Well I noticed that I haven’t done a cooking post in some time on my blog. After reading someone’s post of plans to put up recipes of gulab jamun and upside down pineapple cake I thought I would also put up a new food post. I also noticed that I haven’t yet written about one of the most successful desserts I made this summer. I made it at least 4 times because it was so popular with my family. This past summer our plum tree gave us about a dozen plums a day. As you can imagine, we were up to our ears in plums and had no idea what to do with so many of them. So I decided to do some recipe hunting online for a tasty recipe to help in using up some of those plums. I was honestly skeptical of trying out a plum cake. I’m not what you call a major fan of the plum. But I thought there has to be something out there that would be tasty and include plums. That’s when I came across this recipe on the Joy Of Baking website. For the most part when I do my recipe hunting online, I’m drawn to foodnetwork.com or recipeland.com. But I wasn’t having any luck with those websites.
This recipe asked for Italian prune plums but I have no idea what the hell kind of plums grow in our backyard. Here are some pictures of them if anyone can recognize what kind they are… (yes, i took these pics :P)
Anywho, using the plums I had, this recipe turned out perfectly.
Plum Coffee Cake
1 1/4 cup (175 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) flavorless oil (safflower, corn, or canola)
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk plain yogurt
1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest (the outer orange skin (rind) of the orange)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
7 – 8 Italian prune plums, halved and pitted (can also use 4 – 5 red plums)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
Butter and flour pan. (Though the recipe asks for an 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan, I used approximately a 7 x 7 aluminum square pan which was about 4 inches deep.) I would recommend any sort of brownie pan that you have at home.
In a large bowl, stir or whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. I used a coffee grinder to grind the almonds down to a fine almond powder for the recipe. In another large bowl, stir or whisk together the oil, yogurt, orange juice and zest, egg, and vanilla extract. You can use a hand held cheese grater to delicately get the zest off the orange. Just make sure while doing so not to go too deep. It should just be the zest of the top most surface otherwise the zest will make your cake bitter. Stir in the sugar. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. (I stirred it well since I always get paranoid that I didn’t mix in the ingredients well enough.) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and evenly arrange the halved plums on top of the batter, flesh side facing up. The recipe says 4 to 5 halved and pitted plums. I just cut and placed them until the top was mostly filled. I usually ended up putting 9 to 11 halves on top so it wouldn’t be too loaded with fruit. I prefer a nice ratio of cake along with my fruit. As it cooks the halved plums tend to rise with the cake batter so make sure u have them pushed down in the batter enough yet the flesh side is not covered by any batter. The recipe asks that after you arrange the plums on top of the batter to sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar. I didn’t measure the brown sugar. I just randomly sprinkled all over the top of the cake till I felt it was enough. I also sprinkled the top of the cake with slivered almonds to give it a nice look and fresh taste since the batter already has ground almond meal in it. Here are some pics of my Plum Coffee Cake before putting it into bake.
Bake in preheated oven for about 35 to 45 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Check out the pics of my finished cake below :)
as you can see though I let it brown nicely on the top it is nice soft and delicate on the inside. Enjoy people! this light is turned off..
Posted in Puttering About The Kitchen
Tagged bake, bake a cake, baking, baking a cake, cake, coffee cake, cook, cooking, food, plum cake, plum coffee cake, plum tree, plums, recipe
This morning I had a wonderful “surprise” waiting for me in the bathtub. A huge brown spider. It was big according to me, scary looking and very fast moving.. I could have easily just turned on the faucet and watched as it went swirling down the drain. But I don’t know what it is with spiders. Even though I am sort of scared of them I can’t bring myself to kill one if I have the choice of saving it. I awe and fear them at the same time. So the humanitarian soul in me trooped downstairs for an old edition of dad’s Wall Street Journal to scoop it out and lead it back outside into its natural world. I kept on trying to shift the one end of the newspaper underneath its legs so it could be on the newspaper and then i could throw the newspaper out the door. that’s usually my method. then i pick up the newspaper after a couple of hours when i know its gone. But my bathroom is upstairs and most of the windows have a screen on them.. so what to do.. then i remembered the window in dad’s office has no screen and it would be easy to throw the newspaper with the spider out there. (i guess i would explain to dad why there was newspaper on the roof later..) But this spider was fast moving. and it kept crawling all over the place.. and just as I was nearing the window the newspaper slipped out of my hand as the towel around me started slipping as well. In an effort to try and make sure I don’t flash my neighbors while rescuing my spider i felt it was more important to hold on to the towel rather than the newspaper! and though I tried flipping the newspaper over carefully to see where he was. it seemed to have hidden between the pages or slipped away. As I was getting late for work I decided it was time to give up. I just hoped the spider wasnt poisonous and left the newspaper as is on the floor of dad’s office. sometimes you can’t win em’ all. but at least it’s not in my bathroom anymore. Visions of the movie arachnophobia kept running through my mind as I was lathering up my shampoo…
Arachnid by ~1969inmyhead on deviantART
I finally finished that Vampire novel “23 Hours” that I was reading. It kept me entertained but somehow it didn’t make me feel like wanting to read more of this author’s work. I feel bad saying so considering I found it appeased my craving for a vampire novel after feeling Twilight deprived. I mean that’s filling big shoes considering Twilight was such an amazing story. 23 Hours had a very interesting twist in the end which I loved but I think I wasn’t used to his style of writing. I have a Rebecca Wells book to read next which is called The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder. I am a big fan of this author after falling in love with her book “The Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” That’s the kind of book you want to read again and again. So it will be interesting to see how it compares to that. I’ve also got some interesting reads about the Catholic Faith, the life of Jesus and converting to Christianity so let’s see how all those turn out to be.
Now that I’ve started drawing again Gojira approached me to come up with a tattoo design for his back. He wants a cross with a spiral going around it. I have some pretty amazing ideas which I am excited about testing and playing around with. I will try and get the scanner to work so I can upload some rough drafts on here this weekend.
On the culinary front, mom accidentally bought American cheese slices thinking I like it for lunch to put in my sandwiches. Argh I hate the stuff.. In my mind they are like how Tootsie rolls are..
tootsie rolls = fake chocolate american cheese = fake cheese
;P yes me and my attempts to seem all mathematical when im totally nottttt…pfffft :D so anyways I’m going to come up with some recipes so it doesn’t go to waste. I’ve found an interesting recipe for onion cheese soup which requires american cheese so that might be what I make this weekend to finish it off.. heres the recipe i found.
Onion Cheese Soup
2 cups sweet onions chopped
3 tablespoons flour, all-purpose
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 dash black pepper
4 cups milk
2 cups american cheese grated
Cook chopped onions in butter until tender, but not brown.
Blend flour, salt, and pepper. Add milk all at once.
Heat and stir until boiling. Remove from heat.
Add grated cheese, stirring to melt cheese.
I’m thinking of adding basil and garlic to the preparation and maybe a dash of my secret ingredient (shhh… it’s Emeril’s Creole Seasoning.) Or maybe I’ll just make some good ol’ grilled cheese sandwiches with some soup. that would be nice.. anyways i think that’s all for now.. will let you know how it turns out.. this light is turned off…
Posted in Daily Life, Puttering About The Kitchen
Tagged 23 hours, american cheese, arachnid, cooking, emeril's creole seasoning, food, onion cheese soup, soup, spider, spiders, vampire novel, wall street journal
Everyone has their reasons for accepting outsourced call centers or rejecting them and of course there are the bunch that just don’t care either way. Having worked in a call center in India for over 1 year I will tell you they suck. If you are desperate to make some fast cash then maybe this would be the career for you but then prostitutes are in the same league according to me. First of all, they do not pay you enough for the amount of suffering you go through to deal with the night shifts, the shitty cafeteria food, the endless hours of complaining customers, the dangerous cab drivers transporting you to and from work.
Half the time the customers get agitated because Indian call centers force themselves to appear American. The call centers spend one month teaching Indians how to speak the American accent before they introduce them to taking live calls. They need to realize Americans are not retarded or dumb. They’re going to get more frustrated and pissed off with an agent that’s trying to pose as an American than just dealing with a regular agent who speaks the British English he’s used to. (Yes, the Brit English rubbed off on most Indians when the British ruled over India…) America is known for its diverse cultures and backgrounds that live together in towns and cities across the nation. So why can’t India call centers use the English they’re used to instead of pretending something that they’re not. Most of the time I would get customers who were so frustrated by the time I received their call because they had spent half an hour dealing with the first couple of agents posing as Americans. They were not able to understand their made up American accents, that didn’t know how to help them with their issues or appease the situation, and because the agents themselves were fed up and didn’t know what else to do, they would hang up on the customer calling in making them even more agitated with our call center. It’s just making the problem a whole lot worse if you ask me…
They try and sell it as a career prospect saying how important it is and what a difference you are making in someone’s life when most end up just making it worse (I’ll get into that later). They sell you the job by giving you seemingly important titles such as “customer care officer” and by telling how much you can grow in a call center. But the truth is they just want you taking calls for the next 5-6 years or however long they need you, till the parent company gets fed up and moves their process out of India. And no you will not grow. You will be taking back to back calls for 9 hours for however long you last there. They lie to you while pitching the idea of working there that you can start working in higher positions after 6 months. Nothing of the sort happens. I am American, have lived in NY for 20 years and I couldn’t get into accent and linguistics training. I told them pay me the same but let me do something productive and helpful that will benefit the process. But they said no. When I finally gave my two week notice after getting frustrated, the general manager called me to his office and basically threatened me to withdraw my resignation. They were hell bent on keeping me because I was good at taking calls. But they were herding me like a cow back into the pasture of taking calls. But I resigned because I didn’t want to be doing the same stagnant job my whole life.
The kind of crowd that works at these call centers is filth. The call center is a completely different lifestyle and social circle from the rest of Indian society. Most of the call center people are interested in just sex and having a good time. Most people who work at call centers don’t treat it as a job. They don’t come to work. Girls come dressed as if they’re going out to the clubs.. skirts that barely cover their asses, halter tops, and pounds of makeup… People in this circle are just out to have a good time with whoever’s ready to join. For them there is no meaning of getting to know a person or the significance of attaining a good friendship or acquaintance. It’s with whoever’s available and with random people who are ready to blow cash. Because all these deteriorated minds get together they prey on the few good people who do come to work at these call centers with an earnest mind set. They corrupt their futures without those people coming to know that theyre being corrupted with horrendous stories and gossip. Bosses and managers will be ready to sleep with agents for some quick entertainment. Marriages get flushed down the drain with rooftop sex scandals and romps in the back of the parking lot. Your mind ends up rotting when you hang out at a call center because everyone’s thinking is so corrupt and pitiful. You end up becoming so frustrated because the few handful that manage to move up within the ranks of the call center basically buttered up the managers or slept with someone to get there. I remember if I ever brought a book to read during my breaks people would look at me as if I was alien. It was beyond their thought process to think that someone reads and actually enjoys it. They assumed people read because they have to and not because they enjoy it.
Every day before you get into the cabs that are designated by the call center to take you to and from work, you need to say a prayer to hope that today isn’t your last day. The drivers have a certain amount of hours and kilometers to fulfill by the end of each month or they suffer pay cuts. In order to fulfill their quotas they sleep in their cabs and basically live in the parking lots so whenever a shift is over they are available to take employees home. Because of their lack of sleep they are literally falling asleep at the wheel. If they are late in dropping employees to work they get cuts as well. So they zoom in and out of traffic so they can transport people on time. This means they will die trying to get there on time rather than transporting you safe and sound. Because I guess to some people money means more than having your life intact. I would be rich if I could get a penny for every car accident in India involving a call center cab. Oh and by the way, because they practically live in these cabs and driving is their priority, they don’t carry for sanitary routines such as taking a bath, brushing their teeth, etc.. so if they stink after not taking a bath for two weeks, too bad for you if you’re a passenger.. I’ve heard plenty of people complaining of leaving a cab with bed bugs crawling all over them though it’s never happened to me. But a typical cab is thick with the smell of the cab driver’s sweat. Believe me it’s nothing like you’ve ever smelled before.You’d be astounded at the number of rape cases that have been filed against call center cab drivers.
The food in most Indian call center cafeterias is provided by outside hired caterers. Most of these caterers attend to weddings, parties, events, etc. as their main business. And as a side business they come every day with a menu to serve the employees of the call center. They try to save money as much as possible and so all the pulses are not gravies but just watered down slop to the core. There is no salt. There is no flavor. Every single dish has baking soda in it to fluff up and basically expand the dishes to become larger quantities. A cheap mechanism to double the amount of food. But that creates havoc on your stomach. I can’t remember how many days I had to deal with an upset stomach from eating the food at the cafeteria while I worked at the call center. Feel like perking yourself up with a nice cup of joe? Only if you’re lucky enough to find a machine that’s not broken or just hot water. You’d think in a call center that deals with agents doing a night shift the one thing you’d want running is the coffee machines. But I guess that’s too much to ask for.
I know that one day when I have kids they will grow up and go through the same experiences as I have… to go out into the world after obtaining a decent education and working and learning to make a living. But I will never ever let them work at a call center. I don’t recommend it to anyone. It’s hell on earth and I’d rather put up with anything else than go back and work in a call center…Do you think you could ever work in a call center in India? This light is turned off…
Currently listening to Taste Of India
Posted in Brain Storms
Tagged agents, American, baking soda, bed bugs, business, cab drivers, cabs, cafeteria, call center cabs, call centers, call centres, calls, career, career prospects, corrupt, customer care officers, education, food, growth, India, indian, jobs, linguistic, parent companies, passenger, process, rotting, stagnant, taking calls
I’m feeling so low today… Tomorrow I have to go with my aunt who is getting a curretine done. A curretine is a surgical procedure where a female patient is given anesthetic and the lining of her uterus is scraped. My aunt is almost touching 70 yrs old.. I think it’s the Indian mentality and her generation that is scared of doctors that has gotten her into this mess.. They don’t like seeing doctors… They don’t believe in checkups… They stay away from hospitals unless its absolutely necessary.. Apparently she went for a checkup finally and she had been keeping mum about the fact that she was spotting for over a year… She finally told the doctor but the doctor feels she’s actually probably spotted for somewhere close to 3 or 4 years. This is not a good symptom to have for a woman above 60… and then to suffer from it for a couple of years is just horrifying to think about… Spotting is usually a sign of a cyst.. My cousin’s friend who’s above 40 recently suffered from spotting and had to get a hysterectomy to get her uterus removed.. To think my aunt has been quietly sitting on this condition for years just blows my mind..
She’s so used to keeping quiet and suffering whatever befalls her… she’s conditioned herself to do that and so now she’s actually probably sealed her fate… If its cancerous it could have spread quite a bit… If she had spoken earlier there are so many procedures that can remove the cancer and give her more healthy years of her life… I don’t know what to think at this moment… 2 out of the 3 doctors have said its most probably malignant. Only after the curretine is done and sent to be analysed will they find out if its malignant or not. I told my mom about it who’s a breast cancer survivor. She said the symptoms don’t sound good and she’s probably got 3 to 6 months to live… I don’t want to think negative but its sad and scary to think about what can happen if we ignore our health or what our body is trying to tell us when there’s something wrong.. I’m just praying she doesn’t suffer and we have good news… some miracle… My aunt is not a happy person… I’ve noticed it for some years now… she’s the type of person who forces herself to step out of the house to get the weekly groceries… but she hates it… she hates stepping out of the house… she has not enthusiasm left for life… everything is stressful… always in a cranky uptight mood… always tired…. its really sad that she’s not enjoying life… i feel bad for her actually… This is the woman who took care of me my first year I was born… Like a mother… My parents adopted me from Mumbai when I was 10 days old and according to legalities they couldn’t take me to the US until a year had passed… My parents had jobs to get back to so they left me in the care of my aunt… At the time my cousin was in college and she used to play with me and creep into my room and watch me sleep in my crib, and take me for walks in my pram… I think this is the reason I am so close to my cousin… After a year went by my parents came to take me… my cousin told me last year that when they took me she was so used to caring for me and loving me as a baby that she literally had a nervous breakdown after I went to the US… She cares about me a lot I guess even though she doesn’t show her love…Even my cousin has told me that my aunt (her mom) has never shown love in the ways that are expected… She’s never given kisses or hugs like other moms, or been affectionate as such… She’s uncomfortable getting touchy feely… But I know she does love even though she doesn’t show it.. my cousin agrees with me that she shows her love to all of us through her food.. she is a great cook… and loves cooking for family… I just hope that everything turns out ok… sigh… this light is turned off..
Currently listening to Dying Wish
Posted in Daily Life
Tagged affectionate, aunt, breast cancer, cancer, cousin, curretine, food, healthy, hospitals, ignore our health, love, miracle, scared of doctors, spotting, suffer, symptoms, taken care of me, uterus
any person who knows me well enough knows how crazy i am about food, cooking and eating… so ive decided to make a blog about my cooking, food, and recipe experiences… i think it would be fun interesting and be a chance for me to record my recipes in one place so if i lose my little scraps of paper i have my recipes written on, i have something to refer to i was thinking of starting my blog on blogger.. to try a new blog site… my boyfriend uses blogger so i was thinking of trying something different… specially since they are adaptable to html and css codes which u can insert and putting different apps and themes and so forth… so i wanted to give a hand at trying all that out and experimenting with it… but then i just realized day before yesterday that xanga has a sister site all about food called I Really Like Food so that also might be an option where i can start a food recipe and cooking blog… lets see… but anyways… for the header of my blog… instead of using a picture thats already out there… i decided to create a collage of all my fave foods and then put a title of my blog over the collage… here’s the collage i made below.. let me know if you have any thoughts.. or how i could improve it….
haha this collage contains all my favorite foods: chocolate chip cookies (the homemade, gooey chocolate chips are melting, hot in your hand, fresh out of the oven kind!), felafel, fettuccine alfredo, mocha mud pie (from TGIF’s), butter chicken, dippin dots ice cream, hamburgers, beef steak, tom kha soup, sushi (my favorite are California rolls), hummus, tacos, chocolate chip cookie dough icecream, baingan bharith ( the kind made with coconut milk or yogurt, maharashtrian dish) italian sausage with mustard and onions, Philadelphia cheesecake, guacamole, and beef chili) as you can see i’m a complete foodie and that’s all i had room to squeeze on the collage so….. I don’t know… i have some other ideas on this… i might put up another update about my header of the new blog later on this week…. wish me luck!!! this light is turned off….
edit: i removed that blog it doesn’t exist. check out my “Puttering In The Kitchen” Category to check out my latest kitchen/cooking experiences :)
Currently listening to
Home Sweet Home/Bittersweet Symphony
By Limp Bizkit
Posted in Puttering About The Kitchen
Tagged blogger, boyfriend, cooking, experiment, favorite foods, food, foodie, header, love food, new blog, recipes
The weirdest things I have eaten in no particular order… Squid, snails, bear and alligator. The squid ive had on several occasions and its really good. it reminds of the texture of scallops…kinda rubbery but good. Ive had it in seafood restaurants and some in chinese restaurants. snails I had it once when my mom spoke of having escargot and the fact that its a delicacy in France and so she brought them home and made them and forced me to try one… not the most exciting thing to have. I think moreso tried to swallow it down quickly so i wouldn’t have to taste much. lol… Bear I had at a thanksgiving feast once. I didnt taste anything different to what probably chicken would taste like… Alligator I had when I went on a trip to the Everglades. It was part of the tour to have some at a diner nearby since it is a delicacy that they eat in Florida and also a way to keep the alligator population under control. It tasted like chicken. lol..
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New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2)
By Stephenie Meyer