I bought ragi (finger millet) flour the other day, with no purpose, just because I've tried ragi khakhara and cookies and loved them. It's gluten-free, and I think it tastes a whole lot better than wheat. It's got a somewhat chocolatey and nutty taste to it, I'm not sure why. But it makes stuff richer, more filling, and better for you.
I love Conscious Food... their products are everywhere, and unlike many pure/organic brands nowadays, they're not expensive. The ingredients list is one word, they write about all the natural benefits of the food, and it's always delicious. The ragi flour is stone-ground, and I got a little surprise in the flour today: 2 ragi seeds in the sieve :) That might sound like an odd surprise, but I love it. It just shows the purity, the simplicity. It's like finding the whole cherries and blackberries in St. Dalfour jam... it's real.
This has got to be one of the healthiest cakes ever. There's not a single ingredient that isn't good for you, there's nothing refined, and it happens to be vegan and gluten-free, for those to whom it matters. And, take my family's word for it, it's delicious. It's slightly fudgey, and yet incredibly light with the orange juice and zest. I could eat the whole cake... and the best part is, it's so healthy it wouldn't really matter :P
I baked, I baked, I baked :)
It's finally summer holidays, emphasis on the finally. Although it seems the perennial paradox of life is that one can't imagine where a year has disappeared, and certain things feel as though they happened yesterday, while at the same time, when one considers the year gone by it seems so incredibly long and saturated with events that now feel eerily distant.
There's work to do this summer... a lot of it. But at least for this weekend, it has felt really good to just wander. And by wander I mean both literally and figuratively: I've wandered out of the house with my family for a snack, made an impromptu stop at an adorable bookstore that I've been missing for who knows how long, strolled around the quiet Sunday morning streets of Gateway, and had a lazy breakfast at Mondegar. At home, I've let my mind drift from thing to thing, nor worrying that something is taking longer than it should or about the other things I 'should' be doing. Reading, football, cooking, talking, little things that matter a whole lot more than we give them credit for.
Our principal describes the two years of the IB as a marathon: you just have to steadily keep ploughing through, and there's a lot of validity to his analogy. But I also think high school, especially here and now, is a frantic race. There's always something more you could/should/would be doing, some score that people want to beat, some internship they want to get or extracurricular hours they want to fill or exam they want to top. And I find myself stuck between my ambition and motivation, and my desire to stay true to myself, to not slave away for two years in order to pander to the, frankly often irrational, demands of the increasingly competitive universities.
So while that dilemma goes on, I've pushed the pause button. Because walking under the greying skies this morning I knew that when I went home there was nothing I wanted to do more than to get into the kitchen, open the windows to the monsoon wind, put on some music and bake. It won't help me memorise, all over again, the endless information in Biology for our next exams. It won't bowl the admissions officers over in their seats, and it won't help plough through the 42 km to-do list.
But it makes me and my family happy. And perhaps, at this point in time, that's the biggest help of all.
Adapted from millet.wordpress.com
Note: My oven doesn't go below 200ºC, and it also burns cakes really quickly, so I heated the oven for a shorter amount of time and took the cake out at least 15 minutes early. Be sure to watch your cake carefully and test it with a toothpick/skewer to see when it's done. You want it to be moist, so don't compulsively leave it in for the full 45 minutes.
The original recipe uses only 1/2 cup ragi flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour. But I read other recipes that used only ragi flour, so I decided to do the same here and the results were perfect.
It also calls for refined oil – I'm not sure what they meant by that – but I love olive oil and its benefits, and I think olive oil and orange make a lovely combination. I imagine something like walnut oil would also taste nice.
It doesn't rise very much, but that doesn't matter. There's no baking soda aftertaste and it's still yum.
1 1/2 cups ragi (finger millet) flour
3/4 cup jaggery/raw/brown sugar (powdered)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (don't remove the pulp)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons grated orange peel/zest (A normal grater won't work well, you often need one designed for zest. I just chopped the peel really finely. Be sure to slice only the outside of the skin, leaving the pith.)
Grease a cake pan with butter and dust evenly with ragi flour. Heat the oven to 180ºC (you can do this later too, judge it based on your oven).
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda and mix well.
Mix in the olive oil and the orange zest.
Pour in the orange juice and stir everything to combine – don't over stir, just make sure you don't have lumps.
Bake 30-45 minutes, or until the cake tests done, and let it cool.