Thursday, 1 September 2011

Rana’s turmeric & fennel cake

I love pulling out old recipes, or ones passed down from friends and relatives because each time I make them it’s like recreating a bit of history. Someone else – whether last week or decades ago – put those same ingredients together in the way they liked best, and served it to people they loved. It's why I like making the few recipes my Italian grandmother gave to us…I never met her, but feel that I can get to know her a little by enjoying the same things she did.

I caught a compelling interview on the radio last Sunday morning with Rana Jawad, a BBC journalist who lives in Tripoli. She described the unimaginable difficulties she and her family have faced over the past few months, as well as her resolve to keep writing about what was going on with the constant fear of being captured by Gadhafi’s forces. She then spoke of how she’d relax in the midst of it all by baking, making up her own recipes, and serving her freshly-made cakes to her loved ones.

While I do not pretend that I can even begin to identify with someone in Rana’s position, what we do share is the simple truth that baking does indeed provide a welcome escape from daily events. Perhaps it’s the comfort of having something that’s a little bit in our control, or just being able to step away from life’s dramas and instead ponder over whether you should add another teaspoon of cinnamon to a recipe.

So, when the radio presenter said that some of Rana’s recipes would be posted on their website (you have to scroll down a little), I was very intrigued. I made her Turmeric & Fennel Cake, which she says is inspired by desserts from her home country of Lebanon. It’s absolutely delicious. There are also recipes for Chilli & Chocolate, and Rose Water & Apricot cakes. 

NB - If anyone out there doesn't have scales, I'd be happy to do a cup conversion for you.

Someone else thought it looked delicious, too (note our photo studio, aka the sun porch,
aka where laundry dries, aka the only room that actually gets decent light)

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