Last week, our part of the hills received the heaviest snowfall of the season. When we got the news of snowfall, we decided to take our kids out for a “white picnic”. Since we are home schooling our kids, we take them out every weekend to nearby places, farms and hill stations for long walks and picnics that are enjoyable, fun and educative.
Having decided to go to the hills the next day, I wanted to make something simple and filling. With a zucchini and few oranges lying in the kitchen, we baked zucchini and orange marmalade tea cake.
We had travelled barely five kilometres from Bhowali towards Mukteshwar; the Earth had donned a blanket of white, soft, virgin snow. There was snow on the slopes, on trees, on rooftops and the white splendour spread as far as the eyes could reach. The branches of the trees were creaking under the weight of snow and crashing down. It was spellbinding.
Kids made a huge snow man and played to their heart's content.
On our way back, we parked our car on the road and walked to the Organic tea factory which is 500m off the road. Freshly pruned tea bushes stood on the carpet of snow against the backdrop of a forest. A huge bunch of Daffodils stood in a corner of tea garden and wisps of clouds were gliding past the valley. I am sure, William Wordsworth must have penned down my favourite poem Daffodils in some similar settings, as the opening lines of the poem says-
I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden Daffodils-
The beauty of valley clad in white was mesmerising. It was peaceful and tranquil. It was a comforting silence that nourishes the soul and calmness that soothes the mind. We were savouring the beauty and serenity undisturbed……
For me, the trip was great as I spotted some rare Himalayan birds that added to my list of birds for the Great Backyard Bird Counting week (Feb 15 to 18).
We stopped at a small tea shop in the village and had zucchini orange bread and sandwiches with steaming ginger tea. It was an outing to remember.
|ON WAY TO MUKTESHWAR|
|TEA BUSHES IN CARPET OF SNOW|
|GREY WINGED BLACK BIRD|
|RUFOUS SIBIA (BLACK CAPPED SIBIA)|
Zucchini And Orange Marmalade Tea Cake
- Grease and line a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.
- Sieve together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Beat eggs and sugar until light and frothy. Add oil and marmalade and mix well. Add grated zucchini.
- Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Stir in walnuts and candied peels. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
- Bake for 60 – 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Slice when cold.