There are moments in life (emphasis on the fleeting nature of ‘moments’) when I feel sudden bursts of patriotism. Every once in a while, this patriotism is directed at the motherland, more specifically, that cute little teardrop island on the world map.
Here are some examples of not those moments:
- Trying to draw the same convoluted flag every UN day sitting next to my Japanese friend. She used ONE colour pencil. Every. Year. I would be lucky to even have time to colour.
- Having my nose pulled by relatives and sometimes not relatives. The pulling motion could vary from a tokenistic pinch to a purposeful yank of the nasal cartilages.
- Biting into a cardamom.
Ok so here are some examples of what could inspire in me an affectionate nod to the homeland:
- Any time Sri Lanka beats England. I mean in cricket but I suppose as a general rule that would apply as well.
- Hearing a white person’s reaction to the driving in Sri Lanka. The genuine shock in their eyes, even at the mere memory of it, fills me with a sense of collective accomplishment. Although actually being on a Sri Lankan road would swiftly remedy this feeling.
- The desserts. They are ridiculously unhealthy most of the time but are also the only main reason I go to any Sri Lankan gathering.
Date cake is actually not among my most favourite of favourite Sri Lankan foods. But I do like it very much and it is what I baked today so, enjoy.
The first step when it comes to inherited ‘traditional’ foods is to seek out instructions from the sacred records, passed down from generation to generation:
As you can see it has been well protected by that one generation.
So here’s what to do:
- Soak 200g of pitted dates in ½ cup of water and ½ tsp baking soda.
- Come back the next day.
- Beat 75g of butter with 100g sugar
- Mix in 2 eggs, 100g flour and 1 tsp baking powder
- Smush, and I mean properly smush the dates. If they are not smushable then you need to add more water and leave it longer to soak.
- Mix the dates into the flour
- Bake for 40 mins at 170 C
- Prepare your aluminium foil for the moment the cake is freed from the oven
- And cover that cake – as per Mama Fizzle’s orders. Something about moisture and steam and listening to your mother, idk I wasn’t really listening.
Date cake is usually an Eid-ul-fitr thing, mainly because the accumulation of dates during Ramadan is…shall we say, substantial? But date cake will also be more than happy to feed you at any other time in the year when you are ready for a boost of Sri Lankan-ness.