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Vegan Coconut-Lemon Bundt Cake

Sunday, March 31, 2013
Mini Vegan Coconut-Lemon Bundt Cake

WORDS, omg! (mayisayit??), I love them. I bow to the words. I admire them, I dream, I listen to them. I pay respects. Words tease me and fascinate me, I honor them, they light me up, they seduce me and bang me against the wall.
Whispered in the ear on a summer night, eternal and liars like bubbles of soap; shouted to the wind, the rain and the rainbows of the world, full of anger, hope and future; words read and absorbed through the pages of others, intoxicating like opium, fierce and suffocating like a tightening noose; those created, distorted, manipulated; old-fashioned words and modern ones; those twittered, facebooked, painted or sprayed on a wall; those written in the toilets of some bars, printed onto my sick mind, signed by hand inside a greeting card, sent via regular mail or coming from the sky; the yellow and red words of a sign on the street, those sung and cried about, words swallowed by time or forgotten for years under a pillow; those chewed and then spit against me, dreamt under the August stars, wrapped in alcohol, smoke and fog, moved by a kiss or a stroke on the neck; words tattooed on the skin as a final, theathrical gesture; those pronounced in front of an altar, the ones that were deleted, re-written, put in a note or lost. Words of movies, songs, and advertising. Those carved in the stone and forever, or recorded for just one hour, the ones remaining from the memories of that time. Future words, conditional or past ones, the dark words of a foreign language, those roughed out by a growing child; words memorized from a poem or recited as a wicked mantra.
I. Love. Words. I inhale them like benign steam, drink them like a glass of chianti. I get drunk, hit, carried away in a far and distant present. And you knew, you know me well like the back of the hands of our worlds once neighbors. If it weren't for those few words entrusted to modern technology, you and I would be lost forever. You said it yourself, and you knew, what happens to me, when inside that Easter egg, between a bite of cake and an afternoon tea, you gave me this handful of verses:

when was that last time
I saw you and then maybe kissed you
tell me now girl of those days
when and where did you go
why and when did I forget about you.
You thought it would last forever
that absolute and violent love
when was it that the nothing finished
why was it that everything died out
did not see not even September.

~ Francesco Guccini, The Last Time


Vegan Bundt Cake*
with Coconut and Lemon

for 8 mini cakes or one 10-inch bundt pan
sugar 225 gr
all-purpose flour 375 gr
light vegetable oil 100 gr
coconut milk 1 can (400 ml)
soy or rice milk 50 gr
lemon juice 50 gr
grated lemon zest 3 tablespoons
pure vanilla extract 2 teaspoons
baking powder 2 teaspoons
baking soda 1 teaspoon
salt 1 pinch
shredded unsweetened coconut 130 gr
confectioners' sugar for dusting as needed


* Yet another recipe stolen from the sacred text of the Orthodox veganism, that Veganomicon onto which now hangs my fate, only with a bit more of vintageness. And it won't be the last time.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, coconut milk, rice milk, juice and zest of lemons, and vanilla extract. Stir well. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and gradually add them to the wet ingredients, mixing well after each addition. Lastly, fold in the dried coconut.
Pour the batter in one 10-inch bundt pan (or 8 smaller pans), previously greased and floured, and bake at 350 for about one hour (45 minutes for the smaller pans), until a knife inserted through the middle comes out clean.
Let the cake rest in its pan for about 10 minutes, then flip it onto a rack and let it cool completely. Sprinkle the surface with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Mini Vegan Coconut-Lemon Bundt Cake

When was that last time
you heard your mother sing
when at home reading the paper
you saw your father smoke
while you were going back to study
in those days now too far away
all was present and the future
something left for tomorrow
an expectation of dreams and darkness
a something uncertain and insecure.
~ Francesco Guccini, The Last Time

Mesciua - Italian Bean Soup

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dear diary, I am happy only at sea, on the way from one island I just left to another one I have yet to reach.
~ Nanni Moretti, Dear Diary

I've read that mesciua was born from the sea, between the Ligurian coasts, a poor man' soup put together with those grains that the longshoremen’s wives could gather from time to time on the docks, as treasures unwittingly fallen from the slits of the bags, worn out by time and travels.
I imagined a thick soup, with the poor and robust flavor of the land, the waves and the adversities, and the incisive scent of memories and hope.
I saw a woman with slender, well groomed hands, black hair and a scarf around the neck, wandering every day through the streets of the port to take a vain look between the cries of the people, waiting anonymously for a lover. I thought of a man overboard, with tanned arms and fatigue in the veins, with eyes following the stars and boredom for a friend; I saw him feeding himself with waves, loneliness and false freedom.
I watched the woman leave, with her scarf around the neck, away from the coast and from the sound of the wind, to go and get lost among unfamiliar people, languages and scents. I felt her nostalgia, moist and dense like vapors from the kitchen; I felt it taking shape after years in the improbable taste of this mixture of grains left in the bottom of the pantry. I looked into her eyes, dark and sad of melancholy, and I listened to the vivid silence of her regret. I wished that on the bottom of the dish she could find an answer to her questions, I wanted to give her the smile and the comfort of memory; instead I saw her crying in front of this soup, so far and outspoken, living memory of a summer sky, a love never lived and a land never forgotten.
I had a dream and I wrote it down this way, on a winter evening; and I dedicated it to all the travelers of the world, with their fate on the open sea, their thoughts on the ground, and their heart between two shores.

Ingredients per Mesciua

for 4/5 people
dried garbanzo beans 200 gr
dried cannellini beans 200 gr
wheat berries or farro 100 gr
olive oil, salt, black pepper as needed

Grains and Spoon

The night before, soak the beans separately, covering them with water, and let them sit for about 8 hours. Drain and rinse, then put garbanzo beans and wheat berries in a large pot of lightly salted cold water, bring to boil and simmer for about 1 hour and 1/2. Put the cannellini beans in a separate pot, cover with cold water and cook for about 1 hour. Add them with some of their liquid to the garbanzo and wheat berries, season with salt and cook for another 15 minutes. Season each plate with a bit of olive oil and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Refrain from parmesan cheese, according to the experts it would be a heresy!