Friday, February 5, 2010

Orange and Almond Cake

We've got a bit of a thing for oranges in our house at the moment. Maybe it's their gorgeous sunny colour on these dreary days, maybe we need vitamin C to stem the running of noses or maybe we just need the feel-good vibe that comes from releasing that wonderful citrus oil scent. In any case, as well as the marmalade (which did set and has been given a thumbs up all round), P gets quite beside himself at the offer of a clementine- I'm sure would eat them until he burst given the chance, while I sometimes just want to juice them and drink the 'liquid sunshine' and sometimes, like last night, want to cook with them.
This is a 'Holy Eye' recipe in the sense that it was inspired by the baking ingredients I had to hand, but like any cake, the measurements need to be right. My measurements are all in old fashioned ounces because I based them on the sponge recipe I learned as a child, when metric hadn't really taken hold in the kitchen. Following a recent thread on Soulemama I'm going to attempt to give US measures as well, just in case someone from across the pond feels inspired to try it...
4 oz (1/2 cup) butter or sunflower spread
4 oz (1/2 cup) soft brown sugar
2 eggs
3 oz (3/8 cups) self raising flour
1 oz (1/8 cup) ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 orange
2 oz (1/4 cup) flaked almonds
2 tablespoons any sugar

Preheat oven to 180c
1. Beat the soft brown sugar and butter together until creamy.
2. Whisk the eggs and gradually beat into the sugar and butter mixture.
3. Fold in the self-raising flour, ground almonds, baking powder and the zest of the orange. Keep remainder of the orange for later.
4. Spoon mixture into a greased or lined cake tin, approx 20cm diameter. Smooth top and sprinkle flaked almonds over the top.
5. Bake for around 35 minutes until cake is risen and springy to the touch.
6. While cake is cooling, juice the orange and put the juice along with the 2 tbsp sugar into a pan. Heat slowly, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.
7. Using a sharp knife, pierce cake all over the surface. Carefully pour orange sugar syrup over so that it sinks into the holes. Leave to cool completely.

Sorry for the quality of the picture- there isn't a lot of decent light to be had around here. It's just a shame you can't smell it really- oh my goodness!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's on your needles?

I've finally got a bit motivated about restocking my Folksy shop after my pre-Christmas success. A dinky little brown betty for one now has this 'beehive' style cosy made from Cornish Organic wool. To join it, the slightly larger brown betty is getting a humbug striped number made from more Cornish Organic and also some Sherington Flock Hebridean Wool, bought at last year's Woolfest to make a hat I never got around to (think I fell in love with the cute sheep more than the idea of the headgear!)
As the tea cosies can just about be managed with P running around during the day (only one ball of wool to keep out of his way) I'm keeping the evenings for the Fairisle. The latest update is, I've reached the armhole shaping, so I'm steeling myself for dealing with armhole shaping while working either side of the neckline separately, while maintaining the Fairisle pattern. Yikes!
What's on your needles?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Whatever the weather

When Wordsworth said his piece about wandering lonely as a cloud I find it hard to believe he was inspired by the Lake District. Clouds are surely rarely lonely up here!
Actually, while there have been some extremes of weather since we've been here- see flooding and the big freeze for example- there have also been some amazing days, even though most of our time so far has been in the darker, colder months of the year. I'm also determined that, unless it's really foolhardy, we should go out and get to know and love the amazing place we now live on the doorstep of, whatever the weather. That way, when we are blessed with those good days, we'll appreciate them even more.

So, just we two (well, two and a bump!) ventured out to Brockholes on the shores of Windermere. We were waterproofed up and buggy free, taking our time and walking by P's rules...

All puddles must be splashed in...

...especially when it means you can get to know the local residents.

...and benches are there to be climbed on, the better to view another local resident (bottom right hand corner)...

...and just occasionally, let mummy catch her breath and take in the view.