“Friendship is the allay of our sorrows, the ease of our passions,
the discharge of our oppressions, the sanctuary to our calamities,
the counselor of our doubts, the clarity of our minds” Jeremy Taylor.

I rented a small tiny flat last year when I had to leave my fantastic first flat after 4 years of living in Berlin. Desperation certain has its way with me, and I allowed it to make my choice of a terribly suboptimal flat. It hardly had a kitchen, no kitchen counters, an archaic stovetop and an oven which only functioned when it was in the mood. I have no idea what I was thinking when I signed that lease for 9 months!!

After countless failed attempts at cooking and nearly taking that oven and throwing it out of the window, I decided that I had no choice but to break the lease! I had to find a way…any way to get out. My mood had sunk to a near depression and I felt very very lost!

This lack made me realise how central, crucial, critical….simply essential it was for me to have a fully functioning kitchen…It could be small, but I need the basics. Or-else.

One of the possible “take-overs”-of my lease was a girl from Orange County, California who was on a Fulbright scholarship to Berlin for a year. She needed a place ASAP, and I wanted to get out ASAP. So, both of our needs were met in one go!

 

She moved in immediately and during our overlap of  couple of days, we managed to establish the foundation to a solid friendship, at least one which has weathered the winter months of Berlin.

It amazes me each time I think about it, how quickly we we able to connect to one another.  We felt comfortable with each other from day one.

On the surface, however, we could not be any different: I am sort of tom-boyish, never wear make-up, have only bad hair days and could care less, do NOT have fashion sense, where a rucksack everywhere I go (hey, it is practical okay?! A dainty little handbag just will not do it for me!)

 

On the contrary, Ms. P is completely and totally into fashion.  On the rarest of occasions would she exit the house without make-up, is the epitome of a lady, has handbags to fit her shoes, glasses to match her outfits, knows all about the Louboutins, is into Chanel, Longchamp, and always looks as if she has just stopped out from a VOGUE shooting….you get the picture right?!

However, beneath the make-up and Chanel bags, we share something very special, that is, the gift of friendship.

A great friendship which has provided great comfort, like returning to a familiar place, to that spot where you can just let loose and be yourself.

That wonderful gift of friendship, which offered me that feeling of belonging and acceptance. We both know that whatever happens, we are there for one another. No matter how many times we ranted and raved about whatever, an ear is always there.

And that makes a world of difference.

And so, as a tiny gesture to commemorate my friend’s 25th year on this planet, her departure from Berlin, the year we spent together, and the future journey, I made a lovely red-berry shortcake (she actually wanted strawberry shortcake but the season had ended and so, I used frozen organic berries. It is essentially a lovely moist white cake, served with berries in the middle and a cream frosting on top).

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born” Anais Nin

There is indeed so much to be learned from all those individuals who enter our lives, regardless of how long the shared journey, or how deep the exchange. Because of P., who she is and what she represents,  I have definitely learned to trust myself more…listen to that inner voice and go with it!

It has been a delightful journey of endless exchange, spontaneous apple strudel and everything else-eating sessions, meeting up then heading home and skyping until our eyes close. I shall always carry this journey of friendship dearly within my heart!

Happy 25th year P!

…and thank you once again for the gift-that wonderful gift of friendship!

Love, P

Redberry Shortcake Recipe:

Moist White Cake: (Source of Recipe : The Joy of Baking)
  • 1 1/2 cups (160 grams) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) coconut oil kept at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (175 grams) raw cane sugar
  • 2 tbs. of potato starch dissolved in 4 tsp of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) nut milk mixed with 1ts. lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.
  2. Prepare two - 8 inch (20 cm) round cake pans by lining them with parchment paper.
  3. In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In bowl of electric mixer, mix the coconut oil with the sugar.
  5. Add the dissolved potato starch, and mix well.
  6. Add the vanilla extract.
  7. Slowly add in a small amount of the flour mixture and the nut milk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan.
Easy Berry Sauce
  • 2 cups of freish or frozen berries
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
Instructions:
  1. Place berries into a pot and add the sugar.
  2. Cook over low heat while stirring consistently until the berries are soft and the sugar has dissolved ( about 8 minutes. The consistency will be like a jam)

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lora July 22, 2010 at 9:15 am

Beautiful post and the cake is gorgeous!

Mary A July 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm

What a lovely cake and story of friendship!

Joyce July 24, 2010 at 12:35 am

Yum! Your cake looks great. You should stop by my blog because I have something for you that you might enjoy. :D See you soon!

Joy August 4, 2010 at 10:52 pm

That looks just lovely. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.

Zina August 7, 2010 at 6:07 pm

The redberry cake looks just scrumptious. I think I just dribbled on my keyboard! love it.

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