Tag Archives: memories

The Diwali Post and a Panchmael Dal recipe

23 Oct

diwali

Diwali always rehashes special memories of my home town Mithapur. Mithapur is a teeny tiny township in the western state of Gujarat, India. I grew up in a close-knit, safe environment of a township where we celebrated every Indian festival with much gusto. My fondest memories of Diwali go like this:

During Diwali we would have a 20 day holiday in school with assignments from school which I would do in the last 4-5 days only before the end of the vacation. However hard my mother would coax, I would always finish my assignment at the last minute which is a habit I continue to practice shamelessly even now.

Diwali would be a time when friends would huddle around for afternoon chit chat sessions or a quick game of street cricket. I didn’t enjoy playing cricket too much but I enjoyed the company

The township would host myriad of events to celebrate Diwali. One of them was a Rangoli competition. I was a witness to some of the most spectacular Rangoli  art work done by very talented friends in Mithapur.

We used to wait for Diwali evenings to light lamps and to burst crackers. These days there is plenty of propaganda against bursting crackers but in the good old days, it was a much awaited event. If you would ask me now, I wouldn’t like to burst crackers but lighting lamps is still one of my favourite traditions that I uphold.

There wouldn’t be a spot in the dark night, which won’t light up with colours from different kinds of crackers. It is a sight that is so deeply entrenched in my heart and I miss my childhood days even more.

In Gujarat, the day after Diwali is the New Year which everyone celebrates by wishing each other ” Saal Mubarak” . Visiting friends’ homes for sweets and savouries is a highlight of this tradition. By the time it was evening, we would be so stuffed only to start gorging on sweets by night fall.

My mother always made some savouries for Diwali that never lasted even until Diwali and the more I write, the more I feel this strong pull of nostalgia. So I shall shop here with the memory trek and write about this beautiful mixed lentil dal recipe called Panchmeal dal which literally translates to a mix of 5 kinds of dal.

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Having this dal with a dollop of ghee gives you satisfaction of all kinds. It is wholesome, healthy, hearty and nourishing. Five kinds of lentils cooked in spices  lend a flavour that is rustic and homely. Keeping it simple this Diwali, we had a lunch of hot piping rotis, Dahi Bhindi ( deep fried Okra in a tangy gravy of coconut, cashew and yogurt) and some soulful, saffron laced Kheer ( sweet rice milk pudding).

The recipe is as follows ( since this was an unplanned post, there was no time to make a recipe card)

Panchmael Dal recipe

(Serves 5)

Ingredients

The dal mixture

50 gms tuvar dal ( pigeon pea lentils)

50 gms channa dal (bengalgram split lentils)

25 gms urad dal (vigna mungo lentils)

50 gm moth dal ( matki or dew beans)

75 gms moong dal(mung bean/ green gram lentil)

salt to taste

1 tsp of tumeric

Water to boil the lentils

 For tempering 

2 bay leaves

a pinch of asafoetida

2 cloves

2 cardamoms

1 stick cinnamon

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/s tsp cumin seeds

The masala

1 tsp chopped ginger

1 cup sliced tomatoes and onions

1 tsp chopped green chillies ( optional, if you like it spicy)

1 tsp dry mango powder ( amchur)

1 tsp coriander powder

4 tsp chopped coriander leaves

For garnish

Chopped coriander leaves and fried red chillies

Preparation

1. Clean and wash the lentils and soak in water for 2 hours.

2. Add turmeric powder, salt and enough water in a pressure cooker and cook until 2 whistles. If you do not have a pressure cooker, boil your lentils with turmeric and salt in a pan full of water until they are cooked well.

3. Heat the oil in a pan; add the asafoetida, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamoms, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds. Once the mustard seeds have spluttered start adding the ingredients in the masala

4. Add the green chillies ( if using ) and ginger. Fry well.

5. Add the sliced tomatoes and onions and keep stirring until they are fried well. Add the dried mango powder, coriander powder and let the masala fry for a few minutes.

6. Add the cooked dals and mix. Add water to get the desired consistency. Simmer for a few minutes.Add coriander leaves and let it simmer some more.

7. Serve hot with rotis or rice after garnishing it with fresh, chopped coriander leaves. In case, you want it more tangy, squeeze some lemon juice and mix the dal well. Serve in bowls with a tsp of  ghee to enhance the taste.

This dal is sure to fire a trail of your favourite childhood memories of having spent Diwali with your parents and relatives. I managed to relive a huge portion of it by making sure my family had the meal together today without the distraction of mobiles, television or even books. We spoke to each other and enjoyed the food for its taste and simplicity.

Happy and safe Diwali to you all.

{friendship series} A terrific Dum Aloo recipe

21 Feb

Two years back I badgered some of my closest friends to share their favourite recipes with me. Soon enough I collected a good number of their favorite recipes for the ” Friendship Series”. Now that I have tried their recipes and I think each of them is absolutely stunning and worthy of all the praises that I can possibly shower. Apart from the agenda that included collecting of recipes, I wanted to capture the essence of my relationship with all these beautiful people. In this post, I share a wonderful recipe of Dum Aloo that my dear friend Ankur shared with me.

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I met Ankur in 2005 as a colleague with the first company I worked for after completing my Masters. My first impression of her was that she was extremely fastidious and diligent as far as her work was concerned. Also, I noticed she laughed a lot. A lot. Her infectious laughter drew me to her and we started interacting a lot more. She admired the way I could put my eye liner in a few strong strokes while I tried to absorb her indefatigable zest for life. We bonded over office gossip, short lived crushes and conversations about food and cooking.

BedmiPuri9Ankur has always been a good sounding board and even after we moved countries with our respective spouses and (now) children, we never lost touch. An occasional email, a quick phone call or chats on gmail have been ways that we have kept in touch. Sharing recipes. pictures of our children helps us keep track of what’s going on in each other’s lives. Recently, Ankur has taken to baking like a fish takes to water and it is amazing how quickly she is churning out one baked treat after the other.

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Some of my favourite moments with Ankur have been on our all-friends trip to Goa. It was once in a life time kind of carefree trip where we roamed on bikes far and wide on the roads of Goa.

Goa Trip 281 (2)

Ankur is a terrific  cook and it is no surprise that I turn back to her recipes time and again. This Dum Aloo recipe uses next to zilch amount of oil and is so quick to prep and whip up. This has become my go-to recipe whenever I have guests to entertain. As a brilliant accompaniment, I serve this dum aloo with Ankur’s very own”Bedmi Puri” recipe which I will include in the next post. 

Sneak peek at the luscious Bedmi Puri ( next post)

Sneak peek at the luscious Bedmi Puri ( next post)

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My friendship stories with Ankur will continue in the next post with her luscious “Bedmi Puri” Recipe which is a western U.P. specialty.

Until then, a brilliant weekend to one and all.

P.S. If you are interested in reading some exciting fantasy fiction, you can head over to my other blog to catch up with a book I had written last year for a competition. I am posting chapter by chapter, once every week.

Things that I would have done differently in 2012 + a hot chocolate pudding

16 Dec

It is that time of the year again, when I feel like taking stock, recounting the sweet memories and the not-so-sweet ones. Deliberating and understanding, prodding and ignoring, reasoning and retracing and finally packing them like the clothes I am never going to wear again. In this case, I can’t even give them off. I have to pack and arrange them in a way that when I want to call on them, I can. Well, in most cases the memories come rushing in without a prior warning; quite similar to  when I am feeling nostalgic and I just feel like looking at my old clothes and attempt to slip into my old jeans. Ofcourse all attempts result in utter disappointment. Old clothes are a definite reminder of what was right and what was utterly wrong in the past.

So I decided to compile a list of few things in the last one year that I would have differently if I had a chance. Just wishful thinking yet I thought penning it down would be fun.

1. My ensemble for my brother’s wedding (Feb 2012) : It was short notice and I was far away from the Mecca of traditional apparel – Ahmedabad/Delhi. I had to do with whatever my mum bought for me which was gorgeous; 2 kanjeevaram sarees. No complaints on that front. But I still imagined that for my brother’s wedding, I wanted to take that extra effort to make each outfit look special. Sitting in Bahrain, there was little I could do in terms of preparation. I am most thankful to my parents, to have managed 2 gorgeous sarees for me. If I had another chance, which means, not that my brother would have to get married again, but if I could go back in time, I would love to plan my outfits for each ceremony/event for my brother’s wedding. But for now all I can do is to feel content about the fact that I was able to attend it and it was such a memorable event.

2. Sangeeta Khanna’s diet plans ( March 2012) : I sought Sangeeta Khanna’s help to guide me into better eating habits. Sangeeta is one of the most inspiring people I have met in my real and virtual life. There are no dearth of examples that I can quote, where I have learnt a life lesson from this incredible lady. Ever hopeful, encouraging and infinitely patient, Sangeeta accepted my request to help me lose my post pregnancy weight. She veered me slowly and steadily from my random food habits to more systematic, wholesome food options. Her recipes are healthy and tasty which to everybody’s mind is as good as an oxymoron. It was the best opportunity for me to lose weight, had I focused on the exercise part more seriously. I just got lazy thinking, that by managing the right sort of food would produce miracles. Far from it. The weight didn’t budge and it depresses me that I didn’t capitalize on the wonderful diet plan that Sangeeta shared with me week on week. Also, I didn’t make the most of the encouragement she showered on me to go and exercise and in effect lose weight. If I had a chance, I would go back to March this year to begin her diet plans and exercise hard to lose weight, so that when I type this post, I wouldn’t feel the need to include this point in this ‘if -could-do-this – again’ list. But all said and done, I would recommended anybody who wants to follow any kind of special diet to seek Sangeeta’s help because this amazing lady knows her food well and would guide you in the right direction.

3. Book launch speech (May 2012): In May, I had the opportunity to be a part of  Book Launch – My Beautiful Bahrain. I was one of the co-contributors and was given the honour of making a small speech at the launch. I thought a speech would be like the easiest thing to do. I would just say a few lines on what my article was all about and then my customary thank yous to people who made it happen. Tada. But when we reached the venue,  we found the place was abuzz with photographers and media people. It was nerve wrecking. I went dry in my mouth and words starting flying all around my head. I realized I made a fundamental mistake in public speaking; I didn’t prepare well to deliver my speech. I stuttered and forgot my lines. I was sweating profusely and it was embarrassing when I got stuck at one word which I cannot still recall. It was one of the biggest events of my life but I took it for granted and went unprepared. If I had the chance, I would prepare a small and an effective speech that I would have the confidence of delivering without any confusion

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4. The fasting challenge for Ramadan (July 2012) – I even did a post about this and felt like a fool all the same. In my desperate attempts to lose weight, I went on a fasting spree for 3 weeks straight during Ramadan. It backfired and I actually ended up putting on more weight which I am still lugging around. CRASH DIETS DON”T WORK. My metabolism slowed down and I wasn’t burning anything. On the contrary, my body stored everything that came its way. If I could go back in time to convince myself about what a dimwit I was being by fasting and starving, I could have kept that weight off.

5. Corporate diplomacy (September 2012) – I thought I had seen it all in my 5 years of being in the Corporate. The senseless politics and the unnecessary stress was all experienced and well rehearsed. Yet the magnitude of this level of politics took me by surprise. . September and October were the toughest two months of my life. Work wise I felt I had given my best but it was all swept away in a single stroke into nothingness by the machiavellian ways of the Corporate. It was a tough lesson learnt well. But in hindsight I feel, I took everything on face value and was very trusting. Given a chance, I would have changed a few responses and hence the outcomes thus changing how I feel today about the months of September and October, and the people who ruined those beautiful months for me.

6. A hot chocolate pudding (December 2012) – It is common knowledge at my work place and with my friends that I really love entertaining people at home. Cooking for them and ensuring that everybody is having a good time while they are at my place gives me a big high. So a few days back we asked one of our colleagues to come home for dinner over the weekend. I was excited and wanted to plan a good menu since the person who was coming over was a big foodie!! But at the last moment I had some urgent work to finish over the weekend and I couldn’t cook as I had planned. So I compromised and decided to order some food from outside. Having done that I needed to atleast serve my food loving friend, a good dessert that he would enjoy.

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I decided to go ahead and make this delicious looking, easy to put together pudding from David Lebovitz’s blog. It seemed like a no brainer and looked absolutely stunning in pictures. In the past, I have tried a few of his recipes and with due respect to him and his culinary expertise, they did not come out well for me. Whether they were cheesecake brownies or cookies or anything, they didn’t just cut the mark for me. And I would never even imagine that the recipe that David would put out that everybody loved so much was the issue. I always assumed that the problem was in the way I made it. My amateurish baking skills were the key problem area. Anyhow, I gave this pudding a go and I thought how wrong could this go? Well it didn’t!! It took very little time to prep and bake and when serve with toasted almonds and ice cream it looked like it was  a shot out of a gourmet magazine. It cheered me instantly because I was in the mood to compensate for not being able to cook for my guest.

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But, but, but  the pudding (in my opinion) did not taste good at all. It was just meh! I was shocked. It looked great, I followed the recipe to the tee and then this!! It was really shocking. I was very sure my poor guest did his best to not hurt my feelings and swallowed the bitter, tasteless pudding. But he swore that he loved it. So did my hubby. I am sure they were just being very kind to me. I guess again it wasn’t David’s recipe that was the problem and for that very reason I am giving it out here for everybody’s benefit. I would earnestly urge that anyone who reads this blog should try this recipe and tell me if the pudding is really good or am I just very fussy?

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I love David’s blog, his written work, his book ( Sweet life in Paris) and his incredible insights about the City that I would love to visit one day. But I guess his recipes are just not for me for some strange reason. I read his blog regularly and wonder why his recipes don’t work for me. Just chance I suppose. But for the sake of this list, I wanted this pudding to be here because given a choice, I would have made my dessert loving guest a raspberry brownie with an icecream so that he could have gone satiated and with wonderful dessert memories.

There are many more such bloopers that I would like to go back in time and correct, but then I wonder, if I did have a choice to do so, how will I have the chance to sit back and muse about it. It was a good thing to write this post and get it out. There is much more that I want to but for the sake of the people reading this blog, I would stop here and spend time contemplating some more.

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Jammie Dodgers

21 Sep

Memories are funny. At times they come rushing like some avalanche; unstoppable, overwhelming and powerful. But many times, it feels like that blank in an objective test that you can’t seem to fill despite your best efforts. Like for eg. I have always believed that I have never learnt swimming. It was only on a vacation in Goa that my hubby taught me how to swim in the Hotel’s swimming pool. It took me precisely 2 days to learn. My friends on the same trip refused to believe me when I told them that I have never learnt how to swim. I admit that I am not the most graceful of swimmers but now I can swim enough to keep afloat. To put the matter to rest once and for all, I asked my mother if I have learnt swimming as a child. My mother without a moment’s hesitation, replied that I had been to swimming classes and have learnt swimming. And I have no memories of this at all!! How was that possible? She claimed that I had learnt swimming at an age when one would remember everything – probably when I was 8 or 12. Incredible!

All photos courtesy – Namit Bhatia

I recall very clearly going to dance classes, learning how to ride a bike but I have nada recollection of ever going for swimming classes. Anyways, moral of the story: This is just one severe example of a memory gap that I have encountered. There are many more which I can’t recollect right now( no surprise there!). It is ironical when I have admitted more than once on this blog of mine, that I am a permanent resident of the island called Nostalgia while my memory is one of the worst sort that one can have.

But what I won’t ever forget is how much I loved jam biscuits. I have vivid memories of my mother putting away packets of jam biscuits after  her weekly bout of grocery shopping. She made sure she had them stowed away on the highest shelves in coloured, yet transparent plastic tins ( dabbas). I must be say 5 or 6 back then. I was allowed to have biscuits and chocolates in rationed quantities. Actually, they were given mostly as rewards for being good or less naughty. I devised fool-proof schemes to reach them on afternoons after school hours. My mother worked full time and my nanny would doze off for a little while sometimes. Taking advantage of that gap, I would push the tallest table against the wall shelf  as quietly as possible and climb up to slide the biscuit tin towards the edge of the shelf, let it drop and catch it at the nick of time. With much effort I would then open the tin and hurriedly open the jam biscuit packet before my nanny woke up from all the crunching noise from opening  the  plastic biscuit packet. It wasn’t the biscuit, that fascinated me but the jam and cream in between the biscuits. I would neatly lick the jam-cream and place the biscuits back in the same order like they were never touched. During one such time, we happened to have some guests at home and my mother rushed to offer them some jam biscuits with tea. The unwitting guest enjoyed their tea and biscuits and it was only when my mother tried to have hers, that she realized that the jam and cream in between the biscuits was gone.

(photo courtesy : http://blog.anekdesigns.com/2010/12/simple-pleasures.html) The store bought jam and cream biscuits that I had the pleasure of licking clean

Ofcourse I got the scolding of my life.

All those naughty memories came gushing in when I was making my own batch of the Jammie Dodgers  for my daughter. Mimi’s not particularly fond of jam because she finds them intensely sweet. But she loves short bread/butter biscuits. I thought maybe if I could combine her favourite biscuits with some jam, there’s a chance she might like jams and develop a taste for them. I got the recipe from the Guardian and result was spectacular. The biscuits looked so pretty in the glass jar that I found it painful to see it vanish so quickly. The butter biscuits were melt in the mouth sorts with a hint of salt in them. Addictive to say the least. I took them to office where they were applauded and the recipe was asked for.

Unfortunately, my objective of making Mimi love jams was not met. She did something completely unanticipated. She cleared the jam by rubbing it off on a plate or a tissue and gobbled up the butter biscuits. So history gets repeated (sort of)!

It would be interesting to see if she would agree to try home-made jams where I can control the amount of sugar and make it to suit her palate. Jam making is definitely something I am considering to do at home pretty soon. So watch this space!!

Birthdays so far & a Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

4 Aug

 

July is a month of birthdays on my calender. I love planning for birthdays, cakes, parties- that sorta thing. It was my hubby’s birthday middle of July and it was the first time in 8 years that we weren’t together to celebrate his birthday. He was travelling for work and we ( Mimi and I ) missed him on his birthday. But the the clock struck 12, Mimi sang “Happy Birthday’ to her Papa, making him all teary-eyed over the phone. It was a beautiful moment for all of us. It was decided that we would wait for him to come back to us over the weekend and we would celebrate his birthday with some good old-fashioned chocolate cake and lots of chocolate frosting.

This was a trigger good enough to take me down the memory lane –

2oo5, the year he got angry – I met him at the Alumini Party in June and we started dating soon after. His birthday in July was eagerly anticipated and we cut a cake the day before and he hinted that he would wait for my call at 12 am. I was the early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of person and I slept without wishing him. He was upset and he called me, reminding me that I forgot to wish him. I thought that was terribly cute. But he still holds it against me everytime we discuss his birthday.

2006, the year I got angry – Married and nearly settling into our new life, his birthday was my chance to make amends for the previous one. I co-ordinated with friends and decided to throw him a surprise birthday party. I called for his favourite food from his favourite restaurant, decorated the place, invited friends, and made sure he didn’t have an inkling about what was going on. It was  a working day and we went to our respective offices after deciding on some vague dinner plans outside for his birthday. Come evening and I eagerly awaited his return along with some 15 odd friends, at home. He got extraordinarily late owing to the bad traffic. I kept panicking and kept calling him every 2 minutes asking him where he had reached. In one of those calls, he realized and asked me if I had planned a surprise birthday party for him. I was completely shattered that he could guess it so easily. He could have atleast pretended to be surprised. I got upset and felt cheated for all my efforts. But we did have a good party and great memories too from that birthday.

2007, when we wanted to be all by ourselves –  Like they say, today’s tragedy is tomorrow’s comedy. For this birthday, we went to a Japanese restaurant and laughed at the previous years’ mishaps and arguments sipping on sake and munching on some delectable prawn tempura. It was quiet. It was memorable. It was about us.

2008, when he was set to travel long term for work – This was a birthday with lot of mixed feelings. He was all set to travel to the US for 8 long months. A week from his birthday, he was to board his flight to Seattle. We had to drink our blues away so we went to our favourite pub in town with a few friends and laughed the evening away. But somewhere in the corner of our hearts, that birthday still serves as a reminder of having spent the longest time away from each other.

2009, when I truly surprised him at work –  I was 6 months pregnant that year and we celebrated his birthday in the UK. I ordered for a birthday cake, chocolates and flowers to be delivered at his work place. He called me from office expressing how much he liked the surprise and how it made his day. It was a good, good day, where all three (well, almost 3 ) of us had a good time together, cutting that cake and gorging on the hand made chocolates

2010, when I baked him his first cake I was excited because this was my first time baking and to be doubly certain, I bought the Betty Crocker Cake mix. It was the easiest thing to do, but I still messed it up. I burnt the cake at the bottom. I was very, very disappointed. To salvage my efforts, I slathered the burnt mass with some ready to eat Nestle’s Strawberry cream or something like that. Mimi who was all of 10 months licked the (so-called) frosting off the cake and made a face at the burnt cake. But he was happy to blow candles off it, cut a piece and savour it like it was the best thing he had ever tasted in his life.

The burnt chocolate cake with some silly frosting

2011, when I messed up his cake again – I had a year of baking experience behind me when I embarked on making a black and white torte for his birthday. I was confident about getting it right. It didn’t seem that complicated when I read the recipe. We had some friends for dinner – an informal party of sorts. The torte was a disaster. But again he was a good sport about it, appreciated my efforts and enjoyed his slice. Sigh!

2012, when I finally got the birthday cake right against all odds – With friends expected in the evening and much, much cooking to do, the best chocolate cake ever wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. I struggled with baking it due to lack of time and finally felt that I won’t be able to go ahead with the frosting at all. But with some help, I managed to assemble this gorgeous, satiny cake together. It was well received and polished off.

I got the recipe off one of my favourite blogs all time which needs no introduction at all – My baking addiction. Jaime’s best chocolate cake has become my best chocolate cake recipe that I am going to make again and again. The recipe is a keeper. The intense chocolate and coffee flavours are sprightly without being overwhelmingly so. The colour is to die for. If I were to define pure, chocolate indulgence, then this cake does it for me. I would highly recommend this recipe and if you have been looking for the perfect chocolate cake recipe then your search ends here. The chocolate butter cream frosting makes the cake more memorable and festive. The recipe for the chocolate butter cream frosting is  here.

all photos courtesy – Namit Bhatia

This birthday was as memorable as all others. Growing older becomes bearable with some chocolate cake, I believe and I know that my hubby would agree too!

 

 

 

 

Muffin Mondays : Hazelnut & Cherry Jam Muffins

5 Mar

I missed Muffin Mondays so many weeks in a row. I have to admit that I did miss baking muffins.

What do I miss about it?

Well, making muffins was not just about baking muffins. It was the whole process, the journey of waking up early on a Saturday morning while the house is still sound asleep, tip toeing to the kitchen and looking at my Money plant that is growing so well. The the leaves are large and dark green, spreading themselves to form a sort of shade over the sink. I see new tendrils wrapping themselves around the older thicker stems. It is such a joy. Then I take a deep breath and look at my recipe book. Yes I have a recipe book which has sheaves of papers, cuttings, scraps of recipes, scribbles and food quotes. I rummage through them and find the latest recipe that An has sent us all. I had written it down quickly the night before so that I could start making the muffins, unhindered. I preheat the oven with a light of a matchstick and warm my hands. Then I grease my new heart-shaped silicon muffin moulds and suddenly just looking at them takes me back in time. I am reminded of my honeymoon, the day that I got married, the day Mimi was born, the day I resigned from my job, the day I walked off from office and took a plane to see my hubby in the UK and never returned for the next 1 year, the day when I fell terribly sick when my hubby was away and there was nobody to buy me medicines, the day when Mimi walked for the first time, the nights when I had to rock a 2 month old Mimi to sleep, falling asleep in the process.

Memories keep tumbling over each other, building blocks and then falling again. They race against each other for my time to reminiscence them in detail. I shake the unpleasant ones off and dwell on the nicer ones. The ones that make me smile as I mix the batter for my muffins. The roasted hazelnut reminds me of the smoky nights in Delhi when my hubby and I were still dating and he would drop me home. We would linger around at the door of my paying guest apartment wondering what we should do. To steal a kiss or a peck when nobody was looking and then I rush indoors while he lingered some more at the door before finally saying good-bye until we met again the following day.

The batter, now looked smooth and shiny with the hazelnut browned bits peeping out. I dollop a spoonful in the cups and then add a spoonful of cherry jam and then cover it all up another dollop of the batter.

I woke up from my stupor and realized I had spent a lot of time reminiscing and I need to prep everything by the time my family woke up. Breakfast had to be laid, tea had to be brewed, bread had to be toasted and fruits had to be washed. Yet again, I fell back into thinking about a time when we had no worries, my hubby and I would take off as soon as we woke up for a car ride across the city, right to the opposite end of the city to have a sumptuous breakfast at Chandni chowk in Delhi. Alas, such spontaneity I miss sometimes but life has given me so many moments to treasure and make up for the ones that I miss.

Now for the Recipe, I halved the recipe and got 7 muffins. But when I took the first bite, I regretted halving the recipe. It was a good, good muffin to have around the house for a mid day snack or a late night binge. The original recipe called for plum jam but I had cherry and fig preserves and used them instead. My toddler who is an ardent Jam hater ate around the jam and spat the fruit preserves out. So I think I can declare these muffins a hit, I suppose. I am jotting down the recipe with its original proportions.

The Recipe for Hazelnut – Cherry Jam Muffins

From Women’s Weekly

Ingredients

90 grams butter, melted

21/2 cups (375 grams) self raising flour

1/2 cup (55 grams) hazelnut meal ( I roasted hazelnuts and then ground them using mortal and pestle. They weren’t very fine and that gave the muffins a very nibble worthy texture)

2/3 cup (150 grams) caster sugar

1 egg, beaten lightly

1 cup (250 ml) milk

1/2 cup (160 grams) plum jam ( I used cherry jam and fig jam)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 200C/gas mark 6/400F

2. Grease a 12 hole muffin pan or line with muffin liners

3. In a large bowl, combine butter, flour, hazelnut meal, sugar, egg and milk.

4. Spoon half of the muffin mixture into the prepared pan and make a well in each muffin, spoon in rounded teaspoons of jam and top with remaing muffin mixture

5. Bake for 18-20 minutes


So you see, muffin making means all this to me; early mornings, tantalizing aroma of muffins baking and memory-walking. Like I mentioned before, it is a process and I enjoy every single step. But this time, I took it a step further and while my muffins were baking and turning into golden domes, I hurriedly walked to my cupboard and got my photo album out. I flipped through as many photos I could in those 20 minutes before I got my golden cups of hazelnut-cherry deliciousness out. I scattered the photos all over the table as I took my first bite and savoured the freshly baked muffin. Then the memories started to rearrange themselves keeping in order with the photographs that I had lined up. My Saturday morning was spent nibbling on this perky, full of flavour and jam-filled gorgeousness of a muffin. Every muffin baking adventure has had me going back and forth in time and that is why I enjoy it so much. The spell was broken when my toddler walked into the kitchen and promptly climbed my lap. We shuffled through the photos together, one by one and she was so happy to recognize every face in each photograph.

If you want to experience a wonderful weekend like I did, then you need to get in touch with Anuradha because Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week

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