sunbeams and sugardrops

Archive for June 2009

My brother & IMusic is a big part of our lives and most of us grow up listening to a great variety of music introduced to us by parents, grand parents, cool uncles and as we grow older, our friends.  As my parents were hardly exposed to western music before we were born, my brother and I grew up exclusively on Hindi film music and more significantly on Pop music.

Of all my childhood musical memories, Michael Jackson and Madonna are the strongest. And even since then, even after being exposed to a much wider world of music, these 2 artists and their music from my childhood have remained enduringly strong in my heart. Every single time I have gone out dancing, I never feel as ecstatic as I do when Like a Prayer comes on. I sing out loud and I dance the way one is meant to dance, by losing yourself in the music.

My memories of Michael Jackson’s music are so inextricably linked with my memories of my baby brother that I have been finding it hard not to get choked up today. The first of his songs that I remember are from Bad when I was 6 and my brother was 4. I doubt he remembers any of this but we used to play this cassette tape on a little cassette player and sing along and we knew all the words and didn’t have a clue what a lot of them meant. I even have a vague memory of watching Moonwalker and being thrilled by the Smooth Criminal sequence.

As we grew older, our tastes in music diverged wildly but somehow, Michael Jackson remained a shared pleasure. My brother and I had grown apart when I went off to boarding school for about 4 years. Because he was just 6 when I left, he hardly had any memory of me when I moved back. I was like this almost-stranger person that he was supposed to love and be friends with.  Eventually we became really good friends again.

One of my favorite memories is of us going to school together on a grey and windy day and singing along to Man in the Mirror playing on our car stereo.
It’s a grey and windy day today and I miss my little brother and I know he’ll agree with me when I say that we’ve lost a little piece of our childhood today.

I hope everyone remembers the magic of Michael Jackson’s music for a long time to come.

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While the parched city waited for the weather to change, my body decided it wasn’t up to it. So while I coped with the flu and whined at A (The bum I’m married to) to my heart’s content, I also thought I’d make myself a really easy, and what I had hoped would be comforting, cake.

Since I’d been putting off eating some bananas for about 5 days, they’d started growing that mottled brown that usually means the bin. But this time, they were spared their sad fate. They came together with my desire for a warm gastronomic hug in the form of a delicious banana walnut loaf cake that was so easy to put together, even for a sick person.

And I found the perfect time to make it in…The silly T20 world cup finals which I was completely sick to death of courtesy A again (who watches pretty much all cricket and blogs about it rather well at outsideedge.wordpress.com) In any case…boring cricket = alone-time for both of us.

And that is when this warm banana cake took shape.

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Moist Banana Cake

2 cups flour

1 cup soft brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp Baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup oil

3 eggs

3-4 over ripe bananas

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

2 tsp raisins

Pre-heat oven to 160°C (325°F). Prepare an 8” or 9” round cake tin or a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and beat together till crumbly. Add the eggs and beat together till combined.

Meanwhile mash the bananas in a food processer, with a masher, with a fork – anything you like. I used a fork and made it pretty smushy. Throw in the chopped walnuts and raisins. Add this to the flour, oil, egg mix and beat till combined. Don’t worry too much about lumps.

Pour into your prepared tin and bake for an hour or until a skewer in the middle comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for a while then turn it out on to a plate and let it cool further.

Or dig in when you please.

The loaf was wiped out in 3 days flat. We had it for breakfast, dessert after dinner, after-work snack. But we’re not all bad. I dropped off about half the cake at my mother-in-law’s place where it was rather well received. Even my sister-in-law and her anti-banana sentiments were pleasantly surprised by this winsome little thing.

The picture there is pretty much exactly how my cake looked – except the walnuts on top and the foil. Which brings me rather abruptly to my next point. Until I get better at taking pictures, I’m going to have to use images I find on the lovely internet. But I don’t know how I’m supposed to go about it. I definitely don’t want to seem like I’m stealing. I want to give credit for pictures I use, or ask permission for them before I use them. Or use pictures that no body minds my using without asking or telling. If anyone at all has tips on this, it would be brilliant.

Until then, this picture is a royalty-free image downloaded from Getty images where I couldn’t find any restrictions on downloading and using so I did and I am.

Good food, lots of laughs, a little alcohol, a sunny day and jazz – That’s my idea of a perfect Sunday.

Or one of my many ideas for a Sunday.

A rainy day spent indoors, snuggling on the sofa, reading, watching movies and baking….

A hot day spent shopping, finding the perfect bargains on the streets, a big salad and an ice cold cherry soda to cool off with…..

I’m in office on a bleak Wednesday morning dreaming about all the wonderful things I could be doing if it was a Sunday. Even the dull grey skies would look pretty on a Sunday because there would be that one beam of sunlight peaking out from behind the clouds falling just right on a lush green tree…and there you have it. A perfect Sunday feeling.

I want this blog to be about all the things that give me that blissed out, sunny feeling of a perfect, well-earned & well-spent weekend.  And I hope that I’m actually able to stick to that plan…

Here’s to shiny, happy weekends!


Sugar Droplets