Like a lot of kids our age, me and my brother went to a day-care or a baby-sitter for most part of our childhood. But unlike some kids who easily adjust to the new surrounding, we almost hated all those places, and every few months later, my parents would be scourging for a new place.
When I look back at it now, I realise how traumatic it must have been for my mom and dad to leave us at some stranger’s house for the whole day, especially knowing that the kids are not loving it. Many of the other kids would be delighted to be at the day-care. But somehow, we never were.
It wasn’t that those aunties or those places were particularly bad, but it felt obscure to spend the whole day at someone else’s house. I would constantly wait for the clock to tick 7’O clock, when mom would come and pick us. My dad was working as a cop who would sometimes have night duty, and then he would come pick us up as soon as he came back every morning. So as compared to others, we spent significantly less time at the daycare, but I can still feel how those 5 hours seemed like eternity.
There were a couple of times when I had run away from the daycare to my grandparents house, which was about half a kilometre away. Everyone would be then looking for me and I would be relaxing and eating cookies at my granny’s house. Naturally, I would get a fair amount of scolding from my dad once discovered, but that was still better than being in those hole-shaped houses, with 10 other kids.
We had our share of oddities. The aunty at one day-care centre was obsessed with cleanliness, but hardly applied it to herself. She would be constantly scrubbing the chairs and sofas with an unreasonably dirty cloth. I wonder what she was trying to clean, the chair or the cloth, but she would constantly ask us to move while continuing her cleaning regimen. Her teeth were like chessboard with yellow highlights. And her thick eye glasses did not look like they had been cleaned in the last year. Ah, maybe that was the reason she felt everything was dirty. Her glasses were the ones that needed cleaning, oh but well never mind. Apart from that she was a warm lady and would gently coax us to complete our homework , while the television loudly blared in the background.
Once I remember, the lady at one centre was extremely religious and on certain days when she was fasting, she would get possessed by a deity / devi. She would go in a trance and make jerky movements and weird noises, her eyes would roll and arms would frantically flap, while doing a dance. I would always be shit scared. Even now, 20 years later, her image haunts me in my dreams.
But anyway, eventually we grew up and could manage it on our own at home. But what a ruckus we created by the time mom came back.
Now when I look at my friends and their kids, I feel relieved that the kids will stay with the grandparents, which is way better than any daycare centre. Thankfully, for us, my parents and in-laws are both willing and eager to manage our kids when me and my husband will be working.
Or my heart would be breaking, everyday, into a million little pieces.
Dimpled Plum Cinnamon Cake
This time I am sharing a recipe of a beautiful summer cake. The rich plum imparts a very earthy flavor to the cake. And what a lovely color of the plum juice, seeping into the cake.
A friend Manish from SaffronAmbrosia, brought this cake to my notice and I have been patiently waiting for plums to show up in the market. This cake is best made with fresh fruits, be it plums, or peaches or nectarines. It’s a fairly adaptive recipe and any type of compatible spices, zest and nuts can be added.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
What you will need :
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon corn flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
- 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar/ demerara sugar
- 1/2 cup castor sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 8 plums, halved and pitted
- 5-6 whole cherries
What to do :
- Pre-heat oven to 160C. Prepare an 8 inch round or square baking tray by lightly greasing the pan, then coating it with flour and then lining with a parchment paper. Alternately you can also use a springform pan.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, corn flour, baking powder and cinnamon and keep it aside.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs with an electric beater (or a whisk), till it is pale in color. Add the brown sugar and castor sugar and beat till it becomes creamy, for about 3-4 minutes. This method is called cremagé, and it greatly helps in making the cake fluffy.
- Then add the oil, lemon zest, vanilla extract, ginger and beat it till it all comes together.
- Now with a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients in the wet ingredients, and mix till no streaks of flour are seen.
- Pour this batter into the prepared pan and then arrange halved plums on top, cut side up. Gently press the plums into the batter. Press the cherries into the gaps.
- Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes, till a skewer inserted comes out clean. Mine got done in 30 minutes, so be watchful.
- Once baked, take the cake out and let it sit in the pan for 15 minutes while the plum juice seeps back into the cake.
- Gently take it out with the parchment paper and let it cool on a baking tray completely before cutting.
- Sprinkle the cake with some powdered sugar, if you wish.
- The cake cannot be inverted and hence it is essential to use a parchment paper or simply use a springform pan.
- You can replace the lemon zest with orange zest and cinnamon with cardamom, or as you like.