Izzy, you know about the friendship thing: you win top honours amongst your friends for being loyal beyond reproach. Thick and thin, good times and bad. As you know, it is so important to me too. My friends provided comfort and support in different ways whether they knew it or not, when we lived those long years overseas.
When I found myself in utterly foreign territory in Virginia, they told me time and time again: be yourself. In Rothesay Circle, our go-to family always had a cup of tea ready and a sympathetic ear. Our warm and utterly sensible doctor friend gave long distance advice as our parents aged quickly, so far away from us.
The Canberra Salsa Queen was ever near: by phone, e-mail, text, Facebook and two, amazingly fun and memorable trips to us in Santa Monica. We never stopped talking and laughing .
The Vs provided a throughly entertaining HQ in Canberra. Hot parathas for breakfast, excellent brewed coffee, and long discussions about novels in progress, latest saree acquisitions, or Aboriginal art.
In Melbourne G and J the locals, provided our family with endless back up, not to mention perfect Italian meals at their home by the Botanical Gardens.
This past week-end was memorable. F from New York, L from Brisbane : the three of us had a catch up of a lifetime. Daughters, all grown and beautiful and we stared at them in wonder and just a little bit of pride. Our last reunion had been ten years ago, our three families enjoying a riotous time under one roof at Christmas.
While walking the cliffs of Watson’s Bay this glorious Saturday, L said to me suddenly: do you know the Persian Love Cake recipe ? It was a recipe Salsa Queen had sent me some time ago. Why did they both want me to have it? Was it because it was a LOVE cake? Haha! My dear friends!
In LA, I had my own Aussie-girl outpost: there was the lively and often raucous ‘Violet Crumble’ luncheons of expat Aussie chicks, but my core group was the magic team: they kept me sane, made sure we laughed a lot, and we girls and our husbands enjoyed many meals which we cooked together. D, the head honcho of books, inspired us all to read elegantly and widely, while in her orbit. C, ever the quietly spoken encourager and dispenser of warm hugs. In my last few months before we packed up, the three of us women made numerous jaunts around greater LA, exploring, discovering, always talking, discussing, hoping, reminiscing. Love.
Tonight I am cooking Persian Love Cake thinking about friendship and how blessed I am. JGB, K and A who were my steady rocks in Toronto, SD in Las Vegas, in LA, Charlottesville, in Richmond, in London, in KL. Astonishingly, right here in Sydney, I am picking up the threads of a long-lost and treasured childhood friendship: what a precious find in my new city.
This is such a simple cake to make. Once you’ve assembled the ingredients, putting it together takes ten minutes, another hour in the oven and it is done! Your Nana makes a Love Cake too : it is nothing like this one, although it is also delicious. It has a ton of eggs in it, and semolina. More love. I will be back later about it…….
I feel a little silly to be so soppy here, reminiscing about friends, but never mind. Just putting it out there: my friends, you are the best, I am so lucky, and I love each of you very much! Izzy, I know you understand the way I feel .
Persian Love Cake
- 3 cups almond meal
- 1 cup castor sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 120 g butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 250 g greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg
- extra greek yogurt to serve
- Combine first five ingredients in a bowl, and rub with fingertips until crumbs form.
- Spoon half the mixture into a buttered and baking paper lined tin. Press the mixture gently to cover the base.
- Beat the eggs with the yogurt and the nutmeg, and fold into the rest of the crumb mix.
- Stir well until creamy and smooth.
- Pour into the tin and bake at 180 degrees celsius for one hour, or until golden, and a sharp skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Leave in the tin to cool before serving.