Chocolate & Spice

chocolate, spice and the other pleasures in life

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Weekend Away

On the Hume freeway from Sydney to Melbourne

A couple of weeks ago, we flew to Sydney for the weekend to visit with A's family before taking a road trip of 850 kilometres back to Melbourne with A's car. We took the direct route back to Melbourne instead of the scenic coastal route (which we will undertake in December for Christmas) and it was a great drive seeing that the Hume freeway back was largely free of cars.
Taking my turn at the wheel, I was somewhat apprehensive about long-distance driving, having up to now, always been driven around for long distance travel. After a couple of hours behind the wheel on a clear road with blue skies above and scenery changing every few kilometres or so, I now understand why many Singaporeans love to take their cars up to Kuala Lumpur for the weekend – there is something therapeutic about driving at 120km/h and singing loudly to a good selection of road trip music. While I would have loved my John Mayer and Dick Lee albums to be on hand, I had to be content with Madonna's "The Immaculate Collection", Michael Jackson's "History", "Grease!" and the soundtrack from the movie "Pretty in Pink" – all courtesy of A's teenage years and all the CDs left in his bedroom!
The drive back topped off a truly enjoyable weekend spent chowing down A's mom's luscious cooking, lounging around with our books and catching up with family in the local pub at Westmead. One particular highlight of the weekend was the extended family gathering over the usual dim sum lunch (which is always a fixture on the calendar every time we come back to Sydney) in Carlingford. This time, we were all more restrained with our orders for dim sum as we were told that we would be heading over to Uncle Edgar's place for birthday cake. And what a birthday cake it turned out to be!

Uncle Edgar's birthday cake

As a tribute to their Filipino heritage, A's aunt had ordered an ube-macapuno (yam with young sweet coconut) cake. Covered in pastel buttercream icing, once sliced, the cake comprised of 2 layers of purple ube-flavoured sponge with a filing of macapuno. I was rather surprised at the intensity of the purple sponge, having read previously on Chockylit's post on Ube Cupcakes with Bubble Buttercream that her attempts at making the ube cupcakes resulted instead in an unappetizing sludge-green colour. Chocklit left the colour natural although she suggested that to correct the colour, some drops of red food colouring might do the trick to try smash red beets (although I think that might affect the flavour of the ube!). In the case of the birthday cake, I'm guessing it must have been the former as I certainly tasted only ube in the sponge.

A slice of the ube sponge cake with macapuno filing

Colour-aside, the birthday cake was light, fluffy and definitely delicious enough for A to return for a second slice. For me, as I have never been a big fan of yam-based desserts (whether in the form of Magnolia's ube icecream or my grandma's traditional Teochew dessert, ohr ngee), it was a nice reminder of the wonderful macapuno icecream from Magnolia and coconut pies that my mom used to cart back from Manila.

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