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Monday, 19 December 2011

Spiced Banana Pecan Loaf

It doesn't feel like Christmas in this part of the country yet thanks to the horrible weather! It's raining cats and dogs everyday and the temperature is not bothering to drop any further than 2-3 degrees. We got all excited the day it started snowing for the first time but unfortunately it lasted only for a couple of hours. Little T was very disappointed with Father Christmas' miserliness and decided to write him a strict letter. That's what we've been doing for the past few days. And we finally managed to put up the Christmas decorations too! And no I still havn't managed to unpack all my bags :(

 To lighten up T's mood and to fulfill my friends' demands for a Christmas cake I have been going through all kind of cake and pudding recipes but all in vain! Finally I thought of baking a banana pecan cake and spice it up a little and Voila! What's better than a spiced cake to celebrate the start of festivities! Little T already has a palette for spiced cakes and she loves this simple yet delicious Spiced Banana Pecan Loaf Cake. The recipe is adapted from the BBC Goof Food website with a few changes of mine. For the original recipe click here.

Spiced Banana and Pecan Loaf

Ingredients :

175 gm softened butter and a little extra for greasing
175 gm golden caster sugar
140 gm Whole Wheat Flour
100 gm ground almonds
3 eggs
100 ml milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
50 gm pecans, chopped
30 gm walnuts, chopped
A handful of muesli
A generous pinch of cinnamon powder 
A few sweet banana chips to garnish

Method :

Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. 
Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. 
Beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the mashed bananas.
Beat the eggs, flour, almonds, cinnamon, baking powder and milk separately until smooth. 
Gradually fold in both the mixes together. Stir in the pecans and the walnuts.
Pour the batter into the tin. Sprinkle the muesli evenly on top.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden, risen and a skewer poked in comes out clean. 
Cool in the tin, then lift out. 
Garnish with the banana chips on top.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Amar chhotobelar shohor Kolkata

I've just come back from a long holiday. And yes I'm jet lagged, holiday hungover and exhausted but yet I've decided to write this post even before I've finished unpacking so that I can sum up my emotions in this write up before my memories slowly start to fade out like an used yellowed paper. All the Bengalis I know call Kolkata or Calcutta fondly as his/her City of Joy so what's new in my post? Well then you havn't read the title properly. It doesn't say ''Amar khushir shohor(my city of joy)'' or even just ''Amar shohor(my own city)''. It says ''Amar chhotobelar shohor Kolkata (The city of my childhood-Kolkata)''. Yes I don't like how rapidly Kolkata is changing these days, I don't like the rise in the number of expensive shopping malls, I don't like the huge arrogant SUVs on the narrow roads, I don't like the fancy fine dining eateries at every nook and corner of the city and I don't even like ''Nolen gurer Ice-Cream''! For me Kolkata will always be a city of jhalmuri, phuchka, tikka rolls, Nalen gurer sandesh, Gariahat, New Market and lots and lots of sweet memories. Memories of my first day at school, memories of my favourite teacher, memories of my holidays with nose dug deep into Anandamela, memories of the frequent tiff and making up with my brother, memories of my parents discussing and planning a yearly holiday to one of the hill stations and the most precious memories of all...memories of the wonderful time spent with my childhood friends. Memories that never scar you...they just leave a sweet but deep pain within. Memories that make you suddenly stop on your track and smile. Memories that make you long for those childhood days again and again.....

Last two times when I visited Kolkata I tried to revisit my yester years. I did all those things that I don't get to do anymore but the child inside my 31yr old body screams and asks me to do everyday! I went for motor bike rides, I watched a romantic flick with my equally crazy childhood friends and shouted and behaved like a love stricken teen-ager, I walked from Chowranghee to Bhawanipur (and fell sick the next day), bought cheap jewelleries and bargained and quarrelled with the shop-keepers(even called one of them ''Kaku''-Uncle), ate countless phuchkas and rolls and spent endless hours of giggling and gossipping with my two best friends of 25 years! For me Kolkata will always be a city where I can get what I've left last time...pieces that I can pick up and put together to make another complete picture. Kolkata for me will always be a city of yellow taxis, colourful wooden buses and horse carriages in front of Victoria Memorial. 

I know this is not the first time that I've written a post on Kolkata and it definitely not the last time. Every time I come back from my city I get this feeling of an immense void...a loneliness that only time can fill.

Growing up is not that bad when you have same sort of crazy people to grow up with. And for that I will always be ever so grateful to Kolkata for giving me such an innocent and unadulterated childhood that only she could give...and for that she will always be The City of My Childhood. I love you Kolkata!  

Find more photos here.