I'm small enough to fit into a suitcase. If that sounds like a stretch, I'd like to inform you that I have tried and tested my theory. Yes, I literally curled up into my 'case and had my college roomie zip me in. Yeah, that was fun for about five seconds. Then the claustrophobia kicked in.
All in all though, being tiny can be pretty terrific. So much so, that I seek out other small people, selecting them to be a part of my secret society, simply on the basis of size. What can I say? I'm fiercely loyal to other little people.
This year, in the spirit of good will, sharing and of course, my psychological issues with baking, I've teamed up with a petite patisserie whose stunning, gravity-defying confections leave me speechless. And you know it's a feat to shut me up.
Ladies and Gentlepeople, meet my small wonder, Muneeze Khalid.
This bitty button isn't just making waves for her carefully constructed cakes. She's a pint-sized prodigy with her own television show, a private catering business and cooking classes for adults and kids. And her latest project, the Baby Chef Program gives me the full-on fuzzies.
A tiny person teaching tiny people. A lot like Santa's workshop.
On camera, Muneeze is as wholesome as wheat, but inside hides a hedonist! This chick loves to chow as much as she loves her Choo's. Also, like *ahem* other similarly small people, she's a spark-plug and a total spaz about her space. And with our powers combined, we've transformed into a terrific twosome, and we come bearing gifts.
Muneeze was amazingly awesome enough to develop a divine recipe for Christmas cupcakes, especially for Hunger & Haw Hai. And as if that wasn't incredible enough, she took time out of her super-busy schedule to answer close to all of my crazy questions.
What You Don't Know About Muneeze Khalid
- What's your super-hero elf name? Muneeze was at a loss when it came to this ridiculously ridiculous question so I took the liberty of dubbing her "Tiny Bakerina."
- What gives you giggles in front of the camera? One staffer's sesky suggestion, "Ma'am zara 'bubblee' tou hoyain."
- You're sensationally small. Do you ever wonder about the air-up-there? When you're a sucker for six-inch stilettos, inches aren't an issue, they're exciting!
- Confess to your crimes and dish up your dirty deeds. I watch sleazy Indian soaps on satellite. I regularly tune in for Tom and Jerry. And I eat pig-sized portions.
- You're stranded on an island. The one food you're famished for? Cannot live without creamed potatoes! I've practiced them to perfection.
- In the kitchen: This dwarf has a dark side. She's a territorial lone-wolf, so avoid anything that could curtail her creativity or create chaos in the kitchen.
- Cooking capabilities; nature or nurture? Both. Mom and Dad were my mentors, but I've read countless cookbooks and taken quite a few classes to keep my skills current.
- From passion to profession. How did it happen? Mama was my motivation. Larger than life, she inspired me to not just aspire, but actually achieve. She was fierce, she was a fighter and I'll always be in awe of her. Being her daughter is a beautiful blessing.
- Your pour plenty of passion into your projects. Do I detect a whiff of a workaholic? Tis true, I'd rather slave all day in the kitchen, than sit back and relax at the spa.
- Your most excellent piece of advice for your audience? Meticulous measuring makes a master and precision equals perfection. Also, always cook with care and loads of love.
Muneeze Khalid's Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing (12 cupcakes)
Developed especially for Hunger & Haw Hai
Ingredients Gingerbread Cupcakes
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp ginger powder (or) 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a cupcake baking tray with paper liners (available at Al-Fatah and Esajees).
- In a bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, beat the butter until it's light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until the butter and sugar are completely combined, forming a creamy mixture.
- Whisk the eggs, one at a time, into the sugar and butter.
- Once all the eggs are whisked in, slowly fold in the dry ingredients and finally, the milk.
- Use an ice-cream scoop to spoon out individual portions of the batter into cupcake liners.
- Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. To test the cupcakes for doneness, insert a toothpick. If it comes out clean, your cupcakes are ready.
- Cool completely before icing.
Ingredients Cream Cheese Icing
- 200 grams butter
- 1 small tin Al-Marai cream cheese
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Beat the butter until it's pale and fluffy.
- Add the sugar and cream cheese, beating until all the ingredients are combined well.
- Finally, add the milk and vanilla extract.
The 3-tiered stand used in the shoot is courtesy of Shazreh Home Accessories and also available for sale at Al-Fatah (both DHA and Gulberg branches) in Lahore. My personal recommendations: the exquisite carved trays, sleek serving platters, and beautifully detailed cake stands.
A huge thank you to Muneeze for being a superstar and serving up such spectacular cupcakes. And many thanks to Shazreh Ali for so generously providing the perfect accessories for an awesome shoot.
Until next time, have a very merry Christmas! 'Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la la la la la la :)
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