December is such a wonderful month for resolutions and nostalgia. I am always high on nostalgia and find myself fleeting several feet high up in my past, rarely wanting to get down. While resolutions and me don’t really go hand in hand, I did have a bunch of resolutions written down last year, more out of peer pressure than anything else. But nostalgia is my friend. That is because my past and present are as evident to me as night and day.
All the time before 2009 was the past and time after that would be my present. As for the future, it’s not really my bother because I have always been the take-it-as-it-comes kind of person. You must be wondering about, how I got to this clear division of my past and present? Well it is simple really. I got pregnant in Jan 2009 and since then I have been living in the moment; in the present. Any event, occasion before that time is my past. When I think about my past, I see a very different person because, I looked different, I did different things and lead a different life. The year 2008 was an important year for me in many ways. Not only because I fell pregnant the next year, but I did a lot of growing up in that year alone. Out of the 12 months, I had to be on my own for the half of it. That alone time, gave me lot of time for reading, watching movies, working out and reflecting. Now when I think about that time, I experience mixed emotions. Alone-ness sometimes turned to fierce loneliness and sometimes the sheer joy of being in my own company surprised me to no end.
In my opinion at a sub-conscious level my mind and body were preparing for a life altering event; arrival of Mimi. But ofcourse at a conscious level I wasn’t aware. I can say this now with some ounce of surety, because I lived a whole life in the year 2008 before embarking on this wondrous journey of being a mother.
The year started with prepping for the half marathon in November. A healthy diet and exercise became the norm and I completely enjoyed my running jigs.
Middle of year saw my hubby moving away to Seattle for next 5-6 months. To fill my time, I joined spinning classes apart from my regular gym and running jaunts.
I haunted all the book shops in the city and gathered an enviable collection. Weekends were devoted to reading through different books at the same and at a rate that surprised me. I can proudly claim that I may have read more books in that year than the rest of the life put together. It is during this time, that I read a life changing book , ‘ Eat Pray Love’. To me, during that phase, this book made so much sense that it has etched an indelible mark. I even bought extra copies for my girlfriends and my mum too. I also read the Harry Potter books several times and you can quiz me about anything in the books and I am sure, I won’t disappoint.
I also watched a whole lot of movies that I always wanted to watch but never had time to. I was able to watch brilliant movies like ‘Closer’, Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind’, ‘ My house in Umbria’, ‘ Talented Mr. Rippley”, “Under the Tuscan Sun’ and many more. Under the Tuscan Sun and My house in Umbria clearly remain as favorites even today. If you haven’t seen them yet, get your copy of the DVD and watch it. I also watched the entire Kill Bill series and I think, Uma Thurman is a Goddess. I worship her.
In between, when I felt the world was closing in on me, I took a breather and went visiting my parents in Kerala. I spent a whole lot of time with them discussing, chit chatting and mostly just being around them. I am so glad I took that time off.
I went around Delhi to explore places I hadn’t been before and stopped for coffee at the quaintest little coffee shops that served the most amazing coffee.
I also went partying on weekends and danced the nights away. I was always the quintessential party girl and dancing was my first love and my greatest stress buster.
For an office assignment, I found myself wandering the streets of Amsterdam ( The Netherlands). I spent my time admiring the mannequins on display in shops only to realize they were actual people displaying their ‘wares’. It was here I fell in love with the foulest smelling cheese and the heavy wooden clogs.
Just around Christmas, I traveled to Stockholm ( Sweden) to see Santa Claus and tell him my little wish. It is here, I started to believe again in the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus when I saw my wish come true.
Just before my wedding anniversary and the year-end, my husband returned. He bought my first Chanel perfume and we celebrated it with Champagne. That was my first taste of Champagne and I loved it.
We took a memorable trip to Goa with friends and that was my last real vacation.
2008 was a year that I experienced momentous joys and also fell into the deepest chasms of despair. During my trying moments I picked myself up by rewarding myself with little things that made me happy. It could be a new dress or a new music CD or sometimes a guilty dessert. I always felt chocolates loved me unconditionally. They always set my mood up and I felt positive even on the dreariest days.
It was during this year that I also coined the term, ” Earn your dessert”. According to this, only after doing my 7 km run every weekend, I would reward myself with a dessert and it had to be Tiramisu. I loved Tiramisu in puddings, in biscuit flavours, in cakes and in ice creams. Funnily, I may have never had an authentic Tiramisu, if there is any such thing. In the most up market Italian restaurants in Delhi, I was certain that they had a sponge cake or a pound cake dipped in coffee essence and not the lady fingers which made it more Italian. But what the heck, it tasted wonderful, this not-so-authentic Indian version of the Italian Tiramisu.
So 2008 was the year of the Tiramisu for me; bittersweet.
So to toast my Nostalgia that December, I made some kick -*** Tiramisu inspired from a lovely blog -Sunshine and Smile. Kankana’s blog has become my go-to blog for most of my experimentation in the kitchen and I must add, the success rate has been 100%. I tried this decadent tasting Tiramisu only to realize how ridiculously easy it is to make it. To stay true to my fond memories of Tiramisu, I decided to use pound cake strips dipped in espresso.
Recipe for Tiramisu
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp mascarpone cheese
24 lady fingers or strips of pound cake or sponge cake
2 tbsp cocoa powder plus extra for dusting
1 cup strong espresso, cooled down to room temperature
1/2 cup bitter-sweet chocolate shavings, for garnish
1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar in an electric mixer or whisker until they are thick and pale.
2. Add mascarpone cheese and continue beating until smooth.
3. Add 1 tbsp of coco powder and mix until its thoroughly combined.
4. Dip each ladyfingers/ pound cake strip/ sponge cake strips into espresso for about a second and place on the bottom of the serving bowl (I placed 3 in each).
5. Next, pour the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers.
6. Now, arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture.
7. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (I keep it overnight).
8. While serving, sprinkle some more coco powder with chocolate shavings.