…or four years, even. HungryandFrozen, this very blog that you are granting the power of your eyeballs to, is now four years old! How significant! To me! There’s no “it’s our birthday but you get the presents” happening here because I only just remembered a few days ago, and I’m not going to write anything profound that also sums up my whole life up until this point – but kindly let me indulge in some hazy-eyed pridefulness (I warn you, I’m writing this very late at night, so I may run into lengthy hyperbole even more so than usual.) HungryandFrozen has grown and changed and thankfully improved with me through the years, and become an important, central part of my life. Which might be a weird thing to say about a website, but consider that it has allowed me…
– to document my life
– to channel the millions of ideas flying in my head into something so said head doesn’t fall off from the pressure build-up
– to help the village I grew up in
– to get free accommodation with strangers in Oxford (thanks again, Kate!)
– to make some of the best new friends ever (the kind you feel instantly able to tell all your secrets to and in turn never whisper theirs to anyone)
– to be on the cover of a magazine in all my resolutely unphotogenic glory
– to get a radio interview
– to be nominated for (but not win, sniffle) cool awards
– to attempt to become a kind of Ruth Reichl-esque double act with Tim while reviewing cafes for a national paper
– to learn from others’ writing and photography
– to be certain that I’d be kindred spirits with certain other faraway food bloggers
– and to force my dreams upon you all in the hopes that if I say them enough and work hard enough they’ve just got to come true eventually.
And to create many a recklessly long and indulgently unedited sentence. It took me a while for the format to settle into this happy little rut with strict, unchanging elements: long-form, title quoting/mangling a song I like (or occasionally an exceptional TV/movie quote), recipe included, but never just a recipe, always with life and thoughts thrown round it like a cape – and it’s not one I plan on straying from.
Let me tell you a story: Tim and I first moved to Wellington in early 2006 and we had very little money (or things – for about three months our bed was two single mattresses pushed together on the floor, with all the softness and back support of a weet-bix.) Tim forwent his insulin (kidding! I’m kidding so hard I can’t even get to the end of the sentence before I interrupt to reassure you it’s not true) so I could buy Nigella Lawson’s seminal text How To Eat. I loved cooking so much and she had a way of presenting every meal, no matter how simple, as if it was something exciting for you to be doing for yourself. Like that’s how you deserved to eat. Again, with the no-money thing, if I ever cooked a recipe from her book it felt like I should photograph it, because it was such a big exciting deal, every dinner an occasion. I guess that’s where the whole documentation of what I eat vibe came about. Not a great story, but…it’s true. And now, here’s a cake.
I didn’t bother shifting the mess in the background of this photo, because I was lazy, but it was symbolic of the mess this cake itself caused – while stirring up the cream cheese icing I moved my spoon a little too sharply through the mixture and ended up shifting a dust-cloud of icing sugar all over myself. I was wearing a wooly jumper at the time and the icing sugar gleefully burrowed into its fibres. But still I caked on.
How this came about was that Tim brought home some uneaten bananas from his work. I could’ve turned them into modest muffins or banana bread, but uninspired by those this time round I turned instead to Hummingbird cake. What is this? Imagine banana cake…but with pineapple in it too, studded with pecans, double-layered and thickly painted with cream cheese icing. It’s like a really well-accessorised banana cake (the pecans would so be the earrings) (okay, on a roll here, the icing on top would be the cape, the icing in the middle a belt, and the pineapples…stick on diamantes? Sparkly hairpins?)
While it might look terrifyingly well-stacked, for one thing there were some recipes calling for triple layers, and for another thing, as with many recipes that I present here, there are options. As this makes two hefty cakes which you then sit on top of each other, you could always just halve the mixture and still be having a good time. The cream cheese icing is a little non-negotiable, but leave it off and the recipe’s suddenly dairy-free. Pecans, again, give it that proper southern vibe, but they are expensive – I believe their cheaper friend, the walnut, would be a more than delicious substitute.
Next time: Not nearly as much emotion, for one thing. I’ve got ideas, but I don’t have anything actual, so we will see.
Also: editing this to submit it to Sweet New Zealand – monthly blogging event created by Alessandra Zecchini, and this month hosted by lovely Sue of Couscous and Consciousness. Late, but not so late…that it’s too late.