birthday surprises

all saints anglican church: menteng



On my first Indonesian birthday, I had one item on my schedule: bring spicy carrot / apple cake to church outreach day downtown. It was enough. The cake took days of planning as I needed to collect ingredients, pans and market basket from various places in lengthy taxi rides through tropical downpours–which I love, because they actually lower the temps and bring out the Columbia jacket. Cozy!

But then, the first surprise was a sweet choir from a local kampung whose leader announced that there was someone celebrating a birthday in the crowd. It couldn’t be . . . but yes, and would I come up so that the choir could sing a special song? In both English and Bahasa, I filmed my way through the awkwardness of sharing a stage with such talented young people. They played their percussive angklungs (onomatopoeia) with amazing enthusiasm!!

anklung choir

anklung choir

The same dear lady, Susan, who arranged this unexpected moment, also brought out a chocolate crunch cake from The Harvest as I was preparing to leave. Chocolate-y!! Atik, my pembantu, and her friend and I enjoyed it as soon as I arrived home and could cut it. There’s no picture because we ate it too quickly.

my favorite holiday gets a make-over
Later in the day, I received an unexpected text from a colleague inviting me to a Thanksgiving dinner. This was after I had made peace with not having a turkey dinner as all attempts to arrange had somehow fallen apart. I had accepted the Korean kalbi / bulgogi substitute. Good food. Good friends. Thankful.

Carved turkey--the electric knife is in my basement at home

Carved turkey–the electric knife is in my basement at home

Yet, while savoring fried okra and sweet potatoes and of course, mashed potatoes and gravy–there really is no substitute. At the same time, this Thanksgiving actually was like no other.

Poolside at a secluded tropical home, the gathering which began as a traditional / southern Thanksgiving morphed into a mash-up of dinner and party because of its music video vibe. The dessert selection was amazing!! I brought rhubarb crunch, another favorite.

can you find the rhubarb crisp?

Canadian Pie

Canadian Pie

Fish faces outside of the tank

Fish faces outside of the tank

Thanks everyone for making the day so special!!!

recipe swap
Here’s my recipe for one of my favorite cakes to make in my small box oven in case you’re heading to a church potluck sometime soon:

Spicy Carrot Cake

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons
ns baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

4 eggs
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated carrots (also apples if desired)
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8 -ounce package cream cheese
½ cup butter
1 16-ounce package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine first 5 ingredients and mix well. MIx in eggs and oil. Add carrots and mix by hand. Grease and flour 3 9-inch round cake pans. Pour batter into pans and bake in 350 degrees F. oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool and frost. Do not frost sides. Yield: 16 slices.


About jaclynfre

Tech integration specialist, recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in friends, life and culture, transitions and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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