Breads: Kind of tangentially Vanuatu related

I had all these interesting things to say, and pictures to illustrate them with, and then I started going to the orchestra and the movies and working late and slowed down with the uploading and – I apologise!

Aimee asked for the beer bread/damper recipe and since she visited on the weekend and I turned it into coconut bread and it is thus doubly (if indirectly) relevant, here it is:

Beer Bread

  • 1 can beer (375ml)  – this can be replaced with water, milk, Guiness, etc
  • 2 tablespoons sweetener (golden syrup for my preference – but sugar, honey etc will do)
  • 3 cups self raising flour

Mix. Bake at about 180degrees celsius for about 30 – 45 minutes. If the top gets too dark too quickly, cover with foil.

It’s a very flexible recipe. Swap things in and out. Add chopped up dried apricot (highly recommended!) or a handful of muesli. Cook in in muffin pans. Wrap it in foil and put it in a campfire. It doesn’t keep terribly wrong but that’s never been a problem. Tastes best hot with butter, but also good the next day toasted with butter. In Vanuatu I made it with Tusker beer and chopped up dried pawpaw which was amazing. If you can get dried pawpaw, it is even better than apricot. Serve it with soup or stew or cheese or avocado or (most especially) “cocky’s joy” (golden syrup).

For the Coconut Damper I added about half a cup of dessicated coconut and swapped the beer out for a can of coconut milk. I’d used some on my oatmeal the day before so I cut it with some regular cow milk and had to add a bit more because the coconut milk is thicker than beer or water. It took longer to cook through, as well, and was heavier and tasted very good, especially with a fruit salad of banana and red pawpaw (they do sell it here – I’d only every seen the regular yellow/orange kind). Aimee started the idea of putting pawpaw slices on top of the damper.

Next, I want to try the Coconut Pumpkin Bread from the Vanuatu Kwisin cookbook that was part of the thankyou present that  L&R  (SIL directors in Vanuatu) gave me. I seem to be being stalked by Wycliffe cookbooks. Or possibly just by Wycliffe. I’ve been trying to order some of the international cookbooks and while that was being set in place, I received an envelope of information and flyers and newsletters and another Wycliffe cookbook, and another envelope with another newsletter and people at church seem to have decided I am going to do the SIL course in Germany which… isn’t accurate.

But I did receive yet another newsletter, this one from L&R, about the dedication of the new NT translation in Tanna which M was baking banana bread for, and the newsletter had my picture of a Megavoice in it (the sketchbook uploads will get to this point eventually).


I’m leaving for Vanuatu on Friday. Yes, it is now Sunday and I did have vague intentions of mentioning the trip before now, but that is the problem with vague intentions.

I thought I’d better mention the planned absence in case anyone was bothered by three weeks of radio silence.

On Friday evening I fly out to Port Vila to make myself useful with Wycliffe Associates for three weeks, repairing verandas at the translation headquarters, among other things. I was told I need to be willing to swing a hammer, and I confirmed I was willing but couldn’t guarantee I would hit what I was aiming at.

Whenever I say this, people joke about me hitting my thumbs, and I realise that maybe I am the only person who holds the nail in place with pliers. It’s a brilliant technique and I don’t intend to change because of peer pressure.

I still have to buy more full, below the knee skirts (and I intend to feel very Isabella-Bird, working and exploring in skirts). I confess it took me a moment to remember not to be bothered by the thought of wearing skirts and sneakers together. I am also diverting unnecessary brainpower to the question of what size sketchbook to take: pocket or large?

The following is from the Tourism Vanuatu website and I have pretty much learned it off by heart:

There are no public transport systems in Vanuatu. Privately owned mini buses are common and run unspecified routes through the municipal areas. You need only board one heading in approximately the right direction and tell the driver where you wish to stop and you will get there, albeit by a circuitous route! Taxis are also plentiful and relatively inexpensive. To get to other parts of Efate, utilities are licensed to carry passengers and can be found at the Markets.