(If you're wondering what the foliage in the background is, on the left is harakeke and on the right is our boutique saffron plantation. If you weren't wondering at all, I just like calling two bulbs a boutique plantation.)
Spiced Sesame Slice
Recipe from Wayfaring Chocolate...cheers Hannah!
50g sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
140g brown sugar
125g butter, melted
Set your oven to 180 C/375 F and line a rectangular or square cake tin, don't worry about the size - just one of those usual-sized caketin things, you know? Even if you've got nonstick or silicone it would pay to butter it because this stuff sticks quite a bit. Not sure why.
First of all, toast the sesame seeds till they're good and brown and smelling popcorn-y in a pan. Set aside. Don't taste them, you'll burn your tongue. Like me.
Whisk the eggs and sugar till thick and creamy and increased in volume. Pour in the melted butter, and then fold in the dry ingredients and half the sesame seeds. Turn it into the cake tin and sprinkle over the rest of the sesame seeds. Bake for 20 mins until firm-but-springy to the touch. Let it cool for a bit before slicing up.
So delicious. It's really light-textured, and the buttery nuttiness and the warm spiciness is seriously good. It was so easy to just keep slicing off bits...tidying up edges...eating the broken bit...ah, you know how it goes. We go through bottles of sesame oil - its rich, dark nutty flavour is amazing, and the seeds work really well in a sweeter setting. I didn't have any allspice (does anyone ever have allspice?) so in a move that I hope Hannah of Wayfaring Chocolate would be proud of (she eats stuff like chilli-studded chocolate and kangaroo meat very casually) I used Ras-el-Hanout spice mix instead. But you could just leave it out, or even add more cinnamon and ginger.
And it's really, really good with a cup of tea.
Title via: Untitled Opening Song from [title of show], the musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical. This show is pretty special to me, even though I obviously never got to see it on the Broadway, and I won't go on about it (although you know I could easily go on about it) but I will say this: don't anyone let a New Zealand production get made (and I seriously believe it could work) without me playing Susan. I just want to so bad, and I think that's a good enough reason to make it happen.
Apart from the sweet writing skills and chocolate-a-plenty and recipes, the other thing I like about Hannah's blog is that it always makes me think of the song Poor Wayfaring Stranger. We used to sing it in choir at school, which is when I really started to dig its melancholy, old-timey, Americana sound. This version by Dusty Springfield is particularly choice.
Gypsy Eyes from Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland...we just love us some Hendrix. Gypsy Eyes is a very cool song...I like the way he pronounces all the vowels on 're-a-lize that I've been hypnotised'.
The whole entire Distant Relatives album, from the one-two punch of Nas and Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley... amazing. Purposeful beats, powerful messages, impassioned delivery, but you only have to listen to first track As We Enter for five seconds to know it's special stuff. I like the titular togetherness of the lyrics as they go back and forth - "My man'll speak patois, and I can speak rap star..."
Next time: Butter is so expensive! Hey! Wha'happen? If anyone could make this all go away and get it down nearer to $2 a block I'd be most obliged. Till then, we're probably looking at some dairy-free times up ahead.