Archive | July, 2012

A Birthday Wish for the Special People in my life (with some Carrot Cake)

30 Jul

The longest time off my blog yet and I wasn’t even vacationing or sick! Life’s in a limbo and I feel no immediate need to wake up from my stupor. I have been doing a lot of things in the background inviting people over, baking splendid bakes, preparing a lavish spread of grills and desserts, reading and watching Olympics (off late).

I still feel I am not completely in my element yet, as far as blogging is concerned. But I really wanted to do this post for one of my closest friends and Harry Potter. It is their birthday tomorrow and I had to wish them well with a cake. A carrot cake to be precise.

About Sandhya, she’s one of the sweetest souls one can ever hope to meet in life. Once you have met her, you have no choice but to keep her for life. It has been almost 10 years now that we finished our MBA together and I do not recall a time when we haven’t been in touch. Even if there was a gap in our communication, it never felt so, because we could continue from where we left off last.

Here’s wishing you, Sandhya, my beautiful friend – A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Now to wish my all time favourite book character – Harry Potter ( and JKR). Happy Birthday… You rock my world.

This Carrot cake is to let you know how much I love you both. I wish for Harry Potter to come back but then I know it may not be the same again. I am excited about the new novel that JKR is writing which is meant for Adults. It would be interesting to see what sort of characters she has up her sleeve this time

And dear, dear, dear Sandhya, let us skype more often and I hope you buy a blackberry soon, so that we can bb each other all the time.

As for this carrot recipe, I found it while I was browsing through the internet for some easy to put together vegetable ( read zucchini, beetroot, carrot) cakes. I found this on the Joy of Baking website and I knew it was a winner right away because it used PINEAPPLES. Sometimes you know that special ingredient would be just the thing that makes a cake extra special. My favourite sort of special ingredients are cinnamon, cardamom, almond essence and the new addition to the list would be Pineapples. This cake asks for no butter and the sugar is something I always add lesser than what is asked for in the recipe. The sweetness from the pineapple shines through intensely from the carrot cake which is perfectly balanced by the nutty flavour of the olive oil.

Joy of Baking has never let me down and their recipes are spot on. This cake is very easy to put together – literally a child’s play. If your child is 3 or older, it could be a weekend baking project.

I hope this special birthday post acts as a good luck charm and helps break this no-blogging phase that I am going through. Until the next post which is about an ooey-gooey stunner of a chocolate cake – Another birthday special, I bid adieu!

All photos courtesy: Namit Bhatia

 

 

 

The Versatile Blogger Award

16 Jul

A big Thanks to Amy of Snazzy Biscuits and Cassandra of Food my Friend for giving me this blog award. It feels super good to be recognized and appreciated. It inspires me to keep writing and that reassurance that there are people who enjoy my writing and what I do on this blog. To accept this award, I need to follow a few rules which are as under:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you – Thank you Amy and Thank you Cassandra ( Again!! Well can’t thank you guys enough)
  2. Include the links to their blogs ( Done, and all of you should check out their amazing blogs)
  3. Include the award image in your post – ( Done that and I love how it stands out)
  4. Copy the award image to your site – ( done that too, long ago)
  5. Give seven random facts about yourself – ( will get on with it as soon as I am done with this check list)
  6. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award – (Will do that as soon as I am done with this check list)
  7. When nominating other bloggers include the links to their sites – ( ofcourse!!)
  8. Let those bloggers know they’ve been nominated – (With pleasure)

Seven random facts about me :

1. I am voracious nail biter. I hate this habit but can’t really help it. So I hate my stubby fingers and non-existent nails

2. I have no sense of direction. I can pass by a place 1oo times in a day and yet get lost. I recall losing my way to my home once and I had to call my hubby to help me out. It was embarrassing!

3. I hate visiting a beauty parlour. Simply hate it!

4. I love watching sun sets though they make me all nostalgic and teary eyed.

5. I have a memory of a goldfish. I forget things, incidents, names of people quite easily. Even when my family and friends quote the entire incident, I wouldn’t have any recollection of it ever happening. In a way it is a good trait as I tend to forget the painful stuff in life quite quickly.

6. I have read all the Harry Potter books thrice and watched each movie more number of times than I can count on my fingers. Just the mention of JK Rowling is enough to make my day. I adore her, her writing, her personality and feel inspired all the time.

7. I am addicted to my blackberry and I cannot imagine a waking second without it in my hands ( there I said it!!!)

The bloggers that I want to nominate for this award are:

1. Saumya Bhat of My Side of the River (My pal and my sounding board on twitter)

2. Kat of  Nurturing and Nature (Therapeutic)

3. Meenakshi of Masala Art  ( Quirky & fun)

4. Bulbul of Buls gone Bonkers ( Addictive)

5.Thanh of  Eat little Bird (Elegance personified)

6. Marie of Feeding Five (Honest, funny & Inspirational)

7. Purvesh Gada of Elements of my life ( Thought provoking)

8. Suchi of Kitchen Karma (Great Food + Great stories)

9. Vishakha of Sublime Palate ( For her lovely photos and amazing recipes)

10. Vinay & Nishtha of Karma and Us (my favourite foodies)

11. Gayathri of Food & Fiction ( A passionate cake baker and a good friend)

12. Gayathri Ramdas of My Pressure Cooker (Baking enthusiast and a good friend)

13. Yummy Chunklet of Yummy Chunklet (The most consistent and disciplined blogger I know)

14. Bikramjit of Me and My Random Thoughts ( The mover and shaker)

15. Anuradha of Baker Street ( My Monday blues b(re)aker)

Phew this was as difficult as it was easy. But I enjoyed it nevertheless. These are some of the many favourite blogs that I follow and read religiously. Not a day goes by that I don’t go and check what these beautiful people are doing in their space.  Congrats to all nominated. It is a special award so you have all the right to revel in all the glory like I am doing right now 🙂

Parenthood & A Plum Tart

9 Jul

Just the other day, when my hubby and I were in a middle of a baseless argument about some chores and who should do them, we heard a squeaky little voice ordering us to, ” STOP!!, guys!! Stop it. Don’t shout!!  Shush. Quiet please”

We looked around to see her standing with her tiny hands on her hips and a solemn expression. We smiled at her and proceeded to continue our bickering.

” Guys!! Stop it. Don’t shout!!!” , she nearly shouted at us and didn’t let us continue with our verbal duel. Her assertive ‘stop it’ made us end that argument for good. Next, all I remember is pampering her and tickling her till she was shouting, please stop, please stop, again. Both my hubby and I completely forgot what we were haggling about.

This little, massively cute, being has completely changed our lives. I think our happiness quotient has inched a new notches higher only because of her. But to all that is amazing in our life, I find it more and more difficult, most times, to reach out to my husband. Since both of us work, we have less and less time for ourselves, to find some time to do our thing. Our life clearly revolves around Mimi and Mimi-stuff. All our plans are about the activities that Mimi would like to do or Mimi would enjoy.  The choice of TV shows, movies and weekend outings are all about what Mimi would like to do. Funnily enough even all the conversation is about Mimi and how she went about her day, her school, her friends, her paintings, her bike, her singing, etc. When my parents call or my hubby’s parents call, all they want to know is how Mimi’s doing. So Mimi -mania is far and wide. I put one photograph of Mimi on facebook and there are about 70 odd likes and comments against it in a matter of 3o minutes. It is fun alright and it is so much fun that the rest of the world can blur in the background. With the world, it seems like my partner of 7 years also blurs and I am sure the same happens to him too.

I cannot recall a time where we have a had a carefree, romantic time for ourselves. We did go to London on our own and that was a good opportunity to find ourselves again. But the purpose was different ( read, job search) so we also packed tension and stress in our suitcases to London, along with our clothes. I complain to him about this disconnect that we suffer from sometimes, and he brushes my cares away stating I am only imagining them. I retort back stating he is being lazy and doesn’t want to put in that extra effort.  He is known to simplifying things in life while I am the one who loves complications. So in the lieu of such personality traits, I have no choice but to agree to what he says. After all simplicity is a more preferred trait.

I gave it a lot of thought and tried to even imagine this as the next step in the evolutionary process of Parenting.  Maybe this is how it is supposed to be. I recall my parents always doing stuff for my brother and me. I hardly remember them doing anything that they liked doing. I really need to read up on some parenting literature online that rubbishes this theory of evolution wherein partners only connect with each other through their offspring. But if this theory is true and if these are how things would be from now on, then I should really start making efforts to adapt to this new ‘way of life’. I am sure I am going to find it really hard to settle into this new order of things because I always resist change and it irks me no end to see my hubby happily cozy-ing into this system without batting an eyelid.

I am certain that adapting to this next step in this Parenting evolutionary process is going to be very, very hard but I found out that adapting a recipe for a Frangipane Tart from Masterchef Australia wasn’t that tough. Despite my earlier reservations about:

1. The recipe was as Masterchef Australia recipe which meant it would have multiple steps to do first and then it would all culminate into this classy baked treat

2. It would be time-consuming and would need lots of ingredients

3. I can’t do it because the end result would be far from being spectacular and I think I not that skilled as a baker

I kept procrastinating and finally decided to give it a go. I also made a carrot cake ( post coming up soon) just so that if the tart bombed then atleast I would have a carrot cake as a safe bet to count on and feed people as dessert.

I would really like the pictures to do all the talking and simply end this post by saying, this Almond and Plum Frangipane Tart was beyond delicious. Originally a Fig and Pistachio Crumble Tart, I had to change the ingredients because fresh figs weren’t available in the market. The supermarket shelves were teeming with ripe, plump, and juicy plums and those seemed like the most obvious choice for this tart and safest bet with plums could only be almonds. All photos in this post were clicked by @namit93 (Namit Bhatia) including the styling etc. I think he did a fantastic job.

This tart is as rustic as it is elegant. Wondering if it would be alright to describe this as a one that exudes rustic elegance?  This is my second attempt at trying out a Masterchef recipe. The first being this Black Forest cake I made for my anniversary, which was equally enticing. This tart shall go down in my repertoire as the one which shall be prepared on days when I have to impress guests.

Now just as this tart that initially seemed so intimidating turned out quite easy to tackle, I wish to be able to handle new pressures of  parenthood that seem so daunting right now. While doing that, I also wish and hope to rekindle a new kind of equation with my husband.

Are you listening, hubby dear?

I am sending this plum tart to Priya Kumar’s – Best Tart Event posted here (http://priyaskitchendiary.blogspot.in/2012/08/best-tart-event-announcement-and.html

 

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