When I first baked a cheesecake, I didn’t know I was stepping on what is considered to be a slippery slope. I first baked it for my husband on his birthday because its his favorite. Honestly, not knowing that its a recipe that might fail more than succeed helped because I just followed the instructions, put it in its water bath and let it bake. And it came out just fine. Later on when I was hoping to be a bake something other that the classic version did I encounter the horror stories. Cracked tops, collapsing middles and still wet insides. There seemed to be so many things that could go wrong. After having read that, the next time I attempted to bake a cheesecake I added some fear. And this despite having read troubleshooting tips from my trusted baking bloggers’ list. It came out of the oven with a crack on the top pretty much like the Mercedes logo. I laughed aloud at the coincidence and didn’t bother covering it up. It did make me want to find a daunting free cheesecake recipe.
Isn’t this what you would call a showstopper? There’s nothing that can prematurely seize conversations giving way to a buzz of excitement when a whole bird is placed right in the centre of the table. The chatter resumes but it would all be in awe and appreciation for the bird that has arrived. Here she lies in crimson colored gravy that emanates the spices you are about to experience. And if it looks like a days’ worth of labour, the merit would have come your way even before she has been carved. Kozhi Nirachathu is one of the prized recipes of Moplah cuisine. A light onion masala and hardboiled eggs are stuffed into a whole chicken which is then fried and baked alongside a caramelised onion gravy.
Encouraging frugality is rewarding in my kitchen. I’ve never been one to waste food, let alone toss it away. I always scour recipes to prevent such a thing from happening in my kitchen. This particular baking session happened because of that opened jar of Lemon Curd which has been residing in the refrigerator for less than a year.
I set out on a sojourn to a land of buttery delight and despite carefully preparing, found myself veered away from the course. You see, failure found me in my last few miles and insisted on chaperoning me the rest of the way. I grappled, determined to lose him especially with my destination in clear sight. I then met disappointment and worry and was held back with force, not allowing me to take any steps further. I’m surprised that a failed cake recipe would yield such emotions but this was being made for my family Eid gathering. Truth is, what was left of it tasted wonderful. So I sought after redemption and it has never been sweeter. Doesn’t these pouffy loaves say so?
Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I thought to myself what a pretty galette. Instantly I wanted to make one too. I started looking at a few recipes to see how feasible it would be to bake one and blog about it too while managing Ali. I was going to spend the weekend at my folks place and figured I would have a few hours free from chores. I wanted to make my Pate Brisee crust from wholewheat. Most recipes I read said that it could be made unto 4 days in advance. So all I had to think about was fresh seasonal fruit.
It feels wonderful to be blogging again. We welcomed our precious baby boy Ali a little over three months ago. This tiny human being has changed our lives forever. Ever since he’s arrived time is being defined by him. His first smile, his first laugh, grabbing our fingers for the first time. His arrival has also brought new relationships – two doting sets of grandparents who are going to spoil him silly no doubt, an ecstatic father, a plethora of aunts and uncles and cousins and then there’s me. Ali has made me a mother. It’s made me appreciate my own Umma ten times fold. All her sleepless nights, satisfying our endless requests, cooking and feeding us with nourishing meals with no fanfare. The emotions and responsibilities that stem from the word mother cannot be accounted for. This post is for my Umma, for everything she has and continues to do for me and for all the mothers who devote their lives raising children. I’m sharing a recipe my Umma enjoys every time I bake it. A simple banana bread.
Happy New Year you guys! I’ve taken over my husband’s duty of moving the marker on our calendar every day for the past few months. Last year there have been days where I’ve been waiting for hours to pass by and a few where I wanted to sit down and capture time. There is a reason behind my anticipation, my impatience and why I have been posting less than usual. We’re expecting our little one to arrive later this month. Apart from losing a battle to nausea and all day long ‘morning’ sickness in the first trimester, it’s been a beautiful phase. After doting over baby cousins, nephews and nieces and possibly every chubby baby being wheeled in a pram, it still has to sink in that we’ll be having one of our own.
What’s your favourite season of the year? Is it spring which welcomes a bevy of flora in its brightest colours? Is it the summer and its golden rays that translate to impromptu ice-cream parlour visits? The fall with wilting leaves that provides a respite from the warmth of previous months? Or the winter which has you wrapped in layers and nestling a warm beverage in your hand?
This is a post that I have been waiting to share with you. Have you watched It’s Complicated? If you have, I’m sure the scene which had inspired us to cook together has come to your mind. Meryl Streep’s kitchen Country Style kitchen has such marvellous details that it’s hard to believe it is actually a movie set. Floor to ceiling exposed shelving hosting dainty ceramics, terracotta tiles and that heavenly marble island (that must be Carrera) for hurried breakfast.
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.