“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” Meister Eckhart
I’m sitting in my new coffee shop just around the corner from my new house, watching my new neighbours pass by. It’s noisier and busier than my old area, the barista doesn’t know how I like my coffee, there are fewer trees, and I haven’t seen a child shoot past the window yet — and a crooning voice says this is a mistake, that I should go running back to my old life, that I can’t possibly risk all of this.
I know this voice so well, it’s the sprawling bad neighbourhood in the city of my mind, and have learned over time to gently and kindly ignore its sentiments until another voice wraps itself around my fears and murmurs comfort, finding courage in just doing this one small step at a time. That I don’t need all the answers all at once. That not knowing what my world looks like beyond today is just fine. That my only job is to making a beginning and keep trying.
And then the universe lovingly joins in to console by sending a little boy, about the same age as mine, racing past the cafe so that he can beat his heavily pregnant mother to the crossing and press the button for the pedestrian light. An old lady is leaning on her walking stick, also waiting to cross, and the three of them share a big smile before the green man appears to propel them across the road.
In watching their ease with each other and in deliberately moving to the peaceful parts of my head, I know in this moment that we’re going to be just fine here. We’re going to find new spaces to be happy and to live fully. My son will do what he does everywhere we go and make friends with everyone on the street, even people who don’t warm to me will be swept up in the joy he exudes with every heartbeat.
I’ll learn where I can join in and where I can be still, I’ll learn to do it standing on my own two feet, I’ll learn to smile in a new house and in a new car and in a new neighbourhood. I’ll learn to take photos in the new light. I’ll learn to bake in the new oven. I’ll learn where my joy has travelled with me, where old joys can be let go, and where new joys can be found.
Grief and fear are still present, but in this moment they are stilled by the possibility of truly living a full and authentic life. I deliberately started walking down this path to make sure I lived that way, and with each seemingly trivial step, I’m living bigger than I’ve ever lived before.
So welcome back to The Imperfect Kitchen everyone. I’ve no idea what the road ahead looks like, but the road today’s looking pretty good.
All starting with this banana, coconut and chocolate chip loaf cake. I wanted something that was easily transportable while we moved house, something low in sugar so my son could eat some without becoming manic, and something that I could make with ease in an oven I didn’t know much about. Philip’s fabulous Home Baking recipe book gave me the base for this recipe. The great thing about this cake, other than the gorgeous flavours and that it lasts for days in a cake tin, is that it’s quite hard to mess up; something that my distracted mind needs at the moment!
- 200g (7 oz) unflavoured Greek yoghurt
- 110g (4 oz) shredded coconut
- A pinch of salt
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 150g (5 ½ oz) raw sugar
- 150g (5 ½ oz) wholemeal self-raising flour
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 100g (3 ½ oz) dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 180˚C
Grease and line a loaf tin with greaseproof baking paper (my loaf tin is 22cm x 12cm, 8.5 inches x 4.5 inches)
Thoroughly mix the yoghurt, coconut, salt, banana and sugar in a mixing bowl before covering and placing in the fridge for about ½ hour (if you’re in a hurry don’t worry too much, it’s just slightly tastier to let the coconut soak and soften before baking)
Stir the chocolate chips into the banana mix before folding in the flour and cinnamon to create a smooth batter. Spoon the mixture into your tin to bake for about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. I find that the top is brown enough after about 45 minutes but the middle takes another 15 minutes, so I place some tin foil over the cake to finish baking. Just keep an eye on it and do the same if you need
Remove the cake from the oven and rest for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool
Eat in great big slabs. On its own or with butter if you prefer