Every friendship has a story. Where you met, how you met, why you “gel” and why, after all these years, this person is still particularly special in this minuscule fleck of existence that you call your life. I have a few such people in my little life, one of them is Loreen.

Hi, this is Loreen (with a big bottle of whiskey):

Loreen and I met at uni in 1998. We were enrolled in the same course and ran into each other every now and then, wearing exactly the same clothes on more than one occasion. I know, right? TEENAGE DEATH BY DUPLICATE FASHION. But instead of becoming narky about it, we bonded over our shared fashion sense and became good friends.

Over the course of the years, Loreen and I shared a number of inimitable experiences, from witnessing my little dog rape her little dog to surviving the rather gory death of a gold fish to partying and falling down many a stairs (just to name a few) and when we graduated and started making some mulah, we decided to be flatmates!

My friendship with Loreen has shaped my life more than any other, I think. She was the one who got me through that heartbreak. I mean, it may not sound like a lot to you guys, but Loreen was the one who made sure I would get up every day and shower and brush my teeth and eat a quarter of a slice of toast. She burnt me lavender oil to help me sleep and she made me leave the house, even though all I would do is cry and cry and cry in the car/restaurant/supermarket. I can’t express in words how much energy she invested in me, and I can barely begin to articulate how much I thank her for it.

With all her caring, I eventually became a whole person again.

I left Loreen in 2003 to move to Sydney, and I’m sure in utter spite for what I did, in 2004 she moved all the way to London. We kept in touch sporadically because she’s not an emailer, but you know, she was always up to speed with the loves and lusts of my life, because that’s the most important news to debrief, no?

In 2007, Panu told me he wanted to move to London. I said I’d think about it, but I didn’t really want to leave Sydney and inside I was in agony, wondering how I was going to leave this perfect guy I’d just met. But alas, I didn’t have to. Loreen and Felix —

— Hi, this is Felix, he air guitars:

Loreen and Felix got engaged and decided to get married in France, their most favourite country. If there’s one wedding I would cross the world for, you bet it’s Loreen’s. And since I was going all the way to France for her, I figured I’d get a visa and stay a while and… I’m still with Panu today.

You see how she’s shaped my life? YOU SEE? It’s crazy.

Anyway, Loreen’s done a bunch of fabulous things in her life, but I have to say that the best was to marry Felix. Loreen doesn’t cook. Felix does. And he’s awesome. Last weekend they invited us all over to their place for a steamboat. Felix had prepared two pots of stock – one chicken and one tom yum, and all the usual goodies (fish balls, fish cakes, chicken, beef, eggs, fish, noodles, tofu, cabbage, mushrooms, SO MUCH AWESOME STUFF!)

We ate like kings.

I made a matcha sponge cake. With white chocolate and almond cream, naturally.

Some of us drank.

We all had a bloody great night.

Matcha sponge cake with white chocolate & almond cream
White chocolate & almond cream:
150 grams double cream / heavy cream
60 grams white chocolate, chopped
Almond flakes

3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
5 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
80 grams plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon matcha

This recipe is adapted from Scandi Foodie – her recipe creates a chiffon cake. I found mine wasn’t as fluffy as a chiffon cake and came out more like a sponge cake. So imma call it that.

  1. You need to make the white chocolate cream a day in advance (or at least a few hours) – boil the cream over a saucepan and pour it over the chopped chocolate.
  2. Let it sit for a few minutes for the chocolate to melt, before stirring to make sure the chocolate melts completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours.
  3. To make the cake, pre-heat oven to 180°C/356°F.
  4. In one bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of sugar to make a smooth cream. Gradually whisk in the oil and water. Add the flour and matcha and mix well.
  5. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining sugar in 2 batches and keep beating until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  6. Carefully fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in 3 batches.
  7. Pour the mixture into a greased 8″ spring form cake tin and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 180°C/320°F and bake for another 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool.
  8. If making two laters, repeat steps 3-8.
  9. Once both sides are cool, whip the white chocolate cream until thick and does not drip. Using a rubber spatula, apply cream to both “inside” faces of the cake, sprinkle a layer of almond flakes and match the two sides together.
  10. Apply cream around the whole outer ring of the cake and holding the cake on a slight angle, drop almond flakes along the side, making sure they stick. If you have enough cream (I didn’t – so make more if you want to do this), add cream across the entire top of the cake and sprinkle with almond flakes.
  11. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serves 8.

22 Thoughts on “every friendship needs a story. and a steamboat. and a matcha sponge cake with white chocolate & almond cream.

  1. Fish balls! Noodles! Nuff said!

  2. love the matcha sponge cake! always tend to eat alot during steamboat. haha!

  3. Aw, cute story! Now you’ve made me want cake, dammit.

  4. Sigh… I miss my soul mate who inconveniently emigrated to Australia! We all need friends like this, even if they’re on the end of the phone.

    Cake looks glorious and the almond and white chocolate filling is calling me!

  5. That’s a really lovely post, Catty. Friends like that are worth a trillion.

  6. Beautiful story mixed with delicious food. Nuts and chocolate and yum!

  7. Pingback: Tweets that mention every friendship needs a story. and a steamboat. « thecattylife… for all things cattylicious… -- Topsy.com

  8. Awww… love you (and steam boat) too…

  9. Yummy food, great ppl =) this sounds so much like me and my gf and she’s getting married in France this Summer too!

  10. Mr Noodles: and we had TWO types of noodles!

    Melissa: No kidding I was saying the same thing! cos you just keep taking a little and a little and end up massively stuffed 🙂

    Sasa: Time to get a-baking!

    Sarah: Maybe it’s time to make a trip to Oz 😉 And yes the white choc and almond was perfect for the matcha cake!

    Kavey: Priceless, they are. Especially when they put on such great feasts 🙂

    Cupcake: Thank you!

    Loreen: Yeah, the things I’d say to get another steamboat invite 😉

    pigpigscorner: OoooH! Trip to France for you this summer then!

  11. That thing about close friends? You are so right. I’m just lucky that mine live in London. If they didn’t, well that would make life hard. They’re the people you can always fall back on no matter what the issue, the people who really know you best. And if you can do it all over food, even better!

    I am mildly (ok ok, majorly) in awe of that steamboat. I’ve eaten the odd one in a restaurant, but to do all that at home. And make cake. Wow. Impressive.

  12. Haha love the photos! The cake looks fantastic!

  13. Great post babe and ow yummy was your cake!!!

    Thanks Loreen and Felix, we had a great night… oh, and Cam apologises to all for the Michael Jackson comment 🙂 xx

  14. Wow, what a friendship! I’m so happy that you still see each other, and things have worked out in everyone’s best interests! It’s so wonderful to be with friends and share great food, and am glad that you got to share your matcha goodness! Interestingly enough I just made almond milk today, and have some almond pulp from it which can be made into almond powder. I wonder whether it’ll be good for making this?
    Much love and nice to know your well! x

  15. What a great story but I am sure you have shaped her life as well 🙂

  16. Aww I love close friends. I have some friends that I’ve been friends with for almost 20 years and I trust them with my life 🙂

  17. Christine on January 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm said:

    Did someone say matcha cake?! Yummo – looks very tasty indeed! I’ll swap ya a pandan cake for a matcha cake 😛

  18. Oh i like this story. Frenz is good. Esp frenz w fishballs.

  19. My oh my, this looks amazing. I REALLY want to make this at home, but can’t seem to find a portable gas hob thingy, do you have any idea where to find one?

  20. Lovely story! Had no idea. Thanks for sharing! And I so want that matcha sponge cake. White chocolate and almond cream? Swooooooon!

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