Baking has become an addiction. The slightest indication of a family gathering, armed with my iPad, I’m ready to crank up the oven. It’s a routine I love setting myself into. I do wish I had more occasions to bake bookmarked bread, turnover, quiches, and flat bread pizza, but it’s cakes, brownies and puddings that are made often. I would attribute this to my native cuisine. The aforementioned savoury recipes would be best served for tea, never as a meal. The trinity that would complete a Keralite Muslim meal would be meat, either lamb or beef, rice and rice-based breads. The dessert course is my playground and the trend has been that I bake more than cook dessert. Last October for Eid, it was not different.
Pick up the English alphabet book and the chances you won’t see a bright red gleaming fruit are unlikely. I steer away from Green Apple being too tart for my taste. A variety I love having is the Fiji Apple. Its skin has faded tints of red and yellow and look quite large for an apple. The flesh crumbles in your mouth like shortbread and it’s mildly sweet.
A few months earlier this year, I received an email from Reem Falaknaz, an Executive Producer from Noor Dubai TV. To date, it is the most exciting email I have received from a visitor of my blog. She was planning on producing a series of cooking videos under 3 minutes, featuring desserts. These series were to be aired during the Holy month of Ramadan and the theme was desserts with a Middle Eastern take. I was boiling with excitement and called my husband at work right away. With his green signal, I promptly replied saying I would be thrilled to be a part of her project. I started devising ways to spin classic desserts the Middle Eastern way focusing on ingredients integral to Arab cooking. Walnut, tahini, rosewater, honey, figs – the list was endless. I proposed three desserts and Reem had the final say. She chose the dessert I had hoped she would – a dessert with dates.
Ramadan is in its last few days. This month has been testing with the scorching summer and long daylight hours. It also meant that there was more time for contemplation, building faith stronger and prayer. Thirst and hunger makes us grateful that with the luxury of food that satisfies both our appetite and fancy cravings while living in a world where hunger and malnutrition exist. What is heartbreaking is the wastage of food not only during Ramadan but throughout the year. Earlier this year, a women from Bihar, India sold her four-month child in hopes of feeding her family. A physically challenged husband meant that there was no income for this family of five. Having deep attachment and affection for my nieces, I cannot imagine the depths of despair that would have surged this mother that would force her to sell her child to satisfy hunger. A thought that multiplied gratitude in my heart infinitely.
I cannot believe that I have been mulling over this post for nearly two weeks. My ‘Edit Post’ page has been open the tab crying out attention and the final publish poke. Desynchronosis had me either sleeping or awake in sluggish defeat. Every time my brother visited us from the US, I would snort and disapprove of him whiling away daylight sleeping. Having returned from his graduation (woohoo!) and a ten day holiday in the USA, I finally understood his habits. I am an out and out morning person. The week we returned had me wide awake at 3 in the night, distraught that I couldn’t catch sleep. I am pacifying myself and branding Jet lag as the reason behind the recent bout of blog negligence.
Yes, YES! It’s that time of the month again. After quite a gap, Family Friday has come and my family came together for a sumptuous lunch catching up from where we left off last time.I love these weekends for far too many reasons. This is the when I get to visit my childhood home and be one, all over again. Umma will be doing all the cooking while I sit in the kitchen, yakking away and being of absolutely no help. Last winter, Umma gifted me a loaf tin. I vaguely remembered that I had bookmarked a recipe that called for one. When I did find it, I knew it would be a great recipe to try for a Family Friday. This recipe had no chocolate which is the primary reason a few elders refuse to try my baking endeavors. I know that lunch always carries onto tea and this recipe was perfect for the occasion.
Yes, it is another dessert and this time it’s a perfectly moist chocolate cake. Two layers of it. Oh, and smothered and piped and dressed in clouds of Nutella buttercream frosting. This was the first time I was attempting to make two layers of cake. I found a wonderful recipe on Baked Brees‘ blog. Nervously excited, I sieved and whipped and poured and baked and lo and behold, I had on my hand two perfectly moist layers of chocolate cake in the most tempting hue of chocolate.
I’m a Keralite who neither loves nor worships tea. Neither does my husband. I don’t drink coffee. My husband does. I’ve never been too fond of either beverages. I attribute that to my sweet tooth. I cannot drink tea without contaminating it with teaspoons’ full of sugar. I enjoy a South-Indian style freshly brewed filter coffee minus the sugar. Sometimes a chai latte. Then again, it’s not something I need to wake up to. Or not drinking it doesn’t give me a headache.