I know I am not the only one in this case and it might come as no surprise to you if I say that my husband rarely reads my blog. It’s not that he does not care but I talk about the post the moment I make the cake, dessert, pastry, etc…so by the time I take the said dessert out of the oven or off the stove, he already knows what I am going to write and talk about. You can imagine that the last post about the "faisselle" my father loves so much brought back a lot of memories and we spent a couple of evenings reminiscing about our childhood favorite summers.
It made me realize that I was a deeply nostalgic person, but not a sad nostalgic always wishing it were still the good old days. No, I am a content nostalgic. Memories appease me, wrap me up like a soft blanket and give me a sense of direction. It is hard to find the calm when words and events hurt you or saddened you and instead I try to find a way to let them in, to let them show me a missing key to that big puzzle that is life. August is a tough month for me, remembering my grandmother and my brother, missing granpa’s 98th birthday and as he said himself "statistics start to look less and less optimistic at that age"…now that just about cracked me up! But I have found comfort in continuity as I was observing C’s twins playing in the creek, fishing, riding their bikes through the neighborhood, perpetrating the same pranks and tricks we used to do with my cousins at the same age.
Some people need to touch things to feel connected, to visit places again…I can’t do any of that. I did not bring "things" to the US, just two suitcases, I can’t go home for a long weekend escapade. But I can remember and talk and with this grew my ever growing love for interactions with people. I am not one of those intruding neighbors always poking my head through the fence or stopping whomever and whatever on the street just to have a conversation. No, I am not saying I am shy either…I just think my brain is always turned on to the "outside/out there" mode. This may not be news for you, but after so many years, I feel actually quite wise (hmm, hmm!) that I have discovered one of my inner mechanisms: memories ground me in being and taking in the present.
When I wrote this post, one new(er) terrific blogger, Christy, emailed me with concerns and questions about moving far away from "home". We emailed back and forth and I tried to reassure her that it is looks more daunting that it actually is. With a good head on your shoulder, a sense of curiosity, an open mind and a good smile, (ok that is the condensed version of the expat "must haves"), it all goes pretty smoothly. She insisted on sending me something as a thank you for answering her questions and since she lives in Australia I thought about light stuff that would not cost her an arm and a leg to ship: the famous Tim Tam cookies, (check her generosity) and ground wattleseed.
Wattle – what? Ha! I blame my Aussie neighbor Liz down the street for that one since she was listing its origins, properties and many different uses. Wattleseed refers to the edible seeds from Australia Acacia (loose term because they are over 100 varieties), and ground acacia flour known as wattleseeds is not only use in baked goods, but also as a replacement for coffee or chocolate, nuts. Moreover it is completely gluten free, has a low glycemic index but a high nutritious content. I just wished they’d sell it by the bucket here because from the moment I took some tiny granules to my nose I was hooked. Nutty and toasty like hazelnuts with a texture similar to ground flax seeds. Guess after the tomatoes and ever growing wild lemongrass I will be growing acacia next!!
It did not take me long, once I tried tasted a tiny little bit, to figure out how I wanted to use them. That nutty aromas is perfect with juicy apricots and the flour aspect of wattleseeds made me think of tea cakes and substituting some of the all purpose flour with it. Next thought was about the kind of tea cakes I wanted. In my family, Sunday lunches often turned into tea times with my aunt Agnes famous yogurt cake. You can guess that tea breaks inevitably turned into light dinners before my grandparents would send everybody in their respective abodes…lucky us we lived next door! See…memories…So yogurt cake it was, with apricots, wattleseeds and the usual yogurt cake suspects (say that 3 times fast). The result was just the softest, nuttiest, apricot-est mini bites we had Sunday afternoon while the twins were playing fetch with Bailey who was too hot to be bothered!
Apricot And Wattleseeds Tea Cakes:
Makes about 12 (can be made in any dish/mold you have like regular muffin tins)
2 large eggs
6 oz (on standard US container) (about 180 gr) whole milk plain unsweetened yogurt
1/2 cup sugar (100g)
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable or olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (115gr) ground wattleseeds
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 Tb lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 350° F, spray a muffin pan or 12 molds of your preference with cooking spray and set aside while you prepare the cake batter.
Cut the apricot in half and slice each half in thin slices, you will use about one half for each tea cake. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the eggs and sugar until pale. Add the yogurt, oil, vanilla, lemon zest and juice. Whip to combine and add the flour, wattleseeds and baking powder. Whip on medium speed for 30 seconds to make sure all the ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth. Scrape the bottom of your bowl if necessary and give the batter another 10 seconds whirl. Do not overwork the batter or your cake will turn out gummy. Divide the batter into the prepared tins, arrange the apricot slices on top and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester (skewer or tip of your knife) inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for ten minutes, and transfer onto a rack to cool.