My own experiences in the past have been fairly bitter. I battled to get through my replacement driving license for the lost one. My husband made several trips to the driving license offices going through those repetitive tests with the same officers, each time being refused to have cleared the test for lame excuses! He made it through the test finally by trailing a middleman by overpaying handsome charges for licenses and the bribe. A painful woe. We never got around to getting the ration card done, hence we have no subsidized gas connection. The saving grace is our local supplier from whom we buy cylinders at exorbitant prices. And so we've been carrying on that way for long.
On Thursday, last week when I took a day off from my work to get my passport renewed, I went to their offices with little hopes, or rather being optimistic about doing several rounds of visits to process my renewal. My preparedness was to witness the worst; a futile day, those chaotic queues, stampede of crowd running around like headless chicken from tables to tables into the noisy, rude officers, papers strewn all over, long waiting hours or to be even being sent back for more documents and paper work, almost admonishing the fact our government processes would ever change for good. Pocket full of cash in dire needs to fulfil any greedy officer and be my saving grace, I made my way well in time to the passport office.
Though managing a huge crowd is always a huge challenge I agree to, I was pleasantly surprised with the way the entire process was revamped to make it systematic and defined. Here I was mighty pleased that I conquered one such a battle, with no pleading, no bribing and fairly efficiently managed system that was automated and smooth, all conducted within 2 hours! 5 days post I have my passport in hand and that's a huge relief. Yes, I am all happy and elated the way it has been processed swiftly. My recent past experiences, be it getting the UIDAI or my passport have been pleasant one to say, though not entirely easy, yet it gives many hopes that our country is changing for good.
For the day I took off from work, and the day I had at hand all for myself, what best can a baker do other than bake a lovely cake to celebrate something that ended positively? Yes, I cooked up a storm in the kitchen and this Apple Raisin Cake was a result of one such celebration.
Apple Raisin Cake
1 medium sized apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
A generous pinch of spice powder (cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg powders)
1 cup powdered sugar (adjust as required)
2 tbsp. dry raisins
¼ cup salted butter, melted
1 cup yogurt / buttermilk
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. Line a 9 inch baking tin or a fluted cake pan.
To prepare the cake batter, combine the flour, the baking powder and soda along with the spice powder and sieve them together. Add the sugar to this and mix well. Add in the chopped apples and raisins to these dry ingredients and toss well.
In a separate bowl, stir in all the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir using a wooden spoon. Pour the batter to prepared cake tin. Bake in a preheated oven for 40-50 mins at 180 degrees C till a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.