“I like day to day cooking. I usually get obsessed about something… an ingredient or a dish and then I will research a bunch of other recipes that are kind of in that domain. After that I will usually go rogue… I find it really relaxing, I don’t have to think for 3-4 hours”. Lola, above, wearing an apron handmade by her girlfriend’s mother.
In recent years, cooking has come to compliment painting as a creative outlet for Lola. Born with the artistic talent, Lola has practised drawing for as long as she can remember. As a child, at the insistence of her sister, Lola’s parents enrolled her in the only art course available; “I was taught how to use oils because I grew up on the Gold Coast and I hated sports, so my only other option to do was to hang out with 80 year old ladies and do oil paintings of landscapes. It was all these old ladies and me as a 12 year old doing a landscape. That was basically my foundations”. However, for Lola, cooking is often more rewarding than painting, as her personal expectations are far more relaxed;
“I don’t know whether it is because I was always told that I was really good at art and drawing and painting, So when stuff turns out shit. I get really frustrated. While cooking is whatever so I actually don’t care if something doesn’t turn out. I am not as hard on myself”.
Beyond a source of creative practice and form of relaxation, cooking is a means of nourishment for Lola’s relationship. “My girlfriend has a morning tea for work, so I said I would make her a cake. They have a morning tea every two seconds at her work. I don’t actually know what it is for to be honest. They have a thing they call Cake Friday so it could be part of that. Every once in a while she will ask me if I feel like baking something. I like doing stuff for her”. A supportive partner, Lola routinely uses Thursday, her day off from work, to cook and prepare food for the week that follows. Lola’s bulk cooking sessions ensure meals are always ready in the freezer particularly on days they both work long hours;“I see it as a means for us to spend more time together”.
Almond Butter Cake* with Rosewater Icing
250g softened butter
1 Tsp almond essence
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
3/4 cup almond meal
Rose Water Icing (created by Lola)
Combine 1.5 cups of icing sugar with a dash of milk, and rose water to taste. Beat together with 100g of soft butter and pink food colouring. Once the cake is iced, top with roasted almonds
Preheat oven to 180°C
Grease 19cm Square pan and line with baking paper
Beat butter, almond essence and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy
Beat in eggs, one at a time
Fold in sifted flours and almond meal in two batches
Spread mixture into pan and bake for 30 minutes
Reduce temperature to 160°C and bake for a further 30 minutes
Stand in cake pan for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool
Ice cake once fully cooled
*Adapted from The Women’s Weekly Baking Cookbook