Cinnamon Cake with Labneh Frosting

I made this cake for my niece’s second birthday a couple of weeks ago. A pretty chilled out afternoon – balmy weather, an assortment of salads, cold beers, barbecued snags, kids underfoot. It was a family affair, and my niece had a great-grandmother there from both her dad – my brother – and her mum’s side. Coming from an immigrant family that was almost decimated in World War II, it was especially poignant to have four generations sitting around the table together.

My sister-in-law is one of my favourite people to bake for – she has a killer sweet tooth and so my efforts are always appreciated. I wanted to make a cake for this occasion that had a classic feel – something simple yet sophisticated . I opted for an airy double-layer cinnamon cake – appropriately autumnal – finished off with a rich labneh frosting, tangy and celebratory. I topped it with a bounty of fresh berries too, mostly for the pretty.  Continue reading Cinnamon Cake with Labneh Frosting

Rhubarb & Rose Muffins

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“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.”

– Maya Angelou

Moving back to Melbourne feels like… home. The skyline, the trams, the strong coffee, the terrace houses, the bitter winds. All so familiar, like slipping on a second skin. Last weekend I went out for beers with one of my oldest, dearest friends. He suggested a bar in the city. It was a rainy night. Walking up a blue-stoned alleyway, lights reflecting off the wet ground, to a bar all but invisible until you stumble upon it. This. This felt like homecoming. Continue reading Rhubarb & Rose Muffins

Rye Chocolate Cake

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“You, reader, are alive today, reading this, because someone once adequately policed your mouth exploring.”

– Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

The act of parenting is, much of the time, the act of keeping your children alive. Making sure they are fed regularly, preventing them from darting into oncoming traffic in their enthusiasm to see a neighbourhood cat, stopping them face-planting on the concrete as they run around on clumsy toddler legs, making sure they don’t touch the hot oven, or pull a chair on top of themselves, or tumble down the staircase, or any of a million ways that a very small person can encounter danger. Continue reading Rye Chocolate Cake

Pear & Cardamom Spelt Scones

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Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

– from ‘Your Laughter’ by Pablo Neruda

I’m all about lists at the moment. Grocery lists, work lists, shopping lists, ten-year planning lists. Writing out the lists makes me feel as though half the work is done. An extremely easy sense of accomplishment. Here is another type of list; the list of a tired woman with two very small and very beautiful children. Continue reading Pear & Cardamom Spelt Scones

Lavender & Lemon Scones

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A few weeks ago S’s mum flew up from Maldon for a visit. Half of her bag was full of first-birthday presents for W, and the other half was full of home-cooked treats – spicy kasundi, anzac cookies, triple ginger cake (SO GOOD), and jam made from plums that she’d grown in her own garden.

The minute I see homemade jam, my first thought is scones. I rarely bake scones, but when I do it is usually around this time of year, when the cooler weather has started to kick in. We’ll pick up a jar of jam from a local market (or, in this case, be gifted one), and I’ll whip up a batch of scones to enjoy in the autumn sun with a pot of tea. Continue reading Lavender & Lemon Scones