Triple Cs on Mother's Day
This Wednesday's Mother's Day.
That's the first thing that comes to mind after I wake up. As I roll over and lie on my bed, searching the components of blackforest via my phone - the deep, dark, delightful flavour which is a sinful brown shade and garnished with juice-filled, explosive cherry (bombs)- I'm faced with a nagging suspicion that Mother's day isn't on Wednesday after all.
Still, I muster the strength to forgo the warm sunshine streaming in and roll out of bed, in a not-so-fluid, reluctant, sloth-like tumble. As usual, I'm faced with the dilemma: what to have for breakfast? There's oats, there's fruits - cherries, blueberries, plums, apricots, pears, and god-knows-what-else in the fridge, and there's nuts. I stand there, in the middle of the kitchen, the air silent yet fresh, pondering over the possible combinations and rubbing my chin like they do in movies.
I give up. Oatmeal it is. One steaming, warm, ever-so-comforting bowl of oatmeal blanketed with fruits and nuts it is.
I get down to business.
But I don't want to bend down. Cloaked in a haze of a particularly languorous mood, I simply grab a pan on the stove and rinse it before the familiar 'clink' of oats rises as the grains hit it's base, a mass of pale brown grains scattering onto the pan's base. My footsteps are light as I tread to fred, our fridge, yanking out the base compartment for plums. It's diced, and joins the oat grains at the bottom of the pan along with a sprinkle of Na cl. I love how the salt seems to shimmer under the light before it vanishes amidst it's destination.
A flame bursts forth from the fire-starter and lights the stove as I give the oats a good toasting, waiting with patience as the light scent of nuttiness treads through the air, eventually finding it's way into my nostrils.
A splash of water and milk fall into the pan, emitting a sizzle as it bubbles and contacts the hot surface, almost furious. But it soon settles down comfortable, into a soothing boil. A stir is given, and the pot is covered.
Meanwhile, more fruits are fetched from fred. He gives a deep-throated groan as he slides shut - an indication of his past decade of existence. My arms cradle the box of apricots, punnet of blueberries, bag of cherries, (another) punnet of blueberries, and dates. I busy myself with rinsing and slicing the apricots first, watching their mildly fuzzy orange skin exposed to reveal equally vivid innards. The blackberries come next, though I've mistaken blueberries for them and hastily retreat to fred for the real deal.
The fruits have been sliced, the oatmeal thick. It's transferred to a baking dish lying on the top rack of the cabinet, so as to ensure minimal backbone-flexibility requirements.
Here comes the fun part: decorating. Ever bit of fruit is carefully laid out upon the bed of still-steaming oatmeal, the heat forming little droplets of water along the bellies of the berries. I step back (by about 3 cm) to admire the finished product. However, something's still lacking. A frown forms upon my forehead, the skin between my brows scrunching up (unattractively too!). There's blueberries, blackberries, cherries, apricot slices, almonds, mulberries, barberries, and barberries. 8 sorts. What exactly do I want?
Caramel to form the perfect fusion of soured plums and sweet, milky oatmeal. Caramel to bond the flavour atoms, to meld the 3 ingredients into a picturesque landscape of a rainy background, blurred into colourful yet indistinct blobs of color in the distance.
Caramel is mashed up - a mixture of date and milk - and laid on top of the oats. It's brought out from the kitchen, cautiously, as though bearing a platter, and placed onto the table. A good book is all I need to savour the soothing flavours. Today, I selected Michael Pollan's Cooked, which, in all honesty, bests any other cookbook by a 180 degree.
Every bite of oats it different. There's the wondrous combination of blueberries and blackberries, both sour in their every right. Then there's cherry and cacao nibs - sour, sweet, nutty, deep. The list drags on, every mouthful an adventure.
It's cleared up quickly, and the bowl rinsed. I plunk myself on the sofa, rather ungracefully, resulting in a rather unladylike creak, and start selecting my photographs.
Toasted Salted Plum Oatmeal
1/2 c Oats
1c liquid (1/2 milk, 1/2 water)
1-2 tbsp honey/maple syrup/other sweetener
1 plum, diced into large cubes
Pinch of salt
1. Combine oats, plum and salt in a pan over medium heat.
2. Toast for 2-3 mins, until fragrance is emitted.
3. Pour in liquid and sweetener. Cook for 5-6 more mins, until liquid is absorbed and desired consistency is reached.
4. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle on some salt as well as additional desired toppings. Serve and enjoy.
Swiping through my phone takes little time, and before long, I end up with photos which meet expectations.
But the uncomfortable feeling persists, like a fly buzzing around despite numerous attempts to swat it.
I give up. I swipe open the calendar app and what do I see? It's mother's day today. Shikes, I curse, shikes! Thankfully, she's still sleeping, so a cake is hastily thrown together - a cake of all her favourite things: caramel, coconut and cinnamon. The Triple Cs.
It's baked, it's frosted, and it's served just in time as she wakes up.
Happy Mother's Day.
Caramel Coconut Cake
1/2 c flour (I used wholewheat)
1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
1/3 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp. milk
1/4 c applesauce
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp. honey/maple syrup/other sweetener
1 1/2 tbsp. desiccated coconut
2 tbsp. milk
1. Preheat oven to 180c.
2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except last 3 (coconut, date, and milk).
3. Pour into a greased baking mould or ramekin and bake for 25-30 mins, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
4. Remove and let cool for 5 mins or so, trim off top, if rounded, and invert onto a plate.
5. In a small bowl, mash date after pitting it and mix with 2 tbsp. milk.
6. Pour onto cake and sprinkle on coconut. Serve and enjoy.