Vanilla Pudding in Caramel Sauce

I do have a sweet tooth, no wonder I keep munching chocolates. However I don't seem to be piling on! My friend Pranks, who is a frequent reader of my blog, and a fellow blogger herself, had requested me to share something sweet with her. With Geography separating us so harshly, all I can do is share the recipe of something sweet to her. My husband is never finicky about food, even has all the trash I cook at times. Though when it comes to his tastes in sweets, he doesn't quite experiment much. So here goes a favorite of hubby dearest and Pranks herself.

Bread budding is usually baked in a way, so that the bread chunks, are kinda chunky. But somehow I am not used to liking that chunky pudding. Maybe it has got to do something with the taste of pudding haunting my taste bud, since childhood. So here is my spin on the pudding, bread pudding, or anything you would like to call it. Rather than using flour, I substitute it with mashed bread..and trust me, its the mashed bread, which give almost a velvety feel to the pudding when you dig into it.

So if you a loaf of bread, which you do not feel like making sandwiches with, so here is a great alternate. Whip up a dessert with it, where it does not feel like bread any more. Here is the trick how to transform regular white bread into a favorite dessert.

Vanilla Pudding in Caramel Sauce:


White bread slices: 8-10
Egg: 6
Vanilla extract: 1 tbsp
Sugar: 1 cup
Cooking spray
Milk 500 ml

Caramel Sauce:
Sugar: half cup
Vanilla extract: 1 tbsp


Set the milk on boil, and reduce it a bit, till the cream starts settling in. Cool the milk then.
Cream the sugar and the eggs in a blender, till the mixture is somewhat lemon yellow in colour and frothy. Add the vanilla extract and blend it again.
Discard the brown sides of the bread slices and chop them into cubes.
Mash the bread pieces in the milk completely.
Add the egg mixture in the milk and bread. Ensure that the milk has cooled down completely before adding the egg mixture, to prevent the egg from scrambling.
Mix well.
Grease a 9"-9" cake with cooking spray or butter.
Pour the mixture in the cake tin.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 300F for 40 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool the pudding.

Caramel Sauce:
Caramelise the sugar and water with the vanilla extract till it starts thickening.
Place the cooled pudding on the serving plate.
Pour the hot caramel sauce over the pudding and cool it in the refrigerator.

Dig into velvety smoothness. An almost rustic dessert which somehow everyone seems to favor. Make it in a chocolate version, by adding cocoa powder or melted chocolate to the milk mixture, but do not forget to add the dash of vanilla in the egg and sugar mixture. The chocolate version might be a great dessert for V- Day as well.

Migratory bird

Migratory birds have been a common visitor to the cool winter clime of the Alipur Zoo in Kolkata, as far as I can remember. Well, I have always been more interested in wildlife, or lets say, animals in general, right from childhood. The travels of the migratory birds intrigued me. How the birds flew for miles and miles, to settle down in warmer clime for a few months every year. From my childhood memories of anecdotes about these birds from my parents,to almost being a migratory bird myself, the journey was quite a journey. A bitter mix of better and sweet or a heady cocktail of changes. The changes which almost changed me and my identity became just one. The identity of a migratory bird.

From shouting out loud and almost grilling politicians in a press conference, to working double shifts quite regularly, to watching television mindlessly the entire day, what a migration of roles it has been. My parents were keen that I add a so called Amreekan degree to my cap, but I was not interested. So it was good old Kolkata and my great alma mater, which now features on my chequered CV. I used to crib to everyone that I was always short of time, how could I add more hours to a day. Student years meant classes, frequent visits to the British Council Library, and teaching a melee of students in the evenings. Add to it shopping sprees, dates and what not. I was almost trying to fit in any activity in any and every hour.

Migration has been a steady feature in my life, hence now I do not complain. I migrated to a totally alien city, when I started to work. Delhi became my mother city, as it nurtured me, so well. From having a bevy of servants taking care of everything in the household in Kolkata, to having an apartment of my own, and managing resources, was quite a challenge. Migration it truly was, and I was learning every minute. Add to it, the nature of my job.

There is a sms joke which circulates in the TV circuit. That if someone has chosen to be a television journo, they simply have a distaste for social and personal life. Its almost akin to signing a pact with the Devil. I did sign that dreaded pact with the father of Adrian. Off days were there on record every week. but they existed only in records, for I was always struggling how and when to avail the Comp offs. I was as usual, asked more than often to work on offs. There were even off days, where I was officially off, yet had to do a speedy PTC (Piece to camera) in the morning. I was having the rest of the day off, after all. And off days, where I was perpetually on the phone, giving instructions to interns, or co ordinating news breakage. What was truly a holiday, I often wondered. But yes, I loved that adrenaline rush. I have a friend, who always complained, that whenever I was out with her, I was talking more on the phone, than I was to her. My very last boy friend, and now husband, had gotten used to being hung up, when he was just about to say something romantic, because I was getting another call. But even he lost it one day, and just shouted out that I was more interested in breaking news than anything else. The other men in my life used to be complaining so big time, that it would take almost an entire post, to recount that episode.

Migration was again on the cards. Here I am again in a different city, this time in a different country. A new role, a new set of engagements, and reaffirmation of my identity as the ultimate migratory bird. From a buzzing cell phone all the time, to not using one for over a year, that's migration. From being on television every day, to just blankly staring at the television nowadays, that's migration. From festivals only meaning another day at work, to finally enjoying the Pujas and New Years for a change, that's migration. From writing for a living, to writing as a hobby, that's migration. From being someone, who always prided herself for being overtly independent, to being dependent, that's migration.

Roles keep changing,and priorities often de-prioritise, my identity as the migratory bird does remain strong. wonder whats the next role going to be.


In Harry Potter's world: Magic was surely in the air.

Harry Potter: the name of an experience itself, a different world almost. I have been a self confessed Potter freak since quite a long time. From reporting on J K Rowling's
paperbacks hitting the shelves, or Daniel Radcliffe appearing on the big screen again, to just enjoying reading and watching Harry for leisure, I am a Potter maniac.

From remembering which 'spells' mean what, as taught in the Hogwarts classrooms, to even initiating my husband in the famed world of Potter fans, I have been doing it all over the years. While watching television together, some time early last year, an ad had caught my eye,
I screamed out Potter rocks. Well, it was not about the latest Potter flick hitting the big screen, it was the World of Harry Potter created in Universal Studios in Orlando. The new Potter enclave was to open its doors to the public in June 2010. But we had already visited the Universal Studios in LA, so obviously, we would not be going to Orla ndo.Open and shut case.

It was a huge surprise when my husband presented me with the tickets to Florida in December last year, and added that this trip had been planned keeping in mind my excitement in seeing that ad last summer. I was floored. The man remembered all that.

Florida was experiencing an abnormal cold wave, the day we visited the Islands of Adventure, in Universal Studios. But nothing could deter my spirit. I was in Potter land.

As I walked into Hogsmeade , with the Hogwarts towers glistening in the pale sunlight,magic was surely in the air. It was one of the most memorable moment for any Potter fan, to finally see everythi
ng right in front of their eyes, which had seen so long on screen, or picturised in mymind after readings lines in black and white.

Howarts Express and the cheery conductor, were surely my first stop and I rushed to check out the timetable at the Hogsmeade Station.

Then it was just queues everywhere. What were so many queues for? Well, it was Potter mania in full bloom. From leading upto 'Dervish & Banges,' for supplies, to another upto 'Ollivanders,' people were just milling in.

The wind chill did not matter to anyone. The butter beer stands kept
enticing me. The lady at the 'Owl Post ( Post Office)' waved out , and the tapes were measuring a dress by themselves at
'Gladrags Wizardwear'. Was I dreaming or was I really living in the world of Potter...I rubbbed my eyes in disbelief.

Among the three
rides,we decided to head for the one situated in the castle itself: Harry Potter and the forbidden Journey. A huge queue greeted us here as well,and after more than an hour we entered the castle. Dumbledore was there in his office, telling us about Lord Voldermort, and how there was no Defence against the Dark Arts teacher. When finally within the Defence against the Dark arts class room, the all-familar trinity greeted us..Harry Potter, Ron Weasely and Hermione Granger. Granger was to sneak us all in, for a journey with Harry. Was I excited or not! The fat lady at the entrance of the Gryffindor common room, told us to hurry, and was already cheering for Potter. The 'sorting hat,' warned us of the Dementors roaming
in the Hogwarts grounds. And we were all set..seated, to journey with Potter. And boy o boy, what a journey it was. From being in a Quidditch match against Malfoy, to even facing the dragons, to coming face to face to Aragog, to feel the cool almost death like kiss of the Dementors..what a broom journey it was with Potter. I was almost wobbly after it. From shopping Potter merchandise to even quenching my butter beer cravings, I was doing it all. But when hunger took its toll on me, I decided to head straight for The Hog's Head, rather than The Three Broomsticks. Wanted to have a feel of the place where Dumbledore's army held their first meeting. The grand feast was such a huge spread, that four people had to struggle, and yet couldnt wipe the plates clean.

But somehow, it was not enough for me. I wanted more of it. So we again queued up for a special castle tour, and gazed and gaped to our heart's content.
The figures in the paintings were talking amongst
themselves, the Daily Prophet had a report on Harry's quidditch match, with Harry flying on the broomstick in the moving could almost touch the people in the pictures. I made my way for the second time through the all familiar classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry. Mesmerised is too small a word for the experience.

Children have their own fantasies. As I walked out of Hogsmeade, I realised that ad
ults too have their share of fantasies. Not all adult fantasies deal with the opposite sex, or fancy cars or fancy clothes.



Panch Meshali Shobji: 2011

Vegetarian food has somewhat become a staple in our household these days. This was not always the case with me. I could not think beyond my quota of fish, chicken and mutton. There was a time in my growing up years, when I only touched veggies while visiting my grandma in Mumbai. My maternal grandma was very strict that me and my bro have our share of veggies both at lunch and dinner. So we did gulp down our share of veggies only during our vacations in Mumbai. To think now, I try to cook different vegetarian dishes in my home, does amaze me. Well, its the rising cholesterol and pressure levels of D, which has made us adopt this new regimen. For when we eat out, we give veggies a total miss.

So here's a simple recipe of how to stir up veggies and make them tastier to the palate. This is a dish where mostly all types of veggies can be used, so feel free to add your own choice of veggies, or just to empty out your refrigerator.


Panch Meshali Shobji: 2011

Sweet potato
Bell pepper
Mustard seeds
Dried red chillies
Mustard oil
Black Pepper

Panch Meshali Shobji: 2011


Cut the veggies in equal bite sized pieces.

Add mustard oil to a pan, and heat it.

Add mustard seeds and dried whole red chilies in the oil, and let them splutter.

Add the veggies which take the longest to cook, first in the oil, in this case the potatoes and the sweet potatoes.

Fry them for some time.

Once they are half cooked, add the cauliflower florets and the carrots.Season with salt ,sugar and pepper. 

Add the peas last, as they cook really easily.

Ensure that the veggies do no turn mushy, so its important to add the different types of veggies gradually.

Cover and cook for some time.Check for seasonings. 

Dig into Panch meshali Shobji. Its served best with steamed rice. Perfect for a cold Winter day.

Footnote: Post updated on March 17th 2015 with new pictures. Enjoy !!! 









Coq au Vin

Deb's culinary expertise:

Both my husband and meself love to sample new cuisines. So when we plan any new trip, we try and sample the exotic cuisines available in our destination. Be it Mofongos in Puerto Rico or Alligator meat snacks in another city, its always up our alley. And when hubby dearest dons the chef's cap once a week, its something exotic which reaches my plate. The man loves to experiment and with his culinary skills, its always a tasty experiment. With my obsession for everything French and with France not featuring in our itineraries in the recent future, Deb took me on a culinary journey to Paris.
Coq au Vin, or chicken cooked in wine was the Sunday dinner menu in the Dasgupta household. Burgundy wine from the French region of Bourgogne, is the best ingredient for stirring up Coq au Vin. If Burgundy wine is not available, try out any full bodied red.

Coq au Vin:


  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 whole chicken
  • Flour for dredging
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter
  • 1 whole garlic, chopped
  • 10 pearl onions, peeled
  • 8-10 mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup cognac or brandy
  • 1 bottle burgundy wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Italian herb seasonings
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Tomato paste(of around two tomatoes)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

In a large pan, fry the bacon slices, over medium heat, until crisp.
Transfer the fried bacon slices to paper towels. Dredge/Coat the chicken pieces in flour, salt and pepper. Fry and brown chicken in the bacon fat on both sides.Add a dash of butter.

Saute the onions, garlic, mushrooms and carrots, with the chicken, to soften.

Pour the cognac/brandy in a cup.
Remove the pan from heat.
Pour the cognac/brandy in the pan, and put the pan back on the stove.
Flambe by lighting a long match and holding it just above the pan and light the fumes.
The brandy/cognac will catch fire and the
flames will burn out within 1 minute.

Gradually stir in the wine and the chicken broth, when the flames have died down.

Add in the herbs and bay leaves when the wine is well blended.
Cover and simmer for an hour.

Remove the cover and simmer for 15 minutes to reduce the gravy.
Add the tomato paste to thicken the gravy further.

Garnish the chicken with chopped parsley and crumbled bacon before serving.

As they say in French, Bon Appetit!!!

RIP Gublu

GUBLU..a very typical Bong nickname. And we decided to name him and his brother very typically, after almost running out on names. Gublu and Gablu were my grandsons or great grandsons, well its a long connect for me to fathom. A small injured pup had walked into our garden almost ten years back on a rainy night. The pup became my son-Browny. In his youth he befriended a lady(Blacky) and we adopted her too. And Gublu and Gablu were actually their grandsons, so technically my great grandsons.Gablu was as black as midnight, Gublu had both midnight black and the white radiance of moonlight. Two extremely naughty puppies, who chewed innumerable shoes, belts and clothes. While They were just all over the house, and their mother Peppy was both proud of the antics of her two sons,and often embarrassed when we gasped in disbelief at their latest misdemeanours. Life was on a roll in our house, with all our other pets and these two pranksters. And when it came to sleeping, they had the entire house to themselves, but they had their preferred zone-my bed. While Gablu preferred to rest his head on my pillow, Gublu always settled his head on my knees.

Gablu left us almost a year back..suddenly. And we clutched onto Gublu even more.
He grew abnormally tall , in comparison to the normal mongrels, and his antics even increased with his size. We tried hiding our shoes, but he always managed to find them. My golden stilettos were no longer a pair, bro's socks were in shreds and mom's hairbrushes, were they ever hairbrushes? They resembled
bits of play dough now. No amount of words worked on Gublu. You could be
red with anger on him, but when he looked at you with his droopy melting eyes, you would be cuddling him just then.

He was never finicky about food, Ma was happy in that regard. And after I left the country, bro and him became closer than ever. Till about a few days back, I even spoke to him on an international call. With Ma keeping the phone to his cocked years, and him wagging his tail, as I asked him how he was doing. His sharp barks were a soothing balm to my ears..I was somehow missing him a lot. And Ma added to my concern, stating that he had not been doing too well. The vet had seen him, and the saline was somewhat working.

Memories kept coming back to me, I kept telling myself, he would jumping around very soon. But I got the fateful news from Ma..that he had left all of us. Mom almost choked as she said, bro was too disturbed to even even talk, and I did not believe what I heard.

Ma tells me that his red collar and his green jacket are still laid out on my bed. Well, I had forgotten to add, that after I got married my bed had become Gublu's property. Now there will be no more incessant barks when I make the next international call. My stilettos would
remain stilettos and mom's hairbrushes could be used for what there were for, but the void in our hearts will remain a void. It snot the first time, that we have had a pet death in our family, bu
t with each passing death the scars in our hearts had just increased. This time this is not just a scar, its a gaping wound.

RIP Gublu.. mourned and missed!!! Love u darling.

Sociology of Housewives

What is common to a homemaker and an assembly line worker in a captitalist materialist society? Borrowing Marx's spectacles, both exemplify Alienation. While Marx concentrated on just the assemly line workers, Ann Oakley's 'Sociology of Housework,' is surely a case in point for all those women slogging at home. The long hours spent in household work, the dissatisfaction with their work, the social isolation make Oakley's 'housewife', the ideal example of Marx's, 'Alienation'.

Housewives feel alienated:
#from the work they produce, from the product of their labour:
#from the process of production: their household work.
#from the species being, or from themselves as a worker

Oakley had interviewed housewives in London, for her study, but the picture remains the same for housewives spread across the world. Its the sensitivity which needs a makeover, that household work, is just another job. It is not only a gender role or a family role, it is also a JOB in itself. Being a full time homemaker and part time writer/journo, I am faced with this question almost every alternate day, " So what are you doing now?" And often this question becomes unnerving for me and several others like me. Household work is also a 'full time job'. Women who are slogging the entire day in the house, doing the same monotonous job, and facing social isolation, are the quintessential exemplification of the industrial worker Capitalist Materialistic society.

Movements for both the rights of industrial workers and women have been comm
on all over the world, yet the role of the housewife is one which has often not got it due share of respect even after all these years. There is respect for the industrial worker, yet a housewife's contribution and role is taken for granted and often never respected. Lack of appreciation and lack of respect even confuse the housewife herself, even s
he finds it hard to believe that her role, is actually also a job. That is where the problem spirals, it becomes a malaise, as the dissatisfaction and the alienation increases.

The situation becomes worse for those who have enjoyed a career before, and then become
housewives. The loss of financial independence and the so called tag associated with a career in a so called regular job, often makes them all the more disillusioned. Its common to hear that journalists have a thankless job, which I totally agree. But whats even more thankless, is the job of a full time housewife. Having handled both the roles, I guess, now I understand what thankless truly means. Will the scenario ever change? I doubt it. More and more students of Sociology( like me) will continue to debate on Oakley and Marx, yet the scenario will not be changing much. Even gender biased television shows like ' Desperate Housewives,,' or the entire range of Housewives of so and so places," cant help but show in a way how alienated a housewife is actually.The lack of appreciation or the alienation are surely the biggest partners of any housewife, across the globe, and they will maintain their loyalty.



I have always been an overtly open person, and I enjoy being that. I am just a commoner, with my own way of life. People criticize my ways, crib and complain...but I go my way. I do not think I can change myself after all these years.

My maternal family and my friends are my pillars of strength..they make me roll. I do not have the luxury of having a great many friends, although I am a very social person...but the ones I have, are really precious to me..

I have been requested by one and all...known and unknown...relatives and take a leap of faith. A leap of thats a big and huge leap. I was confused myself..what do I do? I am a cynic, so that complicates matters for those around me. I never said I am easy.

I had been on a high for the last few days..I thought maybe its time I took the leap of faith..maybe its the right time. But always situations do not always favor me, do they!! Yes, the filmi life is such a melodrama..or do I make my life into a melodrama..I have not been able to solve that riddle. I have lost out a lot of people in my life, because like relationships, even friendships come with an expiry date.

The leap of faith would be the right decision...its the right time, I was convincing myself, till about an hour back..when again, another internet communication disturbed me a bit. Its nothing, its just a normal strain of communication between two people who know each other..but its the nature of things which disturb me. It something I do not appreciate, and that just repeats itself..Some people do not understand, do they?! The leap of faith..would that be a good idea?!

Well, why not?! I should take the leap of faith as that would take me through a whole new experience..and I want that experience. Let me just do it for having that experience..and experience ..the joys which I was denied ruthlessly almost exactly a year back..Let me do it for myself..and not for any faith or anything else..I want to live the moment which that leap takes me to..want to feel it..want to make the experience memorable for myself...and if things go awry again...I will just emerge stronger from the situation..because I do not think I have a breaking point. So..I will take the leap...because I like thrills..and I want a thrilling journey ...just for myself..its high time, I became selfish!!

Orange 'n' Chipotle Glazed Duck: Deb's culinary expertise

Well, I like cooking..I think I have re iterated that fact many a times...but what many people do not know is that my husband can easily qualify to win the "Next Iron Chef contest." He is simply brilliant in the kitchen, and spinning new and exotic recipes happens be one of his hobbies. Something we both love, is when we cook side by side, in our kitchen, before a party at our place...did i forget to mention how much we love to entertain.

While I busy myself in the normal Bong cooking of everyday, Deb's expertise lies in the exotic dishes...spanning countries and continents..from lobsters to crabs, from ducks to it and he will produce his own spin on it. The man knows his spices, and he knows his meats..he knows his sauces and he knows his curries....which just means..that I get many "days off," from the kitchen.

It was the New Year Eve part at our place...we planned on a potluck party..a
nd as usual Deb spinned the most exotic dish...he created his own recipe for roast duck..he always likes his own spins. I stuck to making something safe..fried an appteizer and the entree was Chipotle Glazed Duck by hubby dearest.

Well, we were hard pressed for time, and literally rushed through the aisle's of the Chinese market for the perfect ducks..he wanted a couple!!!

For all those who havent sampled his goes something from his kitchen..I take the liberty of sharing his signature duck recipe.

Chipotle Glazed Duck:
1 Apple, quartered
1 Orange, quartered
Celery, cut into 1 inch pieces.
1 Onion, quartered
Soya Sauce
Red wine vinegar
Garlic powder
Poultry seasoning
Vegetable oil

Orange juice
Chipotle chillies

Clean the duck, and poke the duck with a fork all over.
Rub the duck all over
with salt and pepper, garlic powder and poultry seasoning.
Stuff the cavities with pieces of onion, celery, orange and apples.
Rub the duck with soy sauce and oil.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Roast the ducks, basting with the glaze every 15 minutes.
It takes around 10 minutes to cook every pound.
Remove the stuffing before serving and add some fresh glaze over it.

Combine the orange juice, honey, chillies, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and bring to a boil.
Simmer till the glaze thickens a bit.

Well, the 10 pound ducks that came from Deb's kitchen this year ender were truly a culinary delight and i am waiting for the next exotic dish up his sleeeve.. Cheeers to good times and a great many culinary journeys together.