Saturday, June 21, 2014

Miss. McBakey Bakerson

It has been a long and hot and slow summer and I have obviously been neglecting my blog. With no summer vacation looming remotely close to my dusty horizon, the past few months had been rather uneventful- that is until I got myself an oven! My spanking new Morphy Richards 18 litre oven is my new best friend and I have turned into a baking machine of sorts.

Ever since I can remember, I have always been enormously fascinated by baking. I baked my first cake when I was eleven years old and was amazed by what a simple combination of flour, sugar, butter, eggs and a dash of food colouring could create. My mother has been an enthusiastic baker herself and we have always baked our Christmas cakes from scratch. I guess it was this warm smell of baking in our kitchen which nudged me towards the oven to start baking myself. As a child I began experimenting with simple Marble Cakes, Sponge Cakes and I as I gained more experience, I ambitiously moved onto Black Forest Cakes, Brownies, Bread Puddings, Jalebi Puddings (a unique family recipe) and Cookies. Having said that, I am in no way an expert baker, at least not yet. With each cake I bake I learn something new- I realize I could have added a little more, or a little less or something, or maybe I could have turned down the heat of the oven, or maybe increased it. Each recipe teaches me something new and that's one of the many things I love about baking. 

Apart from writing, the other thing which gives me immense joy is baking. I am a terrible cook and even if I follow a recipe step by step, measuring out ingredients in exact amounts, I inevitably make a mess of what I’m cooking- but not when I bake. Baking speaks to me and I find it almost therapeutic to line a baking tin with butter paper, mix batter and watch a cake rise in the oven  The other day a colleague asked me what would I have been doing if I weren't a writer, it didn't take me long to say, I’d have been a baker. People who know me know I hate sharing my food, but when I bake I want to share it with everyone I can, only tasting a slice to see if I've got it right.


Before I forget I should mention that most of my baking (except the chocolate cake) is thanks to a book called The Big Book of Treats by Pooja Dhingra, the founder and owner of Le 15Patisserie, a French style patisserie in Bombay. These recipes are hers and her book is turning into a baking Bible of sorts for me. But moving on, I wish to experiment with new ingredients, try out unique combinations and come up with my own recipes. Ever since I've tasted them, I have always wanted to bake a perfect Red Velvet Cake and Macarons and I know I'm getting there. Till then, here are glimpses of what’s been baking in my kitchen so far.  
When life hands you lemons, bake a Lemon Cake. Just perfect for a hot summer day. 

Warm Banana Walnut Loaf. Goes perfectly with a late afternoon cup of tea. 

My version of a busy day chocolate cake. It's quick and can be made in a jiffy even on a weekday evening.

This is what sin looks like. Chocolate Walnut Brownies, rich with butter and two kinds of chocolate. 

Chocolate Walnut Brownies in the making. Baking with chocolate is always such a joy.