This post is dedicated to my Grand mom. She’s the first baker I knew. I grew up eating her pressure cooker cakes for Christmas and birthdays. She was one strong woman who left the country she was born and raised (then British Malaya, now Singapore), married a stranger chosen by her family and moved to India during World War 2, bore 8 kids, raised them with discipline and values, worked as a school Principal all her life, worked post-retirement just to keep herself occupied and took her last breath on her birthday at the ripe age of 80. Grand dad was the typical chauvinist husband. Nothing much to write home about.
Theobroma Cacao, my nemesis and my kryptonite. Who doesn’t love chocolates, at least the good ones? I LOVE chocolates. So, couple of years back I took interest in learning the art of chocolates and did a lot of on line research plus book reading. But then, there is only so much one can learn from these resources. There is nothing like hands-on experience, witnessing trained professionals work methodologically and share their wealth of knowledge gained over decades. Hence, I opted to do a course in the ‘Art of Chocolates’ from Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco. I’ll be sharing some of the chocolatey things I learned in LCB.
Winter begins in November/ December. Wind chills. Frosty mornings. Frigid temperatures. Naked plants and trees. Heavy clothes. Dampness and darkness. Large gas bills. These are some of the not so pleasant things.
Mulled wine and warm cider. Soups and breads. Christmas. Baking fruit cakes and Christmas pudding. Christmas tree and nativity decoration. Ornaments and icicle lights. Buche de Noel and candy canes. Hymns and carols. Santa and the fire place. Poinsettias and pine trees. A brand new year and few carried over un-kept resolutions. These are some of the pleasant things.
Ice cream! No churn, egg free and gelatin free.
I love summers because I have an excuse to dunk my head into a tub of ice cream. You’ll be surprised how many pints I can finish myself. All those calories conveniently rest on my waist throughout the season, and longer. After all it’s ICE CREAM.
Ice creams with a smooth mouth feel, rich body and milky sweetness is what I prefer . I absolutely dislike ice creams that tastes sugary. My first American ice cream experience was in NYC, a vanilla waffle cup bought from an ice cream truck. It was cloyingly sweet and headed right to the bin. You know what I mean. Since then I stick to trusted brands I’ve tried before.
American cartoonist Jim Davis said ‘Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.’ I remember this when I see carrots, zucchini, pumpkin and any cake. This recipe is for mini carrot cake made in a microwave. It also happens to be Egg free and can be veganized easily. The whole process takes about 10-12 mins including the preparation, baking and resting time. Eating time differs from person to person. It takes 2 mins for me to attack and devour!
I baked cookies today. So I shall call myself cookiewali!
For the non-Indian readers, ‘wali’ is the suffix for female gender and ‘wala’ for male gender. Recently, I came across a thread in an online forum where a home baker was addressed by her client as ‘cakewali’. Going by the same suffixation, an IT personnel is computerwala/wali, an oscar winning actor is nautangiwala/wali, a chemist is dawaiwala/wali, a renowned chef is bawarchi, a pâtissier/ chocolatier is halwai and so on.
It sounds funny, right? Politically and technically it’s not wrong. At the same time, it’s about being sensitive and respectful to your fellow being. Addressing someone by their name is a kind gesture. Trust me, it costs nothing!
CHOCOLATE, this is something I’m never bored of. I mean it! How can anyone be bored of chocolates? You can unfriend me if you dislike chocolates.
Good chocolates always have a place in my pantry. And good strawberries are seasonal. I’m wary of buying strawberries off the shelf. Rarely, I land up with sweet strawberries. Anyway I picked this pack of organic strawberries just to find out that it wasn’t sweet enough for snacking. I was not in a mood to bake anything. But, I had to use these berries before it started rotting in the refrigerator.
I didn’t have anything in mind. Since we were going to Gilroy for a day long shopping, I wanted to take something to snack on the way. The berries became bars!