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

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.

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.

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?

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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