Rain, and lots of it (hello Autumn/Winter!)…
Anna in the porch, barefoot as usual, checking every few minutes to see if it is clearing up so she can be outside…
Helping me chop vegetables… James hacks apart several poor, defenceless carrots and celery; Anna attacks a courgette, rendering it unusable by the time it has been prodded, poked, chopped into smithereens… They love chopping veggies; our slow cooked stew sported a whole delight of very misshapen and half-cut veg…
James also continued his building-block structures; he sets up little toy plastic soldiers in elaborate formations (I always thought those little plastic soldiers an absolutely pointless toy… Then James came along who is fascinated by all things army, historic battles, battle strategies and now I am “delighted” by plastic armies that stretch in lines and in structures across our floor)…
Michael is teaching himself to play the keyboard and tin whistle, so the house is alive with music… Frequently the same music… Over and over and over and over again…
Grace spent a lot of her Saturday morning working on her maths -she does several pages at a time, taking breaks to draw and discuss what she is doing at length; and grating carrots: for a fairly sumptuous carrot cake:
This is Fergals favourite cake and I am somewhat ashamed to admit I rarely make it (I never think to buy cream cheese and that is frankly an imperative ingredient). I’ll put the recipe below. It is simple, enormous and the perfect antidote to a wet weekend!
(from the beautifully-named book “Falling Cloudberries” by Tessa Kiros)
250g (2 cups) caster sugar
185mls (3/4 cup) sunflower oil
300g (2 1/2 cups) cake flour or plain flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
400g (14oz) carrots, peeled and grated
55g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
180g (6oz) butter, softened
250g (2 cups) icing sugar
180g (6 oz) cream cheese
3 drops vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 180’C (350’F/ Gas 4). Grease and line a 24cm springform cake tin.
Whip together the eggs and butter until creamy, them whisk in the oil.
Add in the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon.
Beat eggs together and add to mixture.
Add carrots and walnuts and mix to just combine. Scrape out batter into tin.
Bake for an hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, make the icing. Whip together the butter and icing sugar until stiff. Then add in cream cheese and vanilla to just combine.
When the cake is cool, spread the icing over the top and side. Don’t scrimp on the icing and please resist the urge to eat the icing by the fistful: this cake rises impressively high and needs this amount of icing to make the perfect combo.
This is quite an enormous cake, so make sure you have enough bodies around to help you eat it!