pounds skinless cut-up chicken

½ cup plain yogurt

1 Tablespoon ginger paste

1 Teaspoon garlic paste

Pinch of turmeric

1/2 tablespoon Kashmiri red chili powder. (It gives color. Not heat)

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 stick Cinnamon, 3 cardamoms, 3 cloves

½ cup water

1/2 cup Ghee or olive oil

Salt to taste

4-5 whole green chili peppers. ( For a little heat and aroma)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

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Method:

Marinate cleaned, washed chicken with yogurt for about 30 minutes. This will eliminate raw odor and add succulence to the meat.

In a wide heavy-bottomed pot, heat ghee/oil over medium-high heat. Cook onions for 5 minutes.

When onions looking soft and light brown, add cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves. ( You may discard those before serving)

In a few seconds add water to prevent spices from burning. Now add garlic, ginger, turmeric and chili powder. Keep stirring for 5-8 minutes. Or until gravy separates from oil. Add meat. Coat the pieces well with gravy.

Add salt and green chili peppers. Adjust heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until chicken is tender and gravy thickens.

 Sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice to serve.

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pic2Let your senses explore the depth of hot & sweet curry with steamed rice and fresh garden salad.

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Old age crushed Grandma’s memory. Everybody is nameless to her. To her every face is like a frame-less portrait hung in an empty, hollow hallway. The Empress of the lotus covered linen lake house now is a weathered face. Her emerald eyes lost sight. Her senses are now unable to catch summer breeze or winter chills. But her open invitation for lunch to every passers-by would swirl and curl around their hearts like flowers and foliage painted in an ancient lighthouse tomb.

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Pan-Fried Fish: The Healer of Hearts

Just a few excellent, exhilarating ingredients – condensed into a cohesion, could make an exuberant, ecstatic, fantastic dish; one worthy of worshiping.

Ruhu Fish fry

It is easy to achieve and summon such absurdly beautiful brightness, if the method is properly executed, spices carefully and lovingly cooked.

This is a velvety light, love-driven, decadent, and turmeric-chili-salt-pepper covered enchanting endeavor, best served on a scoop of steamed rice in a torrent rainy evening.

When whispering rainy days spill beauty like crystal confetti, people of beautiful Bangladesh dance tippy-toes between raindrops. To catch fish from seven hundred shimmering, sparkling, rigorous rivers. To pan-fry fish; tender, gently spiced, gorgeously rich timeless taste.

 

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Baking a cake could be sagacious rocket science. But pan-frying fish is as charming of a chore as giving a hidden, unnamed river a name.

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Ingredients:

3 Fish fillets/cutlets (about 1 inch thick). Skin on or off

 A pinch of salt, coarsely freshly ground black pepper, red chili powder, turmeric powder

 2 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil for shallow frying

 

 Method:

Bring the fish to room temperature 10 minutes before cooking.

 Season the fish with above mentioned spices.

Warm a large fry pan or skillet with oil over medium heat. Raise the heat to medium-high. Place the fish in the pan. Cook until golden brown on 1 side, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish over with a spatula, and cook until it feels firm to the touch and the skin is crisp if desired, about 3 minutes more.

The skin can be served or removed easily.

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Lost in the lofty taste, your heart and senses will end up being wrapped and covered with color, charisma….lifting you high like a Hummingbird, out the horizon, across a sunshiny river, deep into the pearly pebbles far down in the river’s bosom.

Lal Mohon aka Gulab Jamun: A sensory bombardment

Countless snow flurries are falling soundlessly. Mother nature gets grey and as dry as the Sahara. Winter windchill enters her bloodstream and she feels a sense of resignation, fear … when the sense of hibernation is that strong, that deep, that long-lasting and that huge, why not celebrate light ! Why not feast with sweets against the darkness of Winter!

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Ricotta Fudge .

To wade off Winter’s chill, if you’re in the pursuit of some antidote, some drug to saturate your palate; something that can melt you, thaw you out and untangle you …. Try Ricotta Fudge. Or, try Lal Mohon which is also known as Gulab Jamun in South Asia. Your spirits will kindle!

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Lal Mohon is a love-drug ♥ Totally. These twinkling beauties are constantly beckoning for you to come closer to her mystery, sink deeper. Their tender, rose-petal softness invites a finger’s touch.

There is so much sweetness, softness, happiness, beauty and bliss in those tiny, cute, juicy balls! Pop one in your mouth, let it explode in your throat and you’ll feel an unbelievable amount of glee traveling down to your tummy!

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Ingredients:

For making balls:

Full cream milk powder 1 cup
All purpose flour 1 tbsp
Baking powder 1/4 tsp
Ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil 1 tsp
Milk or water 3 tbsp
Cardamom powder 1/4 tsp

For making syrup:

Sugar 1 cup
Water 2 cups
Cardamoms 4 pcs
Rose water 2 tsp

For deep frying:

Oil or clarified butter (ghee)

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Method

Stage 1:

1. Mix well flour, baking powder, milk powder, cardamom powder.
2. Add Ghee and liquid milk. Make soft but sticky dough.
3. Make 1″ balls. About 12 balls. Make sure there’s no crack on the surface of the balls.
4. Heat oil/Ghee over medium heat for at least 5 minutes. Reduce heat. Lightly fry balls in batches until they turn reddish brown. Heat should be same all the way through. After frying for 7-8 minutes, balls will float and expand in size. Drain balls, place on paper towel.

Stage 2:
1. Make simple syrup by mixing and cooking water plus sugar. Add cardamoms. Reduce heat. Throw fried balls.
2. Cook for 3-4 minutes in medium heat. Add couple of drops rose water for a little exotic kick. Stop cooking.
3. Let the balls soak in the flavored syrup for 3 hours.

Serve as dessert or evening snack. A cup of tea would nicely go alongside. Fresh, warm dumplings are better, but chilled ones is a perfectly good option for that pleasant chillness instantly will warm up, ignite your heart.

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This is the kind of taste that lasts for a lifetime! It has this amazing power to bring your shattered, tired, frozen self back to life. And that light-airy-velvety-sunny-sweet aftertaste will leave your tongue comfortably numb ♥

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