My addiction to coffee is not new and there are few posts on the same subject in past. The culture of having a good time with a cup of coffee is catching up in India. Café Coffee Day aka CCD is expanding its footprints in rapid speed from past few years; people close to the business speculate they are just spending money and expanding in hope for a bought over by some FDI like Starbucks if the later enter Indian market.
Personally prefer Barista (inside Leela hotel more presice) more for the ambiance then the coffee. This chain has changed ownership a few times and their service is not consistent across franchises. The croissant I had in Mumbai airport last Wednesday felt like chewing gum.Now there are few entries to the market like Cuppa, Costa. Went to Cuppa(in Benarghata road) few months back after dinner with friends and were quite disappointed as they did not had any wine that we asked. Felt like they wanted to push some open bottled wine and my experience with coffee was not great either. Last Tuesday while in Mumbai went to Costa coffee for the first time and I must admit their coffee was really great. The price is bit higher from CCD but very much like Barista now need to see if they can hold on to the quality as they expand within India.
Bengalis are considered as food-lovers (khadya-rashik).For them any sumptuous bengali meal is always incomplete without a sweet dish. Just like any french meal which would remain incomplete without a bottle of exquisite french wine.
I was not a big fan of sweet earlier but when you live with someone for a long period of time, you quickly start to adapt some of your partner’s habits be it deliberately or inadvertently. Maybe sometimes for the good or worst – so is my case. My sweet S unlike me, does love his sweets quite ardently. With us, desserts do not necessarily need to be complicated or fancy; they simply have to be labeled dessert. Sometimes, only a piece of quality bittersweet chocolate will do especially after main meal be it lunch or dinner.
Well known Bengali sweets are generally made of milk products and sugar be it sweetened cottage cheese (chhena), khoa (reduced solidified milk). Sometimes even flours of different cereals and pulses are used to prepare and embellished with nuts, raisins or grated coconut.
From quite a long, I was craving for Narkal sondesh (grated coconut sweet). But somehow things were not in my favour and it didn’t get prepared. Much like other aspects of life, it takes a bit of perspiration and lots of inspiration. At last, I had to ask hesitatingly to my Sondesh guru and my inspirer (mil) to prepare for me which she accepted it considering my situation…peut-etre!
I learnt preparing this from her but today I will recite my joy of eating for the one she prepared on my request to tantalize my tongue.
Simple to prepare
- Mix sugar powder and grated coconut paste.
- Place the mixture over the heat and stir constantly to avoid lumps.
- When the sugar melts, add milk powder and remove the pan from the heat. Stir few more times.
- Add the cardamom powder and mix again.
- Now cool it a little and then smear the stone mold with oil; Press sugary-coconut on the mold to decorate their upper surface occasionally with help of water.
These sweets are commonly prepared for religious festival or marriage or offering to household deity. But as I said, today it was prepared for me.
First weekend of December past with lots of activities – a trip to commercial street, malls and office. On Saturday Aarush forced me to leave bed early – deprived me of extended sleeping on the weekend. After that I was busy with him mostly for breakfast. Nowadays he has developed a nasty habit of prolonged (around an hour or more) eating times be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. After that he played for while but soon he was sleepy for nap. That created an opportunity for me to try muffin which was long time overdue.
I searched quickly for “chocolate banana muffin” recipe and found this one and went with it as it looked simple and easy except few changes. I beated powdered sugar with melted butter first. In between I kept two eggs outside of freeze to bring them to room temperature. Mixed one tea- spoon of leveled baking soda and baking power each in the flour and sieved 3-4 times to make sure there is enough air mixed in the flour. Then I whisked the eggs and added milk to it; after mashing banana in the grinder I mixed all three together.
Now kept adding half of the dry and liquid ingredients alternatively to the sugar – butter mixture. Lastly, stir in chocolate.
With that my job was almost over as soon as I put the tray for baking; to my surprise and delight they started to rise nicely. Best part of the whole exercise was quick yet successful result. It only took 40 mins to prepare and clean up the kitchen. It might take much less if you are prepared as of my case it was all impromptu right from searching recipe to oven. Anywayz, after a long time enjoyed my time in kitchen – thanks to Aarush for his nap
P.S. May add little bit more sugar if you prefer muffin sweet.