Like every month, January too was packed with activities which made taking this writing break all the more challenging. Just a few highlights: the tiny family (mom, dad, and I) was busy taking care of relatives near and dear as they struggle with health related ailments; I turned 24 years old making it too close to the first big adult hump that is 25; lastly Besan kept us busy by being the hormonal child that he is as he turned 6 months as well. All this made free time a lot more scarce. Instead of writing, I capitalised that on eating and creating as many recipes as possible. So while January saw very little posts, there will be a lot of content coming in Feb that was made this month!
A lot of time was spent at home this month with family which has been refreshing, even though the reason for the increased time had a lot to do with our aforementioned sick relative. Before I had left for college, we had a very strict time for dinner. At 7:30, the whole family would move from their individual caves to have one standard meal. However, five years down the line, the empty nest eroded this one standard practice with everyone choosing their meals based on the diet they’re following that week. That along with most of work in industries with no sense of a standard corporate times of operation, we all eat on our own at separate times. Dad usually still eats on the dining table but now with a laptop finishing stuff he couldn’t, I usually watch something online and eat in my room, and mom eats much later at around 9:30 (Besan eats at 7:30 but also eats our food individually as well. Basically the dumb cow is chewing something for a good three hours).
I never noticed this change, until one day I was at the gym at 6:30 in the morning. I was in the middle of doing deadlifts on this wooden platform in a fairly long rectangular room. In front of me was my mom squatting to show me to rise up with the weights properly and my dad behind her looking into the mirror as he did single arm rows on a bench. It was this visual that immediately made stop for a second and notice that for the first time, in a while, we are together and engaging in something as a family without it being a forced activity. It was honestly better than a mandated dinner time because there isn’t time to really stare and ask others to talk. We are just doing our thing while interacting with one another as time permits. I valued this realisation a lot because it made me realise that family is a constant that can feel validated by just being in the background.
Family time like this is scarce to come by but noticing it just feels great. My cakes are another time I see family come together. We are a fairly healthy bunch but we really cant say no to a good cake, especially this carrot cake that is baked with raisins, slivered almonds, and a hit of dark rum. It’s soft on the outside while the dark brown sugar makes the crust crunchy and deeply satisfying. Scroll down for this beautiful and simple recipe. ALSO, videos and images of the whole cake are also up on my Instagram! So don’t forget to check that out as well!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (or Eno)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
150 grams unsalted butter (1 stick + 2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature preferable)
2 cups grated carrots (from 3 large carrots)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease a 9-inch round cake pan (a springform tin works best). I also like to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, to give extra insurance that the cake will come out cleanly. Just trace the bottom of the pan on a sheet of parchment paper and cut it out, then place inside the pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Let it sit for a couple minutes to cool, then whisk in the brown sugar, followed by the eggs one at a time, until combined and smooth.
Dump the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir together until well-combined and no lumps remain.
Fold in the carrots, almonds and raisins until evenly distributed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth out the surface, and bake for 35 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, remove from the tin.