Sep 16, 2013

Fierce Winds. Food Made With Love.

Vogue Italy

Unfortunately, my current obsession with man styled sweaters and casually tousled pony tails isn't purely born of a desire to channel Lauren Hutton.  It's freaky weather not fashion that's dictating my attire.  Fierce winds have been battering the boats moored outside and threatening to whisk away the brave walkers striding across the foreshore. Despite the walkers making concessions to the wind by walking a hundred metres inland and off the footpath, they're still looking pretty vulnerable. 

I've been inside all day but the banshee howls from outside have somehow wreaked havoc on my hair and have had me reaching for this old sweater of my brother's just in case the winds tear the roof off the house. I know I'm being dramatic.  If I'd squeezed the Parlux into my luggage, my hair would be fine.  But can you blame me?  The weather's been carrying on like the competitors on The Bachelor for the better part of the last week and a half? 
You need sustenance to survive when the elements are playing hard ball and I've been spoiled in that department by my aunties in Perth. Not a day has gone by without someone dropping by with a care package of their special dish and a half hour of high jinks with Baby SSG. Baby SSG, like so many babies of his age, seems to have this sixth sense for knowing which arms that reach for him have had the benefit of caring for countless other babies before him. He squeals and grins the moment he gets swooped up and giggles with vigour when sedate looking ladies suddenly whoosh him up in the air.

I've just had a large bowl of home made achar for lunch. For those of you not familiar with achar, it's a group of Asian pickled salads. The Malaysian version has a dressing that's chilli based with a generous sprinkling of crushed peanuts. The version I've just eaten involved lemon and lime juices rather than straight vinegar in the pickling process which gave the achar a zesty and light taste.
For afternoon tea, I've got my eye on another piece of this home made Indonesian layer cake that's also by popular with the Malaysian Chinese. I'm convincing myself that a daily slice of this cake is the best way to get my egg intake up.
To repay the kindess of the aunties and their home cooking, I've been whipping up batches of banana bread.  The version I've been making is based on this recipe.  There is no bicarb in this version and for that reason the loaf doesn't have that slightly bitter taste you sometimes get with store bought versions.
You can't go wrong with a melt and mix cake recipe.  One pan, a stove and a wooden spoon are all you need and the cakes made with this method are invariably moist, rise as they should and keep very well.  It's as easy as going down to the shops and buying some off the shelf.
I add a teaspoon of cinnamon to my banana bread and use wholemeal SR flour to give the loaf a darker colour.  I've read somewhere that using coffee as part of the liquid component of the batter also does great things to the bread's flavour.  Coffee and banana bread are a winning combination in my book so I will give this a try next time.
Are you a fan of the melt and mix method?  Any favourite melt and mix recipes?


  1. Oh, I have to confess I hadn't heard of the melt and mix method before - sounds like something I should try one day! :)

  2. That home made achar looks amazing! xxx

  3. I have so many things I melt and mix- pound cakes, orange cakes, carrot cakes...

    Glad you're hunkering down and taking care of yourself xxx

  4. Dear SSG,
    thanks for the coffee tip as banana bread is a fave in this house.

    Perhaps I was one of those walkers you saw being lashed along the foreshore - my team of 4 mums training for the inaugural Perth Oxfam 100km had our 50km training walk scheduled for Saturday afternoon and night - we were struck by the fierce typhoon like winds along the ocean side then the horizontal rain as we slogged it out along the Swan River in the darkness - hope the sight of any Goretex clad trailwalkers were an added piece of entertainment for your Saturday!!

    Let's hope for some true Springtime sunshine soon...!

    Christine x

  5. Your banana bread looks delish. Love that your aunts are looking after you with their cooking. It's such a nurturing way to show someone that they are loved xx

  6. Glad you are being looked after SSG!
    Hope the weather improves xxx

  7. I love being spoiled by home made food. Hope everything is going well for you. I am intrgued by this melt and mix method of baking and might just try it out one day when I have my own kitchen again.

  8. This melt and mix chocolate cake is fail safe; moist EVERY time


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