I often wonder what is the inspiration behind writing. What is it that enthuses authors, writers and more so, bloggers, to continue to write and maintain simply, just good writing. The reason why I am questioning this even more today, is because of my almost month long hiatus from the blogging world and my temptation in the last few days, to drop everything and cook. I don’t have an excuse. I simply haven’t got around to doing it. Post navratras, it was the onset of the wedding season, and since then, the festivities have taken over our social life. Yes, ‘Our’ Social Life, which includes social obligations of not one, but two families (FYI- I don’t like the phrase social obligations- simply because it makes meeting family/friends appear almost torturous. nevertheless, it seems appropriate here). From the first Karva Chauth, to pre-diwali cards, the visiting family-exchanging gifts, the lunches and dinners and finally Diwali today, I guess, this first year of being married has definitively exploded into a social frenzy- but I am not complaining. Like always, I love this time of the year, including the brilliant weather. And like all good Punjabis- I love and thoroughly enjoy the wedding season and the festivities. In fact, with the nip in the air, I am reminded of the many things I love about India, and one of the many reasons why I am glad I am home. J
To be honest- It is not like I haven’t been cooking- I just haven’t bothered to document it. And mostly, it was so rushed, and unplanned, that I just couldn’t. Maybe, some day, I will reach that juncture where I would think that my blog could do without photographs and I could post even if I hadn’t documented it. Or maybe not. (Because how else will Ak be the most integral part of this blog, the way he is currently!). This year, which has brought with itself a lot of material exchanges, some wonderful people around me have given me delightful cooking accessories, including my mom, who very thoughtfully has given me the perfect cake platter which will be up for appearance shortly. We had been hunting for one for months, and this one is just perfect.
Apart from the photography, Today’s post has Ak helping me right through the cooking process. I assume, it was his last post that inspired him. Or maybe he just realised that things have been chaotic and hectic all around and hence, decided to make my life easier. In fact, like he said, today’s is a twin post; where he also decided to make something. He did apple martinis to accompany my apple pie.
Coming back to my blogging hiatus, this platter has been inspiring me to bake a pretty cake, something that will conform to its presence and significance. But since it’s Diwali, and I am a good Punjabi daughter-in-law, I decided to not do the originally planned dish, which included eggs. Instead, I planned on baking a no-egg recipe for an apple pie that was shared with me by my closest friend AM. AM and her mom are superb vegetarian cooks, and I have had the best no-onion/no garlic food at her place for years now. Post marriage in fact, AM, has delved into non-vegetarian food as well. Maybe someday I will convince her to do a guest post here.
However, just as many a times we are confronted with disappointments in life with the results of all our efforts being disasters, my post today ended up as a debacle too. After 7 successful cooking posts on the blog, this time, my cooking attempt failed. I did not get the crust of the pie right. The pie looked perfect, smelled perfect and even the inside filling tasted just right, but the crust was as stiff as old, hard bread. My research shows, that I had kneaded the dough too much. So, at 1 am, while my kitchen smelt wonderful and the martinis were superb, the pie tasted awful, and pre-Diwali night, I ended up feeling horrible about my cooking. Ak, being the wonderful, positive person that he is, in a simple sentence reminded me of something that I had forgotten- that the blog was not just about the final product, but about the process and the act/experience of cooking. That, most disasters can be overcome, by acknowledging the experience that they entail with it. That, just because my recipe did not turn out right, did not mean that it was not worthy of being documented or written about. We also realised that in this process, accidently, I had discovered the recipe for appetizer breadsticks to accompany dips (we used ours as a midnight snack with pesto sauce!). This was the crust that was used on the top of the pie for decoration.
The next morning, which was Diwali day, had me up with a bright new idea- to use the apple cinnamon filling for breakfast. I just could not let all that fine filling be a sheer waste. I decided to make French toast, with apple cinnamon topping, and this time around, the results were not so bad. The recipe for the toast is something I vaguely recollected from childhood memories of Sunday breakfast. Moist, Milky, buttery bread, with apple cinnamon topping- comfort food, as I would call it. This time, as per my critic, the consistency was just about right. Therefore, I will not share the recipe of the pie, but only of the filling and the toast. However, since the pie looked perfect, and the filling was just right, I will share the photographs. No matter what the end result is, the process, as we all know, is worth the experience!
And Mr Apple Pie- I will deal with you another day!
Apple- Cinnamon Filling
2 Big Apples, chopped
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
4 Tablespoons Sugar (even though the recipe mentions white, I prefer to use brown)
1 Tablespoon Milk (Optional- I add it for creaminess)
In a pan, add the sugar and the apples and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and the milk and cook for about another minute.
French Toast (could be had with any toppings)
Half a cup Milk
2 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup (optional)
3 Slices of Bread
Pour the milk in a wide shallow dish, along with the sugar and maple syrup. Dip a slice in the milk, one by one, and let it stay and absorb the milk for about 10 seconds. Turn over and repeat. Heat some Butter in a non-stick pan and cook the bread for about 2-3 minutes, on both sides. Once done, layer it with the apple cinnamon filling and serve instantly.