It’s like living a déjà vu. My memory has records of pictures and feelings that I can aptly call up the exact position in my life I lived the moment, but I also know that the way I am living the same experience right now is different, fresh and unique. And I know this will be the last opportunity I have to relive it in this incomparable way.
It puts a smile on my face to see him read the same paragraphs, verses and authors, as I once did when I was not much older than he is today. Soeren has discovered the world of stimulating literature. Short stories, prose, sonnets, rhymes, lyrics – all entice him into a wonderful world filled with powerful imagery and creative writing.
“This is the best thing I have done!” he exclaimed excitedly to his teacher the other day.
I, of course, was elated. I remembered how my own English teacher, Mr. Chadwick heard the same words from me as he opened the doors to some of the most brilliant classics and writers of our time.
I am in my element and maybe Soeren feels how energized I am when we work together on book reports, learning to recite Goethe or practice his lines to his part as Nick Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but we both are feeding off of each other’s creativity.
The other day he was sitting at his desk, pondering over his homework. Acrostic poems was on the plan and we discussed and debated for a while. We talked about what an acrostic poem was and whether they must rhyme or what the main themes were. The themes were winter and Soeren had selected SNOW. This is what he came up with:
Soeren's funny snowman stands / Nicely on a powdery white hill / Oh! How majestic he looks in this / Winter Wonderland
His eyes were bright as fireworks as he realized he had just written his first poem. You know, that look where you are filled with self-doubt but once you apply yourself – it comes easy and you know this is what you want for the rest of your life. Exactly that was the look.
The next day I went and bought him his first Moleskin! These masterpieces have to be recorded.
Friday on Twitter is Friday Poetry Fix day and one poem that kept nagging at my thoughts ever since I read it was "Canvas and Mirror" by Evie Shockley. It looks at life in a mirror, capturing aspects of it on an intangible canvas.
I decided to have a go at my own self-portrait, capturing some moments of my past and present.
Self portrait with lights; with camera; with props; with
action. Self portrait with many goodbyes; with
long journeys; without roots. Self portrait of a foreigner in
her own country. Self portrait with a friend lost; with
a friendship false; with lessons learnt. Self portrait
at a desk by the window; with an Ode; with
Keats to comfort the soul; with Season of mists and
mellow fruitfulness. Self portrait of the MTV generation, with
neon legwarmers; with black Wayfarers; with slinky lace,
striking a pose. Self portrait with Careless Memories; with
traces of lipstick; with high heels; with cocktail; with
another cocktail; with countless giggles. Self portrait with
insecurity; with new language, self portrait with determination;
with discoveries and open horizons. Self portrait in love,
in turmoil, in tears. Self portrait with
man of dreams, with wine; with sunset in
San Marino, self portrait with ring.
Self portrait as your mama; with my son; with anxiety; with
unconditional love; Self portrait covered with
flour; barefooted in kitchen, self portrait
finally at Home. Self portrait in bliss; at concert;
in the Swing of Things; with
anticipation; with boxes in the attic. Self portrait
always and forever but forever not yours.
What do you think? Well I enjoyed writing it and as I did, I was having yet another déjà vu as the snippets of the poem took me back in time.
This cake seems to have an omnipresence unlike any cake I have ever made. It actually started back in November when Jamie and I were visiting Jeanne in London. As we browsed through Nigella Lawson’s Feast, not really looking for recipes but more at the photography, we chanced upon her Chocolate Orange Cake. I think it was really the fact that Jamie and I had just purchased a pretty cool cake tin at Tesco’s and were looking for an excuse bake with it. The cake provided the perfect test.
“Mum this is the easiest cake in the world!” commented Soeren as he whizzed all the ingredients in the food processor.
Indeed, it is – the easiest (albeit the 2 hour cooking time for the oranges) and most certainly the most luscious you’ll ever make.
I did make a few alterations to the recipe, by adding ground cardamom to the batter and using hazelnuts instead of ground almonds. The cake Nigella featured was plain with no frosting but Soeren and I could not resist the idea of a salted caramel frosting.
Chocolate Orange Cake with Salted Caramel Ganache
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Feast – Chocolate Orange Cake
Printable version of recipe here
For chocolate orange cake
2 small oranges, total weight – 375g
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g ground hazelnuts
250g fine granulated sugar
50g dark cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
For salted caramel ganache
75g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
75g milk chocolate, chopped
200g heavy cream
large pinch of Fleur de Sel
- In a pot place the whole oranges and top off with just enough water to almost cover the oranges. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for approx. 2 hours until soft and tender.
- Drain and cool. Cut the oranges in half removing any large pips. Then put the entire oranges (peel and all), in a food processor and whizz to a pulp. Set aside to cool or alternatively place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Butter and line a 20cm springform baking form.
- Add all of the remaining cake ingredients – eggs, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, hazelnuts, sugar, cardamom, cocoa powder and the orange pulp – in the food processor and whizz until you have a smooth and creamy texture. There will still be bits of puréed orange in the batter.
- Pour and scrape the cake mixture into the prepared form and bake of approx. 45 to 60 minutes. If you notice the top of the cake beginning to darken too quickly, then cover with some aluminum foil to prevent it burning before the cake has cooked through. Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake and if it comes out clean the cake is ready to be taken out.
- Allow the cake to cool completely in the form, on a cooling rack.
- To make the salted caramel ganache, place sugar in a pan and make a dry caramel, by allowing the sugar to melt and take on an amber color. Do not mix the caramel, instead gently swirl from time to time to allow the sugar to dissolve.
- Place both types of chocolate in a bowl and place a sieve over the top. Set aside.
- Once the caramel has reached the desired color, pour in the cream, slowly and whisking gently. The caramel will sputter and bubble once you pour in the cream so, be careful and stand away from the pan. Continue to whisk until incorporated and smooth.
- Pour the caramel through the sieve over the chocolate. With a wooden spoon gently stir the mixture until the caramel melts the chocolate, then add butter and continue to whisk. Add the fleur de sel. The mixture will begin to thicken as it cools down but be careful not to over-whisk the ganache as it may separate if it is handled too much. Allow to cool completely.
- Using a metal offset spatula spread the salted caramel ganache on top of the chocolate orange cake and frost the cake, swirling and peaking into whatever pattern you like. Refrigerate to set the ganache.
Tip: Prepare and purée the oranges a day ahead, because the day you bake the cake all you need to do is literally dump all the cake ingredients into the food processor and whizz: The easiest cake in the world!
Self portrait with plate; with traces of chocolate; with expandable jeans; with total satisfaction
Be prepared to be seduced by this cake. The cake itself (without the frosting) is extremely moist and as it is made with no butter, milk nor flour, my gluten and lactose intolerant readers can really indulge. I added cardamom because it simply was shouting to be paired with chocolate and orange. These flavors intermingle in perfect harmony. The hazelnuts are less sweet and flavorwise richer and earthy, which works as a fantastic counterpart to the zesty orange-y aromas. The salted caramel topping is a decadent addition and extremely moreish. Maybe I should place a warning here:
This cake will seduce you, addict you and make you grovel for more!
Sarah of Maison Cupcake is hosting a monthly event called Forever Nigella and as this month’s theme is Seduced by Chocolate, I decided to send out my chocolate seduction in the form of this Chocolate Orange Cake with Salted Caramel Ganache.
Please read the warning above – just saying! ;o)If you want more chocolate seduction hop on over to Ria's Collection where Ria has rounded up the Monthly Mingle for this month Chocolate Extravaganza.
I am off to Vienna for a weekend trip with T, hoping to create more self portrait snippets in my life. Have a grand week and weekend. Catch you next week!
More chocolate seduction from WFLH:
|Rich Chocolate Banana Breads with Pistachios, Pink Praline and Au Naturel||Dark Chocolate Cherry and Tahini Clafoutis||White Chocolate Cardamom Mousse|
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