June is the month for mangoes and mango eating. My grandfather would say that we should eat nothing but mangoes during this season, accompanied by glasses of milk. Eww...I can't handle the milk part. But mangoes! Green mango rice with ground mustard and green chillies, mango panna with cardamom and jaggery, mango lassi, mango sasimi, mango kulfi, mango rasayana with fresh coconut, mango gojju...
My mother's family adore the early Raspuris (first to come and first to leave), my father likes Malgoas, Konarak will not be without his Banganpallis (dat old Andhra blood) and our daughter thinks the sun rises and sets with Alphonsoes. But we try not to argue (it's bad enough playing Pictionary in this family) and just get all the mangoes we can and eat them through the season.
We collected two sacks full of huge mangoes from the farm this year. They are perhaps a cross between Raspuri and Badami. Many other plants came to fruit this season as well and the farm was a rhapsody in green. The lemon tree from Arunachal Pradesh that Minam brought to plant at Laddu's grave. The rosemary was in full bloom, perfuming jeans and dogs and anything else that brushed against it. But there were also pomegranates, mosambis, sapotas, papayas, guavas, passion fruit. And my first ever precious avocado! The muse of future salads, guacamoles and prawn cocktails.
Lemon Tree from Arunachal Pradesh
Passionfruit (captured before the cows eat them off the fence)
At least I think they're Mosambis
My Solitary Avocado
I had so many mangoes at one point that I made a quart of mango ice cream that is serving us well. But the season's hit has been our Ground Coffee Bean and Walnut Cake. On a rainy afternoon, nothing hit the spot quite like a warm slice of this pretty, speckled brown cake with toasty flecks of walnut. I was also aided in pleasure and delight by a book I ask that you all read - "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver, Steven.L.Hopp & Camille Kingsolver http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/
It has inspired me to:
- Shop for local vegetables and ignore those Dragon Fruits and artichokes that I strictly do not need
- Try and grow more edible produce (how hard can it be to grow a tomato?)
- Make mozzarella at home
- Be determined to raise some chickens (only for eggs, I'm not that brave) before the year is out
- Try to shop at Foodworld less
- Be aware of indigenous produce/ products (see www.vanastree.org/)
Now to the cake...
The beans I used are from Rainforest Retreat in Coorg. http://www.rainforestours.com/ In the spirit of the season and of cooking, I share the recipe with you! Note: The ground beans add a mild crunch to the cake.
Ground Coffee Bean & Walnut Cake
8 oz Whole wheat flour
8 oz Sugar or jaggery
8 oz Butter
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons Ground Coffee Beans
100 grams Walnuts broken into small pieces
1-2 tablespoons curd (you may or may not need this)
Whip together the butter and sugar/jaggery till light and fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, adding a little flour mix each time. Keep beating well till all the eggs and flour are done. Stir in the ground beans and the walnuts. If the mixture is too thick, add a little curd till you have a nice batter. Pour into a greased and floured tin and bake at 250 degrees centigrade until it has risen and a toothpick dipped in the centre comes out clean (about 25-30 minutes). Leave to cool. Or don't! My daughter likes this cake fresh from the oven with a mug of milk on the side. (She doesn't have her mother's problem with milk) Tell me how you'd like it?