Ode To Abu

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Baker Brigade - Divya Ninan-Eapen

Divya Ninan-Eapen

Divya Ninan-Eapen in her own words: “I grew up in the Nilgiris. At the hillstation, I watched my mum bake cakes for kids who were celebrating their birthdays. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t the least bit interested when it came to cooking. Necessity post marriage got me into cooking, and more so into baking.” 
Spinach Feta Twist Bread
“I soon realized I loved baking bread, both sweet and savoury. And I realized I wanted to do a food blog to record all my recipes and probably help someone like me. That is how Tangerine's Kitchen, my 4 year old space came into being. The space features more of baking recipes, most of which are either handed down the generations or inspired from books et al.”

Buttery Garlicky Flaky Mini Bread Rolls

Professionally, Divya designs Indian textiles under the brand name 'Rachel'. The store specializes in handpainted textiles. As a visitor to her FB page one fine day, I was surprised to discover I was one of the winners for a voucher from Divya's boutique. She invited me over to browse through her collections, and I am yet to take her up on that offer. There was further incentive thrown in when she generously offered to bake some favourites as accompaniments to the chit-chat along with the personalized shopping experience. Post the showcase, I wonder if this will remain a distant dream!

Thanks to Divya's FB page, I did not have to caption most of her pics. Also could not resist adding so many of them for obvious reasons. As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words, so we shall let them do all the talking on this piece. Its even more appropriate considering Divya is a woman of few words!

What she does say, however, is that baking is a huge destresser. For her, a surefire method for beating stress is kneading bread. Just check out the end result - Wow! This baker sure packs a punch within her slight frame.

Sunflower & Sesame Seed Bread

Participating and winning in the Bake for Sandy's contest organised by the Home Bakers Guild got Divya seriously thinking about baking. And not just for family or friends as she was used to, but also for people who love traditional, typical home-baked goods. Her entries at the contest were unique in that aspect. She made Lamingtons and Lemon Blueberry Yoghurt Cake, which blew everyone's minds for their simple, wholesome taste of freshly baked yumminess. For a whole month, she retailed the Lamingtons at Ox & Tomato while Fresca housed the Lemon Blueberry Yoghurt Cake, where it was paired with fresh fruit and artistically plated.

No-bake Lemon Cheesecake

Divya is enjoying baking even more now and is naturally excited to be a part of the 3rd Baker Showcase. Her specialties such as braided breads and glazed orange and ginger loaves will be the main attraction at her table.

Ask about future plans and she says, "My dream all along has been to own an old cottage-style store for my textiles, with a quaint little cafe attached to it." She says the cottage would specifically have to resemble the ones in the Nilgiris. Now here's a woman whose heart belongs to the hills alright! The dreams she weaves, into the beautiful clothes she designs as well, coupled with photos of her wholesome, home-style bakes and breads almost magically transport me to another place. Oh, for a whiff of that cool, fresh and misty mountain air, and the soothing sight of pretty, flowery gardens and lush green meadows! 

Something about Divya's pictures and choice of baked marvels takes me back to childhood days. Curling up with an Enid Blyton book and tucking into apple strudel and caramel tarts, and munching on peanut butter cookies sound like the perfect way to take a trip down memory lane. Think I'll stock up at the Showcase, and spend my weekend indulging (in more ways than one) in some wistful thinking.

Peanut Butter Cookies

 Tangerine Kitchen's FB page

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