Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Chocolate Almond Cake

This is luxuriously soft, subtly almond-y and studded with rich dark chocolate chunks. I think it would suit a strong velvety latte, on a sunny but brisk autumn morning, setting the world to rights or reading the paper at a pavement table.

1. Butter a 28cm tin and line with greaseproof paper.

2. Mix 150g butter with 1/4tsp salt until soft. Cream in 100g sugar, then add 5 egg yolks and mix well.

3. Chop 150g dark chocolate, and add to the mix, along with 150g ground almonds.

4. Add in 100g flour and 1 tsp baking powder.

5. Beat 5 egg whites until stiff, then beat in 100g sugar to produce a shiny mixture.

6. Mix egg whites into other mix.

7. Bake at 180C for 50 minutes - done when a knife comes out clean.

8. Yum

(Recipe from 'Chocology', a leafet produced by some Swiss chocolate board or similar - sorry I can't give a proper reference; I found it at my parents' house and don't have to hand!)

Monday, 25 October 2010


We walk a lot, baby and I. I've got the zero to ready-to-go thing down to a number of seconds now. Sometimes some fresh air and a change of scene is exactly what's needed to change grizzly and potentially explosive to calm and potentially (hopefully!) sleepy.
When the weather's like it is right now - sweetly crisp and floodlit with cold sunshine - then it's a glorious treat to be able to meander round London's fine green spaces.

Watching others enjoying the seasons.

Looking down on my lovely vast city from a calm, green vantage point.
Rugged up in scarves and mittens, enjoying the cold night air.

(Hampstead Heath by day, Primrose Hill at night)

Friday, 22 October 2010

The saga of the indoor plants

I like plants. I buy them; they look lovely. They die. I wait around hoping they'll revive. Eventually I sadly throw them out.

B said I shouldn't buy any more until I can keep at least one alive; he's not keen on the dying foliage school of decor. I had to agree.

I bought some mint plants feeling hopeful. They sat there for weeks until I managed to clean a pot and buy some compost for them.

I watered them (nearly) every day, felt quite proud.

Mint plants only suffer one disease - mint rust. Mine got it. According to the internet some 'stressed' plants can also get aphids. Guess what mine have millions of? How did I stress them out, poor loves?!

On the to-do list then:
1. Get rid of aphid covered rusty mint
2. Try rosemary

I will get one to stay alive!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Date, Walnut, Cardamom Cake

I may no longer pluck my eyebrows every day, go to the cinema in the evenings or always know what day of the week it is, but one thing I can and do still do is bake.
This one is soft, sweet and warmly spicy. Would go beautifully with a light black tea - Jasmine perhaps - rugged up inside on a rainy day.
Adapted from The Glasgow Cookery Book
1. Chop 150g dates and sprinkle with 1tsp bicarbonate of soda. Cover with 250ml boiling water and leave 30 minutes.
2. Cream 50g butter with 100g soft brown sugar. Add 1 egg, soaked dates, 50g chopped walnuts, and 200g wholemeal flour that has already been mixed with 2 tsp ground cardamom and 1 tsp baking powder. Mix well
3. Put into greased, floured tin and bake for about an hour at 180C

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


I keep starting posts and not finishing them before I need to feed/distract/change etc.

I think I need to be more succinct!