* With my family - this means it was MY day. I was the emperor and every single wish I made on that day had to be fulfilled :)
* In the hostel - in this case, my batchmates used to proudly wear their thick soled and very heavy military boots just to give me birthday bumps. Its original purpose was for the NCC!
* In the U.S - here, my roomies spared no opportunities to throw eggs on me or to smear me with cake.
Back to present! I didn’t know what to expect! All of the above, perhaps ;) But my birthday began on a fantastic note when N came running with a huge baking dish at midnight. It was the best cake I've EVER had! A chocolate-cherry-nut cake…..when I dug my teeth into it, I exclaimed in my mind “Move over Kashmir….there is a NEW paradise on earth!” It was THAT good! And eggless on top of it! N later told me that she followed Mahanandi’s recipe. The cherry gave it a unique “liqeury” flavor and the nuts made it decadent and gave it that crrrrrrrrunch.
We didn’t stop cooking between lunch and dinner. The bakeware that we’ve purchased is placed strategically in order to meet our eyes ever so often! So, I gave into the temptation and decided to bake some stuff. I made some savory garlic conchs, mushroom squares, apricot-orange jelly stuffed bread and some chocolate spread bread. The dough was essentially adapted from the Challah bread recipe. For the sweet flavored bread, I added some orange zest to the dough whereas I added additional salt to the savory bread dough.
For the mushroom filling, I used:
1 can of sliced mushrooms (7 oz)
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1tsp Parsley flakes (dry)
1 tsp Rosemary (dry)
I heated the olive oil in the skillet and added the mushrooms and the spices. The herbs were added when the mushrooms were almost done.
For the garlic conchs, I prepared some garlic butter. I melted about 2 tbsp unsalted butter in a skillet and added 1 tbsp olive oil to it. I added 1 tbsp minced garlic and sautéed it for sometime. When almost done, I added some oregano flakes and chives to the butter to give it a nice aroma. I made sure that the garlic did not turn brown.
N and I also made some apricot-orange preserve. We peeled and chopped 6 apricots and added one orange (sliced, without skin) to it. We mashed the fruits with a wooden spatula, added ½ tbsp pectin and 2 tbsp honey and microwaved the mixture for 10 mins. The mixture was then closed and cooled in the freezer for 2 hours.
After the dough rose, I knocked it back and then made balls out of the dough. For the conch, I rolled the ball into a thick strand and then flattened it. I applied the garlic butter on one side. I started rolling the dough and while doing so, I applied some garlic butter on the other side too.
For the mushroom squares, I flattened the ball into a 1/4 inch circle. Using a knife, I cut some edges to form a square. I put some of the filling in the center and then folded over the edges towards the center.
For the apricot-orange jelly filled bread, I flattened the dough into an oval shape and then placed some of the jelly in the center. I folded the dough over in order to leave some room in the middle such that some of the jelly could be seen.
For the chocolate spread bread, I shaped the dough just like the conch. Since the dough was slightly stickier than the savory dough, it turned out like a croissant!
All these were baked at 400F for 20-25 minutes on a greased pizza tray. I brushed the tops of all these rolls with some milk. You could use egg too. And here’s how they came out…
Well the fun doesn’t end here! I was so blown away by the birthday bash that N threw for me that I had to do something in return. Since I couldn’t wait until her ‘real’ birthday (which is at least 5 months away, while the fake one was celebrated last month!), I decided to take her to Florida. We visited Pensacola, Navarre beach and Fort Walton beach near Destin. Here are some snaps of the beautiful beaches!