Finally, a successful ‘Fruits and Nuts Cake’…

My mom makes the best cake in the world! B’days, Christmas or some special guests coming over, our house used to fill with this amazing fragrance of her cake… People have taken the recipe from her and I really don’t know if anyone got success in matching her’s…

Its a fruits and nuts cake with lots of nuts and cherries and I have been trying the recipe for years, always been unsuccessful… Even i  tried with an old style electric oven, the kind of oven my mom uses…. Yet, it didn’t change anything…. So many disasters, one among was an awful Christmas cake!!!

Ok, then came yesterday, my friend Meera’s b’day eve… The decision to bake a cake for her was bold as it would be the cake for the birthday… I had to get it right!!! It was one of my lucky days i say, eventhough the day drove me crazy because of few people in my life… So, getting a recipe work, after so many attempts…. i call it a moment!!!

The cake was a success, eventhough i was not happy with the fact that it could have burnt and got a lil’ dry…. I was happy when i saw the cake getting over, piece by piece taken away… A chef’s satisfaction…

From oven.... to the final bits!!!!

From oven…. to the final bits!!!!

So here I am sharing this amazing recipe…. with few changes from my mom’s original recipe….

Ingredients:
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup chopped cashew nuts, black raisins, cherries
1 cup caster sugar (can be slightly less than 1 cup)
2/3 cup butter
3 eggs
Powdered spices – 1 clove + 1 cardamom pod + small piece of cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
Few drops of vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F / 180C.
2. Add 2 tbsp of flour into the nuts and dry fruits and mix them well. Set aside.
3. Combine the flour and baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.
4. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Next, add the eggs one by one and beat.
5. Add vanilla extract to the above mixture.
6. Now, add a spoon of flour mixture and fold. Once it is used up, add the remaining flour mixture spoon by spoon so that no lumps are formed. Add the nuts and dry fruits mixture to this and combine them well.
7. To a tray greased with butter and flour sprinkled over, pour the batter and bake for 45-50 minutes until the top turns brownish. Insert a skewer into the cake; if it comes out clean, your cake is done.

Notes:

1. I usually fry the cashews slightly in butter. Fried, crispy cashews in the cake, to me, tastes better.
2. Keeping the fruits and nuts mixture in flour is important. This is to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the batter while baking.

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Books in my Kindle…

kindle

For a bookworm like me, getting some new books to my self has always been a joy… But since i moved around cities for research and job, i couldn’t maintain my collection properly… Lost/donated many of my books in the process… Now, i am in the middle of another move… So, I have no other choice other than turning to the e-books…

Kindle has been in my wishlist for a while… Many of my friends who were using it for years has been advertising the product… Yet, I stuck with the ‘real books’ because i love the feel of sitting in a room surrounded by books, taking them out once in while, turning the pages and storing them back in shelf once i finish… The joy at the last page of a good book when you are about to finish it, you will never get that from the bottom of an e-file… that is happiness at another level!!!

But, as the ‘to read list’ became longer and longer, i realised that if i start buying all those books i won’t have space to keep them… So, i finally moved the Kindle from the wishlist to the cart!!! It was a pleasure to have a kindle hand… especially when i started to get loads to books to store in it…  

Though i will miss the feel and smell of paper, i think i will love this new reading arrangement… infact i have been reading some of the Physics e-books from my laptop… moving those to kindle and reading from there is a huge relief to my eyes… Also, it would cut down the distraction of internet…

My only problem with the kindle is the keyboard mobility… typing to make notes is quite difficult there… hopefully with some practice i can do better….

So, here I am ready to move around with loads of e-books in Kindle; saving some trees for the paper…. i am consoling myself with that fact…. 

Perseverance!!!

perseverance (1)

Perseverance
/pəːsɪˈvɪər(ə)ns/
noun
            persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success

Read the following snippet from ADULTERY (Paulo Coelho) few weeks back:

A rose dreams of enjoying the company of bees, but none appears. The sun asks:
“Aren’t you tired of waiting?”
“Yes,” answers the rose, “but if I close my petals, I will wither and die.”

Yes, perseverance… sustaining life!!!

Don’t call me a foodie….. I am a culinarian….

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I am a foodie of a different kind…

Using the word ‘foodie’ is controversial… mostly because different people have different perspectives regarding that terminology… Most of the times, it’s considered a word to represent someone who overeats… not someone who loves and enjoys food…

Even if it’s tagged with people who love food, i cannot call myself a foodie… my love for food is not always the ‘eating’ part… ofcourse, i love a good meal, cookies, and more cookies, and occasional treats… But, i enjoy food more in ways such as cooking, and food photography…

So i came up with this term that would describe my love; culinarian… Yes, love food in my own ways…

Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It’s not about nutrients and calories. It’s about sharing. It’s about honesty. It’s about identity.

Kitchen Queen…

Where do i start… i polished my culinary skills while i was in University of Hyderabad…. the birthday parties and friends coming over for after match parties, everybody has to be a chef… I started inventing and experimenting with recipes during these parties… it was fun fun days in kitchen…

During those days, my favourite TV channel was the travel and living channels and the favourite show for a long time was ‘Top Chef’… i can watch the cookery shows all day… they provided more inspiration and i began treating cooking as an art…

"Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colours, there are only so many flavours - it's how you combine them that sets you apart."

“Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colours, there are only so many flavours – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.”

Food photography…

Ahh… how i love being a shutterbug… even though my peak photography days were in the past, i still love clicking now and then, here and there, for Instagram mostly… food being something i would never miss… A well-set plate, a colourful dish in the pan… food have such vibrant colours and my camera loves all those…

Making a simple nachos and salsa looking awesome...

Making a simple nachos and salsa looking awesome…

People always judge me by my food-related photo uploads and my interest in cooking… it’s all the ‘how’ and ‘why’ i get from people, especially my old Hyderabadi pals who know exactly what kind of ‘foodie’ i used to be… How can someone who does not enjoy eating food can have interests related to food!!

Well, i don’t have an explanation either… I just love what i do… because i am a culinarian….

What I’ve enjoyed most, though, is meeting people who have a real interest in food and sharing ideas with them. Good food is a global thing and I find that there is always something new and amazing to learn – I love it!

                         – Jamie Oliver

My competitions…

competition

My competitions push me to a better myself.

I love my competitions… I just love them…
They make me work harder everyday…
They make me take longer strides when I walk…
They make me go faster when I run…
They make me take risks…
They make me go the extra mile…
They make me fight for my victories… and make my victories sweeter…
Yeah, they make me stronger everyday…

Beyond the threshold of no return …

Can relate to most of them….

Melissa on Shuffle

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I’ve reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time on what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for overt cynicism, excessive criticism and the expectation of constant compromise. I have lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.

I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I can neither  adjust to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid…

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Bit of rain, a good book and a truckload of ideas for writing…

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up... There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather...

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up… There is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather…

Summer almost said goodbye… Much awaited monsoon finally giving us occasional appearances… The temperature has come down… there is always a wind or breeze around… What more I can ask for in a place like Delhi/NCR…

The weather was perfect again today…. Drizzles in the morning while jogging… Some harmless clouds were around all day… The day stayed windy and cool….

The weather was refreshing enough, it has set a mood to take a good book in hand, finish few chapters…. to enjoy a hot cup of tea over a cricket match… to write down pages and pages of ideas bursting out…. 

Delightful…. that’s how i describe the day today…

I have hundreds of things to worry about on an average day… But the rain has brought that inner peace which made me forget all those for a day and do what i need to do; never to move away from positivity…

Still positive, still strong…. still hopeful…. to live another day!!!

Top 10 favourite books I have read…

The ‘favourite book list’ is doing its rounds in facebook i got tagged as well… So, i was trying to remember my recent reads… Being a bookworm, it was hard to short-list the ‘favourites’ from a long list of books… Because i had fallen in love with most of the books and authors, especially the classic ones…

After long, careful considerations, i came up with the following list:

1. To kill a mockingbird – Harper Lee
2. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
3. The great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. Extremely loud and incredibly close – Jonathan Safran Foer
5. Roots – Alex Haley
6. The catcher in the rye – J. D. Salinger
7. The perks of being a wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
8. This side of the paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald
9. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
10. We need new names – NoViolet Bulawayo

It’s a shame i couldn’t find a slot for any of Mitch Albom’s or Nicholas Sparks or  Roald Dahl’s books or even Paulo Coelho’s books… Too many favourites!!!