Monday, May 24, 2010

The Curly Pyjama Letters - an excerpt

A few weeks ago a friend lent me a charming little book titled The Curly Pyjama Letters written and illustrated by Michael Leunig. It is a collection of letters exchanged between lone voyager Vasco Pyjama and his friend Mr Curly of Curly Flat. The letters are full of their whimsical and humourous insights on life. Here is one of my favourites:

'Dear Vasco,
Spring has come once more to Curly Flat and the roses are starting to bloom. How contented I feel as I contemplate the roses. How complete life seems in the presence of these ancient perfumes and petals. How liberated from the desire to "better" myself and how sweetly intoxicated I am by these dear, precious moments of self-acceptance given to me, so generously, by the rose. Around me, in the morning sunshine, the bees hum and various unseen fowls warble old songs concerning the arrival of good, blue eggs. Along the shores of Lake Lacuna, over the water and from the small valleys around Curly Flat I hear the occasional pealing of the life-goes-on bells - simple declarations from the distance that life is worth living - a domestic prayer from an unknown household, rung out in thanksgiving for the morning now passing and announcing that the afternoon and its pleasures and duties are soon to begin - or perhaps a chimed observance that sadness has passed in a particular home and that relief and gratitude have begun - any of life's ordinary precious moments being honoured as they come and go by whoever is taken by the impulse to do so. How brave and reassuring are the bells of Curly Flat - bells of spontaneity; bells of acceptance; bells of joy and simply duty: life-goes-on bells! Perhaps you still hear them Vasco, ringing in your dreams; I hope so.
The sound of a bell and the perfume of a rose: these things cannot be improved - they are perfectly complete.
Warmest spring wishes
Go Well Vasco

and ding dong!
with love,
Mr Curly'

Think I'll go out and buy myself some of those life-goes-on bells! Ding dong!

Monday, May 17, 2010

banana chocolate chip ring cake

A year or so ago I decided to start a food blog. It was called 'from scratch' and I had big plans to write about all the wonderful things I rustle up in my kitchen, all the delicious nutritious meals prepared from seasonal locally grown produce! I got as a far as one post - a recipe for our (still favourite) chocolate coconut brownies (of which very few of the ingredients are very nutritious or locally grown!) .
Somehow I never quite got into the swing of taking photographs while preparing food and then blogging about it afterwards... and there are soooo many people out there who do the whole food blogging so incredibly well (The Wednesday Chef, 101 cookbooks and Orangette being my absolute favourites!) that I decided to abandon any hopes of following in their footsteps!

I do still love to cook.

So I thought, since I'm still battling my way through my blogging block I would attempt to break it with a little soulsisters food post:

I buy a lot of bananas. Mostly I throw them into smoothies for breakfast, or into lunch boxes for a mid day energy boost. Usually we run out before I get a chance to buy another bunch but sometimes I overestimate our needs and we end up with a bowl overflowing with bright yellow fruit. And then within a day or two, they start to go black and sad - still good for smoothies but not so good for lunch boxes. So then I whip up a batch of ABC muffins (Apple Banana and Chocolatechip) - which are delicious and disappear alarmingly fast.

Anyhow, on Saturday I had 4 extremely black and sad looking bananas - enough for 2 batches of ABC muffins. Instead I opted to make a Banana Cake. I chose the recipe from the Edmonds Cookbook (a New Zealand treasury of recipes which has been around for eons and reprinted in multiple versions). And because I've got into the habit lately of adding a new twist to old recipes I decided that instead of icing the cake I'd toss some Chocolate Chips into the mixture, and instead of using a round cake tin I'd cook it in a ring. And so my Banana Chocolate Chip Ring Cake was born.

The result was delicious, very bananary and moist. Talya said she still prefers the chocolate on top of the cake in the form of icing rather than inside it in chip form. You decide. Here's the recipe:

125g butter softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons hot milk
2 cups standard plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed banana and mix thoroughly. Stir soda into hot milk and add to creamed mixture. Sift flour and baking powder, then fold into the mixture along with the chocolate chips. Turn into a greased ring cake tin and bake at 180deg C for 45-50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
When life blackens your bananas, make cake!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

happy mother's day

To my darling Mother

I love you more than words can say.

My gratitude is deep and wide and everlasting.

Thank you, most of all, for being you,
and for seeing me for who I am.


photo: 4 November 2005, Anika and Granny. Pure Love.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

my beautiful week 17

This beautiful week has gone in a blur and I feel like I am chasing my tail!
In lieu of my 'three beautiful things' this week I am posting this beautiful poem, found on Patti Digh's 37 days blog.

It Felt Love

Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give to this world
All its

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its

We all remain




Sending you light and love!