It is exceptionally bright today. It poured last night. The air is fresh and pure. The Sun is at its brilliant best. Our fish pond reflects the early morning Sun. A swarm of dragonflies is hovering around the pond. Some of them take a quick dip, causing ripples in the calm waters.

The weather is good, spirits high and a cake is being baked. Cranberry cake is in its last stages. I cover it with a foil lest the top will over brown leaving the cranberries burnt.

 The aroma of the cake is tempting.  

Nutmeg and lemon zest do the magic in this low fat cake. The flavours are intoxicating.
Later in the evening, we relish the cake with sugar free tea.

Cranberry Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon powdered nutmeg (adjust quantity according to your preference)
¾ cup to 1 cup powdered sugar (adjust sugar according to your taste)
3 tablespoons soft butter
1 egg
1 cup warm milk
1 cup dry sweetened cranberries
2 tablespoons orange or 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Grease and line one 7 ½ inches x 6 inches rectangle cake pan.
Whisk together first three ingredients in a large bowl.
Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Now add milk. The milk should be warm and not hot, or else it will curdle the egg.
Add flour mix in three batches. Mix well after each addition till you get a lump free batter.
Fold in cranberries and orange/lemon zest.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or till the cake turns brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven after 5 minutes. Cool in the rack. Slice next day or when completely cold.

The rhapsody of the rain continues to enthrall us. Landscape is verdant green, dotted with fresh and lush vegetation. Rain lilies have sprung up everywhere ….some pink and some yellow. 

Some wild flowers too have shown up, breaking the monotony of green. 

The colours and the greenery is soothing to the eyes as well as the soul.

We heard a bird’s call in the nearby tree and discovered a Great Barbet. It let out another call and glided away to another tree.

Some overripe bananas in our kitchen were beginning to fall off the bunch. A bookmarked recipe of a yeasted bread with bananas was waiting to happen and this was the right time to go ahead with it.
 I have baked this bread twice. 

 I incorporated whole wheat flour in the recipe, thus making it 50% whole grain bread. The bread is soft and moist with a very subtle- almost imperceptible flavour of banana. The bread has a wonderful balance of sweetness and salt.

50% Wholegrain Yeasted Banana Sandwich Bread
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 ¼ teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 medium size ripe banana (mashed)
1 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter
¼ to ½ cup warm water
Whisk together first three ingredients in a large bowl. Add melted butter and whisk well.
Mix together warm milk, banana and honey.
In a separate bowl, mix yeast and 3-4 tablespoons of warm water. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Yeast will turn frothy. Add yeast to milk mix.
Add this to the flour mix and knead. Keep adding warm water while kneading. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes till you a get a really soft and supple dough.
Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover and keep for 1 hour or till it doubles.
Transfer the dough to a floured counter and shape into a log. Place it in a greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan. Cover with a kitchen cloth and leave it to rise for 1 hour or till it crests above the rim of the pan.
Bake in a preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or till it turns golden from the top and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, cover with a foil.
Remove from the pan after 10 minutes. Cool in the rack.
Slice next day.

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