I have recently fallen in love with some cookbooks from the library. I even ordered my own copy of Nigella Lawson's Feast off of abebooks.com, for the wonderfully low price of $4 and some change. (Ooh, and I found a piece of fiction from Arthur Quiller Couch in the UK that is being mailed to me quite soon. I am so excited. I imagined myself becoming another Helene Hanff, writing letters to some book shop owner in England. But that is a rabbit trail for another day.)
Nigella Lawson uses measurements that this American girl only studied in chemistry or some such science course at some point many moons ago. My doctor's wife is a friend of mine, and she is from England. So I ask her lots of questions about measurements and what certain terms mean like caster sugar and double cream and golden syrup. It's quite fun to learn.
But now it is time for me to break down and buy a scale that uses grams, ounces, and pounds/kilograms. So if anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.
Yesterday, my son cooperated fairly well to enable me to bake a blueberry coffee crumb cake for my husband. He loves it, but as it uses 3/4 of a pound of butter, I am loathe to make it very often. It turned out to be a good idea because my husband had completed a hard day at work where he made a rather costly mistake. He was bummed and needed reminding that he really is a skilled and diligent carpenter, not to mention the most wonderfully handsome mountain man and gifted outdoor educator I know.
The coffee crumb cake recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Company, and I add a cup of blueberries and 1.5 pints of homemade blueberry jam in between the cake and crumb layer. (Using jam as filling for cakes of any kind is a great way to empty the pantry of homemade preserves before a new season of berrying begins.) It was inspired by a treat we used to buy from a bakery across the river. I got it into my head to figure out a way to make it myself. The dessert isn't the cheapest to make because of all that butter, but it is decidedly cheaper when you compare it to buying the individual pieces from the bakery. It makes a huge lot, which I cut in pieces and vacuum seal to freeze for a later time when the babe isn't wanting to let his mama bake.
Ah, I love being creative in the kitchen. It is so fun to tweak recipes, change up leftovers to make them into a whole new dish, and come up with my own concoctions. Last week's success was a chocolate pudding cake from How It All Vegan that I tweaked by adding Morello cherries, cherry juice for half of the boiling water, and a bit of coconut. We won't talk about last week's failure of beef enchiladas with salsa verde. Who knew you needed to saute the onions and garlic before baking?!
Anyway, the babe is asleep after keeping us up all night, and I am thinking once again about making something special in the kitchen while he cooperates by staying in his cradle. It is quite the challenge to cook and create when a little one is wanting to be held or fed or talked to. That is one hard balance I am learning to keep, which currently means late suppers and a rather messy house. But it will get better. They go to college eventually, right? =)