Hi everyone, I’m Baby Choo, so christened by some aunties I’m going to tell you about. Well, this blog is Foodiliciousnan’s, my mother’s that is. I just managed to coerce her into letting me have my say on her blog for a day. I’ve been begging her to allow me to write in here, but she says I’m too young. I finally convinced her into letting me blog here, after all I am a big boy now — I’m turning a year old next month!
Let me warn you right now that this is one long post. You will have a recipe, but that’ll be after I get to say my thing! So, let me tell you what this is all about. It is about a trip I took, with my mom, to a place called Ahmedabad a fortnight ago. Mom told me it was a fun trip where I’d have other kids for company. Boy! What a time I had! You know this aunty called Srivalli? She’s the one behind the hugely popular blogs Spicing Your Life and Cooking For All Seasons and the brainchild behind the Blogging Marathon.
Basically, the meet was on the occasion of the 25th edition of the marathon. Can you beat that? She hosts a monthly marathon, where you’re supposed to blog 3 days nonstop each week for 4 weeks. For the 25th edition of this marathon, Pradnya aunty (of The Pumpkin Farm, the blog with that cute pumpkin logo?) came up with the idea of all marathoners meeting up and Vaishali aunty of Ribbons to Pastas (visit her blog for an amazing range of recipes and some mouthwatering pictures to boot!) graciously invited everyone to Ahmedabad where she hosted us all at her lovely hotel The Nest.
You know, mom was quite cool about travelling all alone with me to Ahmedabad. She’s a pro, having handled me alone on a flight all on her own a couple of times before too. What she did not realise was that it was all thanks to me (I slept through each time) that she had a smooth ride! I decided to show her what I was capable of this time. After all, one can discover what lies underneath the flight seat only on an aircraft! I managed going underneath ma’s seat over to the row behind us, where a sweet old lady swooped me up and handed me right back to mom! I even got to play with the shoelace of the uncle sitting next to us. I also wanted to taste the little coffee that was left in a cup lying close to the uncle’s shoe, but mom snatched it away just in time!
Well, that was all about my experience on the flight. But a lot more was waiting for us when we reached Vaishali aunty’s hotel. Apart from Srivalli aunty and ma, there was Kamalika akka of Dedicated to Janaki Paati (you know, she won the Superchef Chennai title??), Rajani aunty of My Kitchen Trials (her bakes and lovely pictures are anything but trials!) and Padma aunty of Plantain Leaf (she has some wonderful traditional treats on her blog)from Chennai.
Archana aunty of The Mad Scientist’s Kitchen (she lives in Goa and is lot more fun than a mad scientist!!!) was already there and had come to the airport to receive us all along with Vaishali aunty. You know they’d arranged a wonderful rangoli and a big lamp that all the aunties lit on arrival.
Pradnya aunty joined us later that the afternoon along with three-year-old Shlok. A sumptuous meal (read Valli aunty’s post for more details) and lots of non-stop chatter later, all the aunties assembled downstairs at the restaurant to showcase their cooking skills — it was time for the BM Chef contest. Here’s a list of what all was on offer:
Box of mixed cookies (some 7-8 varieties at that!) – Rajani
Danish Cake & a dish with Goan nuts – Archana
Savoury tarts with different fillings – Pradnya
Sunnundalu (laddus with roasted Urad Dal/Black Gram) – Padma
Kaaja – Srivalli
Thirettipaal – Kamalika
Flavoured pani puri – Vaishali
Chocolate bruschetta – Nandini (that’s Foodiliciousnan, my ma!)
After the bland and boring khichdi that ma tried stuffing down my throat in the afternoon, I had a nice time licking at a lot of these goodies! There was Vaishali aunty’s son and daughter tasting all this yummy stuff and trying to judge the winner. After a tough time they gave up trying to decide and this was put off for later.
After the contest, the ladies assembled for a session on food photography. I tried my best to tell her to let me play, but she just couldn’t understand what I was trying to say. Finally, Pradnya aunty took cue and took me off to where Shlok bhaiyya was. I must say we hit it off quite well. A lot of aunties took turns in playing with us, while ma and the rest attended the photography session.
Look at Vaishali aunty’s gift bag!!!
Soon as that session came to a close everyone exchanged gifts. I was happy too since I got some toys 🙂 And what a lot of stuff ma got! There were cute cake moulds, table mats, toothpicks with Goan shells, chivda, assorted chutnies and powders from Mumbai, homemade cookies, Tupperware boxes, sambhar podis, scented candles, pickles, home-made chocolates, cookbooks, fridge magnets…lots more! Vaishali aunty’s bag of gifts was the biggest. Half the items from the list came from there.
Later in the evening, we all went down to Law Garden for some shopping and street food.
And that’s when I figured out what the trip was all about — food!
They gorged on sev puris, dal vadas, ragda paani puris, tawa pulaos, Gujarati pizzas, and pav bhajis. They even managed to polish of multiple servings of flavoured kulfi. This after complaining that they had overeaten during the contest and planned to go without dinner!
Even I enjoyed the late night outing with them in the pram, especially so because someone bought me a super big balloon to play with. We went back to the hotel and I promptly fell asleep. PJ aunty landed quite late that night along with Siddharth. He’s just a couple of months older than me and both of us had a lovely time the following two days.
Now I’ll hand the baton over to mom. She wants to share her recipe for the Chocolate Bruschetta.
Btw, if you want to read up other peoples’ versions of their trips, head over to the Blogging Marathon page or just click on all the hyperlinked blog names in this post.
For the bread
APF/Maida – 1 cup
Multigrain porridge powder – 1/3 cup (see Notes)
Butter – 2 tbsp
Yeast – 1 tbsp
Cocoa powder – 2-3 tbsp
Brown sugar – about 1/4 cup (see Notes)
Milk – 3/4 cup
Dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Oats – 1 tbsp
For the bruschetta:
Butter – 1 tbsp
White chocolate – 75 gm
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Milk – 2 tsp
Toasted, chopped nuts – 2 tbsp
Dark chocolate chips – 2 tbsp
You could use any other whole grain in place of the multigrain porridge powder. The idea is to make it more healthy
If you plan to eat the chocolate bread plain, add more sugar. The recipe has very little sugar since it is topped with a very sweet white chocolate glaze.
I used some of the leftover dough and rolled them into ropes. This I shaped into alphabets for the kids I was preparing it for. They loved it!
For the bread
Add 1 tsp of sugar to 1/4 cup warm water and mix well. Add yeast to it and mix till most yeast granules dissolve. Cover with a lid and set aside to proof. For detailed instructions of proofing yeast, read this article
Take APF, multigrain porridge powder, cocoa powder, sugar, oats and ginger powder (if using) in a wide bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add butter and frothy yeast into it. Also add the milk. Mix well with a wooden spoon to start with and with your hands once the dough starts coming together. Knead as well as you can. This is a VERY sticky dough, so dont worry if you’re not able to knead too much
Keep the dough covered in a warm place for it to rise and double in size (at least an hour). Once doubled, deflate it and knead it once more. At this stage, you could either shape it into a log and place in a bread loaf pan (you’ll get a not-too-high 8X4 loaf) or pinch into balls and place them in a cupcake pan, which is what I did (I got 7 cuppies). Leave the dough covered in a warm place for a second rise
Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Place the cupcake pan or loaf pan into the oven and bake for about 12 minutes
Remove pan from oven carefully and brush the tops of the bread (cuppies or loaf, whatever you have) with milk. Return to the pan and bake for one more minute
Remove pan from oven. Once somewhat cool, remove the bread and let cool well on a rack. You could store it in an airtight container. It lasted me 3 days
For The Bruschetta
Slice up the bread. If you baked them in a cupcake pan, carefully slice through the centre of each cuppie horizontally. Apply a little butter on each slice and toast till crisp on the surface
Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or a a double boiler. Add sugar and milk and mix well. Apply a generous quantity of the white chocolate sauce over each toasted slice. Sprinkle chopped nuts and chocolate chips. Serve!