“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
-A.A.Milne, When We Were Very Young
We are one week past the spring solstice and still waiting for the signs of spring. Winter has dragged on so long this year we are all wondering if it will ever come.
Here are a few things that I love about spring and that I am most looking forward to:
- I love the newness of everything in spring; it feels light a season of new beginnings.
- I love spring vegetables like asparagus, peas, beets, carrots and leeks.
- I love how the spring showers turn the grass and trees into a sea of deep green.
- I love hearing the birds singing in the trees outside my window in the early morning.
- I love that I can throw off the hats, scarves and boots, replacing them with colourful jackets and shoes.
- I love daylight savings time because it gives me more hours to play outdoors.
- I love watching the beautiful flowers peek up from the ground, creating a world or colour and fragrance.
- I love taking the wind covers off of my windows so I can enjoy the views from the 23rd floor.
- I love the sense of freedom that we feel after rising from a long winter of hibernation.
- I love cycling, running, walking and soaking up the sunshine.
What are you looking forward to this spring?
In spring and all year round, I enjoy getting together with friends over a cup of tea or coffee and catching up on their adventures and stories. In this crazy world where we are all so busy, we don’t spend enough face to face time with each other. We use technology to communicate when we really need to spend time together, sharing our lives with one another. When was the last time your wrote a friend a letter or called them on the phone to chat?
I sometimes think of friendships and relationships like a garden. We need to water them, tend to them and care for them, so they will flourish. If we ignore them, they will die.
I found this wonderful cake recipe by Rachel Allen on her show Rachel Allen’s Cake Diaries. All of the ingredients were listed by weight so I converted them to North American measures and tested it out. The cake is dense and rich with the sweetness of almonds and raspberries. It makes a lovely addition to an afternoon tea and a chat with friends..
Raspberry Almond Bakewell Cake
2/3 cup butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
¾ cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
A few drops almond extract
¼ cup milk
1 1/3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup fresh raspberries
¼ cup flaked almonds
icing sugar, for dusting
Fresh raspberries and softly whipped cream, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F. Butter the sides of an 8 inch cake tin and line the base with a disc of parchment paper.
Cream the butter until soft in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Whisk the eggs and the almond extract together in a small bowl for a few seconds or just until combined, then gradually add the eggs to the creamed butter mixture, beating all the time.
Next beat in the milk, then add the flour and ground almonds, carefully folding these in just until they are mixed. Add the raspberries and fold in gently so as not to break them up too much.
Tip the batter into the prepared tin, then scatter over the flaked almonds. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
Use a small, sharp knife to loosen the edges, then carefully remove the cake from the tin and leave on a wire rack to cool down completely before transferring to a serving plate. Dust with icing sugar. Serve with softly whipped cream if you wish, or decorate with fresh raspberries.
Recipe adapted for North America from: Rachel Allen’s Cake Diaries