Last post for 2009! Might as well end the year with something horrendously bad for you. There is not one single particle of nutrients in the recipe I’ve got for you today. But isn’t that what half-hearted New Year’s resolutions are exist for? Hope everyone had a smashing Christmas. Even though it can be a time where looming tensions rub up against each other, I was spared most of that – the closest we got was a bit of stress over getting lunch out all at the same temperature on Christmas Day. As our life is not an episode of Mad Men, there was no social failure involved with having to wait for the gravy to heat. It was wonderful to spend a whole week with my family doing not much in particular, especially since I’ve barely been home at all this past year. We did quizzes, drank tea, ate leftovers, went through cupboards and looked at old trinkets and schoolbooks, and my parents even indulged me by letting me watch Chess on the big TV with surround sound. Woke up the next morning to hear Don’t Rain On My Parade – Dad was looking up Idina Menzel on Youtube. Felt as though it was some kind of small achievement.
New Year’s will be a low-key one for me – lots of food, some drink, and Tim, myself and our friend and ex-flatmate Ange eating and drinking the lot over the course of the evening. The weather is looking typically dubious, so my fantasies of swanning about on the rooftop deck in a flowing dress while eating prawns (I don’t know, I’ve clearly read one too many Australian Women’s Weeklys or something) are fading but with good company, good food and no agenda I think we’re quite safe from the evening descending into some kind of awkward Rupert-and-Hubert Mr Bean situation. I’m perfectly happy (she says defensively) being low-key this time of year.
Part of the evening’s feastings is that artery-solidifying stalwart of the birthday party, Calf Club and school gala days, Lolly Cake. Also known in some circles as lolly log, quickly googling it would suggest that it is a concept more or less exclusive to New Zealand. Once you’ve tried it I’m sure you’ll agree that whoever the bright spark that invented it was should surely have their face on the back of a coin or at the very least, have a commemorative stamp made in their honour.
Recipe from the back of the fruit puffs packet.
200g (1/2 a tin) sweetened condensed milk
250g (1 packet) malt biscuits, crushed
150g (1 packed) fruit puffs, roughly chopped
Melt butter, stir in condensed milk, biscuits and lollies. Shape mixture into a log, roll in coconut, and refrigerate till solid, whereupon you cut it into slices.
For those of you not in New Zealand, fruit puffs are like a solid, ovoid fruit flavoured marshmallow. Marshmallows themselves would be too soft, but what with America being the leaders of the free world or something surely you must have something similar to this in the sweets aisle of your supermarket? When Tim and I were in the UK we made this for a charity bake sale at the school we were working at (they’d never had lolly cake before) and used Dolly mixture quite successfully (picking out and eating the jellies first, though).
As you can imagine, Lolly Cake is the most delicious thing upon this earth.
It tastes a little like the base of a cheesecake, and is surprisingly sophisticated texturally – dense, cool biscuit crumbs nestled around almost sherbetty fruit puffs with the occasional damp, fibrous burst of coconut. Even though I completely avoids shop-bought biscuits (hey, ‘hydrogenated palm oil’ freaks me out a little) here the ingredients just make sense. Oh, how they make sense.
Title via: Ten Years Gone by Led Zep.
On Shuffle while I type:
2009 has been as packed with events as any other year – there was Otaua Village’s David triumphing over the Goliath that was the Pukekohe WPC oil company wanting to more or less cripple my hometown (okay, Otaua isn’t exactly Fern Gully but it was a no less worthy cause and a long and difficult battle from the people of the village. I couldn’t have been happier that we more or less ‘won’.) There was also graduation, a new existence on Cuba Street, the wonderful Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin at the Aotea Centre… In November I had completed a year’s full time work and had my contract extended for another year. A few weeks ago this very blog got me on the front cover of a magazine – the Sunday Star-Time’s Sunday magazine (I still haven’t worked out a non-time-consuming way of saying that). I’m ready I think, I hope, for whatever 2010 has got in store for me. Happy New Year, everyone! Stay safe and happy and try the lolly cake – it’s ridiculously good. Any New Year’s resolutions?