Friday, March 19, 2010

U Make Me Wanna Bake..

Life seems to have come full circle. All through my childhood, I remember cakes having been baked at home in one of these round steel contraptions with a heating chord and a thermostat that we called "oven". That was way before the OTG (Oven - Toaster - Griller) and later the microwave (which may be many things, but an oven it sure is not) came along. I have heard a zillion times how for my first birthday a guitar shaped cake was created in just an oven such as this.

About 20 years later, my parents in a moment of misguided zeal to upgrade, did away with the oven and purchased their first OTG. The OTG disappeared too and along came the microwave.
A microwave, not an "oven" was one of my wedding gifts.

That was until cakes started to explode and souffles started to fly. It was then that I hunted every possible electrical shop for the long forgotten oven. Found this -

And it baked this -

It's a day of sweet nostalgia and baking triumphs!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Jumping Soufflé

I intended to write about the meat loaf first with all the pros like its 'baked-ness' and the cons like its too "ketchup-edness". Next I had intended to write about the "maal puas" in their holi-ness, but the jumping soufflé has muscled in ahead and I can't let this story go!

I was hunting around for a just dessert for Sushi - that is, for his welcome back home dinner and I thought "cappuccino soufflé" for two sounded the right romantic note. Consequently I went out and bought 2 little glass cups, much like Cinderella's glass slippers. This particular metaphor doesn't make sense now, but trust me, when inside a microwave, it sure will, and after all they are both glass!

So one fine Saturday not too long ago, I decided to have a dress rehearsal for the dessert that was supposed to make Sushi feel appropriately welcomed. First, the cinnamon was ground, then instant coffee found its way in it as did some vanilla essence. Some water was put in to dissolve the mixture, but cinnamon powder stubbornly refuses to let go of its grains so u get a bit of cinnamon crunchiness in your teeth when really, you were expecting a somewhat smooth texture.

That though, was the least of the soufflé’s problems. There came the egg whites. In an ideal world, you add egg whites and sugar and baking powder and whisk until the eggs go from "soft peaks" to "stiff peaks" stage....wha??!!! No! That’s no double entendre, that's standard cooking terminology!

Anyway, I don't know whether it was my blender or me or the eggs weren't enthusiastic enough - they simply got frothy, a bit like foamy butter milk, but no peaks whatsover.

It was however too late to be nit picking at this stage, so I simply added in the previously prepared coffee-cinamon-vanilla flavouring, mixed and poured into the cups not more than half full. Then I confidently placed the mixture into the microwave, set it to high power for 5 minutes and walked off. (Confidence, after all, can win many lost battles!)

Imagine my surprise, when not 2 minutes later, I chance to look inside the microwave and see that the soufflé has risen well over the baking cups. Not just content with that, dear God, I still find it hard to say it, it was such a shock! Well, pieces of semi-baked soufflé were seen flying around inside the microwave. It was almost like I had injected some helium into the eggs!

Me and mom between us, tried to coax the pieces back in and bake some more, but it was quite a task that! No sooner had we scooped up the pieces, put them back in and switched on the microwave, than they would start their aerial activities all over again. What you see in the picture is the domesticated version of my flying soufflé. It's content to sit quiet and be contained merely because the power had been switched off.

The nice thing about moms in general is that they tend to blame mishaps such as these on kitchen appliances, not on you per se. I'm now the proud owner of a conventional mini oven, gifted by mommie, prowess of which I'm about to try tomorrow and shall duly report on these pages. Also, I'm hunting around for ideas for dessert that would look pretty and dainty in the new glass cups.