Newcastle is one of those places I have always wanted to visit but never have. Sometimes it seems easier to put aside time for the big overseas trips than to venture a couple of hours up the road! So I have decided to rectify that […]
This cake has been a favourite of all my friends for a long time. It would be requested for birthdays on a regular basis. It is only recently that I have been experimenting with the recipe to make it successful as a gluten free treat. I am very pleased to say I think I’ve cracked it and the handful of people who have tried it seem to approve.
2 medium courgettes
2 large eggs
125ml olive oil
5oz bark brown sugar
9oz gluten free self raising flower
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Whisk together the oil, sugar and eggs in one bowl.
Grate the courgette ( keep it on the slightly chunkier side don’t use the smallest grater size as it just all turns to mush!) onto a clean tea towel and twist the tea towel around to squeeze out the excess juice. Save the juice for a little extra treat I will share with you at the end…
Add the flour, bicarb and baking powder to the oil,eggs and sugar and mix together. Then add the courgettes. Mix together well and pour the batter into two 8inch cake tins greased and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Pop the oven on at gas 4 or 180c and bake for about half an hour until a skewer comes out clean. Take out of the oven and leave to cool a little before turning out onto a cooling rack.
While the cakes cool down make the frosting by mixing together one tub of mascarpone cheese, the zest and juice of a lime and a little icing sugar to taste. When the cakes are cold spread half the mixture on one half and sandwich together the two cakes. Spread the other half onto the top of the cake and sprinkle liberally with toasted pistachios or flaked almonds which ever you prefer. Cut into pieces and enjoy with a large cup of tea…OR you might fancy something a little stronger…
Remember the courgette juice you saved earlier? Use it to make a very vibrant and fresh gin and tonic! A slice of lemon just tops it off nicely. It might sound weird but it really is refreshing and tasty give it a try and see what you think. It’s one of your five a day so must be healthy!
Kathakali dance is a traditional dance from Kerala. Whilst in Fort Kochi I spent an evening at the Kerala Kathakali Centre which is the best place to experience this kind of storytelling dance. You arrive early to sit and watch the fascinating ritual of applying makeup which as you can see from the pictures is time consuming and intricate. There is a balcony that is accessible to give great views from above and it is a little mesmerising watching the layers build up. All the participants are male so all female parts are played by men.
The stories are traditional tales based on the epic Hindu tale of “Ramayana”. They became the stories and dance of the ordinary people being very accessible and in Malayam the local language. But the roots of some of the expression comes from the dance performed at the Hindu temples as early as the second century.
The face is very important in the telling of these stories and we were given a brief explanation of some of these before the main performance began. There is a narrator who tells the tale accompanied by percussion that is perfectly in sync with the facial expressions and movement.
All the characters involved are such huge personalities and physically huge with all the exaggerated face makeup and volume of costumes worn, I really don’t know how they manage in the heat! Well worth a visit if you are in Kochi for a few days it is definitely an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
Following on from the previous post which mentioned the history of christianity in Fort Kochi I thought I’d share some images from the Indo-Portuguese Museum which has a range of artifacts from the sixteenth century onwards. The aim of the museum is to show the Indo-Portuguese Christian Art heritage of the area. Objects have been donated by various churches in the Kochi diocese. It is fairly small but I enjoyed it. You would only need an hour or so of time to explore it thoroughly.
My favourite items were these old drawings/prints. They are stunning and I spent sometime in front of them. Then there is the usual church paraphernalia such as gowns and crosses an old alter and some jewelery. Plenty of lush textures to admire.
My other favourite thing was a huge carved old door that had come from the bishops house and was carved from Keralan larch dating to around the nineteenth century. It had a magnificent ornate bolt that really did develop an intense door envy in me, unfortunately it would be a bit ostentatious for my one bed flat in Sheffield!