Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The apple tree

Songs evoke memories.

I often find myself humming a tune I haven't thought of in ages.  My mind picks at distant memories, as tender as the silk threads of a cobweb.  I stop for a moment and try to put the memory together.  My heart swells and a smile tweaks at the corner of my mouth... ah I do remember.

Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me, anyone else but me, anyone else but me...  The music of Glenn Miller loudly filled our farmhouse regularly on a Saturday morning.  Bumps would sit  on the veranda, under the fibre glass roof; next to the orchids and gig his tin leg in time with the music.  Whenever he caught sight of me watching him, he would pull up his shoulders and do a great version of what today - would be seen as embarrassing dad dancing.  I loved it. He was all you could ever of wanted from a grandfather. We'd listen to chattanooga choo choo and (I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo.  I imagined being that girl in wherever Kalamazoo was...although I wasn't sure what a pipparoo was.  I still don't know to be honest.

We probably got through half a record before Mama would turn down the volume and join us, her apron smelling of fresh baking. She'd sit down and gently fan her face, the damp soft grey curls drying in the heat. Elevenses was served with Glenn playing softly in the background and a fresh cup of tea to go with our cake.

One of my favourite tea cakes was Mama's lemon and apple drizzle cake.  Thick slices of soft buttery cake, covered in a sharp sweet icing. If I could bear it... I'd break off a piece and share it with one of the four dogs sat at my feet, jowls slobbering in anticipation.  If the dogs did not move fast enough, a cheeky miner bird would swoop down and steal it right from your hand!

Even though her recipe book is still in cargo and 'parked' in the docks waiting for customs to do whatever it is they need to do, I remember the recipe.  It's a simple yet gloriously delicious tangy treat. 

Perfectly Yum.

  • 200 grams soft butter
  • 200 grams soft brown sugar
  • Zest of one lemon, and it's juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 grams flour
  • 1 t-spoon baking powder
  • 150 grams apple puree

For the drizzle topping: mix the juice of two lemons and 100 grams icing sugar into a smooth runny paste

  • Heat oven onto 180 degrees, grease a loaf tin
  • Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy
  • Add eggs one at a time - putting little flour in if the mixture separates
  • Add all other ingredients and gently mix, pour into loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes until top springs back
  • Let cake cool completely before drizzling icing over
Serve and enjoy!  YUM 

Monday, 7 January 2013

In the blink of an eye...

Forgive me father for I have's been 12 months since my last blog...

How time does fly when you move half way across the globe.  Long months spent waiting for visas, finding a job, rebuilding a home, learning the fine art of negotiating round-a-bouts and settling into my new wellies.  My family and I are 100% committed to life on 'Mud Island'. Mushy peas, bangers and mash, crumbles, Yorkshire pudding, pubs, rain, mud, more rain and a bit of brass monkey weather is now our life.

A big change from Africa.  And I would be lying if I told you I didn't miss it.  I do.  The smell of the rain on a dusty road, the sounds of approaching thunder, the sound of Christmas beetles and the hot African sun turning my pale skin from lilly white to fire engine red.  But I can tell you that we don't regret the decision to move to the United Kingdom.

My blog has always meandered down the hazy childhood memory lane of life in Zimbabwe and growing up on an African farm.  I may be thousands of miles away, but Africa is in my blood.  I will always be African. 

My Mama's recipe book is in cargo, docked at Southampton.  I so need the inspiration of my Mama's handwritten notes urging me to feed my soul as much as fill my family's bellies with something yum. 

I can't wait to start sharing and reminiscing and I guess... there will be some new adventures along the way.

Hope you come back soon for a visit...don't know 'bout you, but I'm desperately seeking something yum!