Sunday, 21 October 2018


So, a week long celebration comes to an end finally.... as all good things do! Durga Pooja for us is a cyclic celebration... the wait is little longer.... say for 365 days.... thats it! We totally enjoy the festival staying here far from home. In fact, I am scared now of the Kolkata Pooja.... I am definitely not in support of getting to see the mother's face as early as on Mahalaya neither am I comfortable with the idea of pandal hopping in the crowd. To park the car a mile away from each pandal and joining the queue seems scary to me now. I totally enjoy the ride in a personal chauffeur driven car here in this island, in return I cook good food for him and digest all the threats he showers on me.... What else can I expect from a person who told me this when we got engaged.... "T to what extent would you be romantic towards me, how happy do you feel getting to be with me?" Take a look at the answer.... he said.... "yes, I am happy... I can make slits on your body with a knife, rub some salt and enjoy watching your reaction.... I will tie you with a robe, hang you onto  a moving fan and enjoy watching it!" The clever person was testing the durability of my feelings.... I understood, did not express my fear .... You see that patience got me a good chauffeur for free.... so I cook ANARASHER SANDESH to 8-9 dishes on a Saturday. That really helps me you know. I will just make some parathas on a Monday morning, reheat the cauliflower-potato curry and pack their lunch boxes. Their short break boxes are usually packed with fruits and sweets or homemade cakes... even store bought cakes & sweets at times. I am not so happy with the quality of the Indian sweets here.... so I make my own sweets at home with the soft & supple paneer made at home.... Once I finish sharing the recipe of ANARASHER SANDESH with you, I will prepare some "luchi / poori".... take out the mutton kheema curry and serve hot their favourite lunch.... I would have been happier if they had some salad & raita in the platter. Mumma prepared both chicken & mutton within a span of 12 hours.... ask me why? The son is more like his father.... not in the habit of complaining usually. He was away from home during the entire week of Durga Pooja on an outbound trip from the school to Cambodia! Once back, he told that there were more vegetarian food in offer than meat, so he did not enjoy the food. Most of the students in Indian schools are vegetarian, hence our son will have problem and mumma has to cook chicken and mutton both for him! I could not manage the dried fish bharta yesterday.... both me and Cristine were feeling tired.... we had our lunch at 5pm and you can well imagine the husband's mood who says the priorities of my life are wrong.... He wishes to go out for a driving practice with me on a Sunday morning and I prefer to write a blog post. I mean I do not have the patience to learn anything.... its going to be 2 years ever since I have got a driving licence but cannot take the car out alone even in the neighbourhood.... the husband has to sit beside. I go for swimming classes down below.... while the co-learners learnt it in 5 classes, I am still struggling with a floater.... The brother is the same, lacks patience .... he will watch Formula1 and play car games over the weekends but will not go out with his wife for a driving session, he is a skilled driver. His mobile phone got pick pocketed while boarding a train last to last week..... he bought a bit expensive one not required to..... next day his wife transferred that big amount to his account as a pooja gift! You know why we siblings are like this? Our mother spoon fed us. However, I love to cook like her although she does not recommend eating stale food ever....

Even after cooking a couple of dishes, I forced myself to go out for a walk in the dusk. I am scared now after eating beyond the limit for 5 long days.... Its not about the overweight factor, that I am a diabetic is a concern! Each day on my walk, I engage in some silly clicking... be it a "hanging dalim" or a "dedicated runner couple".... By the time I unlocked my cell phone, they surpassed me and went ahead.... Couple workouts are always fruitful.... At this home if I offer so.... the man's expression seems as if he is "ghost stricken".... look at what he is doing.... the one who can sleep 16 hours a day if given a chance. Post workout, I love some chilled coolers.... people were having their weekend dinner by then... I was observing the young couple in black..... so engrossed in themselves.... right associations can feel secluded amidst a crowd, they do not need dark corners! .... In one of those shoe box high rises lives a couple who are very good friends.... yet a she misses her best friend in him.... she wishes to let her hair down totally in his presence as she used to do in her teens.... Leave that, I click and wish to weave stories revolving my silly clicks .... I lack stock of words that can be called good literature. I loved that chilled drink... a mixture of milk tea and coffee. I had a chia seed banana sugar free dinner, while the rest had prawn, 'bhindi bhaja, dal'. If you reheat fried 'bhindi' in the microwave, it gets crispy again. My problem is that I cannot stick to healthy eating, I will end up eating two 'luchi' for lunch!

Yesterday, I updated the pictures of an old blog post.... MAACH TARKARIR JHOL ..... Now I wish to share this Bengali style sweet / sandesh recipe done with chena / paneer / Indian Cottage Cheese and Pineapple Paste! Here, we get very good quality readymade pineapple paste but I preferred to prepare it fresh. Those super sweet, smaller variety comes from Thailand! If your pineapple is not that sweet, use more sugar! This sweet really tasted good as we Bengalis prefer paneer more than mawa as the  base for a sweet! If you follow the stepwise pictures, you will know that this ANARASHER SANDESH is done with few ingredients. Come let us do this Bengali style sweet together!

An old blog post of a fish curry with few veggies gets updated with new pictures, do have a look!







Let us prepare the paneer / chena / Indian Cottage Cheese first. Take the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel and put for boil. As it comes to boil, add the lemon juice 1tbsp at a time while we keep stirring the content. 

Once the milk curdles, stop adding the lemon juice. Add the ice cubes immediately. We will not wait for the content to cool down.... the mistake I was doing all this while.

We will immediately pass it through a white, clean, cotton or muslin cloth. 

We will store the whey for a later use in curries or doughs, just refrigerate it. I saw my mother using it  to curdle a fresh batch of milk ... we had to have chena everyday.

Tie the cloth properly. I never wash the chena before tying the knot, I love the smell of fresh lemon.

Tie it tight to the kitchen tap and leave for 45 minutes or little more.

You can see how Cristine helps me in all my cooking adventures.

Meanwhile, we will peel, wash and chop the pineapple. We get the readymade, peeled one in the local fruit store and all over the island!

Take the chopped fruit pieces in a blender and blend at high for 2-3 minutes to get a paste. Pause in between. I spoilt two machines already.

After 45 minutes to 1 hour, take down and untie the knot... the paneer looks lucrative!

We will take it on a plate. Washing the cloth is Cristine's headache!

Now we will knead it for 5-7 minutes.... amazing palm exercising mechanism.

Heat a wok and add the pineapple paste, amount of sugar to be used and the green cardamom powder.

Stir for about 4-5 minutes at low heat. 

Add the kneaded chena / paneer / Indian cottage cheese.

Fold in well and keep stirring for 4-5 minutes. Add few drops of screw pine water at this stage.

Transfer the entire content to a plate. Let it cool a bit. We will knead it for 3-4 minutes while its still warm.

Take out small portions and use your palms to get the desired shapes. The moulds I got from the Dakhineshwar Temple ground are not of good quality, moreover I am poor at anything that needs patience and artistry. I got to know that we get good quality of sandesh moulds in the Chitpur area of Kolkata.... I do not visit that area although I crave for Royal er Biryani. I would request our good friend Joy Ghosh to get 3-4 shapes for me!

This sweet tastes best if eaten fresh, we can refrigerate it up to 2-3 days.

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