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On an Easter Monday I wrote

Carrot Bread

Come to me and I will whisper secrets in your ears.

Walk with me and I will let you see where I live.

Listen to me and I will let you hear how I laugh.

Open to me and I will show you a surprise.

Tell me your worries and I will soothe you to be calm.

Hush, my love!

Take me not at face, for I run deeper than you perceive.

- Asha

These are the words that would come to me on a rainy day, huddled around a candle that shows off the sparkle in the eyes and the glint of suspended laughter while the sky breaks outside.

These are words that come to me after a weekend spent in the nation's capital - Washington DC.

Rain drops on the window

At first glimpse, you probably thought this was a love note. It could be. It is also to me what the capital of 'power stands for, shifting sands, changing faces, emerging trends, whispered promises, vibrant laughter at unexpected quarters.

So, yes that is what I did over the Easter weekend. Took a bus down. Sans camera. Walked around the capital. Sans camera. Visited a Smithsonian museum. Sans camera. Dined and libated very well. Sans camera. Throughly enjoyed. Sans camera. Oh! I made memories. Sans camera.

As I was packing on Saturday morning for a bus leaving an hour, I spent 15 minutes wrestling with myself on the subject of bringing my camera with me. The advantages were obvious - great shots of a new city and new experiences, another catalog to add to the book on how I lived and yes, I will feel normal, like me. I am always capturing the moment, so to speak. It only made sense I should continue to do so! Yet, yet, there was a part of me that simply did not want to. A part that harkened back to the good old days of walking into something new without worrying about how to record it for posterity, the part that brings back rich memories imprinted in my mind at whim, the part that languishes as my camera has become my bff, the part that had had simply enough. So, in the end, I made a conscious choice of leaving the big camera behind and if need be, use my phone camera.

Simply the best decision ever!

Jefferson Library
Capitol Hill
Union Station DC

Not only, did I not have to carry a whole other bag that was camera friendly, but I found that I was simply more in the moment. Instead of spending my time viewing through the lens and composing shots every step I took and in the process, half-ignoring all other stimuli and the company, I was watching, listening, absorbing.. Ahem, being normal! Instead of shooting every glass, plate and whatever else was put in front me, I turned to my neighbor at the bar and had a chat. I had a blast!

I loved the freedom of not picture perfecting my break.. :)

So, my impressions of the city. It is one in transition. The food scene seems to be just breaking. As is the coffee scene. Staying close to the Hill was good for tourism and museum hunting but not so great for life. That I found in DuPont circle and the area. I may be forgiven for drawing comparisons to Boston and New York but that part of DC reminded me of both cities in parts. It also helped that we had some really tasty bites and the best coffee in DC here!

Oh! and the awesomest thing about DC is that it is much cheaper than NYC. If you hunt around and prepare, you can find nuggets of gold, in whatever your choice of poison, at prices far lower than NYC or Boston standards. People are amazingly friendly, open and chatty, but not everywhere. Bobby Van's in Downtown is a miss, Old Ebbitt Grill by the Treasury (of all places) is a vibrant bar with awesome food, amazing bartender (Joe) and a completely unpretentious atmosphere. José Andrés rocks! His concept bar, bar mini, is amazing. Do not miss! And ask for Carly. She is fun, quirky, CIA grad and amazing mixologist. Also, settle for a few hours there. Totally worth it! Oh, and get the foieffle. If that is the last bite of your life, you will die happy!

I took a sparing few photos, of my trip to DC on the phone, that I have shared here.

Carrot Bread
Carrot bread with brandied fruits

And, now, because we started this post with the romantic image of a rainy day, let us finish with that.

Nothing beats baking on a day when you are forced to stay indoors. of course, you can get through that backlog of work, writing, editing, proofing, thinking, reading, etc. But baking is more fun, more fulfilling, more sparkling and laughter enabling. Trust me! I have a lot of experience in this.

Also, I love the light on rain days. They make amazing shoots. Case in point.

I was meant to share this pre-Easter but well, things got away and this is going to be your weekend brunch or weekday dessert. Make it any day. You will be happy and nothing wrong with a treasure hunt on a normal day. Break it up. Make Carrot Bread. With brandied fruits. Don't skip the brandy. It is perfect for the rainy day.

This carrot bread is like any other quick bread. If you have a recipe for a zucchini or banana bread that you love, simply use that. That is what I did. If you don't I have one here just for you. As it is a little denser than cake, I would not recommend simply baking in a round tin and calling it cake. It won't work.

Cracked Eggs

Part 2 of this recipe, involves more baking and will be telecast in another episode. Until then, as the days warm up, lets just make sweet breads and call it a day, shall we?!

Happy week! xx

Whole Wheat Carrot Bread

{makes 1 five inch loaf}

Carrot Bread

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 medium carrots, grated

1 tsp grated nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

5 T butter

1/4 cup whole milk or almond milk

1/2 cup raw sugar, ground + 2 tsp to sprinkle on top

3 T brandied fruits (I used raisins and cranberries)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Melt together the butter and sugar and set aside to cool.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.

Whisk in an egg to the cooled butter mixture and add the milk. Pour mixture to the dry ingredients to create a batter.

Fold in the carrots and brandied fruits. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top.

Pour batter into a lined loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until browned and springy to touch.

Cool on rack for 15 minutes before slicing.

Serve with honey, more brandied fruits and chopped fresh fruit or creme fraiche.


Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK