Pumpkin cake with lime and almonds

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I have been fucking remiss! Doubly so, since despite not blogging for a couple of months now, I have in fact had a recipe photographed and stored up since August. And it’s SUCH a perfect August cake. Not that you can’t eat a delicious citrus-frosted vegan pumpkin cake in spring, just that it’s so much more an autumn/winter thing. Luckily, it’s October – month of the pumpkin! Well, just ignoring the whole Halloween is supposed to be in autumn deal. In any case this cake is still – despite all the flaws of its maker – perfect!

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August is my mum’s birthday and so to commemorate the day my family all came over to my place to crash on the floor for a night and eat cake. Actually, Tom was supposed to be in charge of cake, but I received a text message from him the day before saying he accidentally got day drunk instead.

So proud.

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Actually though, I understand that sometimes you need/want to get day drunk. Sometimes you also have to make emergency cake as a result of someone else’s day drunk. Is cool.

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Anyway, the cake turned out pretty lovely. It’s based on a recipe for pumpkin slice I’ve been using for so many years I’ve forgotten where it came from. The icing I made up myself. The original slice uses just lemons and icing sugar for frosting, but I sincerely believe limes > lemons. For guacamole, for gin, for everything. Pfft, “lemons”.

(Shh. No, Actually I like lemons too, but limes rule so much more)

Anyway, now it’s October (month of pumpkins! – sort of) and since I last blogged I’ve done a huge presentation for uni, participated in a writer’s festival and moved house. And on Halloween it’s my birthday. Which is both horrifying and sweet. So here is a cake that I dare you to not want to eat right now. Along with a promise to be less remiss next time something like this is lurking in my to do list.

IMG_0762IMG_0755❤ These dorks.

Ingredients:

Cake:
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups cooked pumpkin
1 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
4 cups S.R. Flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp ginger
1 tsp salt

Icing:
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup coconut oil

For on top:
slivered almonds

Combine sugar, pumpkin, oil and vanilla then add remaining ingredients. Cook in moderate oven 1-1.5 hrs OR until middle of cake springs back when touched. Combine coconut oil and icing sugar. Stir until smooth. Then add lime juice. Allow cake to cool. Ice cake. Dry fry almonds or roast in oven. Arrange on top of cake. Eat cake.

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Crispy shark with tomato and tamarind

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Hey, erry body: I’m back! With peeling forearms, a collection of wines and some concerning double-billing on my debit card. Although my time at Woodford was marred by several unfortunate events, the least of which being a head-cold, I had a blast: several times abandoning my friends for running-around-to-see-everything, dancing like a big doofus to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (among other things), and generally breathing in dust and good vibes.

New Zealand with Mum and Sarah was similarly awesome. On the Routeburn track we walked for three days across, through and up snowy mountain peaks. The weather was nice enough that we went swimming in the ice-cold streams alongside the trail. Oh, and we got a bit sweary at the scenery. Pretty fucking picturesque, ay?

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It was as though we got more Aussie the moment the plane hit the tarmac. I’m pretty sure I heard Mum genuinely use the word crikey.

I wasn’t really looking forward to coming home. What with adult responsibilities beyond the duty free alcohol allowance. But actually, it’s good to be back. The first day home I came across a van full of Labradors training to be guide dogs at the park! And I can cook again! Not just the economical soups and egg salads of hostel stays (everyone should stay on a sheep farm cum backpackers with their family at least once), but meals with tens of spices or ones that call for things from jars. Like this fish dish, which is extremely simple, but which calls for tamarind and fresh coriander and bean sprouts: ingredients not so widely available in Middle of Nowhere NZ.

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I know it’s all just a measure of time and ultimately meaningless, but I’m excited for this still-new year. It helps that I’ve had this time to recuperate from 2012. This also helps: at 4:00AM on new year’s day, with a meagre 1.5 hours sleep under my belt, I followed a congregation of fellow festival goers up a small hill to where monks were gathered to chant in the dawn. And despite the lack of rest, the head cold, the shitty year that had been: the first glimpse of 2013 was pretty spectacular. Pretty fucking picturesque.

The fish is pretty good too.

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Ingredients:

400-500g Shark or Barramundi
1/4 cup plain flour
2 tbsp sunflower oil
6 tomatoes
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp ginger
1.5 tbsp sugar
1 bunch coriander
bean sprouts

Directions:

Cut fish into cubes and roll in flour on a plate. Heat oil in a pan on medium. When pan is hot fry fish pieces one side at a time in pan until both sides are light golden brown. In the meantime cut tomatoes into large crescents. Grate ginger. When fish is done set aside. In the same pan (if you like) cook tomatoes, ginger and tamarind paste. Add 1.5 tbsp of sugar. Let tomatoes cook until reduced, but still holding form. Taste. Add more sugar if needed. Chop coriander roughly. Take tomatoes off heat and add coriander. Serve fish with tomato mixture spooned on top. Garnish with bean sprouts.

Note: This amount is probably enough for two. I like to eat it as is, but you could serve it with rice if cooking it for a larger group.