Friday, January 07, 2011

Slowing down the Network

It was New year. Left, right and center everyone was making resolutions. Work towards a better career, lose weight, see the world, learn to do shirsana....there were all kinds.
Me ? I hadn't decided anything.. Too much work, will not happen, I wish, too difficult...naah, there was nothing I resolved to do. It is not that I did not need resolutions to make a better me.Only it would be a huge overhaul and would need an entire  stripping to my basic core and then loads of makeover. Phew...did I not say too much work...naah.

Then I thought hard as what was my primary role and how I could be better in it.Motherhood, my mind piped in.

I am not a bad Mother. But again, I am not exemplary in my role.I am just ok. I have several faults. I get irritated if BS doesn't grasp her Math problem quickly, I get physically tired when I reach home and that often dampens my enthusiasm to play with the girls and I check blog comments on my phone when I actually should be finger-painting with the littlest one.

Yes, the last one clearly proves I am a blog addict.
So to be a better Mother,
I need to become calmer -- count from 1 to 100 when irritation strikes,
fitter -- get exercise to build energy
and get over my blog addiction -- How?.

Blogging gives me a high like few other thing does and is the only thing I do in my free time(which btw is after 10pm on weekdays and some days at lunch in work). I get immense happiness putting together a post, photo-shopping and writing.I get to be creative by my own rules and often think my life would have a big void if I did not blog. I also love just fleeting from one blog to another and nosing around in total stranger's lives. Sounds like a crack addict?Well almost.

But really is all of it worth it, I think. The few real life people who know I blog have expressed their own doubts to shake my belief in my blogging philosophy. "What have you achieved in 4 years of blogging?", they ask. Errrr....ummmm...well nothing."Why do you waste so much time?", they would love to ask. Again, err...ummm...not sure.They seem baffled by my urge to put cholar dal on the internet and shake their head in disbelief.

When I started my reasons were more or less as summed in this. As I continued, I discovered a love of writing and photography and that fueled me.But if I am totally honest, I think that I also like the instant gratification that I get out of blogging. The comments rarely critical lull me into a false sense of belief. The increasing number of subscribers or page hits makes me complacent.But really, do they even mean anything ?

I think I need a break to put my thoughts in order, to justify going on doing something just because it makes me happy with no benefit to people in my real life. I need to slow down on the internet and I could have done it without this long post, but being out there in the open it can hold me accountable if I falter.

I will come back once I have it all figured out and broken free of addictions.

After all resolutions are to be broken.

Meanwhile I would still love to write so if any of you can help me with any writing opportunity, I will be more than happy.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Eggless Date Cake -- goodness does not spell butter

Eggless Date Cake

I had resolved to be un-floured and unen-doughed for the first few days of my New year. But that did not happen. So I decided to push my New year to next week, Jan 9th to be precise. Till then I am living in the old decade.

This Date Cake is my friend's recipe. She is a very good cook and has been making this cake for a while now. I myself have had it several times baked by her and each time have been floored by it's taste. However, I never asked for the recipe.

You would think a foodie will instantly ask for a recipe when she eyes one. Not me.

I thought Date + Cake ? Too difficult. Plus she has those shiny Kitchen Aid Stand Mixers. Anything can be done with those. I don't have a shiny Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. Don't even plan to buy one. So I cannot bake Date Cake.

Then she baked it for one of our parties during the holidays. Everyone "oohed" and "aahed" and then asked for the recipe. Not me, mind you.

But then it was a small place, not a haveli(huge palace) or something and you could clearly overhear even if you did not wish to.Of course I could have excused myself and gone to the loo but that would be too much. So I overheard and it was so simple that I could not believe it. I thought she might have skipped one whole chapter what with the wine and all that noise. Just to be sure, I asked her the recipe again, over the phone on the evening of 1st Jan.

And guess what ? It was really T..H..A..T simple. Hallelujah, one more reason not to buy a shiny red Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

The cake called for no eggs, no butter and I did not have to even take out my hand mixer. What relief !
And it tasted best of all the eggless versions I have tried so far. In fact it tasted much better than my pound cake did.Moist, fluffy, studded with nuts, just right sweet, what more could you ask for in a cake ?

But then what makes it rise and become so soft and fluffy ? There has to be science and this did not fit the bill of my earlier explanations. Except for the baking soda, there was nothing to make air, air and more air.

It seems the baking soda does the trick. Baking soda is a “base.” It needs an “acid” ingredient in order to start the chemical reaction that makes it work, such as buttermilk, cocoa powder, chocolate, honey, lemon or orange juice, etc. I guess the dates have some acidic ingredient which reacts with the baking soda to create carbon dioxide and thus bubbles in the batter. With this theory I am thinking you could substitute dates with some other dried fruits and make an yummy cake too. If you notice this is the reason the raspberry cup cakes turned out very well too. Vinegar worked with baking soda in that recipe.Do not try to replace baking soda with baking powder as baking powder already has the acidic ingredient, so further reaction with an acid in the batter might ruin the cake like this.

So go and bake this eggless butterless date cake. It really is the best and I usually do not impose on unless it is the family or it is something that will change your life...

If you have started your newest year have a good one.


Eggless Date Cake

Pitted Dates ~ 18. She said I could use more, so I used 25.
Milk ~ 1 Cup

Soak dates in milk overnight. I did not have so much time so I soaked the dates in warm milk for 3 hours and then nuked it for a minute.

Preheat oven to 350F

In a blender add
dates + milk
3/4 cup Sugar
Since I had more dates, I reduced the sugar a wee bit.
Make a smooth mix.

1 Cup of AP Flour
1 tsp of baking Soda
*AP = All Purpose. Can be substituted with Maida

Measure out
1/2 cup of Oil

In a wide mouthed bowl add the
date+milk+sugar mix from the blender
1/2 Cup of oil
Add the flour mix gradually, mixing as you go.
Add 1 tbsp of chopped cashews or walnuts.

Mix gently to make a smooth batter. My friend suggested the hand mixer but I just mixed with a spatula.

Now grease a bundt pan. Pour the batter in this pan and bake till a toothpick comes out clean. Mine was done in 32-35 minutes, but I had a silicone pan. You can also use a regular 8" cake pan instead of a bundt pan. Baking time may vary.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as my friend does.

Similar Recipes:

Eggless Date Cake from Aayis Recipes

Vegan Date Cake from Madhuram