I’ve been back to the kitchen baking up sweet treats once more. Last post, I shared my lychee cupcakes recipe and a couple posts before there, a lovely Italian ragu. This cake below, a private order, was what spurred me back into getting my hands dirty.
On Saturday, I was invited to share at a Bereavement workshop for health care workers back in the hospital where we delivered and lost our triplets. The memories flooded back to me as we walked towards the seminar room – the second last time I walked those hallways was when I was pregnant with our little angels, and the very last time, I walked out with a broken heart. Still, I know that I am much stronger now than when I left. I can look at pregnant mothers, women with young children, and no longer feel heavy pangs of sadness.
The sharing went well and at the end, two women shared of their losses too. One has had two miscarriages before, she now has three children. Another lost her daughter, before being blessed with two sons. My heart swelled with pride for them, for standing up and sharing. It made me feel all the more certain that I want to continue trying to raise awareness and discourse about pregnancy/infant loss. I want women to speak of their grief, instead of feeling trapped with no outlet to air their sorrows. Pregnancy/infant loss is tied so closely to mental health, which is why it is all the more important to try and get rid of the stigma and taboo surrounding it.
They gifted me with some corporate gifts, a beautiful book called ‘The Next Place’, and a gorgeous sunflower representing happiness. I didn’t expect anything but open hearts and ears, so I was very touched by the gesture.
Life is full of ups and downs. You cannot see the ache of losing a loved one on the faces of those we pass on the streets. We all have suffering that we hold within us, which is why avenues to talk about it in order to get some kind of healing is vital to our mental health.
After sharing at the hospital, I decided to come home and calm my thoughts with some baking therapy – A smoked almond rye brownie (based on this recipe substituting pecans for smoked almonds) where the dark chocolate I used symbolised the bitterness of life.
The smoked almonds represented the hardness that we go through, the road bumps that we face; rye flour was used for its earthiness – a reminder to always stay grounded.
When the brownie is eaten as a whole, there is a sweetness and saltiness to balance out our difficulties. Life is a combination of flavours, but whatever it throws at us, in the end, it forms a beautiful, delicious harmony that only serves to colour our lives. Even the parts that we wish we could erase, play an important role in defining who we are. We can choose to focus on the bitterness, or accept it, and savour the complexity of everything together.
Now, I apologise for the poor lighting. It was night time when I took these photos.
Since I had more rye flour to spare, I decided to make a Banana Walnut Bread using rye instead of wheat flour. This is another perk of not having to bake for orders – the ability to play with ingredients and create something same-same but different.
The scent of banana bread baking, spiced with cinnamon, is always a comforting as it perfumes the kitchen with its familiar, sweet aroma.
Cinnamon Banana Walnut Rye Bread
450g over ripe bananas
2 free-range eggs
75g natural yoghurt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
150ml vegetable oil
200g dark brown sugar
225g rye flour
100g toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1 banana, sliced in half, for topping
- Heat the oven to 170 deg C. Line a 1kg loaf tin or a 9×5″ loaf tin and a 6×2″ loaf tin (which is what I did).
- In a large bowl, mash up bananas. Then add yogurt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix well.
- Add to the banana mixture oil, brown sugar and eggs. Whisk together.
- Incorporate rye flour until just mixed in.
- Fold in walnuts.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf tin(s) and top with sliced banana.
- Bake in oven for 45min for a small loaf, and 55-65min for a large tin. When bread is springy to the touch and skewer comes out clean, remove from oven and allow to cool before turning out.
I hope the aromas of my banana bread floated up to heaven and reached my three little darlings. They probably have even yummier things to eat up there! I miss them every day but at least, there is something in this banana bread that wraps around me like a hug. It whispers to me that our dear Adam, Emma and Ava, are safe and well; that Nonna, Grandpa P, Ah Ma, Ah Kong, and all those who passed before us, are up there taking care of them. ❤