Summer of 2015

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Messy me, posing with a book just cos I got the aspect ratio right finally on my cam.

This summer seems to be whizzing past. Last summer, I struggled everyday. But this one, despite the heat, is going so far, so good. Of course, it has its moments of ups and downs, but which season doesn't. 

There have been moments when I thought I was actually seasoning my favourite beef curry with sweat which started dripping down my chin the moment I entered the kitchen. Moments of self doubt as to where I was heading, even moments where I wondered whether I should continue my vegetarian streak (that didn't hold for too long though) 

But, there have also been those wonderful moments when I got to work in a test kitchen for a desi sweet company, moments where I got to bake wonderful cakes for some lovely folks, moments where I got over my mistrust of mangoes and started incorporating them more in my desserts. You'll probably have a lot more of those coming in the next week before the rains actually start. Moments where I unpacked my dad's tripod and finally figured out how to use it. Moments when I went through my camera manual and figured out more than the standard settings, changing tone to what I wanted and that horrible elongated aspect ratio fixed. Moments of success and celebration. None of them really monetary but even then terribly rewarding.

This summer has taught me patience. That with time and effort you can actually fix your own stuff. While I was bludgeoning through life with all the finesse of a cave woman, I'd never put in the effort to make time to clear my thoughts, or get a smooth finish on a cake. This summer has given me that. I may still be floundering a bit but here's to more hope and more good days.

I actually baked pretty look cakes this summer. Some of which I'm extremely proud of. If you've been following this page, you know how I don't try and make things look super neat and clean. But this time, I actually made the effort and surprisingly it did turn out looking nice. I was actually really surprised when the white chocolate ganache spread so evenly on my Victoria Sponge with Boozy Plum Jam Cake

Victoria Sponge with Boozy Plum Jam & White Chocolate Ganache
I have to thank Ayesha for giving me free hand with her parents' cakes. Her only condition was one should be fluffy chocolatey and the other fruity with a little bit of booze. I tried and did both for both those cakes and since it was a special occasion tried to make it look a little pretty. I'm sure I could have done better, perhaps more flowers and other stuff on top, but somehow that ganache spread so clean on top I really didn't want to touch it. I could do with better frosting on the sides, so more practice there. A turntable might help, also better room temperature than one set at melt!

Chocolate Cake, Red Wine soak, Red Wine Chocolate Ganache
I tested this cake out four times before I made the final one. For those people who think I don't put in too much effort to anything, this probably comes as a little surprise. For those who think I am this little dummy who can't really get anything right. this again probably comes as a surprise. haha! I did! I made it four times. The first one I couldn't believe it was good. So I had to try it again with the egg whites whipped more, then again with the egg whites whipped less, and then once more till I felt the texture was the way I wanted it to be. I had two solid cakes sitting in my fridge, which I'd munch on once in a while, when I felt peckish. And everytime I took a bite, I'd go wow! this tastes soo good for a chocolate cake in summer. I'm not normally a fan of chocolate in summer. But this is light, airy, without being too heavy and feels just right. Which was when I felt more confident about giving it a soak and sending it off. Ayesha's parents loved it. And I'm glad they did. I'd have been terribly disappointed otherwise. 

Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Ganache

And then there was this cake which started all my cake-scapades. My neighbour is having another baby and was headed home to Pune where her 2 year old daughter was waiting for her. She asked for a birthday cake on short notice. All she wanted was chocolate and nothing too hard for a 2 year old to chew. So basically a soft chocolate cake with a whipped chocolate ganache it was.

Mango Matcha Cake with a Coconut Frosting
This one I made for myself. Just to prove to myself, I could again do something different. That I needn't follow someone else's recipe. That sometimes I could make my own and be happy with it.
I would cut a slice every other time I opened the fridge, chop some more mangoes on top and savour it bit by bit, every forkful. With a slight aftertaste of matcha, more focus on the coconut frosting and freshness of sweet ripe mangoes, this one's a winner. But, as my brother says, we're biased. Anything with coconut really works for us.

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