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  • I found hope in Hope thanks to nature and my nieces.
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  • Possibilities.
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  • "It was here in Big Sur where I first learned to say amen." Henry Miller

Friday afternoon I decided to take a last-minute trip up the coast. Every time I've driven it, I've  always had some place to be and up against time.

But not this trip.

Friday I spent time in Santa Barbara and Paso Robles.

Saturday I spent time in Steinbeck country (of Mice and Men is one of my favourite books) and finally drove the G16 across to Carmel before heading up for a quick stop to see of my friends who I would literally drive 8hrs for only to spend 2 hours with.

Today I got up super early and got a super big coffee so I could drive down highway 1, through Big Sur and hopefully beat the crowds.

Henry Miller is the author of some of my other favourite books so as I drove though Big Sur I thought of him and Steinbeck and how they wrote about what they knew, what they loved, and what they questioned. I've had this idea in my head for a new project and community that I know will resonate and mean something but just unsure how to begin.

So I made sure today to stop when I wanted to. Linger when I needed. Drive wherever for however long.

And, after all the times driving through Big Sur, I finally stopped at a beach. I spent two hours here practically alone and just was.

People say it but there is something magic about Big Sur and today was the first time I felt it. I felt the shift, the inspiration, the hunger. And I felt wet sand between my toes. 
I'm ready.

Amen
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Cookery French Life

French Yoghurt Cake

January 26, 2007

Blueberry Lemon Cake

There are days when there’s a certain feeling in the air that reminds me of France. Perhaps it’s the brisk air outside, the neighbours wood burning fireplace that’s going or the fact that Amelie has been playing in the background all morning. Whatever it is, there’s a little joie de vivre happening today which has lead me to crave something baked right out of the oven and a little bit French.

Since packing up and boarding a plane aren’t viable options today, I settled instead on baking a traditional French yoghurt cake whilst playing some Carla Bruni to keep me in tune.

Let it be noted that I am not a baker; nine times out of ten I somehow fumble through a recipe and chalk the outcome to “experience” rather than a gastronomic treat. I keep returning to baking because there’s something about the basic process that soothes me.

I do not own a blender, a processor, fancy knives or dishware, so every recipe I own must be basic and simple. The ingredient lists always come from the local grocer rather than an exotic food mart and the names of the recipes themselves are always pronounceable. I’ll never be a fantastic baker but that doesn’t matter. There’s something so sweet to me to have the sun shining, the wind ruffling the curtains, music playing in the background and a little black cat at my feet that makes all the measuring, folding and cleanup worthwhile.


French Yoghurt Cake
Recipe serves about 8 normal people are two very piggy ones

– 1 1/2 cups/200G all-purpose flour
– 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
– pinch of fine sea salt
– 3 large (and fresh) eggs
– 1 cup/200g sugar
– 1/2 cup/125ml plain, full-fat yogurt
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 8 tablespoons/125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
– 3 ounces/90g bitter chocolate, preferably Lindt 64%, melted in a double boiler, then cool
– Confectioner’s sugar, optional

Directions:
1. Butter and flour one 9 1/2-inch/24cm round cake pan. Preheat the over to 375F/190C

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they are light and pale yellow. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the eggs and sugar, whisking to incorporate them. Fold in the yogurt and vanilla, then the melted butter.

4. Pour half the batter into the prepared cake pan. Fold the melted chocolate into the remaining batter until it is thoroughly combined. Pour the chocolate batter on top of the plan batter that is already in the cake pan and run a knife through the batter several times to make a marble pattern.

5. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven until it is slightly mounded and your finger leaves a very slight impression when you touch the top of it, about 25min.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 15minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack. Serve when it is fully cool. If you like, dust the top with confectioner’s Sugar.

  • Reply
    aNo Gravatar
    January 30, 2007 at 9:22 PM

    Is this gluten-free?

    Alex Responds: No it’s not but you can substitute a gluten-free flour mix for the regular flour (as I did), and I use Chocolove Chocolate because it’s gluten free and I use a greek yoghurt that is also gluten-free.

  • Reply
    shaunaNo Gravatar
    February 2, 2007 at 9:00 PM

    It looks so delicious, my dear. I’m so glad you baked.

    I’ve been so ensonced in finishing the book that I haven’t had the chance to comment on the new site yet. I love it. I’ve been coming back every day to see how you are.

    Beautiful.

  • Reply
    Hygge HouseNo Gravatar
    May 12, 2008 at 3:08 PM

    I need to note that I wrote and made this cake before I discovered I can’t eat gluten. So I’m going to have to play around with making it gluten-free!

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