the moist mug cake

I remember seeing a video a few years ago showing how to make a chocolate mug cake in less than five minutes. At the time I was quite impressed, but didn’t give the idea much attention as I was in one of those ‘continuously-scrolling-down-my-news-feed-until-someone-interrupts-me’ moods.

But now when I think about it it’s actually pretty cool. The fact that the ingredients are cooked to a similar consistency to a normal baked cake in a matter of minutes is impressive. You no longer have to camp by the oven to make sure your cakes aren’t over spilling when you feel you accidentally put a little too much baking soda in. Just stick it in the microwave for a minute, check if its baked through, and if not then another minute should do it.

Well I speak as if I’m an expert, though I’m most definitely not.

Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of the mug cake. Yes I only had one encounter, but that was enough for me. If I want to make cakes I’d rather make a few – the one egg I used to make one mug cake could be used to make six cupcakes or muffins instead. Though it’s not a question of the economy of ingredients more so that it just feels so unconventional to have a cake sitting in my mug.

That mug should be used for tea! Not for a moist banana cake ready to be devoured!

Putting my conservative baking feelings aside, this really was a lovely little cake to eat. But don’t eat it straight away otherwise you might burn your tongue (from the heat, not the taste). After all, you wouldn’t eat a cake straight out of the oven either!

Other than that, the cake tastes flavourful and moist, which is expected as it uses a whole egg. I’m sure you could split the batter between two mugs but clearly I was in a greedy mood that morning…

I have to admit though, if you’re one of those people who know that making 12 cupcakes or muffins may go to waste for whatever reason, this might just be a better option to satisfy your sweet taste buds. It doesn’t take long at all and is nice for a little comfort snack. Perhaps have the second mug full of tea to enjoy it with though 😀

Personally I prefer the conventional route of baking, but this was definitely a nice experiment. I may try different ingredients out just to see how far the world of mug cakes really can go 🙂

Recipe found here.

I’ll be blogging for the  Bite Buddies  project alongside a few other folks who are also crazy about food. This project has been set up to connect younger and older people through food and technology by pairing them to create their own cooking video. Check it out the link for more info!

farewell to a friend

We’re no longer protected, I’ve heard someone say.

Already a week has slipped by after Eid al-Fitr, the festivities have died down and we’ve returned back to the usual ebb and flow of daily life. But this time with food. Personally I felt sad to see Ramadan finish so soon, though another part of me (the slightly less spiritual part) was happy to be able to eat food during the day once more.

Something that lifted the spirits of Muslims during that month was the promise that the devils are chained up, and so our actions are entirely down to us and us alone. As I mentioned here, our spiritual core is exposed for what it really is, which produces the challenge of battling our own desires, something that can be quite difficult to face. This challenge is made a little tougher by reducing our physical strength – so we have to build our inner selves up by participating in more spiritual activities (cue the night long prayers).

Now we’re back into the ‘normalcy’ of our routines, no longer waking extra early for the pre-dawn meal, no frantic cooking just before sunset to cram in those extra iftar goodies. The devils have been let loose to whisper and entice us back into the bad habits we were so eager to leave behind only just a month ago.

But can we really blame them for our bad actions and thoughts? I saw a comment floating somewhere on the Internet of someone being scared of Ramadan finishing because they’d be left unprotected now that the spiritual cushion of the month would be taken away. However, I disagree. A lot.

And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, “Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves. I cannot be called to your aid, nor can you be called to my aid. Indeed, I deny your association of me [with Allah] before. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment.” Surah Ibrahim 14:22

So this will be Satan’s speech on the Day of Judgement, when all the truths are revealed and there will not be a single place left for any secret to be hidden. Everything’s exposed, even you. For what you really are.

Why should we blame someone else for influencing our actions outside of Ramadan, yet inside the month we’re struggling with our own selves? Look at it this way: it’s the same inside and out. We’re always going to struggle with ourselves, and that’s the only person you should ever hold to account. You.

In the cold reality of day, when you feel slightly inclined to do something that you know you perhaps ‘shouldn’t-be-doing’, I used to wish the devils would stop whispering to me to persuade me and ‘do-that-thing’. But now I’ve taken a different tone. Now whenever the inclination shows up, I have to really think: this is me. This is my nafs, my self. My own inner being that is inclined to that thing. And the devils are just egging you on, just as bullies would egg a victim to do something terrible.

So that’s what Ramadan was meant to be about! (I finally find out after the days are up). It’s about strengthening that inner core inside you to become more resilient in the face of struggles and trials. So when that ‘thing-that-you-probably-shouldn’t-do’ comes up and you’re face to face with it, you have to look inside yourself and stop your nafs from pulling you away too hard. You have to face yourself and say, “No. I’m not going to do this. I’m a Muslim, so I have to try my best to submit to Allah.”

And you have to face the devils and say, “You can’t make me do anything.”

Ramadan provided us with wonderful benefits and alhamdulillah I am so glad I was able to experience another. Like an old friend that is leaving us, we miss their warm presence and company badly.

So the idea of being scared of Ramadan leaving us doesn’t hold with me. There’s just nothing to be afraid of.

It is really you battling yourself, and it’s been like that all along.

Which is probably the hardest of battles to bear.