Showing heart on St. Valentine’s

Pretend Interviewer (PI): We are inclined to take no notice of your request for a chat, given how you have been ignoring us. We have repeatedly asked you to talk to us – about 2015 musings and lessons, your 2016 resolutions, your first staycation that you took in January, your fitness progress – but you have been all mysterious silent Sphinx these past two months. We are miffed.

EP (me): Oh don’t sulk, dear PI. You are my most favorite interviewer in the whole wide world. Here’s a peace offering – a piece of Dulce de Leche brownie.

PI: mmfggmmmpphh mmmpppghhh mmmmmphphphph THIS mmgmgmg IS mgnn SO mpffmmhp GOOOD!

EP *face splitting grin* Take another piece. Nothing like warm caramel coated chocolate to brighten up the day

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Whole Wheat Banana Bread – with walnuts and honey

PI: If this is what you were up to, you are entirely forgiven your blogging silence. Let’s start afresh *brushes off brownie crumbs from face* What brings us here?

EP: Remember Pootle List #53 “Sell what I cook/bake: At least once.”? Let’s just say that we hit that one out of the park this weekend.

PI: No kidding?! We want the exclusive scoop! Leave no details out!

EP: Do you remember how in December I donned the Bag lady avatar and made dozens of paper bags for the community baking initiative?

PI: Yes, with your friend Simran of Ovenderful who is also the Bangalore coordinator of The Bake Collective who through bake sales raise funds for various NGOs

EP: Exactly. So Simran advertised for a Valentine’s Day Bake Sale being conducted to raise money for the dear old grannies at Cheshire Home, to provide them with hot-water geysers. I got super-excited and roped in the ladies of my condo complex.

PI: Like how?

EP: By convincing them that they needed to eat dessert for a good cause. After a quick survey to determine preferences, we came up with a menu and took pre-orders.

PI: ‘We’ as in the various voices in your head?

EP: You silly PI! “We” as in my SIL and I. SIL, who has been partner in various baking and travel crimes. And who loves a good adventure and midnight projects.

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SIL’s Whole Wheat Gingersnaps – made with date syrup and a wee bit of sugar

PI: Ah, I see the flyer tacked to your wall. So your friends could choose from dulce de leche brownies, whole wheat banana walnut bread with honey, whole wheat gingersnaps and a savory spicy bun.

EP: And thus commenced three days of complete baking madness.  My dear friends completely overwhelmed me by opening up their hearts and wallets – within hours I had more orders than we could handle.  One kind person even sponsored all the ingredients *gets shiny eyed*

PI: Awww! Here’s a tissue. Don’t weep dearest EP. There there! Give us a list of the disasters that unfolded:

EP: That was a long list

  • Try as I did, I could not get the brownie sizes right. Some resembled what I imagine St Bernards would poop after a full meal. Some were sorry slivers. Eventually SIL rescued me via a measuring ruler and some complicated math
  • My yeast co-operated like a charm. But I made an entire batch of dough for the spicy buns with the wrong measure of flour – a fact that I realized only midway through the next batch
  • I burnt various appendages and digits including the skin off my ulna
  • Some of the newspaper bags became too big and others were too small. I struggled with math throughout. You would know if you had to multiply the banana bread recipe into 1.5 and then make a double batch. Did you know ½ of ¼ and ¼ is a valid baking measure?
  • SIL’s gingersnaps were a tad too crisp as the moisture content inexplicably reduced itself
  • The first batch of banana bread refused to depan (in my sleep deprived state, I insisted we needed to ‘deplane’ them *loud guffaw*) They seemed to be soldered to the bottom of the loaf tins

Luckily for us, there were no power outages else I would have to begin a poultry farm with all the eggs I bought.

PI: How many eggs did you buy? This must be some large scale shopping?

EP: Yes! Let me illustrate – I baked 2 KGS of condensed milk into dulce de leche, peeled 3 dozen ripe bananas, and chopped more than a kg of chocolate. SIL meanwhile chopped more than a KG each of mushroom, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers. Let me tell ya – it was no walk in the park.

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All My Bags are Packed, Ready to Go!

PI: I hear though that this is not the first time you have sold your baked goods. Is it true that the SIL pair did their first sale several months ago?

EP: I nearly forgot about that! We made Thomas the Engine cupcakes for a birthday party. I baked while SIL did the fondant toppers. Do you know, do you have any clue how painstaking fondant work is?

PI: Erm, you do see the pattern – signing up for projects without entirely thinking them through, midnight madness, baking disasters, extreme sleep deprivation and exhaustion, sprinting to the deadline. Why do you do it?

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Thomas the Engine Fondant Topped Cupcakes

EP: Because it is tremendous fun. The planning, the selling, the shopping, the baking, the packaging, every single phase is a blast. I would not want to do it every day, but it is super-fun to do it once every few months.

PI: Oscar speech time! Go!

EP: *gets teary eyed all over again* A big thanks

  • To Simran, for all the inspiration
  • To dear SIL for being such a brick. For painstakingly cling-wrapping every single baked item. For bringing her baking magic, sense of humor and A game every single time!
  • To our families who patiently supported us while we neglected not only all other house chores but also them
  • To the rockstar women friends who generously contributed, who truly showed heart on Valentine’s Day

PI: To end, how much did you raise?

EP:  With other contributions, enough to buy the geysers for the grannies *repeats face splitting grin*

PI: Oh excellent stuff. That reminds us, we did not get to taste any of the banana walnut bread. And would you have any brownies left? Just another tiny sliver..

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