There is a deep need for rest in these days. Rest from work, duties, manners, social constraints, voices, noises, people, crowds, rush hours, public transports, high streets. There is a deep need for empty, hilly streets at dusk, bird noises, a little apartment that smells of cinnamon and baking bread, a couch, some lit candles in every room and nothing else. A deep need for neutrality: no sound, no color. A deep need for inner peace and inner brightness when everything gets too dark too early.
I find myself longing for solitude, and pure emptiness. For much that I got to know and yes, to love this city, sometimes I ache, I feel overwhelmed, I find myself panting, reaching for fresh air and hidden corners. I try to close my eyes and blank my mind and I can see the task getting harder and harder. Am I alone in this? Am I the strange one, the outsider?
I find relief in my empty kitchen, in an empty afternoon when nobody is home and I can free myself completely. The simple gestures of gathering bowls and measuring cups, ingredients and notes, aligning them on the table, turning on the oven solace my bewildered mind. I think, not free from guilt, that I could do something else instead, perhaps something more suitable to my age or my current location. But I chase these thoughts as I focus on measuring the ingredients, on following cooking instructions. My mind blanks as I pursue my goal of simply baking something, anything, as long as it fills my mind with silence and keeps my hands busy.
A coconut loaf has been in my plans for months and I simply felt its moment had come. Its purity, its triune coconut-y essence, its perfect synthesis of flavors, its light colored nature donated comfort and warmth to a lonely, happily lonely, or w happily-in-two-maximum afternoon, a time when everybody writes, or naps, or reads and no small talk breaks this peace.
Coconut Loaf Cake
1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted (plus more for the pan)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with a bit of coconut oil. In a large mixing bowl, mix the shredded coconut and the sugar. Add the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine. In another bowl, whisk the chia gel eggs with the coconut milk, coconut oil, and the vanilla. Add the wet mixture in to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing and serving. Serving suggestion: some coconut whipped cream (recipe here).
This bread keeps well for a few days in an airtight container, and can be frozen in slices and defrosted in a toaster.