Behind the Fantasy

Dear Reader,

As my blog turned two last week, I thought it might be time to make a confession. These thoughts came to me yesterday as I was writing about Du Fu, the Tang Dynasty poet. As I spent hours indulging in the treasure trove of ancient Chinese poetry now available on the web, I came to the conclusion that I am an escapist. I spend too much time in the land of fantasy. I use blogging to time travel to past centuries or places or to recall some tasty meal I have made and was organised enough to photograph, or better still, that someone else made for me in some other country. And I do so to escape from this….

An overdue renovation. Any one fforr plaster reemoval?
An overdue renovation. Any one for plaster removal?

And the day before that, I was considering making a Lent dish to be eaten in Spring, as it would be, if I only I lived in the northern hemisphere where I think I belong. I was simultaneously researching the background of one of my favourite cookbook writers, Joanne Weir, hoping to weld together a story about the history of pre-Christian Lent diets- Lent meaning spring after all – with one of her fine recipes. I made these Greek lentil and bulgur koftas. I was keen to introduce you to the recipe, but then they tasted so bland. Mr T said the Greek potato dish that accompanied them made all the difference. Code for crap koftas. The story about Lent in Spring now remains idle. Perhaps it will re-surface one day.

Lentil Fritters with yoghurt and dill. Bland!
Lentil koftas with yoghurt and dill. Too bland!

And the day before that, I made another sourdough loaf, but the kids came around for a swim, someone opened a bottle of white wine and time just evaporated. The loaf over proved, I shoved it in the fridge overnight, then baked it the next morning and it came out like this, tasting like a worn out shoe.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Even the chooks might reject this loaf.

For every published post, there are 10 more sitting in the draft pile, left behind because something went wrong, or the photos weren’t up to scratch, or the recipe was a flop or they became too long. Some posts take weeks to write and research, others write themselves and come together quickly. Some are more popular than others and I’ll never know why.

The post below has had 1200 views since it first appeared. Maybe I should just stick to cake recipes? I recommend it to you as the apricot season draws near. It is a reminder of my more pragmatic self.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
https://almostitalian.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/apricot-almond-cake-with-amaretto-easy-frangipane/

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thank you dear Reader for following, reading and commenting. Sometimes you’ll get a gem, and at other times, an ordinary little nugget.

Apricot and Almond Summer Crumble

Blink and you’ll miss it: that’s how fast the apricot season comes and goes.  This crumble is simple and elegant and can be thrown together in 5 minutes. It is also a lot lighter than the oat topped crumble one usually associates with winter. As I always have a big kilo bag of almond meal on hand, my mind tends to wander towards fruit and almond creations. I can’t wait to make this with blood plums later in the season.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The crumble shown is in a smaller gratin dish for two. The recipe below makes a larger family sized dessert.

Recipe

  • 30 ripe apricots
  • 100g sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 100g almond meal
  • 175 g unsalted butter
  • 60 g flaked almonds
  • cream and ice cream to serve.

Preheat oven to 200c/180c Fan Forced. Cut apricots in half and remove the stones. Arrange them in a ceramic or enamel baking dish to fit. Sprinkle with sugar. Mix the flour and almond meal together and rub in the butter. Spread over the fruit and sprinkle with almond flakes. Sprinkle lightly with a little more sugar. Bake for 30 minutes. Be careful not to burn the almond flakes by covering with foil or reducing the temperature. Serve warm with cream or ice cream OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This makes an excellent breakfast with thick yoghurt. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARecipe originally from Maggie’s Farm, Maggie Beer. Reprinted in Let’s Do Lunch, Delicious . ABC 2003.