Last Sunday when I was all ready to post a recipe for Mother's Day, brother dropped me a message about my beloved aunt Mary critical condition in the cancer ward back home. She was admitted to the hospital on Sunday afternoon, the day when mothers around the world received tribute and recognition from their children.
Aunt Mary, my father's younger sister is one of my favorite aunts. Growing up, she used to tell me that I bear resemblance to her in so many ways. We share the same love for dark chocolate, romantic novels, TVB dramas, traveling and good food. Both of us are vocal, and wouldn't hesitate to give the rest of our family members a piece of our minds when the necessary occasions arise.
There is one story which I always request her to repeat. It was about her brother (dad) tearing up her textbook because aunt Mary refused to lend her immaculately completed homework to him! She gets all animated everytime she recounts the story(opps, sorry dad!)It makes me laugh so hard that my stomach hurts.
Aunt Mary is more than an aunt for me. She is a good friend who listens and understands me. She would secretly shove money into the hands of her needy college niece whenever I came home for vacation. It was a gesture of love and generosity and understanding. And I would never forget the love she has bestowed upon me.
As I look back, I realise that I have never told her how much she means to me, and that I love her so much. Sure, we catch up whenever I go home. Always remember to get her the imported chocolate that she loves but couldn't find in KK. We would chat for hours, and she would update me on the gossips of our extended family, until it's the airing time for her favorite tv show, then she would leave. But I never once utter the three magical words. And I kept to myself the disappointment when she couldn't attend my wedding due to the chemo sessions, and the fear I felt 3 months ago, when I visited home for Chinese New Year. The fear that it would be the last good bye we bid.
I wish I could tell her all of these now. I wish I could hear her laughter that bears such curious resemblance to ah po (to aunt Mary dismay). I wish we could hang out, gossip and pretend to be chocolate snobs, criticizing the inferiority of Kitkat and Cadbury made in SEA . But all these are just wishful thinking.
Aunty Mary, this one is for you. For all the memories, love, laughters and tears we share. Thank you for playing an important part in my life. I couldn't ask for a better aunt. I love you.
adapted from Donna Hay's Modern Classics Book 2
9 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 cup almond meal
1 2/3 cups icing sugar, sifted
3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 large egg whites
5 medium size strawberries, hulled and quartered.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the butter in a saucepan over low heat and cook until melted and a very light golden colour. Set aside.
Place the almond meal, icing sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl and stir to combine. Add the egg whites and stir to combine. Add the butter and stir to combine.
Grease 10 x 1/2 cup capacity muffin tins. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the mixture into each tin and carefully place the berries over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and springy to touch but moist in the centre.
note: I find the friands to be too sweet for my liking. I will probably decrease the amount of icing sugar used and incorporate some chopped berries in the batter next time.