“I suddenly remember being very little and being embraced by my father. I would try to put my arms around my father’s waist, hug him back. I could never reach the whole way around the equator of his body; he was that much larger than life. Then one day, I could do it. I held him, instead of him holding me, and all I wanted at that moment was to have it back the other way.”
― Jodi Picoult
When I was a child I was a Daddy’s girl. I waited for him to come home every night and hung on to his every word. He would take us to museums and read us history. His love of books was legendary and I inherited that passion from him. He would listen to Ghazals and make hot piping pakoras on Rainy day and then we would make us sit with him and tell us stories. My mother was the disciplinarian of the family but he never even raised his voice on us. The best memory I have of him is when a teacher complained to him about me, he didn’t tell my mother and just let it be.
And now when I am all grown up I see a frail man who is confined to his bed from the past 18 years. He has been very sick for a long time and of late his illness seems to take a lot of him. But he smiles, he always does through the unbearable pain that he goes through; he still manages to tell me “I am ok”, every time I call him.
It is terribly heart wrenching to see someone you love suffer so much and it is hard to be so far away from him and see him slowly fade away. But life has so many different plans for us and takes us to places we never thought we would be.
Even though I don’t celebrate any special days personally, when my mother told me how sick he was today I couldn’t help but cook something while thinking of him on “Father’s Day”. After all he is the only father I know and he has given me so many beautiful memories to hold on to.
So I baked a beautiful “Coconut Bread” from Bill Granger. Bill is one of my favorite chefs and from what I have seen of him, he looks like a very dedicated father to his beautiful kids. Hence it was apt that I cook something from the collection of my favorite chef for the first man I knew in my life.
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup caster sugar
150 g shredded coconut
75 g unsalted butter
To serve (you can use anything you wish to or nothing at all)
Butter/ icing (confectioners’) sugar/Cream or Berries.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Lightly whisk eggs, milk and vanilla together.
Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl, add sugar and coconut, and stir to combine. Make a well in the center and gradually stir in the egg mixture until just combined. Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is just smooth, be careful not to over-mix.
Pour into a greased and floured 21 x 10 cm (8 1/2 x 4 in) loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until bread is cooked when tested with a skewer.
Leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes, and remove to cool further on a wire rack. Serve in thick slices, toasted, buttered and dusted with icing sugar or with Cream and Berries.