Pavlova!

When the wonderful Amanda invites you for a bake off challenge, you jump up and down! May be not you, but I certainly did. Also may be not literally;) Not just because she is lovely, but also because I LOVE desserts and the opportunity to try something entirely new is always way too exciting to pass on. And though my pavlova did not turn out as pretty as hers but it really tasted good…thank you Amanda!

(I will explain where my pavlova went wrong in a bit).

Cakes and brownies are usually the go to desserts in our family but even for someone who has a sweet tooth, that is way too sweet probably, these desserts can feel heavy. Occasionally we add flan too. And so when Amanda wrote about this, it gave me an excuse to make a special dessert when there was really nothing special to celebrate! But then I remembered…for the first time ever, we have a female Vice President- a reason BIG enough to rejoice, won’t you agree? ! The recipe was pretty simple and it did not take a lot of time too. You can find it here.

I had never heard of Pavlova before and when I did, I thought it must be Russian... the dangers of assumption, you see. But Amanda’s post and Wikipedia soon corrected me. I finally managed to bake it yesterday evening, as opposed to the weekend when hopes of baking the pavlova were dashed by the piles of laundry that seemed to have overtaken our bedroom and the entire apartment had started looking like a mine field of Lego pieces and other tiny toys, that while remaining invisible, are capable of causing significant damage to one’s cracked winter heels. You see, the blessings and bane of having mischievous little ones! Now, moving on from an extra long sentence.

As I mentioned earlier, it is an easy and delicious dessert and if you have not tried, you must do so. The mistake I made and the reason it looks different is because it is more flat that it should be. When the recipe asked me to just put heavy scoops of the meringue on the sheet, out of habit I think, I sort of leveled it a bit and realized this misstep only after I had put the sheet in the oven. So the pavlova turned to be flatter than what it should be. And that is also the reason I decided not to do the chocolate dome, and I had really wanted to. But I will be making this soon again and it will most certainly have that delicious looking chocolate dome! For this, I put some shaved bittersweet chocolate on top and along with peaches and oranges and strawberry, the whole thing was so mouthwatering.

Here’s wishing you sweetness and thank you dear Amanda for introducing me to the Pavlova!

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe. Stay kind.

Last on the card: December 2020

We are into 2021 and while I always wonder when we step into a new year that how do we set boundaries on something as amorphous as time, yet I guess such compartmentalization brings hope and renewed vigor in its own way. The tumultuous year that 2020 has been is magically not going to disappear since it is 2021. And yet, people around the world have ushered in the new year with muted celebrations cause that’s human nature! We are resilient and brimming with hope, mostly.

For the last 2-3 years on the last day of December, I have been going out to a park nearby in an attempt to take pictures of the sunset/dusk or whatever Nature chooses to let me. It was a rainy day this year and yet I went on out to the soggy field and this is what is on my phone for the last day of last year. There was no sunset to photograph but this tree stood out to me and after clicking around in an almost desolate setting, I took this picture. I don’t know what it is but I do find such trees to be imposing and almost, brave.

Wishing you all a year filled with hope and peace. Posted for bushboy

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe. Stay kind.

Friendly Friday: Red and Green

In March when the severity of the pandemic started hitting us here in the US, winter was coming to an end and we were looking forward to spring. Little did we know, like everyone else, how drastically different that spring would be. As would summer and fall.

While life as we knew came to a halt, more severely for some than others, the natural world around us kept following its course and we took solace in its beauty. Vacations had to be skipped and maybe we missed capturing gorgeous sunrises or sweeping views from the mountain tops, but that perhaps gave us a chance to explore what we see everyday but maybe do not appreciate as much.

We cooked a lot more at home for sure!

And just like that December rolled in and while many places around the world are in the grasp of the pandemic more than before, there is a ray of hope that was no where near the horizon when all of this began. Tireless efforts by the medical world with the whole world rooting for them on in their own way, the world may be a brighter place soon. Festivities will have more cheer as we will be able to hug our loved ones and travel freely and the playgrounds will be as noisy as they are supposed to be. Till then, we will have to hold on for a little longer.

Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe. Stay kind. Posted for Amanda’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Whilst Walking

I like the title “Whilst Walking’! There is something in the word ‘whilst’ …almost an old world charm, a place where one may embark upon a leisurely stroll down cobbled roads, with quaint and happy colored houses, with flower pots hanging on the window sill and maybe a whiff of a peach cobbler mixed with the smell of a cold winter afternoon! And it makes me happy to be able to participate in Amanda’s challenge after a long time. Life in lock down has been different for sure, both challenging and, at times, filled with little surprises. Considering we have been in this mode since March, seasons have come and gone and our neighborhood was all that we had to celebrate them with. I have taken more pictures than I should have probably, but then again, can you ever have enough pictures?

Summer was a happy time and any bend or turn welcomed me with flowers. This white flower, the name of which I know not, had the smell of the ‘gondhoraj lebu‘ (the king of lemons, lebu being the Bengali word for lime/lemon)- more here) and as is the case with me, for a brief moment transported me to my grandparents’ garden that had two trees of this plant and another of the equally aromatic and juicy kagji lebu (another kind of lime, that is close to the regular lime found here in North America). There was a beautiful jasmine tree and a big guava tree, and once we were there, the busy road right outside the big walls and that big iron gate, somehow ceased to bother us with its cacophony.

We have been visiting the grounds of Princeton University for nine years now and they still mesmerize me just as much as they did the first time I looked up at the grand buildings and the ivy back in 2011. It goes without saying that this was our solace during these past few months, the only place we visited and sought some form of normalcy. It was a different summer but it was beautiful nonetheless.

Sometimes, if we look around we can see how perfect nature is. We just have to be willing to see.

And just like that we slipped into the bright and colder days of autumn. The rebellious and riotous red and the golden yellow and vibrant orange leaves dazzled against a blue sky that can be found only during these months of pumpkin spiced lattes. They have now transformed into the trees of Christmas cards and story books, of frosty mornings and snowy nights.

“All walking is discovery. On foot we take the time to see things whole”Hal Borland

Seasons have come and gone and soon we shall be stepping into another year that will usher in spring once again. What has been lost this year cannot be put into words. The heart feels heavy and it also fills with gratitude. Gratitude for family and friends, for scientists, doctors, nurses and all those in the medical world, for the front line workers, emergency responders, journalists, for the power of democracy and advocacy, for those who stand tall and stand brave in the face of all opposition. For those who inspire and for those who our kids look up to. For people who don’t give up on those and what they love.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe. Stay kind.

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge : Postcard from the Past

Nonetheless, the images are precious for the people or events they capture” aptly says Sandy of old photos which may not be in good condition. Old photos help us revisit memories long forgotten and also share the joy, tell the story of people who render life to those photos. And this challenge, I particularly love not only because of its uniqueness (as if I needed another reason to love the Friendly Friday Challenge!) but also because it comes at a time when I have been going through old photos with my parents over video calls every week for some months now and so it’s almost serendipitous:)

In this post that I scribbled about a couple of years back, when I had just started this blog, I mentioned my father’s habit of getting picture post cards, from places we traveled to, as souvenirs (along with actual souvenirs!). Here’s an excerpt: “One of the things that my father always did during our travels was bring back picture post cards of the places we visited which were not necessarily of very good quality, in terms of print. Nevertheless he would always bring those back with pictures that made that place famous. And eventually, we had a huge plastic bag full of these very bright colored cards which we would stumble upon once in a while going through family albums… we did not have a very good camera at that time and none of us were ever sure if we would do a good job of taking a picture! And so, he wanted to have something that would, many years down the line, remind him of the places he had been to and things that caught his eye.

This is an actual picture postcard of The Mysore Palace (read more here and here) in the city of Mysore in Karnataka, India. My father had picked it up in the year 1990 during a family trip. I toyed around in Canva to add the words. During our visit, we did not get to see the palace in all its glory like this, but we brought back with us a tiny slice of that in the form of this! The quality still is good, considering it has been thirty years!

And then, since we just celebrated Diwali, and also since Canva knows how to keep you exploring more, I made this basic postcard!

During the days of Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five, my imagination and I would often venture on adventures of our own, albeit mini ones and during some such ‘travels’ I would wish to stumble upon a picture post card from somewhere that would prove to be a major clue in solving the mystery at hand! Though such picture post cards never appeared but the idea of getting a real picture post card from someone, who happened to be traveling, always lingered in my heart. Anyways, moving on from my fanciful tales now! The other day, my husband and I were talking about our travels as a couple and it made me want to go through some of our travel photos here in the US and found this one that I could see myself sending to someone! Thanks Sandy for these ideas:)

While traveling seems to be a thing fraught with considerable amount of uncertainties at the moment, we can all look at our photos,old and new and slip into irreversible reveries that bring a smile and perhaps, even a sigh.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe. Stay kind.

Last Photo for October 2020

There was no trick or treat this year. So, the kid went on a scavenger hunt in the house on Halloween! These are the clues, some made up by the mom while the rest from the treasure trove called “Google” 🙂

Posted for Bushboy!

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe. Stay kind.