Tag Archives: sweet

Saved by Chocolate

Today is World Chocolate Day. Like most of us, there are many memories linked with the word chocolate but today I would like to take up the most recent one where chocolate saved the day. I had eaten the chocolate crêpe in the photo above while roaming around the city. The presence of chocolate syrup simply enhanced the taste.

I was used to baking with ready to cook cake mixes. When the lockdowns started in 2020, I started trying new things in the kitchen. One day I decided to bake from scratch, so I checked out a number of Youtube videos, made notes, discussed with mother and prepared a list. I got all the things, then prepared the mix and baked. The cake was baked properly and smelled so good. It even came out from the baking dish easily. I was so happy that I clicked pictures and sent to my mother. Then I had first bite and realized, it was not as sweet as expected. Maybe the quantiy of sugar was not right. I was disappointed and was wondering how I would eat this cake since its not so tasty. All my expectations went in drain. Just then I opened the fridge and there it was, the chocolate syrup. I remembered how the crêpe tasted so delicious and immidiately poured some syrup on the cake. Then the cake was just what I wanted, tasty. This way chocolate syrup saved my day. I hope this blog brings a smile to you as it made my cake sweet. Happy World Chocolate Day.

Frozen Treats with a Twist

Everyone waits for the arrival of Summers especially the children. The lovely carefree Summer Vacations for which we used to plan from February. In my hometown Baroda, the Summer was flagged by the presence of yummy bright yellow and orange mangoes. All the terraces used to be full of jars containing spicy pickles. All the roads were full of ice cream shops. I still remember tugging my Father’s hand the moment we passed the ice cream shop. These memorable events of life create an evergreen combination of ice cream and summer. Even today the very mention of Summer brings forth a sight of mango and ice cream. This has also encouraged creativity.

The first breakfast introduced to me after coming to the USA was Waffles and I immediately liked it. I have always had it with strawberry syrup but this year I was surprised. While wandering around the library I came across a nice shop called Waffallonia when I went to the library in downtown. There was a genuine smile on all the faces around that shop. They serve Waffles with Ice cream. I had the outstanding combination of Waffles, peanut butter and cinnamon ice cream.

Waffle with Peanut butter and Cinnamon Ice Cream

Summer is also the time for juicy fruits like watermelon, grapes, etc. My mother always made sure, we have lots of fruits. One of her favorite ways to make us eat fruits was through fruit custard. She was really fast at that. Anytime we made a request and it would be present as a dessert. Last week, I went to the local library. It was really hot so I searched for frozen treats around library and came across The Meadows. There I came across different varieties of Frozen custard. This time it was frozen custard with crunchies.

Custard with Crunchies

Waffles, cream, crunchies are mostly available but it never occurs to us they could create such amazing desserts. This shows creativity has no limits, one can do so even with day to day things. Both Ice cream, waffles and custard are part of my list of favorite dishes but this year I had them with a twist. The trip to library definitely helped me discover these in addition to books. Next time you go for Ice Cream, do ensure you look around for something new in your regular favorite.

Celebrating Holika Bonfire

Celebration of Holika bonfire

Celebration of Holika bonfire

There was a mail on friday for holi celebrations in building on friday. Holi is on 17th march this year. The night before holi is a full moon night and it is called phagun poornima or doll poornima. A bonfire is made using dry sticks and dung cakes. This fire is made as a mark of respect for Prahlad who was a strong devotee of Lord Vishnu. It is the killing of holika, the demon, to protect Prahlad. A mark of victory of good over evil. Hence it is also called Holika Daahan.

This bonfire is generally done in the neighbourhood and so it is attended by all the people. As I saw the kids playing around, I was reminded of my school days. I have early memories of going to see it with my mother, much before I came to know its reason. The fire is bounded by small bricks. Ladies come with water, sweets and coconut and these used to be offered as a part of the prayer. One such plate is visible in the photo. For kids it marks the start of holi. Holi is a spring festival and so it is celebrated with colors. We already have the colors at home and the pichkaris(water guns) ready. On the day of holika daahan, we used to fill the pichkaris with plain water and start using it on our friends. We used to plan out the time when we would start playing with colors the next morning. Even today I saw a few kids playing and one of them even had an idea to dry up “I got wet while playing and then dried up in the heat of the bonfire”.

Although it was a bonfire, but it used to give everyone a reason to meet up and greet each other. Holi also was the last festival of the academic session and right after it, we used to start preparing for final exams. As I saw the bonfire today, I couldn’t help wishing for the carefree school days. Happy Holi to everyone.

A colorful sky

Today is 14th january. This day is celebrated as Makarsankranti/pongal/Uttarayan in India. This is the first festival of the year and probably the only festival to have a fixed date every year. I was brought up in Gujarat and loved the celebration of Uttarayan. Even in the chilling january, people used to go to terraces or playgrounds and fly kites. This used to be a whole day activity. People also take their music systems with themselves thus enjoy music with flying kite. The sky seems to be a collage of different colored kites. People just love the sun in the chilling winter. This combination seems to add extra energy in them. We used to meet up our entire neighbourhood on their respective terraces.

Festival also implies eating delicious meals. Jaggery has a special place in most of the dishes of Makarsankranth. In western India its gudpoli and chikki wherease in eastern India its pitha. My mother used to make pitha and thus we used to have a nice exercise of climbing up the stairs to the terrace for flying kites and then climbing down the stairs to eat pitha. The preparation has to be made a day before. A holiday is declared in most of the organizations.

Pitha

Another kind of pitha

Today special kite flying competitions and fairs are held. Shops are filled with readymade sweets but what was made by mothers and grandmothers still has its special place in my heart and mind.

Happy MakarSankranthi
Happy Uttarayan
Happy Pongal