I am a Sikh. V is a Hindu. Its quite strange that we still had an arranged marriage, because generally in such cases, the parents arrange their child to get married with a person of the same caste, religion. Since, marriage in India is not just between two people but between two families, this logic makes sense. Its easier to adjust to the new household if you belong to the same religion. You are used to the customs, norms, everything. So the whole transition from a Miss to a Mrs is easier.

Before marriage, I never followed any of the Hindu customs or practices at home, though, I would sometimes visit the temple with my Hindu friends, and celebrated Hindu festivals like Holi and Diwali. After marriage, things have changed – nothing drastic nor anything I have an issue with- just something inevitable as a result of an inter-religion marriage. I have never been too religious, but since V is and so is his family, I have started praying. I am not even an atheist. I believe in God, but I believe the best way to be in his good books is by being nice to everyone around. No matter how much I pray if I hurt someone’s feelings I know I’ll pay for it. So for me, to get closer to God, I need to be more tolerant to those around, and treat everyone with respect. That’s always been my logic and for me self-improvement is the only way to keep God happy with me. But, out of respect for my in-laws and V’s feelings, I try to pray as often as I can. Of course, it does give you a sense of peace and calm when you pray. So, it’s something I have grown to like. And somehow, I feel that the incense and diya (oil lamp) lit after Puja generates good vibes in the house.

Now, last Saturday was Ganesh Chaturthi. My mom-in-law asked us to perform puja at home. Generally, during a festivity, when you perform Puja, you offer some mithai (sweets) to God and then distribute it as prasad (god’s offering). On Ganesh Chaturthi, the sweet offered is generally modak (a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments) but, I also read that Ganesh ji has an inkling for besan ke ladoo (a sweet made from gram flour and ghee/clarified butter) too. Since I did not have any coconut on hand I thought of making besan ke ladoo. I saw the recipe from this site. (I know, mine don’t look as great as hers- I think I would up the amount of ghee used)

They were not like the ladoos I have grown up having- the Lovely Sweets (a famous sweet shop in Jalandhar, Punjab, India) besan ladoos- which are heavenly. Well, they are made by professionals and in lots of desi ghee. So, I shouldn’t compare. But, these ones tasted good too. V, of course, loved them. The fact that only a few remain, lends a testimony to my previous statement!:)

Link for the ladoos: http://charchechaukeke.wordpress.com/2008/11/22/daanedaar-besan-ke-laddoo-sweet-gramflour-balls/

An updated recipe for besan ladoos with tips and tricks to get perfect ladoos is up on the blog here 

V and I are both down with stomach cramps, me more than him. Thankfully, I can say that it is not because of my cooking. Its a result of eating out (even though at other people’s houses) every day over the weekend. Some thing just did not sit right with both of us. So for lunch today I made khichdi, a light Indian dish made of rice and lentil. Its easy to put together and to digest as well. Have it with curd and a little ghee, and you have comfort food at its best.

Talking about comfort food. It’s been raining here like crazy. And what’s more comforting than hot coffee- well, actually there is- cake soaked in espresso topped with coffee infused mascarpone cheese. Ahh! Tiramisu! Yes, I know- given my condition, I can not afford to have such a delicatessen! So, instead I chose to relive the memory of the time I did make a Tiramisu cake- the weekend we had our first house guests.

Dorie Greenspan yet again came to my rescue with this awesome recipe for a Tiramisu cake. I was glad to find a recipe that did not call for store bought lady fingers. I did end up making a lot of blunders. I forgot to read the instructions properly and instead of mixing all of the whipped cream for the filling, I mixed in only 1/4 th. I also had to double the amounts of the syrup, as the stated amount was just not sufficient for soaking both the cakes. I used ricotta cheese as I could not find mascarpone cheese anywhere:(! But, besides the filling being a little gritty, the taste wasn’t amiss. Also, I almost ended up burning one of the cakes as it baked in less than half the time mentioned in the book. But, fortunately, I checked and took the cake out. The cake in the other pan took the mentioned amount of time to bake. And, even though I bought Kahlua, the store clerk forgot to remove the alarm and I had to do with brandy! Just one of those days!

In spite of all the mishaps though, I got rave reviews for the cake. The coffee flavour was right on target- the frosting and filling weren’t too overly sweet- just the right amount of sweetness. I have realised Dorie and my palate for sweetness is quite similar. The cake was moist- thanks to the doubling of the syrup. Everyone loved it!

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It feels so good to be baking again! Recently I got hold of the book, Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters. I had seen an episode with them on the Food Network show Throwdown with Bobby Flay and they were so adorable that I knew I had to get their book.

Recipes that are handed down through generations have their own charm. Every family has their own masterpiece recipe. This blog is an attempt of getting prized recipes from my family and the ones that I find good under one roof and make an heirloom recipe collection of my own, just like the Brass sisters.

So, I set off to try their Banana Bread recipe, with pretty good results. The reason I chose a banana centric recipe was that I had these overly ripe bananas sitting on my kitchen counter for some time. And unlike others, who would gross out by just the sight of black skinned bananas, I just exclaim, overjoyed by the opportunity to bake something banana-eyy!:)

The melted butter gives the bread a texture quite close to that of cake. And, for an extra punch, I toast the nuts.

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