Wednesday, October 12, 2005

In The Pink, Finally*

pink, originally uploaded by emily loke.

As a campaign, breast cancer awareness struck a chord within me at a very young age. I was only twelve when my mother was diagnosed with the debilitating disease - young enough to be thoroughly bewildered and confused by what was happening, old enough to know that what I was being told by doctors and relatives were diluted truths at best.

Though nothing I had gone through could have ever compared to the strain – both physical and psychological – that my mother faced during that period in her life, it was a very bleak time for me. As the only child of a single mother, I didn’t see a sick parent lying in a hospital bed; I saw my entire world crumbling around me. Each day that I left home to visit my mother in hospital, I would take mental pictures of every room in a desperate act to preserve my home in memory in case her conditioned worsened and I was sent to live with relatives.

Not only was I scared for my future; I was also convinced that I was to blame for her cancer. I had one day made the mistake of asking my aunt for real facts about my mother’s illness – only to be told that it was the stress I caused my mother that had led to her development of breast cancer. At night, I would cry silently into the hospital-issued pillows on the couch I slept on while praying that my mother, whom I did not wish to worry further, would not hear me.

My mother went on to completing a course of radiotherapy after her lumpectomy, and slowly but surely made a full recovery. Though life quickly returned to normal after that, I never let myself forget how close I had come to losing my mother – and how fortunate we both were that she pulled through.

What really spurred me to the advocacy of breast cancer awareness was the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and guilt that I had felt then, and the wish that nobody else would have to suffer similar consequences for being ignorant about the disease. Breast cancer awareness may not be a cure, but it can be a starting point to healing.

This post and following dessert is dedicated to my mother, whose life I am thankful for every day.

Raspberry Ruby Cheesecake (recipe makes 1)
For the crust:

3 digestive cookies, crushed
2 tsp butter, melted
1 tsp brown sugar

For the raspberry cheese:

1/3 of a 250g tub of cream cheese
6 raspberries, mashed
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp flour
2 tsp egg white

For the topping:

¼ cup lychee juice
¼ cup pomegranate juice
½ cup water
2 tbs sugar
½ packet gelatin powder

1. Mix the melted butter and sugar into the cookie crumbs, and push firmly into bottom of a small cake ring (I used a square cookie cutter). Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
2. When cool, slide crust out of mould and set aside.
3. Beat all ingredients for the cheese till combined, and pour into greased mould. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
4. Meanwhile, combine topping ingredients in a small pan and heat on high, stirring, till gelatin and sugar have dissolved. Pour into a bowl and leave it to set in the fridge.
5. When the jelly has set, mix it up with a fork into rough chunks.
6. When the cheese has baked, allow it to cool and deflate before attempting to remove it from the mould.
7. To assemble, set cheese on crust and top with jelly chunks. Garnish with white chocolate curls if desired, or serve with a chocolate sauce if you like your desserts really sweet.

*I must apologize for the tardiness of this entry. As the hostess of this event, it's extremely embarassing to be this late in posting both my own entry and the roundup. Their delays are both due to an unexpected and unavoidable trip I had to make back home. I truly am very sorry this took so long.