almond, baking, butter-free, cake, cane sugar, chocolate, eggless, healthy baking, wholewheat

Uncharted adventures, not milestones..and a Wholewheat Eggless, Butter-free Chocolate Almond Cake

This is not a regular Mother’s Day post – I am using this post to simply share my thoughts again – thoughts that I shared when my son ( and I !) turned 6 months old.
More than anything else – what is exactly the same as I re-read this piece from May 2013, is that my little boy is still an adventurer and his mother is still discovering the little joys of uncharted adventures, not milestones !
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From May 2013
“We both turned 6 months old recently, my son…and it surely has been an adventure – from that night of 18th November when you decided to give us indications of your arrival up until now at 11.30 PM when I am sitting and writing this, as you suddenly discover that you want to play with the rattle into the midnight!  Right from that moment I should have known that my baby was an adventurer at heart !

As a mother, let me share with you that it has been a very crazy yet happy half-year: filled with many worried nights, many days of undiluted joy, lots of second guessing myself as a mother and frustrations, of trying to weigh mother’s instinct against experience and expertise, of trying to wonder how does one need to behave when one becomes a mother..but most definitely a half-year with not a single dull moment in it.

But you know what – Thank you for being patient and waiting for me to grow into my role as your Mom…sometimes

I look at you and it seems to me that you understand what I say, you understand when I say I have two other babies –Gunna Masi and Elsu, and smile back. You understand when I say I won’t pamper you silly, but that doesn’t make me love you any less.

Most importantly you understand that seeing how you do on well-defined milestones is not for your mother, for they seem like a checklist to tick on….it is the uncharted adventures that are for me…

Like our first flight together alone means more than when you first rolled over, or our first road trip, our first visit to the children’s home, how you and Elsa started growing comfortable with each other’s presence or even our daily debates about why sleeping in the night takes precedence over playing away!

So here’s not to more milestones…but to more ADVENTURES, my son ! The adventurous journey that started when I became a mother..”

 

Sharing a recipe that marks the first break that I am taking from baking on order, as the Chief Baker of Ovenderful, ever since it started in November 2013.

Wholewheat Butter-free Egg-Free Chocolate Almond Cake 

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Ingredients

1 cup wholewheat flour

3/4 cup cane sugar

½ cup curd

½ cup milk

½ cup boiling water

¼ cup any flavourless oil that is safe for baking

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( use great quality cocoa powder, it makes a world of difference)

¾ teaspoon baking powder

4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate chunks

1/2 cup chopped almonds and some additional for topping the cake with

Method

Grease and dust an 7/8 inch round cake tin. I used a springform one, but it is not necessary to use only that one. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Sift together the wholewheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder .

Beat the curd, cane sugar, oil and milk. Add vanilla extract and mix well.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ones and mix well.

Slowly add boiling water and mix well ( just use a whisk, no need to beat it) to get a smooth batter. Add the chopped almonds and dark chocolate chunks, fold them into the batter gently. Pour in the baking tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Let it cool off entirely before you remove it from the tin.

apple, barley flour, coconut sugar, eggless, healthy baking, oats, pie

4/11 City- Cologne/Koln, 4/11 Healthy Bake: German Apple Pie in a Barley-Oats Crust

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Cologne / Koln, November 2008: the only thing I knew about it was that this was the first European city I was going to visit, it sounded exotic and I was going to be attending a conference by Chemicals organizations there. That was it.

Strange as it may sound, my excitement was centered around meeting my colleagues from the US, South America and Europe.  Not around the city. It is not that I was under-estimating the loveliness of the city. It was just that at that time in my life, I thought work should be an all-consuming part of one’s life.

I am one of those people whose senses are more heightened after a sleepless night!

And so driving into Cologne immediately after landing at Frankfurt, was probably what made me absorb the gorgeous beauty of the city – there were streets that were actually cobbled and people strolling in a leisurely manner with little dogs on the side-walks in the middle of a busy week-day !  At the heart of the city towering above all else was the Cologne Cathedral – not only is it a resplendent architectural wonder, since it stands next to the river the entire picture is a sight to watch, almost like a painting.

I walked through the city since that is what the hotel staff suggested and I would recommend that to everyone – it is the only way to absorb the sights and sounds. But seeing the quaint ( and quite modern too!) trams go past, was enough to tempt me to climb into one of them for a short ride. It seems to be a common form of transport through the city and it took me back to the time I used to take tram rides in Calcutta.

In a short 2 day work visit, this was all I could manage, but the city’s charm is irresistible-it lies somewhere between being a small city to a large town, steeped in German tradition and yet somewhat welcoming towards those like me who wandered through it before moving onto other places.

So for a city as multi-layered as Cologne, the German Apple Pie, a comforting bake with complex flavours is what comes to mind 🙂

I tried it on one of my walks and this is my healthier version of it in a buttery Barley-Oats crust with a delicious apple-cinnamon filling, topped with caramel sauce and baked. It is entirely free of refined white flour/all purpose flour and the sauce uses coconut sugar.

Ingredients –

  • 3 large apples, peeled, sliced and stewed with 2 tsp of freshly grated cinnamon, in 1 1/2 cups of water.
  • For the crust – 1 cup barley flour, 1/2 cup powdered oats, 1/2 cup wholewheat flour, 100 grams butter. Rub the cold butter into the flour mix, cling wrap it and keep it in the fridge for at least 5 hours. Blind bake the crust at 180 degrees C just before making the pie, for 20-25 minutes.
  •  For the caramel sauce – 1 tbsp barley flour, 3 tbsp coconut sugar and 20 gms butter. Plus the liquid from the stewed apples.  Melt the butter, add the sugar and stir it well till it caramelizes. Add the flour while stirring well so that it doesnt become lumpy. Finally add the liquid that is drained out from the stewed apples.

Method –

If the above three elements are ready, the method is just about assembling them and baking. So layer the baked crust with sliced stewed apples.

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To use

Pour the sauce uniformly and then place the pie into the oven to bake for 30 minutes, at 180 degrees C.

Serve warm as is or with ice cream !

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baking, eggless, flourless, gluten-free, healthy baking, savoury, vegan, vegan baking

Leftovers and Baked Sprouted Moong Dal in Coconut Milk ( Oil & Butter free)

Zero-fat Sprouted Moong Dal in Coconut Milk (2)

Leftovers – As mothers we know all about leftovers, whether it is food or memories. For both these, we have an inherent quality – of how to innovate and create magic by meshing things that might be so different that putting them together seems impossible 🙂 Not only that, they also know how to cherish it, how not to not waste – whether it is food or memories.

Different elements of leftover food come together in our kitchens regularly just as we weave a pattern from diverse memories to create something to hold dear in our twilight years. So hold onto those leftovers – whether it is food or memories, conserve and recreate them. Because both form the foundation of what we call “living” .

Why am I talking about leftovers today ? Because what I baked is not even a proper well-defined dish, but just a one-pot healthy bake that came about because I had some portions leftover from other things that I had made.

 

Baked Sprouted Moong Dal in Coconut Milk ( Oil / Butter free ) 

Recipe –

1 cup sprouted green moong dal

1 1/2 cups coconut milk, homemade

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 tomato, 1/4 onion, 2 garlic cloves, small piece of ginger – chop and grind well into a paste.

1 small piece of cinnamon

Salt as per your preference

2 tbsp Malvani masala , homemade

1 tbsp Grated coconut ( optional)

Method –

Put the coconut milk, sprouted green moong/gram dal and warm water into an oven-safe dish. Bake them in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, at 170-180 degrees Celsius. Take it out. Add the paste made with tomato, onion, garlic and ginger to it and mix well. Add the cinnamon, malvani masala and salt, and the grated coconut.

Put it back into the oven. Bake for another 40 minutes at the same temperature.

Take it out and serve hot.

 

butter-free, dairy-free, eggless, healthy baking, rice flour, savoury, vegan, wholewheat

Shifting Lives and Zero-Fat Vegan Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

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How would you sum up 11 months of stay in a place – moved in, settled in, moved out ? That’s pretty much the way I would have thought probably a decade ago. But today it seems like even in those short 11 months, one can fit in so much into one’s life in a place.

It starts with being unfamiliar and you yearn for your earlier comfort zone.

It goes into a resigned kind of acceptance of what you have currently and even if its different, you can live with it.

It changes to looking at the goodness that is present in parts of it, and which you probably overlooked before.

It moves to liking the place, forming a few relationships and getting involved with the community.

It escalates into enjoying your stay there, waiting to see the neighbourhood dog who wags her tail, the same children cycling around each day, the same help who cleans the apartment, the same person in the flat above who you havent had a chance to know by name yet but who smiles at you each time.

And then you pack and move on.

Such is life. That fragile. That ever-changing. That is how it shifts, it moves and changes shape each day for us. We wait for it to “settle” into a routine. But of course, it has its own plans.

So here is a quick, simple and versatile recipe which is simple to life in all those qualities-

Zero-Fat Vegan Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives

1 cup wholewheat

1 tbsp of rice flour

1 cup boiled and pureed spinach ( I added ½ a green chilly, 2-3 cloves of garlic and a little chopped coriander to it while pureeing)

3-4 tbsp chopped chives

2-3 tbsp black sesame

1 tbsp white pepper

Salt as per requirement ( I used rock salt)

Add some warm water to make the dough pliable.

 

Mix all the above dry ingredients well. Then add the spinach puree and the warm water ( if needed). Cling wrap it and store it in the fridge for about an hour.

Take it out, roll it into a rectangle, use a sharp knife to cut long strips/sticks. Place them onto a baking tray which is lightly greased. Sprinkle some chives and black sesame. Bake in a pre-heated oven ( preheat for 10 minutes) at 175 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes. You need to turn the sticks around mid way. Allow it to cool entirely for it to become crisp.

Zero-Fat Baked Spinach Wholewheat Sticks with Black Sesame and Chives