I am not one to write posts about a year gone by. Reflections are lessons of a personal nature, and resolutions are best kept secret, I think (save oneself from embarrassment!). But 2014 has been…different. It warrants documentation, if not for anything else, at least so I can look back and gain strength and inspiration from all that the year has taught me.
2014 was the year that MK and I took some serious financial risks–we let go of some stable options and worked toward something that gave us a lot of anxiety for the waiting period but now is a source of satisfaction and pleasure. I woke every single day with fear in my heart and went to bed with hope tugging at it. It was a very rough few months, and faith–in ourselves and in the almighty–is what helped us sail through. We earned several more gray hair in the bargain, but emerged triumphant and peaceful. An exciting period now awaits us.
2014 was also the year that I (finally) signed my first book deal–yay! I spent the better part of the year researching, writing the manuscript (either in my head or on the laptop) and styling and taking pictures. It was a dream that suddenly walked straight into my life and is making itself come true. Soon after I signed the deal, my laptop called it a day and while I was still fretting over losing content and wondering which laptop I should invest in, my Dad (and slowly my brother as well), ever ready to jump and buy gadgets for himself and family, went and got me the best Mac there was. It was a surprise, and I burst into tears when he handed it over to me. Without that major contribution, writing or planning any other project or keeping my sanity would have been impossible. I also collated and photographed for The Gore Family Cookbook–a family-sponsored private circulation project that documented heirloom recipes. This book was launched at a large-scale family get together (one that I could not attend, sadly) by my grandmother and other senior members of the family, and this will always be a source of pride and inspiration for me.
But 2014 will be remembered most for the greatest gift I received–my twin boys. MK and I walked into the ultrasound clinic one fine April afternoon expecting to see one tiny throbbing heart and were shown two sacs instead. The technician left the room to attend to a phone call and while both MK and I were, initially, too shocked to move, it took us less than a minute to accept the surprise–a lot of people have tremendous difficulties in conceiving and we were not about to disrespect the gift we were given. I went through a terribly trying pregnancy–dealing with the mechanical difficulties of a twin pregnancy and the pain of gestational diabetes and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Finally, at the end of two scary hospitalizations and 35 full weeks of extreme discomfort, our twin boys were born–Ram aur Shyam, the paediatrician in the OT announced. I barely saw them for a fleeting moment before I was sedated. While I was coming out of anaesthesia, the boys were whisked off to another hospital for NICU facilities. It was a full three days before I could see them and hold them. That period was one of the most terrifying and depressing times of my life. To have birthed and to not be able to see your child is the most cruel thing to happen to a mother. The twins were doing fine–they just needed a little observation because my gestational diabetes had caused hypoglycaemia in them at birth–a common occurrence, I am told–but spine chilling for me. We finally came home a few days later, hale and hearty. The boys are doing great, and Avanee is the best sister anyone could ask for. She dotes on them, wipes away regurgitation, wants to show them off to her friends, and seems to have suddenly grown up overnight. 2014 completed my family; it gave me new dreams and opportunities; all I ask for in 2015 is strength to live up to it all.
The blog has been largely ignored in all this period. This year, I hope to more than make up for it. I have missed writing here, experimenting with food, sharing my excitement with you all, and most of all, I have missed hearing from you–one of my most treasured sources of inspiration. Allow me to win you back–starting with this surprisingly simple yet impressive-looking and decidedly delicious recipe for Mawa and Doodh Masala Muffins. Kyani, Yazdani, Merwan–if you live in Mumbai, you know that these names are almost synonymous with Mawa Cake. I was craving some the other day and Avanee had been asking for a simple “white” cake for a while. I found a pack of Mawa on my online grocery store (Aaloo.in) and immediately bought some. The batter took all of 5 minutes to make–3 of those in a blender. The rest of the job was done by the oven and I had a very happy daughter and husband at the end of it all. The milk (doodh) masala, I think, is a richer alternative to the commonly used cardamom powder, and with an additional pinch of saffron, the muffins were the perfect blend of sweet spice and rich lactose.
The recipe itself is easy to remember, and you will probably find yourself making this often just for that!
Mawa and Doodh Masala Muffins
Makes 12 large muffins
- 200 grams Mawa (Condensed milk solids), at room temperature
- 100 grams table butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups caster sugar (I used 1 and 3/4 cups)
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Doodh Masala (a mix of cardamom and nutmeg powder, powdered almonds and pistachios and a little saffron)
- Pinch of saffron
- 2-3 tablespoons almond flakes or cashew halves
- Place the butter, mawa, sugar, eggs, and milk in a blender and blend at medium speed for a minute until smooth. Add the Doodh Masala and blend again, briefly.
- Sieve the plain flour and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Pour in the wet mixture and fold with light but sure movements to achieve a smooth and fluffy batter.
- Spoon into 12 large muffin cases. Sprinkle the almond flakes or cashew halves on top.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 150 degrees centigrade for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and when a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Serve warm with coffee.