“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”
Elisabeth Foley

I saw these cookies at Brown Eyed Baker a few days ago, & my first thought was how lovely and comforting they looked. Said to be the famed Neiman Marcus cookies, off a recipe that has been making the rounds via e-mail for ages, they have rave reviews. The difference in these cookies is the way the oats are added. They are ground into an oat flour and give the cookie a lovely texture, more wholesome than the plain flour chocolate chips cookies, yet lighter than regular oat cookies.

I think these cookies bridge the gap perfectly, & I had to make some for Jamie when she asked me if I could do a guest post for her beautiful blog! I was honoured that she thought of me. Please stop by at Jamie’s Life’s A Feast for the rest of the post…

While you are here, I’ll ask you to please consider voting for 2 special friends for two ongoing contests…

1. For Jamie‘s blog Lifes A Feast for Blogger Choice Awards 2009 HERE for Best Food Blog where she shares her favorite recipes; stories of her life through food.

2. For Helene‘s Gingerbread Cake at the Bread Contest at Phamfatale.

♥ Thank you ♥
“It is a true saying that a man must eat a peck of salt with his friend before he knows him.”
Miguel de Cervantes

New month. September is upon us already, and the days are galloping by. Sometimes the ultimate comfort food lies in the simplest of bakes. I love cakes for what they are, layers, frosted, filled with fruit, dripping with chocolate, more for putting them together rather than sitting back & enjoying a slice. All that changes when I make this pound cake.

This is one I love for it’s taste, it’s texture & it’s crumb, not least for the ease of making it. I make this once a month, more often in winter, and the only thing that holds me back is the amount of buttah! But then, that’s what pound cakes are all about…putting on the pounds, huh? Have made many cakes, but this one is an all time winner. An oft used recipe from my well thumbed copy of Better Homes & Gardens – ‘All Time Favourite Cakes & Cookies Recipes’.The recipe is recorded in my mind, but I love to keep the book open for it’s charm. Old print, no glossy drop-dead gorgeous pictures…just good ole heart warming near sepia stuff. Adds to the homely feeling and comfort.

adapted from All Time Favourite Cakes & Cookie Recipes
from Better Homes & Gardens
200gms butter; room temperature
4 large eggs
1 cup granular sugar (or vanilla sugar)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbs instant coffee
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan. Drop in a few coffee beans if you like. They look nice when you turn out the cake.
Preheat oven to 175C.
Sift together the two flours flours, baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter & sugar well till light & fluffy.
Beat in eggs 1 by 1, beating well after each addition. (I sometimes beat them altogether)
Beat in essence and coffee, and continue beating till the coffee dissolves (1-2 minutes).
On low speed, beat in the flour, bit by bit, till well incorporated (4-5 goes). Fold in the chocolate chips.
Turn into prepared pan and bake for approx 1 hour / till done. (If top seems to be getting too brown, loosely cover top with foil until done.)
Leave in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn it out on rack to cool completely.

This cake is gorgeous served warm!

August was a happening month for me on the ‘BASIL’ front. I had loads of basil growing & it had been flowering like crazy. Still is and the leaves are beautiful & sweet smelling. I’ve been fortunate enough to share the seeds with a bunch of food bloggers across the length & breath of India. Have been keeping the mailman busy mailing seeds across to my ‘Basil Gang’ as I call them. Nothing like sharing seeds…

Among the lot have been Nags @ For the Cook in Me, Shaheen @ Purple Foodie, Ria @ Ria’s Collection, Aparna @ My Diverse Kitchen and Arundati @ Escapades. As Arundati wrote to me, “Your basil has gone places my dear girl. I have shared it with all my family & friends that if this was the revenue model of Amway, you’d have made a lot of money“… I love it. Makes me feel virtually very rich! A basil millionaire? I had to mail some seeds & some magazines that Ria wanted, and by chance asked her to scout around for vanilla beans down in South India, as I know they have orchards there. Little did I know what a booty was headed my way! She sourced this huge bag of vanilla beans, and mailed it to me. Am I over the moon? Oh yes, several times over! Take a look….I’ve also been spoilt silly with many gifts too which have kept the mailman even busier. In the parcel of vanilla beans from Ria were also gifts for me. Beautiful kercheifs that she and her mother made with crocheted lace. Also, in there were pretty blue & white kitchel towels. Loved them. Blue & white is my all time fave combination!

Dull thud! The postman chucked something over the gate! Yes, chucked! He does it often in a semi-inebriated state. He’s a funny man. Ooooh, a packet of Natural molasses sugar that Nags sent for me. Love it because this is something we don’t get here. Have always itched to get my hands on some. Then along comes another parcel. Stubby chilies from Arundati. She had been saving the seeds for me for as long as I could remember, & I was pleasantly surprised to receive them last week. (They have been duly planted,Arundati). In there too were some precious & beautiful handmade cloth-dolls, called Tsumnamikas.

“Tsunamika is a Tsunami related project of Auroville . Auroville is a universal city in the make in south-India, dedicated to human unity, and based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Auroville is actively involved in many Tsunami Relief projects in Tamil Nadu. Tsunamika is one of them.”

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