The sky is azure and cloudless. It rained heavily a day ago. We are in the fields and the Sun is pleasantly warm. Birds and bees are at work. There are a million wild flowers around. Butterflies are flitting from flower to flower. Most of them are hovering around Lantana flowers. The amalgamation of nippy air and warm Sun is lassitude inducing, the ambiance is heavenly. 

We spot a large number of butterflies.

 The colours, the hues and the patterns on their wings fascinate us.

For evening, a special pull apart bread is being planned.  I decide on baking a cluster of tiny bread rolls in a regular loaf tin. 

The bread rises, so does our excitement. As the bread browns, our home is flooded with the lovely aroma and   garlic and herb cluster bread is ready for dinner. This is the basic recipe for garlic and herb bread. You may also shape it as a regular loaf.

Garlic and Herb Pull Apart Cluster Bread | Garlic and Herb Pull Apart Bread
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons milk powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dry herbs (mix of oregano, thyme, rosemary)
5 to 6 buds of garlic (minced)
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
¼ cup boiled and mashed potato
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter for dough + 4 tablespoons more
2/3 cup warm milk
¼ to ½ cup warm water.
Mix together milk, yeast, sugar, butter and mashed potato.
Whisk together first five ingredients.  Make a well in the center. Pour liquid ingredients. Mix with hands to get a shaggy dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes or till dough becomes smooth. Keep adding water till you get a smooth and elastic dough. Cover and let dough rest for 20 minutes.
Grease one 4 ½  x 8 ½   inch bread pan.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a bowl.
Pinch dough into walnut size balls. Roll between palms to get a round ball. Dip the balls in the butter and start arranging dough balls in the pan. Once the base layer is done, start second layer and so on. Each layer should have less dough balls than the previous layer. Try to arrange dough balls evenly so that you get a pyramid shape in the end.  Cover and keep in a warm place for 1 ½ hour or till bread crests above the rim of the pan.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 40 to 45 minutes or till the top turns brown and the tin sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom.
Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

Autumn is adding more and more colour to the landscape.  

A cart loaded with fresh red apples passing by our lane was stopped. We chose to pick the fruit and the vendor allowed us to do it without any signs of uneasiness as we examined the lot and gathered the seemingly best apples. We applauded his generosity as he smiled accepting money and carrying on further.

 Kids loved snacking on them. I saved some for baking a cake. Incorporating fresh fruits in the cake gives a good feeling. Cake gets a great texture and the recipe feels healthy too. Having baked and enjoyed whole wheat apple cake and easy apple cake earlier, an egg less version was in mind.  I grated a large apple and added to the batter. Since apples do not have any distinct flavour, I added vanilla essence. Cinnamon would also give a great flavour.

Egg less Apple Snack Cake


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (Atta)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup sugar (powdered)
  • ½ cup thick curd
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 medium size apple grated

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line and grease one 8 inch round cake pan. Dust the sides with flour.
  2. Whisk together first five ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix curd and sugar. Add oil and vanilla essence. Stir until smooth mixture forms. Add grated apple.
  4. Add dry ingredients. Stir till well combined. The batter should be of dropping consistency. If your batter is thick, add 1 -2 tablespoons of water.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 -45minutes till the top turns golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven after 10 minutes. Cool on the rack. Slice next day.


 It is early morning.  The air is nippy. Pole star dazzles with all brilliance in the east. It appears above the banyan tree that is presumable 100 years old and its   silhouette seem to be dancing as a strong breeze tosses its boughs. I have grown up watching this wonderful spectacle from our window almost every day without fail. Soon the dawn breaks in the hues of ochre that transform into undertones of pink and finally orange as the Sun peeps from behind the hills. The wheel of time moves on. The tranquility of the early morning is broken by the sound of the vehicles that start racing on the road, roaring and screeching madly for no apparent reason.

A  butterfly glides past Clerodendron vine.

 Autumn is the season of butterflies. 

There are many more in our backyard hovering around wild flowers. We spend some time in comforting warmth of the morning Sun till the timer of oven goes and we get the aroma of chocolate marble cake that has risen beautifully.

The cake has a great texture. It is chocolaty, moist and delicious. Makes an excellent dessert cake with ice cream or chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Marble Cake (Vegan) | Egg less Chocolate Marble Cake

Chocolate Batter
1 ½ cups All-Purpose flour
1 cup sugar (powdered)
¼ cup cocoa (pass cocoa through a sieve to remove the lumps if any)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coffee powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup warm water

Vanilla Batter

1 ¾ cups All-Purpose flour
1 cup sugar (powdered)
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup warm water


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line the bottom and sides of one 8 inch round cake pan.
Prepare the batters in two different pans.
Whisk together all the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the center of the pan. Pour vanilla essence, oil, water and vinegar.
Stir everything with a fork until the ingredients are well blended.
Pour the batter alternately  into the prepared cake pan starting with vanilla batter in four rounds.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
Remove from the oven after 5 minutes. Remove from the pan after another 5 minutes. Cool in the rack.
Slice next day or even later. The cake slices well and the flavours develop fully.
Serve with ice cream or chocolate sauce as dessert.

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