Saturday, 19 April 2014

Blog Birthday 2.0

How time flies... It's already more than two years ago I wrote my first blog post. To be exact, my first blog post was published on April 9th 2012, but I consider Easter to be the blog's birthday. It was Easter holiday and I was rather bored and wanted something to do so I started a food blog after baking at least three different kinds of muffins over the Easter break. I had never had a blog, and to be quite honest, I hadn't read that many blogs either. I was inspired by a great Finnish food blog called Kauhaa ja Rakkautta. I can't claim I know much more about blogging today, I just make it up as I go along. But it's been fun so far, and who would have thought I would still be here two years later. And by that I mean blogging, I did expect I would still be "here" in the broader sense...

I feel a bit dizzy thinking back about all the things that have happened in such a short amount of time! I have changed jobs twice. Moved twice. Bought a house. Met he Culinary Consultant. Not necessarily in that order.

Two Easters ago I cooked myself some lamb, all by myself. Yesterday I cooked Easter lamb for two, using herbs from our own garden. I think the morale of the story is if you are unhappy with your life, it can change around very quickly. But it won't just come to you, you need to work on it and if you work hard and believe things will change, eventually they do. 

Professionally, it wasn't easy. Two years ago, around this time of year I had a year left on my Post Doc fellowship. I knew I wanted to get out of science, and that I would have to start looking for jobs eventually. Somewhat less than a year later, I had figured out what I wanted to do, after attending numerous career events and meetings with the career guidance councillor at the University. I worked hard on my applications and my CV and got an interview for what I thought was my dream job. I didn't get it. I got another job which soon turned out to suck the life out of me. So as hard as it was, about six months later I started the whole cycle again. Applying for jobs in the midst of burn out and depression was tough, I won't lie. Numerous job applications and several interviews later I was offered a new job last December, and started in early March after my three month (a.k.a. eternally long) notice period. I don't want to jinx it, but s far so good. Yes, it was hell last autumn when after a long day working a job I hated I came home only to spend hours searching for jobs and re-writing my CV over and over. But it worked out in the end. 

Personally it wasn't easy either. I tried it all, pubs, restaurants, parties, horse races, internet dating. Met a few people, but it didn't work out. Met someone I thought it would work out with, but I liked my shoes too much for his taste. After a gym class the Culinary Consultant asked me out. I didn't think he was my type at all, but I said yes still thinking at least I would get a free meal out of it. Our first dates were ok, but not all too exciting, we didn't have that much to talk about. But we stuck through those initial awkward dates and here we are. In hindsight, I feel I was too focussed on what I thought I wanted from a significant other. It turned out I met someone completely different. I had to give up a lot of preconceptions I had built up in my mind. It was hard, and it wouldn't have worked with someone else who would have been less committed and had less faith in us. But with the Culinary Consultant it has worked out well. So far at least. My life changed so quick, I accept it can change again. But it will all be all right somehow.

In addition to the two year blog birthday, I recently published my 200th blog post (and totally missed the moment, only realising a few posts later that I am past the 200 post mark). So to celebrate over two years and 200 posts of Invisible Pink Food, I though a cake would be in order. Unfortunately we have been without Internet the best part of the last two days, so I had to make this one up as I went along. Good thing I know the easy way of making a basic sponge cake: equal volumes of eggs, sugar and flour. It's not a fancy cake, just something you can throw together from stuff you have in the cupboard. And I even managed to get it done before it got dark outside, so for a change I managed to take photos in daylight! Now I'll finish my random rant and head off to enjoy my cake.

Chocolate and cherry cake (serves 4-6):
3 eggs
all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla syrup
100g chocolate (54% cocoa solids), melted
150 g glacé cherries
4 tbsp honey rum

For the buttercream:
140 g butter (room temperature)
250 g icing sugar
200 g chocolate

The howto:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Take three identical glasses. Crack the eggs into one glass, and fill the second with sugar to the same level as the eggs. Fill the third glass to the same level with flour and add baking powder. Whisk the eggs and sugar until white and fluffy. Add vanilla syrup and chocolate. Mix gently. Gently fold in the flour. Pour into a 15 cm round springform cake tin and bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let the cake cool a few minutes, remove from the tin and let cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile prepare the buttercream. Star by melting the chocolate. Using an electric whisk, mix butter and icing sugar until smooth, white and fluffy. Add the chocolate and mix until smooth. Put a few tablespoons of the buttercream into a piping bag with a star nozzle.

Cut the cake in half, and drizzle the rum onto the cake halves. Add buttercream onto one half and cover with halved glacé cherries. Place other half of the cake on top, and cover with buttercream. Pipe eight roses of buttercream and place a cherry on top of each of them.

The verdict:
It's cake. With chocolate. And buttercream. What did you expect? Of course it's amazing! The sponge is light and fluffy, the rum brings just a little hint of spice and breaks the sweetness of the chocolate. And I like the fact that this is not a huge cake. It's something two people can reasonably eat over a few days while it's still fresh and good. Although cake does get better after a night in the fridge, this is more the rule than the exception. Nothing like starting your day with morning coffee and a slice of decadent chocolate cake!

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