I’m now back in Melbourne and have just started a psychiatry rotation for the start of my fourth year of medical school. Holidays are most certainly over! Personality disorders came up in lectures the other day, and one in particular struck a chord with us. The Narcissistic Personality Disorder criteria includes “has a grandiose sense of self importance (e.g. exaggerates achievements and talents)”; is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance”; “believes that he or she is “special” and unique”; “requires excessive admiration”; “has a sense of entitlement”; “lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings ands needs of others”; “is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her”. Ring a bell? Maybe like someone that might have just been elected to one of the most powerful positions in the world? The DSM-V criteria also states that this includes “becoming irritated when others fail to assist in their “very important work””(i.e. THE MEDIA), or “they may expect their arrival to be greeted with great fanfare” (i.e. crowd size preoccupations, anyone?). Vulnerability in self-esteem also makes these individuals very sensitive to “injury” from criticism and defeat. I can’t spell it out any more clearly than this : https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/828642511698669569
I didn’t set out intending this post to be politically focussed, but it is increasingly difficult to ignore the disturbing events happening in the US. Blogging for me usually means writing about topics that have been on my mind and certain experiences or backstories relevant to a particular recipe, but it would feel like burying my head in the sand to continue without mention of today’s current events. From the restrictions on funding to international aid organisations offering birth control, to the incomprehensible travel ban and the random, disorganised tweeting by the president himself – as the South Park & Book of Morman writers said, “satire has become reality”. To be honest, the rampant lying (or “alternative truth”, sorry) is the scariest part. Anecdotally, a friends employee in Boston told her that she was voting for Trump because “Hillary Clinton is a Muslim”. She fully, entirely believed this to be true. As a university student with access to and interest in news, I can hardly believe it – but for many voters, these news stories circulated by word of mouth, facebook or extremist websites are taken as gospel.
Thousands of kilometres away in the southern hemisphere summer as a non-US voter, it can all feel quite far away – like watching a train wreck in slow motion, relatively powerless to take any sort of action. However, we CAN make changes and raise awareness from afar, as the massive Women’s Marches around the world demonstrated. And closer to home, Australia in particular has huge changes to make in regard to its illegal and cruel off-shore refugee prisons – asking Donald Trump to take asylum-seekers is just deferred responsibility and an easy out.
In the food blogging corner of the world, a whole bunch of amazing people have written #immigrantfoodstories to show support for immigrants. Check out this post by Kimberley Hasselbrink of The Year in Food for links to these stories and follow the hashtag on social media channels.
I have no real way to segue that to this cake, I have to admit. I’m currently typing this out in the sun outside the hospital cafeteria, and am kind of wishing a piece of this plum, pistachio and lemon cake would materialise in front of me – though that would place me in the psych ward with the patients I’m currently seeing, so maybe not. I’m not a big fan of raw pistachios themselves (too salty + they get in your teeth – is that just me?) but I LOVE them in baking. If you haven’t tried this easy apricot and pistachio slice yet, give that a go too. Ripe plums are best – the 45 minutes in the oven gives them time to soften and gently sink, melding into the surrounding cake batter. It’s not too sweet- more nutty, moist and tangy with plums and freshly grated lemon zest. Perfect with a dollop of greek yogurt and your morning coffee.
- 185g (6.5 oz) butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (220g / 7.75 oz) caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 120g ground almonds (4.25 oz /1¼ cup)
- 120g pistachios (4.25 oz / 1 cup)
- 90g plain flour (3.25oz) / ¾ cup
- finely grated zest 1 lemon
- 10-12 ripe plums, halved and stoned
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup roughly chopped pistachios for topping
- Thick greek yogurt to serve
- Preheat oven to 175°C, and grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper.
- In a food processor or blender, blitz the pistachios to a fine meal (see photo for texture).
- Cream butter and caster sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined. Fold through the ground almonds, finely ground pistachios, all-purpose flour, baking powder, vanilla and lemon zest.
- Pour the batter into the tin and smooth the surface. Top with plum halves, cut side up.
- Bake for 45-50min or until a skewer inserted comes out just clean. Leave in the tin to cool.
- To glaze, mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice until desired consistency. Drizzle over cake and top with chopped pistachios.
- Serve with greek yogurt.