My mother is now on holidays from her work. However, being the superwoman that she is, she does not usually take 'holidays'. She has been constantly working around the the house - preparing amazing meals for us every night, cleaning the house, organising cupboards, supervising reconstruction of the backyard and every other possible thing that needs to be done. In one of these endeavours, she discovered that we had a little under a kilo of dates hidden in our pantry. Food that should have been used a long time ago.
Therefore, the duty fell upon me to use my famous sticky date pudding recipe to further rescue the fruits. (PC readers: The recipe is not 'mine', I got it from here.) Every time I bake something, or cook something, or try to create anything for that matter, it is always an adventure. I never really know how the end result with turn out - disastrous or heavenly. So far, the best method that I found to control the unpredictability is to make dua for the sake of the people who would consume it. The best method of stuffing it up is to get smug about my abilities.
Last Eid, the only time that my friend Ana (now the proud owner of Des'ree Daily Desserts) visited my house, I had a sudden urge to bake some sticky date pudding. While I prepared everything with immense enthusiasm the day before, I realised that we didn't have any self-raising flour at home. The old trick to overcome that is to mix plain flour with baking soda. I figured I knew everything there is to know about baking and I just chucked a whole lot of baking soda along with the measured flour. I thought it would give it 'extra rise'. That was also the first time that we used the oven in our new house (its fan forced, so we need to make the temperature 20-30 degrees lower than it is said in recipes; but we didn't know that). I mixed all the ingredients, shoved it into the oven, and checked on it about half an hour later.
They had a rather tragic ending. The puddings burnt to blackness (looked quite good though, looked like chocolate) and retained no shape whatsoever. I also happened to be fasting during that time, so, it was not until much later that I realised how horrible it turned out. My mother suggested that I ball them up into little round things, so that their current shape would not matter. It took me hours to do so, and when I finally finished putting the last piece into a plastic box, it seemed to weigh like a rock. I should've probably guessed the enormity of my stupidity right then. I didn't.
SB was the first one to taste it during Iftaar. At that time he was concentrating on getting accustomed to different taste of certain food from other cultures, so when he popped one ball of pudding in his mouth, he said something like 'interesting'. So the rest of us decided to try some too. It tasted like a mixture of dry coffee, cement and possibly some other unimaginable things.
So this time, when I mixed three recipes worth of dates with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl that was nearly not big enough for it, I felt truly helpless. It was supposed to feed 20 people (according to the recipe), and I really could not bear watching another part of my confidence droop to nothingness. So, I made dua so that it turns out well for the sake of the people who would have to eat it.
I had some with my coffee this morning. It actually did taste quite divine (and it does not look too bad either)! Such is the power of prayer, peeps.