Just add magic

To make a cheesecake : Blend cashew nuts and lemon…

Ever come across a recipe that you can’t imagine how it’s going to come together? Sarah Britton of My New Roots keeps posting recipes that intrigue me so much I have to make them. It helps that the recipes are dead easy (I am such a lazy cook!) and often require no cooking or baking. “Raw Cashew Dreamcake” is no exception. Nine ingredients, none of which are dairy, “whizzing” the major step and voila, you have yourself a “cheesecake”. It’s like magic…

Cheery cashew dreamcake

This particular recipe seems to be everywhere. Blogs, Pinterest, even one of my favourite design magazines. Clearly it’s not just me who is captivated by the impossibility of the ingredients. How can this dish work? How can it look so pretty? How can it taste like cheesecake? Surely it’s an illusion.

I’m reaching for a little magic of my own this week. I have feedback on my manuscript from my agent and my trusted manuscript genius (more about her some other time, she deserves a post or three of her own) so now I need to make some edits. It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? The feedback is very good and helpful, it will make it better. But it’s complex and layered and there’s the tricky business of applying it. Do you make a small mend, do you unravel a whole chapter or do you change a character or storyline completely? How will one change effect other parts?

Cherries

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting feedback on my work. I am used to working in teams (I had a ‘past life’ as a Human Resources Manager) so the isolation of writing is quite foreign to me. The opportunity to discuss the plot and the characters I’ve been working on for so long is such a gift and insight from someone objective is priceless. But taking all that feedback and making it work….hmmm. It’s a little like making cheesecake from cashews. Possible. Often simpler than you expect. But requiring forethought, imagination and…a little magic.

Added to that, life has a capital L this month. Matt is out of the country for work for a few weeks and there is a whole heap of parenting to be done. For starters B1 is rocking the two and a half year old tantrums and jealous rages. They are fun (eye roll). B2, determined little soul that she is, is utterly focussed on standing, eating and speed-crawling, resulting in head bumps, squashed fingers and lots of bits of lint stuffed into the mouth. I have to watch her like a hawk. It’s a cliche, I know, but truly, finding time for a shower is a serious success around these parts. Where oh where, to find the time and headspace to edit a manuscript? Advice? Wisdom? An Ollivander’s wand?!

Cherries and cashew cream

The good thing is – there is a will. I am dying to work on it. I know it can be better and I just have to figure out how to make it that way. I’ve been thinking about it in that daily shower of mine or when I’m falling asleep. The characters are alive again in my mind, I keep changing tiny details to see if they improve; adding complexity, stripping some away. To work on the manuscript I’ll just have to find time in smaller pockets. I’ll have to ignore the laundry. And the vacuuming. I’ll have to get to work before I know if it’s going to work and trust the process. That’s right, trust. Now that is the real magic. Right? (Am I getting too deep for a Monday?!)

It’s a whole lot easier to trust that a My New Roots recipe is going to turn out well. You remember the Raw Brownie, of course. Yum. I knew Sarah Britton had my back when I was leaping into making cheesecake from nuts. I even substituted some cherries for the berries it calls for, because they were in my fruit and vege box delivery this week and omitted the vanilla bean because I didn’t have one. Yup, it’s rock n’ roll risk taking in my kitchen. Raw Cashew Dreamcake didn’t disappoint. It’s not cheesecake, of course, but something different that tastes familiar, if you know what I mean. I don’t really like the cloying taste of cheesecake that much so it suits me, but you do need that lemon juice to give you the “vibe”. It’s a pretty cake and you could really play around with the flavours. I’m thinking of trying it with more lemon and a little ginger next time, leaving out the berries completely, a version to make for my Mum.

If you make it, let me know what you think and what you did with it, and if you have tips on manuscript mending and polishing, I’d love to hear them. Oh, and if you come across a white rabbit, sparkly red shoes or glittery fairy dust, please enclose them in a postage box and send quick-smart. This girl needs to make it all come together….somehow…

HUGS, Hannah x

B1 and dreamcake

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2 Responses

  1. I must say, I’ve been a skeptic of the raw food movement. I’m just a fan of cooked things being cooked things. But cheesecake made of cashews and cherries? How can that be bad?!

    And it IS magic when your manuscript starts coming together, isn’t it? Scary to put into motion, but so worth it. The editor in my head always whispers that this might be the one that needs to be abandoned, but I’ve learned that really, any manuscript, no matter how terrible, is redeemable with enough work.

    And enough cheesecake, of course.

  2. Also, those cherries are a dark kind of wonderful.

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