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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Coq au Vin

I made it in a pan for dinner.

  1. First, I tore some bacon and put on a pan, along with diced shallot(can use pearl onions instead) and diced potatoes(not necessary, can add carrots too). 
  2. Then I added some marinated chicken pieces (less cooking time), salt(prefer using salt while cooking then at the end), crushed pepper, bay leaves, crushed cloves of garlic and stirred. 
  3. Used some red wine for the sauce and some fresh parsley.
You can use chicken broth instead of chicken pieces for amazing bacon and potatoes.

You can have baked cinnamon apples as dessert.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Khichudi

Everyone has a way of making their favorite comfort food. The festival season makes me nostalgic and makes me crave home-made sweets and khichudi bhog that are offered to Gods.

This version can be made onion-free (onion-garlic is considered non-veg in Bengali culture- don't ask me why).
1. Measure 1 cup rice, 1/2 cup moong dal and 1/2 cup masoor dal (this ratio works well for me). Rinse well and pressure cook with salt and turmeric. (If you prefer, you can dry roast the moong first. I prefer it watery- so no issues if you don't want to do that. But if you prefer dry khichudi, you might want to roast it first.)
2. In a wok, heat oil and add jeera (cumin seeds), diced onions, Bay leaves, cardamom, a cinnamon stick, slit green chilis, and grated ginger. Fry lightly - add to the boiled rice-dal mix. You can shallow fry potatoes and cauliflower florets and add as well. Or mixed veggies like peas, tomatoes, carrots etc. For Palak khichudi- it is a good idea to fry the spinach and garlic separately before adding them.
3. Usually it fares well with Bengali mixed vegetables, cabbage curry or/and fritters.

Beet gajor aloo matar checki
This is my new favorite way to eat beets. Cut the vegetables (beets, carrots, potatoes) into sticks. Saute with nigella seeds (kalo jeere, kalonji), salt and turmeric. Add slit green chilies. Eat with roti or rice. Good for stuffing sandwiches too.

***
Another version of khichudi is pressuring cooking vegetables with rice and lentils. We dubbed it 'lopsi' and was a winter favorite as a kid. You may used potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, peas, carrots, radish, 1 tsp of mustard, whole green chilies and quartered onions with salt and turmeric. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Poha

Chirer polao or aloo poha is a favorite for breakfast in winter. And surprisingly easy to make too.
  1. Wash the poha (flattened rice) in cold water and drain in a colander.
  2. Finely chop onions, green chilis. Julienne/matchstick ginger if you prefer to add them.
  3.  Dice potatoes, cauliflower in small bits.  (You might want to add a little salt here)
  4. In a wok, heat vegetable oil and add mustard seeds, onions, then potatoes, cauliflower, frozen green peas. Stir.
  5. When the veggies are about done, add curry leaves, green chilis, ginger, dry roasted peanuts. (you can use your favorite snacking peanuts too.)
  6. Add the moist poha (you can add salt and a tsp sugar uniformly before you add it to the wok), stir well and serve warm.
*
I always try to think what I can have for breakfast- I had almost forgotten how good a well toasted bread tastes in warm milk. Yum.

Mackerel in chive butter





  1. Clean the fish, gut it out it needed. Thaw in cold water if frozen. 
  2. Score the fish with a sharp knife and rub chive butter (chopped chives in butter melted in microwave for a minute or so), garlic salt, Italian herbs, wine, olive oil, freshly squeezed lime, pepper, cumin and coriander powder.
  3. Bake in baking tray covered with a perforated Al foil for 20 mins and uncovered for another 20 mins or until done. 
Enjoy with wild rice risotto.


Poached pear
Recipe link 1
Alternately, I made the poaching liquid with wine, water, cloves, cinnamon sticks and brown sugar. Peeled a whole pear and poached it for 20 mins. Served it with chocolate sauce.

Another pear dessert: Honey-roasted pear

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Soups (for winter)

The chill is descending in Bay Area and the soup bowls are out again. Yesterday I made a very simple and satisfying Tomato-Basil Soup

Ingredients:
2-4 Tomatoes , seeded, diced
3-4 Fresh Basil leaves, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Method: Drizzle olive oil in a sauce pan, and cook the diced tomatoes. When they are about done, add chopped basil leaves. Blend it all in a blender- you can leave some chunks behind for bites. Put it all back in the saucepan, bring it to boil after adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a fresh twig of basil and some warm bread. You can put butter, grated cheese or cream to make it richer in taste.


Creamy artichoke soup 
Ingredients:
2 strips of Bacon
1 medium Potato
4-6 Marinated Artichoke hearts
Chicken Stock

Method: Fry the bacon (cut into strips),1 medium diced potato and the artichoke hearts in a sauce pan. You will need no extra oil if you use bacon and the artichokes are already in olive oil. When cooked through, add chicken stock- boil. Blend in a blender for a creamy soup. You can add your favorite herb (like rosemary or cilantro) for garnish.

Another recipe Link [Foof Network, Giada]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chicken roast with basil pesto

I used Cornish hen for this recipe, you can use any pieces, preferably with skin on, since we'll brown it later.


Thaw first, if frozen. Then clean the bird, pat dry,  loosen the skin and add spices like garlic salt, black pepper, lime juice, olive oil/butter, rosemary , and basil pesto inside the skin and over it. Roast uncovered in a roasting pan for 1 hour at 400 F in conventional oven, turning once when done half way through. Broil the last 10 mins to brown the skin. Bast occasionally with the drippings. Serve with grains and vegetables of your choice. Baked beets with a dash of lemon , baby carrots with pickled cabbage, or steamed string beans may make a healthy, tasty side. You can use the leftovers to make salad, sandwiches, wraps, or Chicken, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Casserole

You can make whole tandoori chicken by marinating the bird overnight in Tandoori powder, ginger garlic paste, cardamom , chili garlic powder, Dash garlic and herbs, pepper, yogurt.


And serve with avocado-romaine lettuce-pine nuts- shaved turkey-raisin/dry rainier cherries salad.
For crisper salads, place paper towels in the bottom of the salad bowl before filling with salad. Excess moisture will be soaked and this will help keep the salad crisp and fresh longer.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Crockpot Biryani

Here, I tried to emulate dum-styled cooking using a slow cooker/crockpot. For Dutch oven recipe, click here.
  1. Clean thigh pieces (I prefer with bones), make shallow cuts on the meat, dry well with paper towels. Add whole spices like : green cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, javitri(mace), peppercorn and any packaged biryani masala you prefer. Yogurt , salt if needed, ghee(clarified butter). Coat well and uniformly.
  2. Set the slow cooker for 4 hrs after greasing the bottom with ghee. Place the chicken. 
  3. Rinse Basmati rice and soak in water for couple of hours while you fry thinly sliced onions till brown.
  4. 2 hrs into cooking, turn the meat to the other side. Add browned onions, layer it with the soaked rice. (or  you can add parboiled rice later) Add saffron soaked milk, and rose water on top of it. Cook for another 2 hrs.
  5. You can add nuts, raisins and plums if you want to make it richer in taste(Shahi). Some ppl use tomatoes,  potatoes (interesting history of recession-proof Biryani). You can learn about several variants here.
Alternately, you can cook the chicken and the rice separately (difference with pulao), then  layer them in a rice cooker or baking tray in an oven for shorter cooking time.

Chicken first

After adding Basmati rice

Final product

Friday, August 31, 2012

Slow cooker recipes

Meat and veggies at low for 8 hrs. Before and after.
I am a great fan of slow-cooking. The flavors are retained, and you need less grease to facilitate cooking. A friend I had in Boston often baked me dinner (baked for about 2 hrs). At the end of the day, it felt delicious and made a very satisfying meal. Last night, I decided to put my slow-cooker to use and picked some random veggies from my pantry- most preferably non-starchy veggies like zucchini, tomatoes, onions, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms etc. (Some recipes might call for potatoes though). I threw in a few mutton pieces that were marinating for a curry, drizzled a little olive oil, sprinkled some garlic salt with dry parsley, and oregano. (Yeah, totally random). Then I switched on the cooker and went to sleep. In the morning, I was greeted with a delicious aroma of slow cooked goodness.

More recipes at:
Slow cooker Utopia

Tips for beginners:
1. Resist the temptation to take a peek into the cooker, though you might give a stir into one hour of cooking. The glass lid will give you a fair view if you feel curious.
2. Don't use frozen meat. Thaw well before you cook it.
3. Beans/lentils are a great way to introduce fibers. Use less portions of meat and try to balance the yin yang of your platter.

It is a good option for traditional recipes that ask for long cooking times (like pot-roast, biryani), perfect for a working man/woman with long day out with very little energy to spend in the kitchen after a tiring day at work, and even an hassle-free extra dish or two when you have guests coming over.

I will post recipes while I perform the experiments. If they go well, you will know it is safe. If some of them go awry, you will know what to avoid. Here's to cuisson lente.

Also, an interesting article on NPR : Slow cook your way to The Colonel's Secret Recipe

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Doi begun posto (Eggplant in poppy yogurt paste)


This dish looks best with baby eggplant, slit on four sides and stem intact (pictures below). I had an overstock of Chinese eggplant and decided to work with those.

Method:
  1. Clean the eggplant and cut into strips (slit the eggplant with stem intact if you are using baby/Indian eggplant). Fill salt, coriander powder, and Kashmiri chili powder inside the eggplant. Deep fry in a wok. Take out and drain on a paper towel if you feel the need. 
  2.  In a non-stick, use 2 tsp oil from the frying and fry nigella seeds and slit green chilies. Keep the chilies aside.
  3. Add dry ground poppy and cashews. Toast a bit. Add about a cup of warm water. Cook through.
  4. Whisk 1 tbsp yogurt with a little water so that no lumps remain, cook it in the wok, add the fried eggplant. Add a bit of ghee, taste for salt.
You can bake the recipe in an oven too (after you have sauteed the eggplant first).

Version 2: I made them with baby eggplants, and they look pretty. Also, I used Methi (fenugreek) seeds for tempering and ground cumin with the yogurt sauce, as suggested by my aunt.



Don't forget to fry the baby bottoms if you are shallow frying them



A tastier version with more gravy and deep-fried eggplants (Updated on: Jan 3, 2017)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chicken Bharta

This is my Dad's recipe(with a bit of tweaking) and is a favorite with rotis. (Indian flatbreads)

  1.  Boil Chicken  with a little salt,  crushed pepper,  a cinnamon stick and de-bone them (don't get minced chicken- not the same). Add turmeric and red chilli powder to the deboned chicken shredded with a fork into strands.
  2. In a wok, heat vegetable oil, add thinly sliced onions, then minced garlic, minced green chillies, diced tomatoes and grated ginger in that order. You can use some ground spices of your choice, I prefer it light with minimal spices. Add about 2 tbsp of yogurt- cook the sauce for a while and then add the chicken. Cover and cook over medium low flame. Serve with hard-boiled eggs and a dollop of butter.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Egg Do Piaza


  1. Boil 6 eggs in water. Remove shells. Make small incisions with a knife on 4 sides of each egg so the spices get through.
  2. Thinly slice onions and fry in a wok. Add crushed cardamom,cinnamon powder (I use more than usual for this dish)and cloves.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, slit green chilies,salt, turmeric, red chili powder. Minced garlic and ginger if you want to
  4. Cover and cook till oil separates. Add the boiled eggs. Add ghee and cilantro just before turning off the heat.
you might also like Bagara Anda Masala

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cocktails

1. Cilantro Mojito
Cilantro + lime juice + sugar + white rum + club soda.
Ok, here you are:
  1. In a food processor, add fresh cilantro leaves and grate well. (You can add kiwi fruits or mint leaves as a variation). Sticklers for accuracy should just bruise the leaves to release the essential oils.
  2. Add half a lime juice(or to taste), sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), the cilantro paste, white rum (I used BACARDI Limón) . Give a stir. Add club soda proportionally. Serve with ice or chill the soda before you make the drink.
Traditional mojito with bruised mint leaves
2. Fire Breathing Dragon
Mango +passion fruit+vodka+jalapeno
Recipe link 1

3. (Creamy) Rum Liqueur
condensed milk + (cream)+ milk+ rum+ 2 tbsps chocolate syrup+ 2 tsps coffee

4. Kahlua
coffee+ sugar+ water +vodka+vanilla

5. Pomegranate Passion

Rum+Italian pomegranate soda+lime juice
Mango Mojito

On choy (water spinach) with dry fish

I had Lobster with dry shrimp recently, and it was out of the world. A lot of cuisines use dry fish, meat, mushrooms etc to enhance flavors. Dry anchovy sauce and myeolchi bokkeum (stir-fried spicy dried anchovy as a side dish) come to my mind immediately.

How many of you know what Bombay Duck is? If you do, this recipe is for you.

For more images of water spinach, click here
  1. Take a bunch of on choy or water spinach (kolmi-shak in Bengali) Wash thoroughly and clean the leaves. Chop them . Cut some Chinese eggplant in similar sizes.
  2. Add minced onions, garlic paste in a wok with heated oil. You can use green chili paste or red chili powder for hotness. Add Bombay duck (wash well, microwave for 3 mins in water, rinse well, drain, remove bones. Make sure you clean them really well.), then the water spinach, and finally the eggplant pieces.
  3. Cover and cook till done.


Another way of making the greens is available here. (Stir Fried Water Convolvulus with Dried Shrimp Paste)
A Bangal recipe here (Bombay duck with potatoes and pumpkin). And because I love you guys, here's another of my secret dry fish recipe.

Dry Anchovy with veggies

  1. Dice onions and fry in mustard oil. 
  2. Add minced garlic, dry anchovy washed well and soaked in hot water for a while.  Add turmeric and chili powder
  3. Then add diced potatoes, radish, green beans, pumpkin, and soaked surti papdi lilva (small flat green beans) seeds or hyacinth bean seeds. Stir well, cook covered. Add green chilis to make it extra hot. Add warm water to facilitate cooking if necessary. Garnish with cilantro. Yumm!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Aloo tikki

There are several versions available, I found the following a convenient way to make aloo tikki. Put them inside a bun and you will get a Aloo tikki burger. Serve them with ghugni for aloo tikki chaat. They are yummy on their own with ketchup.

  1.  Boil 3 potatoes, some green peas and bengal gram(soaked overnight) in a pressure cooker.
  2.  Remove the skin of the potatoes and mash them with hand or a spoon. Don't make it too gooey. Mash  the peas and gram in a food processor with ginger and green chilis. Mix well with black salt, dry roasted cumin seed powder, and your fav spice.
  3. Shape them into patties and fry in oil or grill. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mutton chop in red onion and wine sauce


For Maitrayee


  1. Marinate the mutton chops (goat or lamb) in yogurt, salt, oil, tandoori (for color) spice and/or ground spices of your choice overnight.
  2. Thinly slice red onions, green chilis, garlic and ginger and fry in oil in a pressure cooker. Add whole garam masala (I used cardamom, ground cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves)
  3. Add the meat, fry well till the oil separates. Add a little water and pressure cook since we want them tender, but just enough to cook the meat thoroughly.
  4. Check the sauce, reduce the gravy with the lid off if need be. Add a wine you like to drink. Never, never use a wine you wouldn't drink. Use sparingly, don't let the wine overpower the other flavors. Reduce the sauce until almost dry. Serve with salad, cucumber slices or celery.
You can use cilantro paste or green chilli paste to enhance flavors. I am planning to make lamb shanks in black beer, cilantro, and Peruvian chili sauce- something similar to what I enjoyed immensely at Andina in Downtown Portland on a recent trip.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Two bhery Bengali dishes

Pui Ilish
Pui was a rare find at the Indian grocery store.(Discovered later that it is sold as Vietnamese Spinach at the Asian stores) I decided to make it for a guest who was invited for dinner consisting of  traditional Bengali fare. It goes well with shrimp or Ilish head.

Ilish head

Stalks and potatoes go first in the oil you used to fry the Ilish head. Lots of flavor there.

Final product: my first Pui Ilish

  1. Wash and clean the Ilish head. Rub turmeric and salt, set aside for a few minutes while you prepare the pui (Vietnamese/Climbing/Malabar spinach)
  2. Wash and break the leaves off the stem. Cut the stalk into bit-sized halves. Dice potatoes (and other vegetables like kumro (butternut squash), jhinge (ridged gourd) and begun (eggplant) to it. ).
  3. In a wok, heat mustard oil, light fry the fish head, then keep aside. In the same oil add kalonji, potatoes (and the vegetables ), stalk first and then the leaves. (To reduce cooking time, you can microwave the spinach for 3 mins, drain the excess water released and then add to the wok) 
  4. When the leaves are about done add the fried fish head and slit green chilies. Cover and cook in very low flame without adding any water.
A variation with chingri (shrimp) can also be made. Just replace the fish head with shrimp.

Pui Chingri

You might al so like Cabbage with fish head (Macher matha diye Badhakopir Ghonto)

Jhinge aloo kaju posto
Jhinge or ridged gourd is a good source of fiber. With poppy seeds (posto), cashew and potatoes - it becomes an extremely easy-to-make tasty vegetable dish.




  1. Using a peeler, peel the tough edges of a ridged gourd. Cut them into inch long sticks, then lightly fry in hot mustard oil. Keep aside.  Cut potatoes about the same size. 
  2. Add kalonji, minced onions. Add the potatoes (microwave them for 2-3 mins for faster cooking time), then add back  the ridged gourd , salt, and turmeric.
  3. Dry grind poppy seeds with a few cashews- add to the gourd. Add a little water if needed.  Cover and cook on low flame.

    I also made aloo-bean posto (potato-beans-poppy seeds) similarly .

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wine punch

It was his birthday and I had a cooking marathon; among other things I also made:

I like rosé for its sweet, fruity taste. You may use your favorite red or white wine. I added freshly sliced lime, orange, peaches and strawberries. Mix in a pitcher or punch bowl, chill overnight. Can add sugar, Grand Marnier or Agave nectar/honey.


Mini mushroom sandwich: For the sandwich filling, I minced white button mushroom and sauteed in olive oil, finely diced celery, ground pepper and mayo. Best served with your favorite ketchup.
Baked Roma tomatoes stuffed with minced chicken , eggs, herbs and spices (mint, cilantro, green chilies, onions, garlic, ginger, pepper, coriander, cumin). You need to lightly saute the filling first, stuff the tomatoes and bake till done. Brush the tomatoes with olive oil. You can add grated cheese before serving and use mint leaves for garnish.

Bengali ghugni (using yellow vatana)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The best Chinese dinner I had

Fried rice with Chinese sausage, Chinese broccoli sauteed in minced onions and red chilies, and whole fish baked with chili-bean sauce.The original recipes are by our friends- Gong and Deng.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Macher jhol

I know you will have doubts about me being a Bong if I don't scribble a nice Bengali-styled fish curry recipe. This is a light broth, and easy to make. Usually, fresh Rohu goes well with it; I decided to work with live black bass cut into steaks- tastes even better. Make sure the fish is fresh.

  1. Clean fish steaks, rub salt and turmeric. Set aside.
  2. Dry roast some cumin (jeera), coriander seeds (optional) and fenugreek(methi) until fragrant and the seeds just start hoping around. Grind them and keep aside.
  3. Cut potatoes into wedges, light fry them in oil. Keep aside in paper towels to drain excess oil.
  4. Light fry the fish on both sides, (you can add diced onions too) Add the potatoes, wedged tomatoes. Add warm water. Cover and cook in slow heat. Don't stir too much if the fish is delicate- we don't want them broken. Add slit-green chilies and cilantro. Serve with a lemon wedge and steamed rice

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baked Chicken with Lemon, Capers and Artichoke Hearts

You will find several versions for this recipe. A skillet preparation (Chicken Piccata) might be quick, but I decided to bake this time.


  1. Clean the chicken pieces you want to use. Pat dry. Make shallow cuts. Season with salt and pepper, or you might choose to brine it for 35 mins. 
  2. Add (garlic) salt, minced garlic, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil/melted butter. Rub. If you are using whole chicken with skin, rub the spices under the skin.
  3. Place in a baking tray. Add foil and perforate with a fork- if you want it extra moist(if you removed the skin, it might be better to cover) Bake in pre-heated oven at 375-400 F for 35- 40 mins. See tips on chicken cooking time.
  4. Add artichoke hearts half way through. You can add a wine sauce too.
I had it with a berry smoothie with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries with honey-yogurt.

You might be interested in  Slow roasted chicken thighs

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bengal gram salad (boiled chana)

Banglay, pati chola siddho. :P

My mom used to say germinating Bengal gram is very nutritious and tried her best to make us gulp some down with a bit of jaggery every morning. I loved it in a different avatar though. Boiled, non-germinating ones with a dash of lime juice, black salt and minced onions -as an evening snack. Dry-roasted peanuts (or Planters Heat peanuts), cilantro and green chilies make a decent entourage. Topped with a fire-roasted crumbled papad.
Bengali Ghugni
This is so easy to make and healthy. Soak yellow vatana in water overnight. In  a pressure cooker, add minced onions, matchstick ginger, minced garlic, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves,  dry roasted & ground cumin and coriander seeds, black salt, dry mango powder (amchur)  turmeric,(I add aloo bhaji masala too). Cook and serves with pico de gallo or khacumber 

It is as simple as that, but always a hit with the guests. Goes well with Indian puffed bread or puri. (luchi in Bengali). I like it with fish kachori too.

Aloo Kabli


Ghugni chaat
You can boil chickpeas and potatoes in pressure cooker (like ghugni recipe) and serve it with diced onions, cucumber, 1 tsp yogurt , chaat masala and  nimboo natkhat or other spicy sev.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Garlic butter fish fillet

Garlic butter Tilapia fillet with steamed corn and black beans
  1. Rinse and  cut white fish fillets (I used Tilapia) into bite sized strips.  Marinate with salt, white pepper , lime juice (and tapioca starch or Italian bread crumbs) for 10 mins. (Microwave for a minute and dab in paper towels if using frozen fillets)
  2. Heat olive oil in wok, fry fish fillet. Set aside.
  3. Melt 1 tsp butter in low heat (don't brown), add thinly sliced chilies and garlic, stir until fragrant.
  4. Add the fish fillets and sliced green onions.
  5. Serve with your favorite sides
(This would taste good with lemon-capers too, or herbs like freshly chopped basil or tarragon or thyme)
***

I made another version of pan-seared tilapia (you can use any delicate white-fleshed fish fillet like halibut, cod or pollock too) using chili flakes, tarragon and sun-dried tomatoes.

I suggest slow cooking this recipe since the tarragon release their flavor slowly.

Another version can be made simply with lime juice, garlic salt, red chili flakes and parsley or oregano.

You might also like Pan-seared tilapia in Avgolemono Sauce

*

Yet another way to have it is to pan fry with mini heirloom tomatoes, basil and chipotle.

I wiped the fillet dry (thawed first) and then sprinkled lemon juice and chipotle pepper flakes on both sides. Pan fried them with halved tomatoes, first covered then open (in olive oil, prefer it for mild tasting fish). Turned once and added the chopped basil leaves when almost done. Sprinkle salt to taste. You may add cumin-coriander powder if you like more spice. If it's only me eating, I prefer it light. Done in 15 mins.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer drinks

Here are some recipes at the Food Network

And some of my own concoctions I savor:

Grapefruit-cranberry cooler:
Grapefruit juice (2/3rd volume- almost fill it to the level u like to have your drink)+ Cranberry juice (1/3rd by volume- eyeball it) +black salt+ fine sugar to dust the rim if you want

Honey with Jasmine green tea( Chilled)
Boil water till bubbles begin to appear. Kill the heat. Add 6-8 pearls of Jasmine tea. Strain and cool when they unfurl. Add honey. Then Chill. You can have it warm too.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Chocolate-peanut butter smoothie
Yogurt+milk+ chocolate syrup +peanut butter. You can add bananas too :)


Cold coffee with chocolate hazelnut swirl (gelato)