Amidst packing at my parents’ place and cleaning the refrigerator- attempting to use left over sour cream and a batch of blueberries, and flipping through the recipes July’s Indian issue of Good Housekeeping, this moistand flavorful Blueberry and Sour Cream Loaf was made.
When I told a friend of mine that I was posting the recipe for this loaf on the blog today, the question arose what is the difference between a sweet loaf and a cake. While I answered the doubt to the best of my knowledge, I wondered what the web had to say about it and did a quick google search to find the exact difference.
The most obvious difference is the tin used to make the baked good in question. Loaf cakes are always baked in a loaf pan, whereas cakes in other square or round tins. And even though both cakes and loaf cakes share similar ingredients, the ratio of flour, fat, sugar and the mixing methods are different and make a difference in the final product.
While quick breads (like banana bread, scones and muffins) are made by combining the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in the other and then mixing the two till just combined with few lumps, cakes are made by creaming the butter and sugar together (or by folding whipped egg whites into flour, sugar, yolks mixture- the chiffon method), lending a finer crumb to cakes. Thus, cakes are generally lighter than loafs and other quick breads. Kind of like the difference between a muffin and a cupcake, a cupcake being a mini cake and a muffin being a type of quick bread.
Before my grandparents moved to Mohali they were living in Jalandhar, a city in the northern indian state of Punjab. About ten minutes from our house in Jalandhar was this Gurudwara (the holy place where Sikhs worship) that my grandparents would go to regularly. Every afternoon, just a few feet away from the Gurudwara, a guy would come with his mobile cart and sell these amazingly thin, crispy yet soft Amritsari Kulchas. He would only come in the afternoon with the dough and filling prepared at home and would stuff and bake the kulchas in front of us, serving them in plates with his famous spicy chickpea curry. Our summer vacations were full of foodie adventures and my grandparents loved feeding us. These amritsari kulchas were a must on each of our visits.
Every afternoon, people would come during their lunch break and line up for a plate of this guy’s delicious Kulchas. He always came alone and stuffed the dough in front of you and baked it in his mobile tandoor to serve the dozens of people waiting next to his cart. Since he baked then and there, we would get piping hot kulchas laden with oodles of butter that would immediately start melting once placed on the kulcha. Not only were his kulchas to die for, but he made a delicious spicy chickpea curry and gave homemade pickle on the side. Eating them fresh out of his tandoor was the best option but generally we would get them packed for the whole family and eat at home. And stuff ourselves crazy. No wonder my brother and I would gain 5-6 kilos easily during the months of May and June.
While I do have a recipe for this french lunch time snack of a bread muffin cup with a cheesy egg filling- to share today, I also have some news. The reason for my absence after my last post.
Two weeks back I lost my grandmother. Even though she was old and had not been keeping that well for years, the news of the death was unexpected. I was to visit her on the 20th and had my travel planned and tickets booked accordingly. Now I wish I had first come to her and then gone to visit my brother, but I guess that’s how it was supposed to be.
My grandmother loved and took care of all of us the best she could, and believe me she could.
For her, feeding us was the best way to show her affection, and she thought us polishing off everything she made was the best way we could return ours. And since most of my summer vacations during my school years were spent at my grandparents place, in two months of our stay it was a norm that my brother and I would at the least gain 10 kgs; the highest for me being about 18 kgs and and an increase in jean size from a respectable 27 to a not so healthy 36 inches. No doubt my grand mother was a great cook. I had plans during this visit to learn from her her chocolate ice cream (made from bottle gourd/ giya ), her sesame seed potatoes and her lip-smacking pickles. She had given me the recipes for all on the phone, but I thought I will ask her to show me once as well. But I guess that too was not meant to be.
Her recipe for dal paranthas is my go-to recipe when I can not think of anything better to make for V and me. And it will always remind me of her now.
Although growing up, my grandmother showed a slight preference towards my elder brother, once I was in college both of us became closer. The 6 months I spent trying to set up a baking venture, living at my grandparents place before I got married, got the two of us even more close. So when I got married she did not like that I was staying so far away and would constantly be worried and checking whether I was happy in the US, telling me that I have gone too far away.