Coconut Berry Cake

Way back in 2013, I found this recipe for a Coconut Berry Cake at MamaGwenM. It looked pretty amazing, so I thought I’d make one myself.

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I can happily report that appearances were not at all deceiving and this cake tasted as good as it looked. Also if you call it a “Cake aux Fruit Rouges et Lait de Coco” like Mama Gwen does, it sounds super fancy. Oh la la!

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I only had 400ml cans of coconut milk in the cupboard and the recipe requires 200ml so rather than let it go to waste I ended up making two cakes, which wasn’t a problem at all. We did not suffer from an over-supply of delicious cake – one went on a picnic and the other happened to just come out of the oven as a friend popped over.

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It was very simple and easy to put together, the coconut milk made it quite a soft sort of cake, very moist. I’ll definitely make again and thank you Mama Gwen for sharing the recipe and your Sunday Cake tradition!

 

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Lemon Drizzle Cake

There is something about a lemon cake that is just lovely in warm weather.

Sweet but tart and slightly sticky. Delicious.

Lemon Cake
Normally I just add lemon rind and some lemon icing to my standard butter cake mix, but I thought I’d hunt around for something a bit special and I found a recipe at Bake and the City
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Perfect every time? Syrup as well as icing? Sign me up!

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It was pretty good. Moist from the syrup and despite both syrup and icing, not too sweet. I have to agree it’s the perfect lemon drizzle cake. 

My cat’s name is Mia

*TW – discussion of rape and sexual assault*

I’m going to go ahead and put forward my own bit on why I think Mia Freedman was wrong with her comments about alcohol and rape.

I’ve read some really great posts around the interwebs and if there is one thing I’m grateful for it is the many wonderful articles and blog posts from so many women speaking out about this issue. Women aren’t to blame for rape, even if they’ve had a few. Kerri Sackville  has very helpfully explained how Mia’s advice, however well intentioned, and despite her claims to the contrary, actually does blame victims of rape. It’s making a causal claim that does it and so I want to look further at that statement:

“Not drinking dramatically reduces the risk of rape….there is a crystal clear connection between alcohol and sexual assault, both for the victim and the perpetrator.”

That’s a pretty strong claim, crystal clear, no room for doubt. Mia does back up this claim by quoting an ABS study “Contribution of Alcohol and/or any Other Substance to Assault”

From which we get:

“Victims of sexual assault were more likely to believe alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to the most recent incident they experienced if the offender was a friend (76%). This was significantly higher than the overall proportion of victims of physical assault who believed alcohol and/or any other substance contributed to their most recent incident (59%).”

Interestingly enough, the same paper states in the opening sentence

“there is no clear relationship between the level of alcohol consumed and the likelihood of becoming either a victim or perpetrator of violence.”

But I guess Mia didn’t read that bit.

From a Whisper to a Roar has explained the problems associated with drawing strong conclusions from self-report methodology, so I’m not going to add anything to that, but it’s certainly something to consider.

Far from being “crystal clear” the Australian Institute of Criminology paper cited states that “a range of factors can influence the likelihood, frequency and severity of violence”.

What is probably worth noting from that same paper is that:

“Persons who drank alcohol (defined as those who had consumed any alcohol in the past year) were 1.4 times (or 40%) more likely to have been victimised than non-drinkers…. How often and how much the victim drank (that is the victim’s own drinking pattern) was, surprisingly, not significantly associated with risk of alcohol related violence”

So I guess Mia will now be altering her position from advising her daughters not to “get wasted” and instead to not drink at all. It will be have to be octsober forever, given the crystal clear connection between drinking any amount of alcohol and becoming a victim of violent crime.

Binge drinking is, of course, generally not a great idea, for various reasons. Like Mia I will teach my children that binge drinking is a foolish pastime and I would encourage them to drink responsibly due to the crystal clear connection between drinking too much and slurring nonsense like a fool and thoroughly embarrassing yourself.

“But my conversations with my daughter will be different because women are physically more vulnerable to sexual assault than men. I’m not going to pretend that’s not the case. And I’m not going to pretend alcohol isn’t a factor.”

And my conversations with my sons will be different because men are far more likely to be both perpetrators and victims of violent crimes, especially men who have been drinking.

“At least one-half of all violent crimes involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, the victim, or both (Collins and Messerschmidt 1993). Sexual assault fits this pattern. Thus, across the disparate populations studied, researchers consistently have found that approximately one-half of all sexual assaults are committed by men who have been drinking alcohol….alcohol consumption by perpetrators and victims tends to co-occur… rarely is only the victim drinking alcohol. 

So it might even be more crucial to educate men on the connection between alcohol and violent crimes, especially considering that telling women not to drink won’t prevent rape. Perhaps because there seems to be no statistical trend of women raping people when they are drunk.

“Although alcohol consumption and sexual assault frequently co-occur, this phenomenon does not prove that alcohol use causes sexual assault…surveys of victims and perpetrators cannot unequivocally demonstrate a cause-effect relationship between alcohol consumption and sexual assault,”

What no direct cause-effect relationship? But this is crystal clear stuff, Mia said so!

Preventing sexual assault and other violent crimes in our society is a huge task, and I’m sure Mia would agree this is a complicated issue. Like News with Nipples  said “if women could prevent sexual assault, then we’d all prevent it and there’d be no sexual assault. It’s a no-brainer.” But it’s just not that simple.

There is really no need to connect a “don’t get wasted, it’s not good for you” message with a rape warning. If I thought that there was a direct causative link between alcohol passing between a woman’s lips and sexual assault, you bet I would tell all my lady friends, “Don’t do that! It directly causes rape!” But there is no crystal clear link. There are trends and circumstances and sometimes just bad luck. The one crystal clear connection, that people have repeated over and over again, is that being in the presence of a rapist who wants to rape you greatly increases your risk of rape.

Knitting for babies

I do love baby knits, so I was delighted when I found out my sister was pregnant. Clearly that prompted spending a lot of time browsing patterns on Ravelry and adding to my already ridiculously long queue.

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The Sunnyside baby cardigan is a great (and free!) baby pattern I’ve been using. I’ve knit it twice so far and I’m prepared to do it again, it really is that good.

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These two are sized 3-6 months, the smallest size. I’ve knit one for my nephew, and another for a baby gift for a friend.

Thankfully my sister has moved to a much cooler climate where aunt-knit woolies are warmly welcomed. Since the baby is due in December, he’ll need a little time to grow before it starts getting into woollen weather so hopefully this will fit nicely if there is a chilly day during the autumn months.

Sunnyside Cardigan

I did make some changes to the pattern. For the cabled version I mirrored the cables on either side of the buttons so I c6f for the first three cables and c6b for the last three. I realised after though that it would be even nicer if the cables were mirrored all the way around, which would mean adapting the six cables to be: c6f, c6f, c6b, c6f, c6b, c6b.

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I did this with the lace version, just varied the chart pattern, so in row 3 where you work the lace chart and make increases the first two lace sections worked as row 3, followed by row 11, then row 3, then last two row 11.  In row 5 vary the lace by working two row 5, followed by a row 13, then row 5, then last two row 13. And so on and so forth for the rest of the lace pattern.

I think it just makes for nicer detailing, even if it make the pattern a little more difficult to remember.  

Jam Drops

There is not much that is nicer than jam drops with a cup of tea. There is something so very lovely about homemade biscuits and jam drops are particularly homely and comforting.

Jam Drops

I adapted the recipe for  Donna Hay’s Jam Drops from Modern Classics Book 2

Recipe:
  • 180g butter
  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • jam (lots of jam) I used raspberry but any kind you like.
Begin by preheating the oven to 180˚. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the vanilla. Add the sugar and beat well. Add the egg and beat well. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix to form the dough.

Roll two teaspoons of mixture into a ball, and place well spaced on baking trays. Flatten the dough balls, and press your thumb into the centre to form an indentation. Fill the hole with jam.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Add a little extra jam while they are still warm. Place on wire racks to cool.

The secret to lovely jam drops is to add extra jam after they are baked and not too much before. Baking jam makes it a little chewy and can leave the drops looking a bit shite, but add a small dollop of jam straight after they come out of the oven and they end up jammy and delicious.

Jam Drop Bite

Of course a sprinkling of icing sugar is always nice.

Jam Drop Cup of Tea
Add a cup of tea and a good book  🙂

Hello and Happy International Women’s Day.

Well, I’m giving this ‘blogging’ business another go. I certainly read enough blogs, but finding the time to write has resulted in many previous failed attempts.

I do think it’s nice to start afresh, with a new feminist blog on International Women’s Day.

I will begin by not writing anything myself, but instead linking to an opinion piece by Anne Summers

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of women, to honour the struggles of those who fought to get us where we are today, and to remind ourselves of what we still need to do if we are to achieve equality.

There is still so much unfinished business. Women still do not participate in the workforce in the same proportions as men, and we get paid less for doing the same work and with sexism and misogyny rampant, we are not accorded the respect we deserve.

But of the many issues that clamour for our attention, I think on this Women’s Day we should be focusing on one that destroys or ruins the lives of so many women around the world: violence against women.

I remember attending a conference where Karen Struthers, then Queensland Minister for Women, spoke about violence against women. While I can’t recall her exact words, my recollection is that she was saying that other forms of equality such as in the workplace, or in education, or political representation, will fall down if women can’t live lives free from violence.

Against all good sense I read the comments under Summers’ article and of course I found the usual objections to mention of violence against women: Isn’t all violence bad? What about violence against men? Don’t blame men for violence in society. Men are more likely to be victims of assault than women.

In answer to these I want to put forward my own view.

Yes violence is bad. Yes violence is bad no matter who the victim is. Yes men are far more likely to be victims of assault (and yet are never warned not to go out alone at night!). These are all serious issues and of course there is no excuse for violence.

But can we blame men for violence? Well why not? Men may be the majority of victims of assault, but they are also by far the majority of perpetrators of violence as well. Of course not *all* men are violent, only the violent ones. Surely people can see the difference between “all men are violent” and “the majority of violent crimes are committed by men”? Just like no one sensible would say “no women are violent” but rather “a small percentage of violent crimes are committed by women“. To ignore this as a gendered issue and pretend that it’s just some sort of weird coincidence is not only to ignore the facts, but also to ignore the possible solutions to this as a social issue.