The past 5 years in Perth, I lived a pretty solitary life. With Si working away a lot of the time and both kids at school I threw myself into my work- writing, styling and shooting, solo. Like many other bloggers there's no behind the scenes team cheering me on, or washing my dishes (I wish!). It's just little ol' me, which can get a little lonely at times. There were days whilst writing my books where I wouldn't see another soul except for the kids and a quick hello to fellow humans at school pick up, if I was lucky. Don't get me wrong, I'm fine being by myself and I actually crave the silence of my own company often. But I do miss the joy, spontaneity and excitement that comes from real human interaction, you know... the type that's not via a computer or a phone screen!
This year has been very different to the past 5, in that, I've worked with and travelled alongside loads of different people, chatting to (for hour's non-stop in some cases!) and forming many new friendships in the process. I've still done plenty of work solo (did I tell you guys I'm now writing, styling and photographing a regular column in Taste Magazine?), but I've also been out and about as much as I've been home. And it's been an amazing, humbling and encouraging experience to meet so many new people. Being part of The Food Show has taken me to Christchurch and Wellington already and this year's final show in Auckland is coming up at the end of July. I've also had the pleasure of travelling to Christchurch again recently (read my post here) and have just stepped off a flight home from Sri Lanka (more real soon!). I'm not going to lie, this year has been full on, not only work-wise, but family-wise too and I've had to step back from this space to keep afloat with other work commitments and to support my little family as they adjust back into New Zealand life (mostly it's been great, but some days have been super rocky!). But of all the amazing thing I've done so far this year, it's the people I've met who have enriched my life the most. The older I get, the more I crave these kinds of experiences. To be able to sit and chat with likeminded friends makes me richer than money could ever bring. People, experiences and love, always love, is all we really need aye? Oh, and cake.
I made this cake for my baby boy last month on his 8th birthday. It's an old favourite that I've shared once or twice before, in different guises. It also happens to be the chocolate cake which I made for our surprise wedding all those years ago. I thought I'd share it again as I've had many requests for the green macha buttercream since posting on Instagram. There's really nothing to it, but for those of you who like to follow recipes, here it is...
Flourless chocolate cake with matcha buttercream
I cooked this cake in a 18cm round cake tin, lined high with baking paper. It still took the same amount of time to bake, but gave it a lovely height.
150g soft butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
240g (scant 2 cups) pure icing sugar (I use this one, which is slightly less refined than normal icing sugar)
1-2 teaspoon matcha powder (I use this one)
Beat soft butter using a handheld or stand mixer, until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and icing sugar and continue to beat until pure white. Add matcha, starting with 1 teaspoon, beat again and add remaining teaspoon if you'd like the colour darker.
Spread icing over the cake using a small off-set spatula or knife. Crush and scatter freeze-dried black currants over the top, if using.
Best eaten within 1-2 days of making.
Ps. The beautiful cake stand was sent to me by A Heirloom.