Tuesday, September 17, 2013

up the back

This post has been steeping in the mystifying pot of the internet for a week, where I have been unable to access it. After many long frustrating hours it has finally loaded and I am pleased to send it on its way with images from an early morning walk; the old architecture and the new, locals doing their thing, and a couple of four legged friends. 

The season is changing - as southern Australia heads into spring our winds shift onshore and the humidity heralds the beginning of the build up. After 45 days straight with waves Aquaman has been spending a bit more time at the desk this week, where he is dedicated to learning Revit  (computer aided design) and moving out of the dark ages of a pencil and drawing board. No more crinkled drafting paper on humid days or scratching off pen lines with a scalpel. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

a cake for aquaman

I was under strict instructions not to make a fuss for Aquaman's 40th birthday, and I tried, really I did, but the opportunity to bake a cake and get out the teaspoon collection was too much to bare. It was just a little afternoon tea, with no candles or hoo-ha, and only one painfully sung line of happy birthday. The invited guests were instructed to drop in casually between 3pm and 4.30pm, so as to divert attention away from the notion that I had indeed orchestrated a forbidden event. 

The birthday cake was the first one I have baked this season as I don't have an oven, and the idea of attempting a chocolate cake in the camp oven under a midday sun was ludicrous. Instead, I was able to borrow Hildi's oven space. I sifted the dry ingredients into a large bowl, and packaged it up with the wet ingredients and cake tin into my bike basket and carefully cycled into town. Talk about the slow food movement. I had a minor mishap when the almost cooked cake slipped out of my hand and upturned into the oven, losing its tender middle.  Hildi reported the next time she lit the oven it caught fire and smelt suspiciously like burning chocolate. 

Once cooked, the cake was couriered by another friend on her motorbike back to the house. All this time, Tom was meant to be surfing macking six foot waves that I had especially dialled up for his birthday. Unfortunately for him, his nose and that of the board met on his first wave, and Tom came off a bloody second best.  He was quick to suspect a gathering of some ilk when I arranged more than two cups and plates on the table. It is impossible to hide party preparations in a one room shack. I think I was forgiven after the birthday boy polished of his second slab of cake and third donut. 

Happy birthday dear Tom, you are a inspiration and I am honoured to be sharing my days with you. xx 

One Bowl Wonder Chocolate Cake

2 cups plain flour
1 tsp bi-carb soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 - 1 1/2 cups raw sugar (depending on how sweet you like your cake)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup milk (non-dairy or cow)
2/3 cup canola or coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 mashed bananas plus juice one small lemon (or 2 eggs)
(optional: add half cup of almond meal for a denser cake)

Sift together flour, bi-carb, baking powder, cinnamon and cocoa. Add sugar and salt.
Combine milk, oil and vanilla.
Add bananas and lemon juice (or eggs if non-vegan)
Combine well.
Bake in 20cm round tin for 35-45 mins at 180 degrees until a skewer comes out clean.  
Cool, then turn out onto cake rack and decorate. 

I frosted the cake with a ganache made from coconut cream and melted 70% Lindt dark chocolate, then sprinkled on grated chocolate and smashed up Beng Beng bars (an Indo classic). 

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