Two months back at the bake sale, one of my friends was narrating her pregnancy experiences to me. She’d been told to take bed rest from her 8th month onwards. I listened politely, but stuff like this never happens to me. Right? Right?
And exactly 10 days later, my baby was in a hurry to come out too and I was put on total bed rest for 6 long weeks, at the least. There you go. I was thinking to myself “How did this happen to me? TO ME??”
My pregnancy was relatively easy till then and I had just bought some lovely maternity dresses and wanted to wear them and go out with my adoring husband, while lapping up all the attention. And there I was, stuck to the bed. Albeit I knew it was for a fixed time, and the alternate was a preterm baby and all complications, still, the first 3-4 days were the worst. It was as if a full speed car got stuck in the middle of a highway. Stopped. Midway.
But then, acceptance slowly seeped in. It became less difficult with each passing day. I got time to read. To pause when reading and to think. About the book or an article and about what it said. For the last several years I had been reading, but never pausing. Never taking it in. Gobbling it up, and filing it away in the reserves of the brain. Now was the time to ruminate.
To look out of the window on crisp winter mornings. To look and to stare. Think about the swaying leaves, and notice how that purple-rumped sunbird came for honey on the same flower, everyday at the same time. To listen to the various sounds omnipresent in the air. The vehicle horns, the chug-chug of a long distance train, a bus coming to a halt, children laughing, furniture being moved in the adjacent apartment, two birds chirping on the potted plant outside, a distant dog barking, first loudly and then fading away. May be it was chasing a car. Just like my mind was chasing a thought, first in a single solid story, connecting to something else, and then something next while the first stream of thought vanished.
It also gave me time to think about parenting. Analyze people around me and their parenting styles. Pick up different situations from people’s lives and imagine what I would have done in that scenario. Is it wise to read a lot of parenting books and go by the milestones prescribed? Or go by my gut, intuition and be a parent accordingly. One thing I decided for sure is that the first six months, the baby should be fully connected to me. I will have the exclusive right to feed the baby. Even after I resume work 3 months post delivery, I will hop back home as my office is close-by. I owe it to my baby to give it a healthy start. And come on, it’s a kickass feeling to be the sole provider for the baby. My best friend just accomplished this feat, so I know it is tough, but doable.
Sometimes it is essential to slow down. To take a break and let your mind wander. Let your body recuperate. Let the baby making take centre-stage while work and baking and blogging takes a back seat. I took this 6 week break for the first time since I ever remember. And may be bed rest is meant for those of us who won’t voluntarily slow down. Slow down. Pause. And get back to activity like never before. I am sure this was the calm before the storm. Before a screaming baby comes into this world and captures our attention. All of our attention.
I cant wait :)
P.S : From yesterday my bed rest has been relaxed and I can flutter around waiting for the baby to show up.
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And while baking has been suspended for the last few weeks, I had a black forest cake ready to be shared. I tweaked the original recipe and substituted it with a favourite dark chocolate cake and whipped cream and cherries on top. The whipped cream absorbs the depth of the dark chocolate and there is a medley of flavors in your mouth with some cherries. Its beautiful! And fancy, great for a celebration.
Black forest Cake
What you will need :
- 180 gm dark chocolate cut into pieces
- 200 gm butter
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
- 125 ml water
- 1 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup corn flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 3 eggs
- 75 ml milk
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, I use Tropolite
- 4 tablespoon icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 can of maraschino cherries
- Chocolate shaving for decoration
What to do :
- Pre-heat oven to 160C. Gease two 8 inch baking pans, and line the base with parchment paper.
- Mix lemon juice and milk and keep it aside.
- Mix instant coffee in water and let it dissolve.
- Melt butter and chopped chocolate in pan and remove from heat once it is melted. Keep aside to let it cool.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together, namely all purpose flour + Cocoa powder + baking soda + baking powder + corn flour.
- Then add granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and add milk and lemon mixture. Then add chocolate mixture and mix till thoroughly combined.
- Fold in the dry ingredients and pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes till a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, whip the cold cream till it forms soft peaks. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract whip till it forms stiff peaks.
- Chop 3/4th of the maraschino cherries and reserve 1/4 cherries for decoration.
- For assembly of the cake, take one cake layer and spread it generously with the whipped cream on all sides. Spread it with a layer of chopped cherries. Then place the second cake layer on top. Cover it with the remaining whipped cream.
- Spread chocolate shavings on the cake and all sides and decorate with cream and whole cherries on top.
- Black forest cake is ready!
- You can use the cherry juice from the can as imbibing syrup to moisten the cake.
- This chocolate cake recipe can also be used with other buttercream icing.