“Naans, naans, can I also tell you a story?” asks my two-year old nephew Parashu excitedly, jumping up and down!
‘Naans’, his short form for ‘naannamma’ (paternal grandmom), has been telling them stories the whole evening and the little lad is simply bursting with excitement and all the tales from the Panchatantra he’s been listening to, his head buzzing with talking animals, heroes, magical plants and suchlike.
“Do tell,” encourages his Naans…
Parshu takes a deep breath in preparation for this very important adult task… and starts off…
“Once there was a tiger… (deep breath again as suspense builds up!) The tiger came to one village… and, and… and (phew, we’re falling off our seats, nails are being chewed to the quick!)…
“And what, Parshu?” asks Naans.
“And the tiger went away!”
“Anthey! The story is over!”
“Aiyo, thums!” protests his four-year old brother – in disgust! (‘thums’ is short for ‘thammudu’ – younger brother in Telugu)
“Ok, I’ll tell another story?” asks cherubic two-year old, wanting to please and not in the least discouraged by this response!
“Noooo,” protests the elder sibling, in the manner of all elder siblings, having no faith in the young ‘uns of the family! And who can blame them? They’ve seen the little ones when they are born and about as capable as wingless fledglings, or for this vegetarian blog, as a custard pudding!
Naans overrules. “Of course,” she encourages the budding Aesop.
Parshu’s brow furrows – in deep thought… this is hard…
“One man comes… ” …more furrowing of aforementioned chubby brow, more deep thinking…
“He plants some seeds… ” the effort is now palpably strained!
The older brother is already making snorts of derision!
“And… and… he GOES!” That last produced with all the energy befitting such an exciting denouement!
There is one thing to be said in favour of our Shakespeare though – he doesn’t tell tall tales!
And to celebrate my nephew the storyteller (aka Mr ABO – Always Batting Only – he refuses to walk when out at cricket citing the most inventive of excuses – you see his story telling skills did improve! – the christening being done by Ramana Murthy Nemali), here’s a very special and unusual cake… from Bombay…
- Plain flour – 160 gm
- Baking pwd – 3/4 tsp
- Finely powdered cardamoms – 3 (powder with 1/2 tsp of sugar to get areally fine pwd)
- Table butter – 100 gms
- Mawa (dried whole milk or milk thickened to an almost crumbly consistency by heating in an open pan) – 100 gm
- Sugar – 170 gm
- Eggs – 2
- Whole milk – 90 ml
- Cashewnuts for topping
Grease a round, deep cake mould – this is one of those fat cakes!
Mix together, the flour, baking powder and cardamom pwd.
In a separate bowl, beat together the butter with sugar and mawa.
Add eggs, one at a time, whipping well.
Fold in the flour mixture and pour into the cake mould. You could also use muffin tins but then you don’t get thos really satisfactory fat slices!
Top with cashewnuts and bake at 180 C for 25-30 minutes till golden brown on top.
This cake is the best tea-time cake ever! What sets it apart from the run of the mill, everyday plain cakes is the sheer butteriness of it on your palate – as it slips down… and settles on your hips!
(Pic courtesy internet)