I can’t cook. Never wanted to. Never needed to (touchwood). And never let it bother me either.
But life has this sneaky little way of sneaking up on you – and hey! suddenly you’re going through cookbooks, checking websites and asking (the sweetest friends ever), to bail you out.
So this is what happened. Ishaan started getting frequent – and severe – stomach aches, which we have finally put down (after a million painful tests), to good old acidity. Turns out he’s not eating enough at snack time (10ish): the long break between breakfast (6.30am) and lunch (12pm), is what’s doing him in.
So I need to ramp up his break box quickly. The only thing is – what to put in it?
I’ve tried all the dry fruit-fresh fruit-popcorn-sandwich combos and he’s bored. And oh yes, he also hates pizza/pasta/mini idli’s/dosa’s – almost everything that’s easy and convenient to rustle up (or just buy).
Then it hits me. What if I could make (gasp!) some ‘healdhy’ muffins or cupcakes or fruity-bread? That should shake things up a bit. Good idea, the bananas rotting on the sideboard whisper, even as the apples hidden away in the fruit basket (and turning an interesting shade of black) nod their round heads and agree.
I wish I could say I got-off-my-ass and got-to-work. But I didn’t, and life went on (Ishaan is getting along nicely on Nutella sandwiches, by the way.)
Then Rohaan began to have cravings for cake. He’s diabetic and has to watch what he eats, and finding good sugar-free cakes and stuff is difficult.
Laila began to watch MasterChef with us – really looks forward to it – and I began to think: hey, wouldn’t it be fun to cook something with my little girl (and boy, of course). And maybe…impress her whilst doing it? (pathetic, but true).
And lastly, I began to think, that maybe I need to start using my hands more, you know, putting them to work to create something other than my beloved, beautiful words (and in the process, add another dimension to my writing as well…hopefully.)
Now you have to understand, that I can’t cook. At all. Like, really.
Until now. So, here I am (I can make tea btw, but not much else), lost and confused in the Land of Sugar and Spice and Food that Had-Better-Taste-Nice.
Thankfully, Suchi, my bestest friend, comes to the rescue. I make a rather despairing call asking for recipes, and as is her wont, she kindly invites me over for a demo, and a lovely cup of Cha.
She rustles up a whole tray of whole-wheat, super-hearty, super-good carrot muffins and even has batter left over for two small cake tins (one of which I take home to the grateful husband). And it takes us all of 20 minutes to do all of this! She’s a pro of course; but it’s actually not too difficult and I am raring to try it myself. It was fun!
And just like that, I begin.
p.s. Here’s the Carrot cake recipe 🙂 Ishaan took some to school and loved it. Rohaan single-handedly (or should I say single-mouthedly) ate the rest.
Suchi’s Carrot cake (feeds 4 hungry mouths)
1 cup* whole wheat
1/2 cup oil
1 cup of jaggery (powdered, from Nilgiris)
1 cup grated carrots
1 tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
1 tsp baking soda (or powder)
1 handful each of walnuts and raisins
* I used an average-sized coffee cup to measure everything out; as long as you keep using the same measure, everything turns out ok. But then again, what do I know?
Sieve the whole wheat, cinnamon powder and baking soda together on a newspaper – 2 to 3 times. Keep aside.
Beat eggs till frothy (I bought a Morphy Richards electric hand mixer for 2000 bucks; at the moment, it’s my favourite toy). Add oil and slowly add the jaggery. Keep mixing. Add in the whole-wheat mix, a little at a time; then add the carrots.
Throw your nuts and raisins in and mix everything together to form a lovely, pasty mix. Don’t forget to lick all the leftover yumminess clean. Better still, have the kids do it.
Preheat oven at 175 c for 10 minutes.
Grease the tray with oil, pour the mix in, and put it into the oven for 25-30 minutes (I bought two small non-stick tins and this recipe made enough batter for both). For novices like me, please remember that you can’t fill the tray to the brim, as there will be no place then for the cake to rise. Comprehendo? Good. Let’s continue.
When the cake begins to brown, and your house is filled with the best smell in the world, do the toothpick check to see if it’s done: stick a toothpick in a few times, and if it comes out clean every time, the cake’s done. Switch off the oven, but let the cake ‘sit’ inside for about 10 minutes.
All that’s left to do now, is to eat it 🙂