I managed to grind the nutmeg and cloves by hand, but the cinnamon was a nightmare. My mum suggested putting it into this coffee grinder. It's never used for coffee, but it sits on our counter because it's so charming. My dad's uncle, a true Dutch carpentry-lover, built it himself from scratch. It's pretty, perfectly finished, and it ground the cinnamon for me. The sound of the crank turning, the little latch opening... so quaint.
The smells that filled the kitchen while grinding the spices were spectacular. I get so much delight out of smelling a spice to determine it, and out of the beautiful colours: deep, rich dark chocolate cloves, semisweet chocolate nutmeg, and milk chocolate cinnamon
Breakfast breakfast breakfast breakfast breakfast.
I cannot even remotely consider skipping it- as loads of people do- for two reasons:
1. I will go bezerk. I need food within the first 20-30 minutes of me waking up, and that's usually a big mug of super milky coffee. Less than 2 hours later I need breakfast, and that breakfast has to be something super filling so that I'm not already grouchy in my first class. So no simple glass of milk, single toast, granola bar or banana for me.
2. It's yummmm... parfaits, different breads, cereals to mix and match and blend and cook, chocolate, eggs in so many ways, muffins, fruits, vegetables. I've even had things like cake, pizza and dinner leftovers... yup.
I have no breakfast rules: I can eat anything for breakfast and I can eat breakfast foods at any time. As long as it's decently healthy, and definitely satisfying.
Breakfast is also a super underrated meal. The joy it gives you to start the day with something delicious and energising is not replaced by a dash out of the door with an apple or a pop-tart in your hand.
On school days, my mum and I have breakfast together: we each have our own thing- sometimes it's the same, sometimes similar, sometimes I've gone way out and tried something new- and we enjoy the pleasant, quiet morning weather and just talk. About anything and everything.
People don't even go out for breakfast that often, which I think is a real shame. My family and I love going out for breakfast, and so do some of my friends. It's such an intimate, meaningful way to spend time with someone. You're fresh, you're bright, the place is sunny and together you get to share the beginning of a whole new day ahead.
I decided on baking these muffins after perusing dozens of recipes with pumpkin. I sort of forget about it as an ingredient because we don't really use it on a regular basis. But it's so easily available here (year-round :O) that I'm going to cook with it much more often.
But these muffins seemed perfect: full of the autumnal spices I've been craving, healthy, easy and they have coffee in them which is something I had never tried.
In itself, this recipe is easy.
But it took me more than two hours.
Because grating 1 cup of pumpkin, smashing up and grinding nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon individually, and finely chopping galangal took absolutely forever.
In the end, however, the result was a batch of aromatic and soft muffins, full of the warm flavours of strong coffee and fresh spices.
These are not your usual Starbucks sweet, crumble-topped muffins. I, however, really enjoyed them with some hot coffee and the flavours lingered long into my school day.
Good night, and enjoy your breakfast tomorrow.
'Red velvet' in quotation marks because they were neither red, nor were they velvety.
We purposely made the cupcakes a pretty pink hue, but we kind of got the wrong quantity for the baking powder... soooo they didn't rise much at all... and we got dense, kind of chewy cupcakes. We also ran out of spaces in the tin, so we poured the remainder into the silicone moulds and popped them into a loaf tin. We also tried to shove it all in the oven at once, which tilted the loaf tin and made 4 of them come out hilariously wonky. We became oddly endeared by our little misshapen cupcakes.
I made these with my friend- a girl I met less than 3 months ago but with whom I have already become so close.
You know when you just click? We presented ourselves in French HL class (factor #1: she's one of the two other people who took French HL) and I don't think I can count how many times we have said "OMG me too!" since then.
Among a couple dozen other things we have in common, we both love cooking. She even wants to become a chef. And she has a sweet tooth.
We were so excited to bake... she brought food colouring, adorable polka-dotted cupcake liners and her prized silicone cupcake moulds.
Regardless of the result, we had an absolute blast making them: we were fascinated by the way the bold drops of food colouring, the way it swirled and gently turned the creamy bowl into what looked like a whole shop's worth of melted strawberry ice cream. We gushed over the adorable cupcake moulds, laughed a lot, talked even more, and generally acted weird in the way you only do with a friend.
That's what cooking's about, anyway.
My dad's long-time friend was over, and we- out of politeness- gave them cupcakes.
They- out of politeness- didn't mention the weird texture. Or the rather princessy look.
Actually they didn't mention anything, and I think it's best left at that.
Because they, understandably, probably didn't enjoy it in the same way we did. For them, and for most people, it's a rubbery pink glob that's sweet.
For us, the taste wasn't all too bad because we had mixed and licked the batter, and we were just thrilled with the effort and how they looked. Plus, how couldn't we be charmed by pink + white + polka dots?
We sat in my room, lazing about and chatting, with powdered sugar flying all over our faces as we bit into the cakes.
While we're busy gossiping, cribbing about work and thinking about grown-up futures among other things, we're still little kids engrossed in making something, making funny faces, and revelling in our creations together.
Yes, we took a lot of photos. But that's half the fun.
Crumbly scones + coffee.
I think I made these scones at 9 at night or something.
The week was really busy with my grandparents in town and all the usual schoolwork... but once I start making excuses I'm a brilliant procrastinator, so I just closed myself up in the kitchen and cooked.
I'm glad I did, because it's nice to wake up to a little buttery triangle and hot coffee.
Speaking of coffee, everyone had been busy posting about the first pumpkin spice lattes, the first pumpkins, the pies... everything autumn.
When we were in Chicago I didn't like coffee (:O) so my standard order at Starbucks was a hot chocolate, or later a tall, no whip, double chocolate chip frappuccino (The rhyme never failed to amuse me. I felt so cool ordering it...).
So we went to the Starbucks at the Taj (*ahem* Chicagoans: South Bombay may have only 2 Starbucks, but they are a 1000 times more gorgeous than any one in the US. Just saying. They're pretty stunning), and they had the full smorgasbord of Pumpkin treats! I refrained from ordering a slice of pie, a muffin, a frappuccino and a cookie to complement my latte. Honestly, I don't think it was worth all the hype... it was definitely yum and creamy, but a little too sweet. I was kind of imagining a speculaas-y coffee, you know?
I'll try and make that and see how it comes out:)
I had a lot of fun making this pasta. The next morning I was leaving on our school's annual bonding camp trip to the hills, and so although I had loads of work to do, I could put it off for a few days.
That trip has had a reputation of being absolutely horrendous, and I've honestly been miserable sometimes. But this year it was unbelievable. The treks were harder than any I've done before- wet, slippery, hot, stifling, crumbly and long. But the views from the hills were spectacular and nullified any tiredness: acres and acres of greenery in every possible shade, little waterfalls and streams, fields of wildflowers, cattle wandering along a silent path, clean and crisp air, mist rolling around you from all sides- sometimes turning the entire surroundings white- and the rain shimmering down from time to time.
Plus, with 60 new students there was always so much to talk about and so many people to meet.
This pasta is kind of like our camping trip. It's fresh, natural and good for you, and it's filled with different colours, shapes and flavours- like the new variety of personalities we have at school.
I got really carried away with photographing the bright vegetables, and then even more so when I saw that even the pasta was multicoloured. I started pouring pasta into bowls, taking photos in-motion, scattering them, and generally turning the kitchen counter into one big, noisy, colourful, messy, moving canvas.
The 4 colours that this dish revolves around are yellow, red, green and white. That's literally it.
Mixing this dish up is such a good feeling... you simply run your hands through a dish of ingredients of varying shapes and textures, made slippery with olive oil and exuding the vegetables and herbs' subtle aromas.
Another one of my favourite sensations is breaking apart fresh balls of mozzarella... the cheese just splits into lovely, soft chunks, and they're irresistible.
There isn't much to this recipe: chopped garlic, red and yellow bell pepper, ribbons of zucchini, sliced tomatoes, torn real mozzarella, shredded fresh basil, a lot of olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake the dish in the oven to cook the vegetables, taking it out and stirring it occasionally. Boil the pasta, serve it all up and top it with some fresh basil and grated parmesan.
I hope you've had a colourful day xx