I came back 'home' to NZ almost five years ago. Sixteen years away from these fair shores and only one visit back during that time. Many loves of land, mountains, seas, people and projects and many an acquired skill or talent honed was i blessed to experience in those beautifully crowded years.
One abiding love is to cook. Living out of a backpack and with mainly dumpster dived or homegrown ingredients for much of my first years roaming meant a limited repertoire of dishes made it out of any kitchen i found myself in...Soup anyone?!
Sequestered in St Laurent de Cerdans in the French Pyrenees for four years i finally got to go wild with creating gardens and taught myself to cook. My partner and i (plus the many who blew in for meals and various stays) got rather round at times as i vied to perfect my cooking skills.
One recipe that was missing from my repertoire was an apple cake. Not just any apple cake...a moist one, spicy and delicious but still with the delicate flavour of apple present.
Since i left the US and my beloved commune five years ago (has it really been that long?) i have had my secondhand/thrifty radar up for Moosewood Restaurant's New Recipes book. I was wandering past my teeny local community run library and there it was on the books for sale rack for $1. Oh joy and happiness...apple cake heaven was mine!
Et voila.... Aunt Minnie's Fresh Apple cake!
Easy to make and very very good.
We used apples from our local orchard and said a big thank you to the apple trees as we left.
Now i realise that apple cake heaven could have been mine all mine years ago if i had of visited Moosewood's website. Ahem. The recipe book does have the most hilarious retro photos though so i feel somewhat vindicated.
I, of course, refused (despite the very best of intentions) to follow the recipe exactly and managed to tweak slightly and sneak in some grated fresh ginger root and some yoghurt. I also used butter instead of oil. Shameless i know but there was only olive oil in the kitchen. I do live in NZ where butter still reigns supreme. Apologies to Aunt Minnie.
An aside: My camera suffered a very undignified fall (aided by an excited small person) during a shoot a week ago so i am limping along without one while fingers crossed that the repairs dude can fix it. Fast and cheaply please oh please oh please! It is strange not to have it, i am constantly reaching for it or staging pictures. I love how taking photos more has opened my eyes to the world in a new way.