May 29, 2014

Lau aar kumro ghanto (bottlegourd and pumpkin medley)

Laukumro ghonto

Now that it is getting warmer, we are spending a lot of time outside. Little A is riding his tricycle (he needs a little help every now and then) and Tiny M is being pushed around in a hand me down Kettler with a handle. In fact, he want to it all the time. When we bring him back in the house, there are tears.

Our favorite activity is to ride to the park, play, eat a snack and then ride back.

What are you doing now that summer is here?

My parents are here. Every time they visit, I wait for them to whip up a new dish. Last time it was kumro aar ucche (pumpkin and bitter gourd) chorchori, and before that it was shorshe begun (eggplant in mustard and peanut sauce).

This year it is lau aar kumro ghanto (bottle gourd and pumpkin medley). In this, the mild flavored vegetables are cooked in a bengali way (learn about ghanto way of preparing vegetables from Bong mom), with minimal spices and tastes fresh. It serves as a perfect first course on a warm day with rice and dal or even sambar.

May 15, 2014

Learning new tricks and celebrating mom with mango cake

Mango cake

I love a good tip. Whenever I see one about house, kitchen, or cooking, I bookmark it hoping to use it. Some get used immediately and some languish in bookmark folders for months and years before I find time.

You remember the garlic tip from a few months ago. It has come in handy so many times since we learned it.

Since then I have found a few more tips that have worked great for us.

Learning new tricksLearning new tricks 1. My kitchen gets a lot of use, from baking veggies, fish, chicken and cake etc, we use it atleast a few times a week. But I haven't been very good about cleaning it partly because of sheer laziness and partly because of lack of a good cleaning product.

A few weeks ago I found a tip in Kitchn about how to clean the oven with baking soda and vinegar. Without any chemicals? I immediately decided to act on it. I followed the step by step procedure and was very happy with the results.

It did a great job removing most of the grime and there was no after smell. And clean oven is such a pleasure.

Learning new tricks 2. I saw this tip for making a border around the garden and thought this is what we need for the front patch of our house. It sat in my pinterest for the longest time.

Learning new tricks Now that the weather is nice and warm I reopened the link and decided to working on it. Instead of stone, we got bricks and it worked just as well.  My father did the heavy lifting and it took us 3-4 days  to get it in place. I am thrilled to have the new border and promptly celebrated by planing annuals.

The recipe I want to share is mango cake. I made it on Mother's Day to celebrate my mom who baked cakes and custards in a small town in India when we were growing up. There was a small round tin box that was the oven and it came with a cake mould and some cupcake moulds too. I remember stirring the cake batter countless times as ma experimented with a recipe. The smell of cake cooking would keep us at edge and we would hang around till the cake was out and cut the still warm cake and pop it in our mouth.

So for Mother's Day I decided to combine mango puree with almond flour and whole wheat flour and olive oil to whip out this cake before the day was over. I realized that I didn't have whipped cream so decided to make a greek yogurt topping and it was amazing. It was creamy and if you cool it for a few hours, no one can tell the difference.

Make this cake and celebrate the little things that made you smile.


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