Thursday, June 30, 2011

Coconut cake

While I was a easygoing, fun loving, bubbly child, I had one big flaw, I had (and still have ) an evil temper. I was far likely to fly off the handle at the drop of a hat. I was never the person who took things philosophically and accept them, not without a fight at least.
There was this one rainy evening, I was , as always , out playing with a bunch of kids from  my building. We were playing in  wet, muddy, sludgy, squelchy dirt- a game that consisted of hurling a stick with force to see if it went beyond a certain mark. A nonsensical game that amused us and horrified our parents, all that wallowing in dirt like a bunch of piglets (squealing in delight, I must add).
My mark was off that day, I was hurling like a girl....... wait I am a girl! What I mean is, I was a typical tom-boy, fancied myself a boy, strutted like one as well and prided that I was as tall and as strong as one. 
Anyway,  as I said, my mark was off that day and I lost, every single time I hurled the darn stick, it seemed to have a mind of it's own and a pathetic sense of direction. Oh I was mad as a wet hen that day and had the evil glint in my eye. 
Watching this dirty game was Wadi ( that was his name, or at least what everyone  called him) . Harmless Wadi, who never hurt a fly in his life. He would smile benignly on everyone and had a vacant, happy look on his face all the time. 
He was a child with special needs. We always let him tag along with us. Never treated him differently, never teased him , but also made sure outsiders never ridiculed him, we were a bit protective of him and let him play with us as best as he could. He was a 'kuccha- limbu' in all our games. 
Now on that particular day, he was standing watching our game and chomping on some nuts. I lost and was fuming. Wadi laughed at me. I lost what was the last shred of my temper, hurled the stick at poor Wadi and walked away. Poor Wadi ! He never quite knew what hit him, but someone else did. My father happened to see all that happened and waited for me to come home. 
I never quite knew what hit me, then! 

I learned an important lesson that day. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Accept that. If you do not accept defeat, and throw a tantrum and get caught, a higher authority swiftly doles out punishment. A sore backside and  apologizing  to an idiot  are the two basic elements of a retribution. 
More than a tender backside hurt. 

I sulked at the whole episode. My Father, fair minded as he was, could not bear my sulky face for long. So one day, he came home with a lumpy parcel and gave it to me. Wicked that I was, I was all prepared to  ignore this friendly overture, but a heavenly smell wafted to my nose. It was sweet and the lumpy parcel was soft and my mouth was watering. The combination was too tempting to act sulky. I smiled benignly and ripped open the parcel to find thick slabs of cake, soft, sweet and rich! mmm - mmm- mmm! It was one amazing cake! 

A few weeks ago, I picked up a book at the local library and looked at all the recipes and the pictures. Drooled over all of them. But this cake recipe brought back memories that were locked up in one corner of my mind, collecting dust. 

I am not confident when baking. I envy the Daring BakersEvery now and then, however, I venture into this realm and experiment. This was one successful experiment!
The last time I made a cake ,was a success and spurred by that I decided to experiment some more. I am glad I did! 
This cake is rich, soft, light, very moist and melt-in-the-mouth! And very easy to make. Anyone can bake it!  It won two thumbs up from all my friends :)

Source:  Here

1 1/2 Cup All purpose flour

2 1/4  tsp Baking powder

1/4 tsp Salt

2 sticks butter softened ( I used 1 scant cup oil)

1 generous cup  superfine sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten with

1 tsp Vanilla extract

8 oz/ 1 c grated coconut (fresh/ frozen)  - do not use dry shredded coconut

Allow the frozen coconut to come to room temp.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease pan, set aside

Sift the flour with baking powder and salt and set aside

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and light in color

Lightly beat eggs with vanilla extract and then add to the mixture, little at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gently fold in the flour in 3 batches , then fold in the coconut and mix it just enough to  distribute  the coconut through out the cake

Bake in the oven for 35-40 mins. or until the cake is light and  golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Cool on a wire rack.

Serve with a confident smile! 
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Corn pilaf

When I last blogged, I had no idea I was about to go on a break, a forced one, I must mention. Our old faithful ( laptop) valiantly survived many an attack at little S's little fingers. 
It withstood the plucking of it's keys, sticky fingers smudging it's face, sometimes even bearing  the weight of a toddler and most often, I  guiltily add, bearing the weight of the pictures I would keep adding. 
M kept reminding me, often, to take a back up, I'd nod  and go my way picking up this, cleaning that, chasing S, yelling at M to stop lecturing and get on with 'actually doing' something. 
I'd remember the back up late, late night and postpone it, I couldn't drag myself out of bed, I was too tired.
And then it happened, the old faithful gave up with a moan. I looked on helplessly  and quietly bundled it off into another room away from prying tiny fingers. It lay there, forgotten ... almost. Every few days I'd sadly glance at it, tsk, tsk,  hear a murmured " I told you.." from M and get on with life. I mourned the loss of my precious pictures, I had SO many waiting  to be blogged, blamed myself, to think I could 'atleast' have put the pictures on a post and saved it in the drafts! 

Then a couple of days ago, for no apparent reason, I picked up TOF (the old faithful) and trembling slightly plugged it in and powered it on, groan by groan the wretched thing started and thankfully I rescued a few pictures before it collapsed yet again.

Glad I had at least something, I spat on my hands ( well, not really... c'mon!) and got down to blogging! 

I had this recipe scribbled on a sheet of paper with no more than just that. Looks like it is an old  recipe that I had scribbled and forgotten  all about. 
Simple and delicious  describes this rice dish well and is an excellent idea for a lunch box or a potluck.

1 Cup Basmati Rice
1 Tbs Ghee
1/4 tsp. Black pepper
1 inch Cinnamon stick
1/2 cup Spring Onions chopped
1/2 cup Green Bell Pepper chopped
1 cup corn kernels ( I used frozen)
2 Cups Water
Salt to taste

Wash the rice thoroughly in 3-4 changes of water and soak in fresh water for 30 mins. Drain

Heat Ghee, add black pepper and cinnamon stick

Add  chopped spring onion (i used the greens as well) pepper and corn for half a minute

 At this stage I transfer the vegetable mix to my rice cooker and add rest of the ingredients and let it cook away.

For stove top method :

Add soaked rice, water and salt to taste, bring to a boil

Cover and cook  till water evaporates  and rice is cooked

Serve hot with pickle and papad. Enjoy.
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