Commitment to a project for the long haul wasn’t a skill dished out while I was in the queue. My past seems to be peppered with half finished cross stitch patterns, incomplete piano exams and general abandonment midway; my parents despaired. I could almost chart my life, autobiographically, on the projects that have fallen into oblivion, once the heady dose of rampant enthusiasm started waning. I’d bolt, ostensibly onto the next shiny, sparkly idea never to see completion.
So you can imagine the wonder I feel at having completed 365 days of blogging. It’s snuck up on me, which I quite like. It proves it’s been it’s been more rewarding, than effort demanding, I haven’t been watching the time pass. It’s filtered into other aspects of my real world. I have an addiction to crockery; my cupboards are starting to groan at the explosion in population. Not the best outcome perhaps, but entirely a guilty pleasure! I have tea towels that have never seen the kitchen counter, much less touch it. Strictly for blog use. I have become that fastidiously dedicated. I’ve always enjoyed cooking from a varied repertoire, but the need to share it on here, has given me more impetus to push further and take a risk. It’s invited the palates of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East to become exciting yet comfortable company at my dining table. How can that possibly be anything other than pleasurable?
Celebrations call for a cake. I had some fancy, multi-tiered, fondant fiddly confection, occupy space in my mind for a while. But true to form, the interest waned. It got me thinking of what it is I want to represent. I truly believe that, so much of what we have experienced with food – growing up, the flavour and smells, the ideas, the people round the tables, the scenery, the travels – all contribute to shaping our self expression on the plates adorned with lovingly prepared food. You do open yourself to interpretation with what lies on that table, and the thing of it is, that it’s voluntarily done, in honest, good faith. It’s more than just an invitation to fill the belly.
Much as I enjoy baking ‘fancy’ cakes, when it comes to me, I don’t like a fuss. Something straightforward always appeals, simplicity that shades over depth is alluring. I don’t mind a bit of fiddliness to get there, as long as the outcome has proved the effort worthy. Perhaps that’s as much a part of me, as it is part of baking a cake. So, I laid aside unnecessarily grand plans, and went for a toffee cake, that has nothing but sheer rich, butteriness of flavour to recommend it. A cake simply robed with a coating of luxurious, beige, butterscotch buttercream and adorned with a crackly, nutty praline.
Made with a combination of light muscavado sugar and golden caster sugar, this Fiona Cairn’s recipe cake itself is subtle in flavour, gloriously earthy in colour with a firm feel in the mouth. And good job it is to, because a regular buttercream, made with butter and icing sugar, has effectively, a toffee sauce beaten into it, turning the ivory frosting, into an expensive leather handbag like, restrained tone of beige. The cake needs to stand up to the utter debauchery of that buttercream. And it does. It’s a perfect marriage of texture and flavour. The hazelnut praline, just a smattering of it, gave it a welcome, sweet, crunchy nutty note. Entirely desirable.
As much as this cake celebrates a year of this blog’s progress, to me it represents more than just posts, photos and paragraphs. The close inner circle of friends, who see through to the better shades of my character, have their hand in shaping this nook in the byte-world. You know who you are.
There is you too, reader. To those of you who have followed, subscribed, liked and spread the word, and to those particularly, who have commented, started the dialogue, contributed to the multi-faceted voice of this blog, to those who laughed, heckled and educated – I thank you for your company.