cake or bake?

I always thought baking a cake at home was very difficult task because of the effort that goes in while making the batter. You have to whisk the batter thoroughly if you want a fluffy bread cake. When I was a kid I loved the plain cake which mom would make it at home in a pressure cooker. We did not own a microwave nor did we have a blender. So mom would knead and mix the batter briskly with her fingers. She never liked cakes because she was a vegetarian and she hated the smell of egg cooking. However MOMs are MOMs. If you tell her that you want a pinafore dress just like what Kajol wears in Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jaayenge then no matter what you do to pursue her she will just not buy you one. If you tell her that you want a piece of cake just like they pile up in the gass counters of a bakery then she will not buy you that either instead she will make it at home for you. And hence she made cake just for me. Soft fluffy plain yellow cake with a thin light brownish crust at the bottom, hidden inside the air vents were mixed nuts and raisins.
When I started working one of the first things I bought for myself was a microwave oven with grill convection all in one oven. The day I got the microwave installation done I went through the entire manual and the recipe booklet and headed right to the stores to get ingredients for baking a cake. I mixed the batter and whipped it and put it in the big flat plate like microwave safe dish and all i got was a flat tasty crispy cookie. The batter had not risen either because the baking powder did not react well or because the microwave was not right. I’m generally categorized by people as ‘Typical Arien’ and I do live up to the attitude they expect me to wear all the time ‘I never do mistakes’. :) Well after that microwave was used just for reheating for almost a year and later I actually messed with the batter several times and made better cakes.
When I landed in Brussels a month back with all the hours of the day just for myself and a builtin oven at my disposal, the craving to bake had gotten back. Every day I have a project to finish ..errrrr or let’s rephrase it. every day i have a project to START. Projects like going for long walks without any particular direction in mind and then heading back home OR like going to the park and sketching whatever appeals me OR Cleaning the house OR baking projects. But baking projects was a double challenge because in Belgium, French and dutch are dominant languages and all hoardings, address, ingredients, usage everything is in those two languages and in some cases German too. Only on some imported goods you can see some rumblings in English. Even at the stores if you ask someone to translate they give blank stares. So I have to do my homework before going to the super market to buy anything. Inspite of the homework I end up getting lost in those counters full of ‘options’ I get for one single item. I wasn't sure of what I would end up with if at all I followed a recipe from a US/UK blog for baking cake using the products available here which are described only in french... a French SHO(r)T Bread ? (considering my earlier experiences of cake turned cookie, here a cake can turn into a short bread too), and probably a must visit to either a dentist or a pathologist after trying to devour it. So I decided not to bake cake bake pastas instead.
I made baked pasta one day with spirellis and vegetable lasagne the next day. my first attempt at baked pasta and it was appreciated very well by V. When there is cheese at home I cannot think of anything else but recipes with cheese. I had fresh mushrooms and I wanted cheese. So made this mushroom cheese fry Indian style.
Mushroom : 100 gms
Rice flour : 3 tbl spoons
Fine semolina(Bombay Rava): 2 tbl spoons
Chilli powder: 1 tbl spoon
Salt to taste.
Grated Cheese – ( I used the mix pasta cheese)
Slit mushrooms into half apply salt and leave it aside for a while. It leaves out water. Mix all the other ingredients and a pinch of salt and roll the mushrooms on this dry batter. Heat a pan and drizzle oil and place the mushrooms . We are going to toast mushrooms only once on each side. Once it is slightly brownish on one side, turn it around and now i make clusters of mushrooms i.e just place 4-5 mushrooms close to each other and then top it up with the grated cheese. Once the cheese melts pan out each cluster. Serve hot. It is just DELICIOUS.
Notes: Make sure that the while frying the heat should medium for both the sides. If you keep it very low then it will take longer to cook mushrooms and meanwhile they become soggy. If you keep it at high flame then it will get charred.
I loved my experiences with pasta, baking and cheese. Here is a pic of the same. presentation is baaaaaad and rough but all is maaaf for the taste.

Au Revoir...

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