An eclectic mix of be-jewelled women gathered in one room who perhaps only had two things in common; their children are at the same school and they are all marooned in a land that is not their own. For many this was not the first country in which they were obliged to struggle with an unfamiliar language and contend with eye-popping driving.
The coffee was great (thank-you Kathie) but the stories were better.
One lady told of the 'shoe sanitiser' that she'd had in her South Korean apartment. I love this idea. Apparently you place your dirty shoes in the device and with a swish and a whoosh (I'm guessing) your shoes are cleansed of contaminants. In my house you would need a shoe sanitiser to clean you up for your journey home.
Another lady told of the Singaporean School Bus. Your child wears a credit card-esque card around their neck which is swiped as they enter the bus. A message is sent back to Central Command so the whereabouts of your child can always be traced. Wow. Space Age or Big Brother?
I had to leave the coffee morning early to go and collect my boy, but I must say a big thank-you. In error, one of my experimental recipes ended up on the table and was mistaken for part of Kathie's delicious spread. I'd taken the slices as I was working on a recipe for friend. Yet all the ladies indulged themselves and their kind comments and advice were very useful.
I do hope they weren't just being polite.
Bless you ladies, these slices are for you, and see you at 3.45.
Expat Wives' Sugar-Free Slice
These are entirely free from refined sugar. They are thus friendly for those with Diabetes (Type I or Type II- but as with any food, these will have an impact on your sugar level, so please take that into account), and for anyone else who needs to restrict their sugar intake. They are also fiendishly good for you, so you can eat with impunity.
For the slice:
300g dried apricots
Some boiling water
250g dairy-free spread
Splash of alcohol if desired (Cointreau, Cognac...you choose)
150g ground sunflower seeds
100g ground linseeds
1 tsp mixed spice
90g rice flour
a splash / 1tbsp rice milk
For the 'glaze':
100g dried apricots
Enough boiling water with which to blend apricots (I'll explain in a minute)
Dessicated coconut to sprinkle
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a 27cm x 17.5cm rectangular tin (or improvise if you don't have one that size) with baking parchment
- Use enough boiling water to blend the apricots to a pulp. I did this by putting them in a jug and using a hand blender to 'pulp' them. Use as little water as possible to achieve the pulp
- Put the apricot pulp and dairy-free spread into a large saucepan. Gently heat the mix until the dairy-free spread melts.
- Add the raisins to the saucepan and set aside (just a thought, you could add a splash of strong alcohol at this point, Cointreau? Cognac?)
- Grind the sunflower seeds and linseeds by puting them into a liquidiser
- Add the seedy mix, rice flour and mixed spice to the saucepan. Mix it all in.
- If it seems very stiff add some rice milk.
- Scrape the mix into the tin and level the top with the back of a spoon
- Put it in the oven for about 20-25 mins (the cooking time may depend on your oven, mine is an eager beast and cooks very quickly)
- The slices are cooked when the top is golden brown and they are firm to the touch. They are very moist so I'm not sure putting a skewer in would work...
- Leave the slices to cool whilst you prepare the glaze
- Add enough boiling water to the dried apricots so that you can blend them to a pulp. When you have a nice smooth mix, spread it over the cooked slices.
- Sprinkle the dessicated coconut over the top to make it all look pretty
- Leave it to cool completely and then cut into slices