It’s far from easy, I can vouch, to forego a job when you are at the peak of your career and take a plunge to follow the dictates of your heart.
And one winter morning, I did just that.
The next six odd months passed by on rosy wings.
I spent days designing my own Pakhi-kanthas. Till the doyel, finge and bou-katha-kau, in a multitude of vibrant hues, came alive on the yarn.
I started working with artisans on the exquisite Midnapore Patachitra.
I started cataloging Grandmas recipes, something I had long yearned to do, but never really had the time.
One lazy Sunday, as the coffee and conversations flowed and the mangshor jhol stewed languorously on the jaded oven, my sister-in-law threw in a casual suggestion, why didnt’ I plan to start a blog.
The conversation veered elsewhere.
But that germ of an idea stayed back with me.
And one morning, months after the seed of thought had been planted in my head, I, diffident and unsure, started my blog.
Not certain yet if it were just a passing fancy or something I was genuinely committed to pursuing.
Recipes started tricking in into the fledgling blog.
Interwoven with honey-sweet memories from growing up years in Karimganj, a wide-eyed me seated next to Grandma as she went about with her daily cooking in the ancient kitchen.
But there was something amiss in the blog.
And it didn’t take long to zero in on the culprit.
I absolutely loathed the pictures that accompanied the tales and the recipes.
Do I really need pictures ? I ruminated.
I rummaged through blogs, ransacked my collection of food magazines, spent weeks on end browsing and admiring the stunning pictures on display on Instagram and Pinterest accounts of food photographers.
This was a sublime world, I was quick to discover, where boundaries no longer existed between food and art. This was aesthetics at her pristine best !!
And to tell my story effectively, it didn’t take effort for me to reach the conclusion, I had to graduate to that hallowed world where aesthetics was religion.
Not long beyond, the books arrived.
The point and shoot mode of my camera started getting out of favour.
I started appreciating the critical importance of natural light.
I started spending hours fidgeting with the camera, experimenting with controls, shooting pictures and checking them real-time, assessing for myself what worked and what did not.
Years went by.
More books. More experiments. More props to make the story-telling more compelling.
There would be days of triumph, I would be thrilled with the pictures I snapped.
Followed by weeks of despair, despite the many attempts, the perfect visual that I had so clearly sketched in my head would continue to elude me.
And one day when Instagram informed me that I had 10k followers, I knew I had to thank you all – thank you for all the love and support, for being such an integral part of my learning journey, for standing by me through the trials and tribulations, for encouraging me so selflessly every time I have been afflicted with self-doubt !!!
And what better than a Nolen Gurer Ice Cream to celebrate the milestone!!
Nolen Gurer Ice Cream. A milk and milk fudge ice cream perfumed with the scent of nolen gur. A match made in heaven, isn’t it ?
So if you still have that last bottle of nolen gur stashed away in that hidden corner of your pantry shelves, do get it out and pamper yourself with a nolen gurer ice cream this summer !!!
Nolen Gurer Ice Cream
For the Sandesh
- 150 g homemade chhana
- 3 tbsp nolen gur or liquid date palm jaggery
For the Nolen Gurer Ice Cream
- 1.5 cup reduced milk 1 liter milk reduced to 1.5 cups
- 1.5 cup heavy cream
- 1 portion sandesh as above
- 1/4 cup nolen gur or liquid date palm jaggery
- extra nolen gur to drizzle
For the Sandesh
- Place the chhana on a flat surface, knead with the heel of your palm. About 4-5 minutes or so.
- Now add the nolen gur to the chhana, mix well, continue to knead for another 5 minutes.
- Place the chhana-jaggery mixture in a pan, cook over a low flame, while stirring continuously. About 8-10 minutes or till the dough just starts leaving the sides of your pan. Keep aside.
For the Nolen Gurer Icecream
- Take the reduced milk and sandesh in a mixing bowl. Blend with an electric blender till the milk is incorporated into the sandesh and the texture of the mixture is smooth.
- Place the cream on a bed of ice, beat with a hand blender until it forms soft peaks.
- Add the whipped cream and nolen gur to the milk-sandesh mixture, gently fold till well incorporated.
- Transfer to an airtight container, refrigerate overnight.
- Drizzle with nolen gur and serve.