Today we meet Monika Manchanda of sin-a-mon - yet another multi-talented baker. She loves to eat, read, stand up for women and child rights, dance, play with her son and fight with her husband (not necessarily in that order).
D: I've been going through your website - sin-a-mon. Is that a twist of cinnamon or is there a reason behind this name? (perhaps Mon for Monika? :-) )
MM: Yes it is, Cinnamon is one of my favorite sweet spices and also something widely used in baking dishes. We tweaked the term a bit and named my start-up Sin-a-mon. Sin for sinning and Mon for the initial letters for my name.
D: I also see that you have bake sales - saw this from a friend's Facebook page. Can you tell us more about it ?
MM: We did our first bake sale last week and it was really well received. It was basically a two day limited stock sale. There were about 300+ pieces up for sale in four-five variety of goodies. I put up pictures around 3pm and took orders online and within hours of putting it up we were 80% sold out and by next day 11am we were completely sold out. It was really heartwarming to see people putting so much confidence in Sin-A-Mon and me. We intend to have it may be once every 2-3 months.
D: What got you into baking Monika? Have you been wanting to do this all along in your life?
MM: While I was growing up I remember my mom making those tutty fruity cakes for us by baking it in the cooker and how excited we would be seeing those cakes. I think the interest in baking was really sparked at that time. As I grew up the interest grew with me but I really explored baking fully once I took a break from my work which was 3.5 years ago to take care of my now 4.5 yr old son, I started baking something almost every week which soon became almost daily and it soon came to point where I would be looking for people to give my baked goodies to :-) and with that the experiments started getting recorded on the blog, the appreciation and my own passion slowly reiterated my belief that this is what I want to do.
D: What are your specialties? I love the fact that you have some savories on your website. When usually baking always relates to something sweet, it's a refreshing change to see those savory muffins and quiches and pies ! I saw the cheesy muffins. What else do you have from the savory menu?
MM: Sin-A-Mon’s heart warmers as we call them or Sin-A-Mon ‘s most selling items are – Cinnamon Rolls, Garlic Pull Apart Buns, Red Velvet Cupcakes, rum brownies and also those liqueur filled cupcakes and desserts. We also do a lot of artisan breads and frankly those are what give me maximum satisfaction because of multiple reasons - one is what you mentioned…baking is most commonly mistaken to be synonymous with desserts whereas there is so much savory stuff you can do - tarts, breads, pies and muffins to just name a few. In my opinion bread-baking is most rewarding.
D: What's your theme for the showcase?
MM: We are toying with the idea of having the theme as “Monsoon” in the showcase, that would mean a little bit of freshness with the seasonal fruits, some spicy stuff for the monsoon cravings and the some things which make you feel warm – in a nutshell the food that represents monsoon but all baked.
D: Where do you source your ingredients from?
MM: Most of my ingredients are sourced locally from General Food additives, Spar and Natures Basket but there are some things I still ask my friends to get from outside. Food colors for example, there are just no good quality colors available in India.
D: How do you think HBG and The Showcase event will help home bakers?
MM: I think the fact that home bakers have a place to showcase their goodies is a great. A medium which can get them to wider audience is a great help to everyone and HBG is more like a community a support where we know we are all there for each other.
D: I also see that you have regular baking workshops. But the site isn't updated later than March? :) When's the next workshop?
MM: Yes we do workshops, infact we just did one on breads on the15th and there is a Baking Basic workshop on 21-22nd July which is overbooked. Conducting workshops helps me spread the happiness that baking brings. I think I am happiest when I am teaching people how to bake. You will get regular updates on workshop dates at this link - http://sinamontales.wordpress.com/bake-with-me/ though I must update the website soon too.
That's the multi-talented Monika for you. I ask you, along with the rest of the world - Just how many hours is your day? :-)