Rhubarb cake

The holiday season is almost gone. Tomorrow the lunch boxes will be out before 7am, piles and piles of tasks will appear on my work desk, the school gala notices will become even more frequent and somewhere within it I will organise to get the car and the lawnmower serviced, a winter coat and shoes repaired or replaced and a star chart to motivate the tallest short person.

Thanks to my friend Ruth, a superb cook, mother, housewife and midwife, I bring you her rhubarb cake recipe (originally published in a Playcentre cookbook).
2 c flour
2 C chopped raw rhubarb
1.5 C sugar
2 heaped tsp baking powder
2 eggs
0.5 C oil/melted butter
1 tsp ginger, cinnamon, allspice
1 C milk

Mix it all together, pour into a cake tin and cook for 45 minutes at 180 celsius.

Nice and fast. I use brown sugar and wholemeal flour and butter. All works well. The first time I made this I forgot the milk and it was still nice. Tonight I remembered the milk and it is still nice and also very moist. But the lovely strong taste of the spice has diminished, so next time I will double the spice quantities to 2 tsp of each.

I spent this afternoon at the Working Class History Resource Centre in Blackball. It was overcast up there and very few people around, so we began to plan the resources for school trips to our centre/Blackball, which was interesting. We pondered how/whether we could pose the challenge to students (targeting years 6-8/ages 10-12) of ethical decisions. Should you work in something which is dodgy? It is tricky, and on the backburner while we focus on more practical activities based around living and working in Blackball in the past. I'm quite interested in the different forms of collective life available: the pub, the church, the miners hall (now gone) where movies and dances were held every week, the lodges.

For those of us who grew up in cultures of moral questioning (mostly but not exclusively found through religion), it is easy to overlook the fact that this is a nurture rather than nature feature of our lives. If you have lived your childhood or adulthood watching television soaps, playing Playstation and shopping for clothes and toys, to the exclusion of other pursuits or reflection, then moral questioning can seem rather irrelevant.

Which seems to me to be quite scary. It seems to me that the more passive a population, and I live in a country which is quite passive, the easier it is for someone like Hitler, or the genocidal leaders in Rwanda, to induce the entire population into previously unthinkable brutality.

John Key and his party have had a fine time this weekend it seems. Union officials are to be on work premises only at the say-so of workplace owners. Paul commented this afternoon that the unions have accepted a lot (a gentler wording than Against the Current's) but hadn't expected access rights to be attacked/withdrawn and it is time to be angry. I'm prepared to protest this one publicly but for me it isn't about supporting union officials; it is about supporting workers and their access to union support.

Yesterday I sowed some seeds. Fionn and I pulled out the seed box and looked through for seed packets which indicated they could be sown in winter. So we have some bok choy and florence fennel in the ground. I have finally confirmed that the weed I have been pulling out in the old chook run bed is indeed the cornsalad which I sowed last year and never ate. It certainly likes our current and recent germination conditions.

Making very progress, though very slow, on getting my head around five element theory (from Tradition Chinese Medicine). I have ordered my non-fiction resource book for 2010: Paul Pitchford's Healing Through Wholefoods. Laksme lent it to me last year and it was totally absorbing. This time, I plan to focus on the five element theory linkage and discussion at the beginning of the book as well as all the wonderful information on specific foods which follows.

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