Little A started Kindergarten last week and I was one petrified mom whole of last few months running errands finding a nursery he’ll be comfortable attending to start with. Not to mention we have hit a new milestone in our house. For the first time he will ride in the bus to nursery and will stay hours away from me. The thought of all this would leave me frozen at times having all sorts of weird imaginations how he will be able to cope up with all of this at once! And then we found ourselves excitedly shopping for bags, bottles, tiffin boxes, school shoes and other accessories more than I would have ever fancied. When the first day of Kindergarten finally arrived, I expected him to throw temper tantrums, spread his arms and come running back to me as his teacher would hold his hands and begin to take him to the class. To my surprise it only remained as a nightmare not coming into reality. Touchwood. He waved me goodbye and went to the class happily. After an hour he came to me with a cheerful smile while all that his teacher kept saying was that I don’t need to come to drop him off from the next day. Believe me all the feelings that erupted with her words were all new to me. No drama here. He is more excited to start this new phase of life more than I had anticipated – attend the class, meet friends and travel “on his own” in a school van.
I think what made him feel secure and regress less about our decision is that we spoke to Little A about his nursery, new friends that he’ll meet in the class and showed him around the premises on several occasions. Moreover, he always loved being around people; so that helped too.
There wouldn’t be chaos around the house, no constant requests for snacks and continuous running about everywhere. Atleast for few hours. 4 to be precise. I thought I am ready to enjoy some peace, listen to soothing music on my favorite couch, take a nap, go shopping with my girlfriends or spend those free hours reading and blogging. But you know what, nothing of this sort happens. My complimentary hours go in cooking, cleaning and organizing the house which again is all shuffled by the end of the day. What the hell is wrong with me?!
And a worry of “what to pack for the tiffin box tomorrow?” has now permanently stuck in my life. This quest led me to bake this beautifully scented Orange and Blueberry loaf cake for his tiffin box, our breakfast and the leftovers served us a fitting evening snack with tea. I’d also happily bake this for our next picnic/road trip too. It’s quite versatile and easy to make as well as a great crowd pleaser. Since I was making for Little A’s tiffin I thought it would be a great idea for us to bake together. He helped me in mixing the ingredients which really is any child’s job as you don’t want to overmix the batter because it may then turn the loaf hard. Best part is you don’t need a food processor or a hand blender. Spatula or wooden spoon works just fine. I kept the ingredients ready and Little A kept pouring them on my instructions while also stirring with a whisk and voila! it all came together within a matter of minutes except for baking in the oven.
Orange Blueberry loaf is a perfect blend of sweet citrusy flavors and is bursting with tart blueberry oomph. What more if I say it is super moist too! It’s hands down one of my sheer favorites and will soon become yours too. I found this bread to taste much better the next day as flavors blended and rested well but also will kick you off the jolt if you were to have it on the same day itself.
This recipe is adapted from Sally’s recipe of Orange glazed cranberry bread. She mentions in her post that using buttermilk is mandatory for this recipe and I can assure you why it is rightly so. It kept the bread moist for several days and since I also wanted to infuse more of orange flavors I cut down on buttermilk by half and compensated by adding orange juice that gave more citrusy zing that I was looking for. And I used blueberries instead of cranberries because that was readily available in my refrigerator. Eid was about a couple of months ago, so my pantry is still stocked with neatly sliced and dried nuts which came to an added advantage to this recipe.
Recipe for Orange and Blueberry Loaf Cake.
(adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
- All purpose flour – 2 cups
- Baking Soda – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Buttermilk – 1/2 cup
- Fresh Orange Juice – 1/2 cup
- Canola/any flavorless cooking oil – 1/2 cup
- Egg – 1 large, at room temperature
- Brown Sugar – 1/2 cup
- White Granulated Sugar – 1/2 cup
- Blueberries – 1 cup
- Vanilla Extract – 1tsp
- Orange Zest – 2 tsps
- Sliced dried nuts (Pistachio, Almond and Cashews) – 1/4 cup (optional).
Preheat oven to 180 Degrees Celcius and line the loaf pan with parchment paper that falls from the two long sides so it is easier to pull the loaf out from the pan. In a large bowl sift flour, salt and baking soda. Toss in the same bowl blueberries and dried nuts. Keep aside. In another bowl whisk together egg, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well combined, making sure there are no lumps. Add buttermilk, orange juice, oil, vanilla extract and orange zest. Give a stir. Slowly pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and gently whisk until everything is well incorporated. Do not overmix at this stage as it will turn the loaf hard. Pour the batter in the prepared loaf pan and bake for around 45 mins to 1 hour. Mine got done in exactly 50 mins. Insert a toothpick at the centre of the bread, if it comes out clean then the loaf is done. Allow the loaf to cool on wire rack completely before slicing them into pieces.