The nice thing about Mum’s (circa 1971) copy of the “De Luxe Edition” of Edmonds Cookbook that she sent me as a birthday present back in April is…that while there are great recipes and all, just reading through it can be pretty fun in its own right. Beautiful and useful as many of the newer cookbooks celebrating old-time New Zealand cooking are, I like the unromantic straightforwardness of the original text itself.
I like how it informs you that Edmonds is manufacturer of such time-saving, of-the-era items as “Instant Chopped Onions”, “Start” (what even is that?) and “Pronto Instant Beef Tea” (with that kind of title, I can hardly fathom its speed of assembly.) How it coolly gives a recipe for “Grated Nut Cakes” when neither the act of grating nor presence of nuts are involved in the method.
On page 37 is a recipe called Walnut Pride and even though reading through it didn’t reveal anything fist-raisingly representative of being proud, I felt instantly and strongly drawn to making it. Probably so that if people came over and went to the cake tin to look inside (and they do) and asked what it was, I could say “Walnut Pride. Want some?”
Really, it’s just your average cakey slice, with some nuts thrown in. As it was, I used Brazil nuts because they were cheaper than walnuts, as a bonus Brazil nuts have a prouder sound to them than walnuts…right? There’s nothing outrageous about this recipe but it’s tasty, and easy to make, and non-threateningly good-looking, and as far as baking goes, sometimes there’s not much more you could ask for.
If anyone does actually know where the name came from, feel free to share. Without being overly simplistic, according to Wikipedia the first gay pride events in New Zealand were in the 1970s, so maybe this cake is what people ate to give them energy and to share amongst friends while marching..?
Brazil Nut Pride
Adapted from The Edmonds Cookbook.
250g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
250g plain flour
1 moderate teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup Brazil nuts (or, of course, the original walnuts)
1/2 cup sultanas
Set your oven to 180 C/370 F, and line a baking tin – not too big, not too small – with baking paper. Cream butter and sugar, then add the vanilla. Beat in the egg, then alternatively mix in the milk with the dry ingredients. Stir in the Brazil nuts and fruit. Bake for 40 minutes, then ice with lemon icing when cool and cut into squares. I mixed up some lemon juice with icing sugar till it was a thick enough to drizzle off a spoon onto the cake, but feel free to smear it with lemon butter icing as the recipe suggests.
It tastes just fine – not faint-makingly delicious, but good and cakey, a bit flutteringly caramelly from the brown sugar, with the occasional creamy nutty crunch from the Brazil nuts lodged throughout. And in case you’re wondering what a “moderate teaspoon of baking powder” is, well so am I. My interpretation involved casually swiping a spoon into the box of baking powder while squinting with my head tilted to the side, then tapping the spoon slightly to remove any excess. You…you do what feels right.
I was home from work sick today with what I’ve called the proto-flu – my throat was all constricted and I felt shivery and very sensitive to the touch last night, but after a good sleep and lots of tea and water, I’m back to just having a sore throat again. So I’m basically fine. The fact that I felt like three bits of marmite and cheese on toast for lunch was a good indication. If I don’t want to eat, it usually means I’m sick. Sometimes when I get really crook, I end up sadly telling Tim, usually from the foetal position, “I guess I’ll just have to stop the food blog, I can’t even imagine why I wanted to talk about food in the first place”. As soon as it passes I start thinking about cheesecake and fried chicken and spaghetti that sort of thing again.
Title via: To those of you who thought I might quote U2’s (Pride) In The Name Of Love…pshh. They’re all very talented people. I just don’t like their music enough to use a lyric as a post title. Now, the Ramones – I love their song Swallow My Pride, especially the way the chorus lurches surprisingly-but-pleasantly upwards. And it is they who bring us today’s title.
Tim put on some Smiths this evening, haven’t listened to them in aaaaages. A favourite of mine is Shoplifters of the World Unite from Louder Than Bombs. The beginning always catches me off-guard with its directness, and Morrissey sounds typically wonderful.
Today I watched the 1993 film of Gypsy, one of the greatest musicals ever written, starring the awesome Bette Midler as Madame Rose. Also awesome was Mad Men‘s Elizabeth Moss in a small role as Baby Louise, and Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole playing burlesque stripper Dressy Tessy Tura. This movie is criminally under-represented on youtube, but check out Midler’s brassy and sassy Everything’s Coming Up Roses. I can’t even imagine how extremely amazing the recent Broadway production (with Patti LuPone, Laura Benanti, Boyd Gaines and Leigh-Ann Larkin) must have been.
Next time: The brisket!