durban

A snowballs chance in hell…..

Yudhika Sujanani prepares Snowballs - another trip down memory lane!

Yudhika Sujanani prepares Snowballs – another trip down memory lane!

When I chat to people from my hometown, we inevitably end up time travelling through reminiscing about our childhood treats. The were wealthy families and poor ones too, but the one thing that they had in common was a love for all things delicious. Some of us look back and for sure, we feel like we were deprived of so much but we also take note of the things we had then that our kids will never experience…and childhood friendships are the first thing that come to mind. I don’t feel so bad about having so much less than most people did…it was just my perception at the time and without my so-called hand, my life could have turned out differently….but thinking back on those days, there was an unspoken reality that most of us from Isipingo faced…so many talented people thinking….I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell!

Without money, a troubled secondary education or a chance at tertiary education, there was a sense of hopelessness that hung over the town like an unspoken destiny. It was only much later that I realized that we never actually needed to leave to make it…growing up in Isipingo taught us the lessons we needed to succeed. It frustrated some to the point that they became the most driven people who have succeeded not only in South Africa but abroad too….a few names that pop into my mind…Nanda Soobben, the political cartoonist, and a missile aerodynamicist who’s name I care not to mention! That’s a story for another day….but the children of Isipingo made it to the big time….Doctor’s lawyers and accountants…not to mention entrepreneurs…the common thread amongst us was that we learnt to hustle! We did after all have a chance in hell, we just didn’t know it at the time!

People who left South Africa to holiday were celebrities and those who left to study abroad had super stardom status….hardly anyone ever got out so it was really newsworthy! We grew up in a time when we went to the Old Louis Botha airport to bid farewell to a person going on holiday. I can still remember my uncle leaving to London and my mom wearing her best silk sari to the airport. She pulled out an old leather suitcase from under the bed and in it was a treasure trove of saris…they smelled almost religious to me, with a faint hint of incense…also they were old which reminded me of how little she had and how much she treasured her little stash of silks. I remember burying my face in the pleats and pissing her off, but she had no idea then that the scent of her would live in my memory forever! She had incredibly long hair and she pulled it into a ponytail and in seconds almost like a magic trick, she coiled it into a fashionable bun…it was my job to pass her the hairpins and she got really irritated when I was a bit slow from day dreaming. How many of you remember this ritual….the sari, the makeup, the bun and lastly….the hairspray that made us choke….and then of course, she would cover her hair with a handkerchief to control the fine, wispy strays!

These were the days before new age cakes and baking…no red velvet cakes and croissants or chocolate ganache anything! Wareings Bakery was a name that every kid knew…they made pies, mock cream doughnuts and the amazing snowball too. On a school sports day, each kid got a doughnut or sometimes a snowball with a Coo-ee to go with it…it was tradition and something our kids will never experience! Snowballs and doughnuts from the corner shops around Isipingo were incredibly popular…Uncle Goolam from the Curry Tray, or Colleen’s Tearoom across the road from the Isipingo Beach Library or Jeena’s in Isipingo Hills…or the Busy Bee on Old Main Road…they displayed the doughnuts and snowballs on the counter, sometimes behind glass, but always on newsprint! They were fresh and delicious and we never tired of them! Anyone knows what happened to Wareings? I haven’t spotted their stuff in years and why is it so hard to find a good snowball???

After numerous requests, I finally got around to making up a batch…there is always some hesitation around a recipe that isn’t just a recipe…it’s so much more than that! It’s a memory of a time that life was a lot simpler, friendships were real, and no one real cared if you got the snowball coconut all over the back seat of the car! For some that don’t know what a snowball is, I can best describe it as a delicious whoopie pie, sandwiched together with an icing paste, dunked in a syrup and then rolled in tinted coconut! Keep them in an airtight biscuit tin for a day or so….if they last that long! I got the kids to help with weighing, measuring and coconut tinting, snowball syrup dunking too so click here to watch the clips…https://youtu.be/GgCqH2GL35s and here for how my kitchen helpers, Rushil and Tanvi, finished up their task so watch for their theatrical ending in this clip, https://youtu.be/vn8KBCAiGmQ

Lastly, I dedicate this recipe to all those ‘Snowballs’ from Isipingo!

Snowballs

Makes 10 – 12

Ingredients

400ml desiccated coconut
Few drops pink colouring

140g butter
125ml sugar
2 large eggs
5ml vanilla essence
375ml self-raising flour
Pinch of salt

For sandwiching the cakes…
200ml icing sugar
20ml boiled water

For the syrup…
120ml sugar
120ml water
150ml smooth apricot
7ml red food colouring

Place the desiccated coconut in a mixing and add few drops of pink food colouring. Rub the colouring into the coconut to tint the coconut until evenly coloured.

Kitchen assistant on coconut duty...Tanvi Sujanani on the job!

Kitchen assistant on coconut duty…Tanvi Sujanani on the job!

Cream the butter until light and fluffy, then gradually add the sugar.
Continue creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Whisk the eggs lightly then gradually add this to the creamed butter, add a 2 teaspoons flour with the eggs to prevent curdling.
Add the salt and vanilla essence.
Add the flour and work the mixture into a soft dough.
Divide the dough into portions – I weighed them into 25g balls.

Snowballs...ready for the oven!

Snowballs…ready for the oven!

Roll each one until smooth and place on a baking tray lined with greased paper.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170°C for 12 – 15 minutes. They should be pale in colour with the bases turning light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Just out the oven....

Just out the oven….

Make the syrup – heat the sugar and water in a 24cm AMC pot. Bring the syrup to the boil once the sugar has dissolved. Add the apricot jam and simmer until the syrup is slightly thick – not too thick as it will prevent the syrup from penetrating the snowball. Tint the syrup with red food colouring.

Snowball syrup made with sugar, water and apricot jam...in an AMC Cookware unit!

Snowball syrup made with sugar, water and apricot jam…in an AMC Cookware unit!

Once the snowballs are cool, mix the icing sugar and boiled water into a thick, smooth paste, then sandwich the snowballs together.

Glueing the snowballs together!

Glueing the snowballs together!

Sandwiching the snowballs....

Sandwiching the snowballs….

Leave to harden slightly – this takes a minute or two, then dip the snowballs into the hot syrup and toss them a few times to make sure they are coated. I used tongs for this as the syrup was quite warm.

Place them into the coconut and toss to coat evenly.

Pretty in pink...the snowball  done and dusted!

Pretty in pink…the snowball done and dusted!

Dust off the excess coconut and place on baking paper.

These are delicious eaten fresh but may be stored for up to two days.

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Hitting the Jack Pot….

Yudhika Sujanani photographed by Ben Skinner, Make Up by Arwen Swan, Dress by Arwen Garmentry

Yudhika Sujanani photographed by Ben Skinner, Make Up by Arwen Swan, Dress by Arwen Garmentry

Yasantha Naidoo from the Sunday Times asked if I would write a column about a childhood memory….it’s no secret, I have not lived a charmed life…well not always anyway. Memories of those years came flooding back. It was a tough article to write but it was necessary. This is not by any means a name and shame blog…it’s about me, my hurt, my experiences and how all of this has shaped me. While discussing this column over the phone (she is based in Durban, you see), I shared this story with her and now, I will share it with you….

The Summer of 1986…Cindi Lauper’s ‘True Colours’ was blasting on the radio, and even when it wasn’t the song stuck in my head like an ear worm. I arrived home from school to find our possessions tossed carelessly on the driveway. The rent had not been paid again. Armed with black rubbish bags and cardboard boxes, we began to pack up our possessions. Neighbours and family arrived, not to help but to stare at our misfortune which was placed under the community microscope.

The Driveway....the spot where my family broke forever - Yudhika 9 years old

The Driveway….the spot where my family broke forever – Yudhika 9 years old

As the sun began to fade, the dread set in, the beady eyed scavengers appeared, looking greedily for the spoils of eviction. We spent the night at my aunt’s house and returned the next day to find people ‘shopping’ though our possessions. Cutlery, crockery, appliances, and even clothing. But there was something that was taken from my mom that tormented me for years….Her Breyani Pot! She bought it at a party and got a tongue lashing for doing so. After a lengthy period of scrimping and saving to pay for the pot, it arrived one day in a box so large that it was surely going to start-up another wave of grumbling and tirades. My dad insisted that the pot would be used to prepare a celebratory meal at this funeral.

The Breyani pot found a new home – it was hijacked by an aunt and it stood proudly in her kitchen. It was never spoken off and became the invisible cookware unit. Whenever her friends commented on it, I would feel my blood pressure rising. The pot stood on her counter. It mocked and taunted me to say something and every time I saw it, memories of the day we lost our home and my family broke flooded back. In those days, you were allowed to cry if you were bleeding. You were allowed to cry if your parents were around to protect you….I was without both so I cried on the inside. I cried silently for my mom, my family, my home and the protection that a united family had to offer. The aunt would also dish out a few ‘klaps’ (she didn’t do it with my other cousins, it was just me and sometimes my brother) and it made me feel ashamed of having a broken home. For the record, the aunt’s Breyani never tasted good and it probably never will! For my really fabulous lamb breyani recipe, click here: https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/07/26/ready-set-spice-feast-of-eid/

Everyone in our community knew about the eviction, it was not the first time it happened. My brother and I were the black sheep of the family. We were often ridiculed and mocked – family members were the harshest and I often wondered why. It made no sense to me then and it still doesn’t. I don’t regret it, not in the least – it was the constant driver in my life and pushed me to achieve the goals I had set.

I got married in 1999 (round number one) and expected my aunt to arrive with the pot. She arrived with a set of cheapies she purchased at Hyperama for R300. It finally hit home, the pot would never be returned and it would never be returned. It was no longer our family heirloom…it would be a part of someone else’s legacy and not mine. My mom’s most extravagant purchase, the highlight of her shopping career was lost forever. It symbolized so much – my mom, her journey in life, the hand she was dealt and the struggle she faced.

My AMC Breyani Pot - bigger and better

My AMC Breyani Pot – bigger and better

After years of mourning my emotional losses and material ones, I hit the ‘jackpot’ (no pun intended) in 2011 when I was appointed the AMC brand ambassador. I work with a great team or should I call it a family? Chris Koekemoer (the boss), Kaye Cox and Nariman Arnold (my other bosses) have been a delight to work with. I was gifted with every cookware unit I could wish for – big, small, short, tall, electric and even custom ones made especially for me. It’s really remarkable, that a beautiful team working together at a company in Cape Town, have healed my childhood aches by sharing more love and good cheer than I could have wished for.

Win this AMC Paella Pot by posting a comment and sharing your thoughts on this blog!

Win this AMC Paella Pot by posting a comment and sharing your thoughts on this blog!

I would love to share my AMC love with you. One lucky reader will win this AMC paella pan worth over R3000. You too could win the AMC jackpot like I did….post a comment on this blog and give me some feedback. Maybe it will make a difference to you or someone you know….maybe it will give someone a little hope to keep fighting the fight. Most importantly, let’s talk about it, let’s talk about you!!!!

My mom and I still chat about it but no longer with a heavy heart. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry but we will never forget the 14th February 1986. I grew up a fighter, promising myself that I would make it and I did just that!

I will continue on my cooking adventures with this motto tattooed on my heart, AMC – ‘Cookware for Life’. Thanks to the AMC team for taking away my childhood heartache!

*Competition closes: 15 December 2013
South African entries only. Please supply your email address to ensure that the winner can be notified. If the prize is not claimed within 14 days, a new winner will be drawn.