Banana Cake

Banana Cake with Lemon-Maple Cream

Banana Cake with Lemon-Maple Cream

It’s so hot.  Yesterday was the hottest day in 70 years, last night the hottest night ever .. and we will break other records before this heatwave is over.  It didn’t take much of an excuse to spend my lunchtime in a shopping centre, especially with Angel’s birthday so close.  Beautiful slightly under-ripe bananas tempted me enough that a hand found it’s way into my basket ..  which I stashed in the carboot.  I did my afternoon shift and drove home.  Alas!! They had cooked in their skins.  To paraphrase the cliché; when life deals you cooked bananas – make banana cake 🙂 

Berry Fabulous Cheesecake

This cheesecake is a variation on “Archangel’s Jaffa” .. a very light, fluffy “custard” cheesecake I began making because Archangel doesn’t like the heavy textures of more traditional styles.  Originally I made it with a swirl of rich, alcoholic chocolate sauce.  This variation has luscious swirls of liqueur berry fruits.  It also works well if you layer the custard and fruit.

You don’t have to make it alcoholic.  For a less “adult” flavour, substitute chocolate icecream topping for the Tia Maria.  Triple Sec in the custard can be replaced by the juice, pulp and zest of an orange.

This is one of the few cheesecakes I make without sides, to take advantage of the lovely colours. That also significantly lowers the fat content. When I need to appease my Inner Health Nazi, I use low fat cottage cheese or ricotta. Makes it lighter and creamier too 🙂 The pretty swirls of colour mean it needs no more decoration than serving on a pretty plate .. no extra calories there!   

Walking with Archangel

The front garden, facing east.

The front garden, facing east.

“It is not very tidy; is it? A little like you really; unconventional and a bit wild” Archangel grinned to take any sting out of her words but they set me thinking. Why is it I can’t colour inside the lines?

It had been some time since my friend had visited and we were enjoying a balmy evening breeze in the garden.  We met a decade ago when I was a jaded, cynical thirty-something staring through the bars of my cage and she was in the full bloom of starry eyed, idealistic youth.  Since then we’d spent many such evenings wandering through the garden chewing the proverbial fat while Archangel sought any treats that my Fruit Monsters might have overlooked.  To my great delight, I have recently been invited to visit her newly established garden. I feel like a proud grandparent.

Scones

Scones 'n Jam 'n Cream

“Man Sized” Scones ‘n jam ‘n cream

Time to share a treasured memory. These are the fluffy, super-light scones my Gran baked in the hundreds for church fêtes, school cake stalls, high tea with friends and family get-togethers. Often it was just because her Grandkids asked her to. It makes me smile to think of her and the many hours spent “helping” her as a small child.

We wolfed ’em down warm with butter or warm spiced caramelised apples. We ate ’em cold with lashings of clotted cream and crab apple jelly, lemon curd, lime marmalade or what ever jam Gran had on hand. But you haven’t lived until you’ve tried ’em with scrambled egg, sautéed mushrooms and bacon ..

Another Lap Around the Sun

The Internet is a telephone system that’s gotten uppity.

Clifford Stoll

It’s ironic that someone so normally talkative should find myself at such a loss for words. Its my birthday, always a time of deep introspection, resolutions and new directions.  I take a leaf from Dickens and reflect on the ghosts of birthdays past present and future. Debts are settled,  apologies made,  projects finished,  arguments resolved, old friends called.  The death of one of these friends and the serious illness of another,  has added intensity to my navel gazing, creating a sort of mental log jam… and leaving me staring at my screen tongue-tied.

The task is somewhat daunting… there is so much I wish to share. The large number of incomplete articles staring accusingly from my “drafts” page bears witness to that.  Still I am mute, struck down by an unfamiliar emotion.  I feel shy.