Tag Archives: caramel

Return of the (now rather pretty) ugly apple cake

The original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.
~ Frederick Buechner

Right now, my head throbs like a wall has just slammed itself against me 50 times. It hurts. Both literally, and figuratively. I am angry with and thoroughly tired of pretense, pride, and people with a shaky set of principles/values. I want to say to Life, “oh why bother?” and storm off.

But I refrain (barely), because that isn’t a party I want to crash. There are moments like now at which my resolve to remain optimistic and true weakens, but I really want it to stay intact. Somehow.

Maybe I have a naïve sense of optimism, maybe the world says “grow up kid, and start joining in if you want to go somewhere”… but I can’t. I don’t know how. If being real means losing, then I suppose I’ll have to learn how to contend with loss. And I get tired of people with ugly hearts but I keep trying again for some bizarre reason that even I don’t understand. I remember I am far from perfect too. I remember that everyone carries their own pain. I try. I fail. I try to try again.

I find myself journeying sometimes repeatedly to the centre of disaster in a completely mad quest for truth, and from a belief that deep down people are still good before they are bad.

But can I just be honest about how I feel right this moment. I am exhausted. I doubt my own sanity. I wonder if maybe honesty just “doesn’t work” in some places, if people are actually really happier if they can sweep things under the carpet and leave them there to rot. I am tired of feeling empathy. I want to not care. I have temporarily lost the sense of optimism I woke up with today (6.30am, I was making caramel for the cake topping in my kitchen, and I was feeling happier than Maria singing on the hills).

Tomorrow will be better.

Hmm. This post is not conducive to a food blog, you are saying…… and yes of course you are right. I’m sorry. Will you accept cake as an apology?

It’s not my cake, it’s Tessa Kiros’s. And it’s got apples below and caramel on top :-)

Last night, I made the cake bit of Tessa Kiros’s apple cake with toffee topping (made the topping this morning). I was excited whilst making it because I thought it was a new recipe… and I am glad I didn’t realise I had made it before until I looked through my blog archives. If I had, I would have recalled the disaster it was last time and not discovered the recipe for what it’s meant to be (a lovely cake).

Funny, even as I conclude this post I realise that this cake is apt for today. It’s “try again” cake. If it turns out ugly the first time (and it may, if you have a funny oven and no electric beaters), try, try again.

And that’s all folks. I’ve got a very busy day tomorrow, so time to hit the sack. Have a beautiful Saturday filled with hope and perfect caramel!

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Ottolenghi – The Cookbook: page 199

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche
~ Supposedly spoken by “a great princess”

Midnight baking and conversation. Burnt caramel. Singing oven. Cheeeeesseee. Golden goodness. Icing sugar (fairy dust). Ottolenghi’s caramel and macadamia cheesecake. There were a few laughs, a few disasters – but all was fine in the end and we all had cake complete with caramelised macadamias and even a caramel sauce. I attribute this strongly to my friend Rahul who is visiting from Wellington… when you are baking at midnight and SCORCH the bottom of both of your only saucepans with rock-solid brown caramel sauce, I recommend that you place yourself in the company of someone who can make you laugh and who thinks fast to solve problems. With Rahul’s help, the cake and saucepans both survived. Much to my delight, of course.

So at the moment John, Brad and I are sitting in my lounge, we are drinking wine, and I am rudely blogging… just wanted to submit my entry on time for Sweet New Zealand (see note below!)

I have so much from recent days to blog about – but I really have to go (multi-tasking is not my strength at all)… so here’re some photos for you, and I will post again soon. Ciao!


This post is my entry for this month’s Sweet New Zealand – the lovely Sue from Couscous & Consciousness is hosting it this time. Click here to join in the fun!

Caramel Ice Cream

Sugar in the gourd and honey in the horn, I was so happy since the hour I was born.
~ Anonymous

From Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries”:
#42 Caramel Ice Cream – Page 383

Caramel isn’t one of my favourite foods to eat, but it always smells like a delicious dream, a new story, a tasty bubble. Like toffee. Childhood. Something just beyond verbal description. Such was the smell of our kitchen last night as the ice cream mixture bubbled gently on the stove, and Matt made hot chocolate on the other stove for us lucky flatmates, and the meringue clouds puffed and sang in the oven…

Somehow, cooking makes me fall deeper in love with the world.

I also think stovetop hot chocolate (along with most real chocolate) puts Cadbury to total shame. :-)

I took the mostly frozen brown icy sherbet mix out of the freezer this morning and gave it a good whisk with our eggbeater before pouring it into an empty ice cream container for further chilling. This is the second ice cream recipe I’ve tried from Tessa Kiros’ book, and I do like her recipes but I can’t figure out why they have this slight sore-throat-inducing effect that comes even after one spoonful… that really puts a dampener on things! Do you make your own ice cream? Suggestions welcome!