I’m a little sad to see this year go by. In more ways than one, 2008 was a good year. On the blogging front, quite a few people thought that both my blogs would die very unnatural deaths. They’re both alive and kicking, this one much more than the other. I ran a half marathon in May with 15 posts back to back. In July, I participated in my first ever NaBloPoMo. I didn’t think I could do it, but I somehow did. And I must have passed out or something after that because I didn’t post much in the two months that followed. October was sort of OK. November saw me running another marathon, this time it was twice the distance: 30 posts back to back. I also took part in my second NaBloPoMo that same month. After that, I consciously slowed down. I’m trying to keep it at 3-4 posts a week now.
I became a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher in 2008 and got the cutest set of business cards from them. In fact, they’re so cute, that I don’t feel like giving them out. But then I do. I remember to carry them around and hand them out when appropriate. This blog also featured in national dailies.
While The Telegraph ran this, my blog featured in the Food Bytes section of The Hindu. I also got “lucky” with a couple of lucky draws and won some stuff lovely stuff.
It is said that life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away. Going by just that, this year rocked. From a food and blogging perspective, 2008 was the year in which I
- Physically met many bloggers
- Got my first newspaper mention
- Tried to get used to being addressed as Raaga in the non-virtual world, rather unsuccessfully I must add.
- Met both my “name-sakes” and spent time with them
- Made my first sale of cakes and got repeat orders
- Learnt to make handmade chocolates
- Built up my traditional cooking expertise
- Used fresh fruit in cakes
- Tried just about every vegetable I could find in the market, including Tinda
- Burnt my face while attempting to fry vadais, my first burn ever and right across my face
- Hosted events on the blogosphere
While there is absolutely nothing I can do that will help me hold on to this year, I raise a toast with these mini cakes.
2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup Dry Fruits (figs, apricots, prunes, raisins, currants and sultanas), chopped
1/4 cup Candied Peel
1/4 cup Tutti Fruity
1/4 cup Dark Rum
1 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Oil
1/2 tsp Clove Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
For the Caramel:
1/2 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Boiling Hot Water
Glace Cherries, to decorate
Soak the dry fruits, candied peel and tutti fruity along with the cinnamon powder and clove powder in the rum for about 3-4 weeks. In a pinch, soak these overnight.
When you are ready to bake, start by making the caramel. In a heavy bottomed pan, place the 1/2 cup of sugar and heat slowly. The sugar will begin to melt. Stir this mixture with a spoon slowly as the caramel forms. When all the sugar crystals have melted, slowly add the boiling water and stir to form a smooth mixture. Cool this completely. Be careful while adding the hot water.
Heat oven to 400 F. Line the muffin pans with paper liners.
Sift the flour along with the baking powder. In a mixing bowl, add the oil, eggs and brown sugar and beat well. To this, add the flour mixture and the fruits by turns. Whisk well and then add the cooled caramel. Mix well.
Fill the muffin cups with the batter. Decorate with glace cherries. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Here’s to 2008: While you've been a good year overall, I have to bid you farewell. And I have to have to hope that the years that follow will only be better with more peace, less recession worries, less poverty. My wish for everyone in 2009 is lots of health, wealth and happiness!