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Soon It will be Christmas Day.....But Look what I found , An old old recipe called Calcutta Fruit Cake

‘Jingle Bells and come all ye faithful
Do I hear the carols outside my door?
No, they echo from that dusty box of waves
Lying in the corner
Telling me that the year is old
With Christmas in Calcutta’
Nostalgia, Dec 1990 (taken from my book, Thy will be done)

We are just one month or so away from that most special day of the year. What once was referred to as “Burra Din’ by all those khitmatgars who ran the kitchens of the Anglo and Brit Nabobs is today much more fondly known as “Christmas”. I for one think that ‘Burra Din” is too colonialistic a word and though we may not have entirely edged away from most of the traditions of colonialism, we still realise how fortunate we are to live in Kolkata because it is in this city that you truly know it’s Christmas.

Christmas in Kolkata

Kolkata is one city that knows no religious borders. Every festival is amicably celebrated and participated by one bustling population and just as much as you see crowds of revellers during the pujas, it is the same with Christmas.  There are two locations in Kolkata synonymous with the joy and warmth of the season, Park Street and New market. While the lighting on Park Street appears abit later, it is the New Market that adorns its Christmas Apparel from the 1st of December with the many stalls selling decorations thronging the centre of the shopping locale.


I still remember as a child how we always looked forward to shopping with my grandmother who would invariably take us to new market for purchasing gifts to be presented on the big day. Actually I would always go with her in expectation of stopping over at the Magnolia ice cream parlor to have a chocolate ice cream. Sadly Mags is now a store selling children clothes and those days are gone. But it never hurts to be nostalgic as it always brings a warm glow to anyone’s heart just thinking about it.

Today Christmas shopping has evolved to the online store and while many search on the likes of Amazon and Flipkart, you’ll be surprised at the stuff you get on portals like Kraftly.com. How would you like to give this beautiful home decor as a Christmas gift to someone this year. This is one shopping portal that doesn’t crowd itself with products. It has a superior and selective section with an ethnic and traditional theme.

As for me, here is my Christmas gift ordered handmade by someone who wished to remain anonymous. This lady creates magic with a sewing machine and let me tell you this piece is incredible.


Anyways not to bore you I found this most beautiful Christmas flash mob video on you tube and you need to see this,. It is simply amazing, it brought a lump in my throat when I first heard it and I’m sure you will too,

Now coming to the recipes, I’m not sure if this will be all that helpful but I dug out something which many of you will identify with. The old family cookbook always crops up at Christmas and I had in my possession my Aunt hazels Cookbook may her soul RIP. She had three very complex recipes mentioned there and I have replicated two here for your pleasure in case you try to give it a go. One of these was named Harold’s mother’s recipe and now I’m just curious to know who Harold was which I shall find out. The Christmas recipe is a Calcutta fruit cake and it looks quite extensive.

Aunt Hazel's Cookbook: Harold’s Mother’s Recipe

Aunty Hazel's Cookbook

Aunt Hazel’s Cookbook: Calcutta Fruitcake

Auty Hazel's Cookbook

I noticed that the above recipe doesnt seem to mention flour so along with semolina I assuming it should contain at least 4 to7 oz of flour as well.

Now in my collection of Anglo Indian or Colonial cookbooks, I have three very special titles. One is the Indian Cookery book which is an anonymous and extensive collection of 400 recipes written before 1900 and could well be the base of the subsequent Anglo Indian Cookery Book Published in 1900 by Dora Limond. This had gone out of print, but I have republished it and it is now  available. 

The Anglo Indian Cookery Book


Speaking about Anglo Indian Cuisine, stay tuned in to get more colonial recipes as I will soon post an extensive blog on Anglo Indian Food. Of course the biggest authority on Anglo Indian and colonial cuisine is my friend Bridgette White Kumar who has endeavoured over these years to keep the traditional style of cooking alive with her innumeorus books on the subject.

Anglo Indian Bhoonie

Meanwhile here is a video recipe of a popular dish called Anglo Indian Bhoonie. Now most Colonial food was made from beef and it tastes best that way but that doesn’t mean it can’t be made with chicken which is what I do. I have been off beef for the last 20 years or so and it’s extremely healthy to do so.

To flavour your meat use Worcesterhire sauce which is what I do.  Lea Perrins is among the oldest and best brand in the world when it comes to Worcestershire sauce and it enhances the flavour of chicken in a superb way. But while cooking Chicken always remember to use a nonstick pan because breast pieces tend to stick more on steel kadhais or cooking pots. Remember for Bhoonie no other saag/herb will do except soa saag/dil leaf .Signing off until next time. 


  1. Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

  2. Hi Andrew, great blog.could you please let me know where to find Dora Lemond's cook book. Please and thank you :)

    1. HI Roshen sorry for such a late reply, you can connect with me on FB Andrew Kevin Alpin for details as the book is available from me


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