Thursday, 20 February 2014

i met him at the op shop in the book section

i only buy books from op shops to cut pictures out of for card making or for cooking from..i don't look for literary works because i like to borrow those books from the see i don't like to own books much even though it's a view point that i struggle to reconcile within myself..on the one hand i like the idea of supporting authors so they have a decent income but on the other hand i don't see the point in having a copy of james joyce's 'finnegan's wake' on my book shelf for decades collecting dust..that's what libraries and librarians are for..let them do the dusting!

i used to read a lot and by a lot i mean it wouldn't be unusual for me to read several books a week..but that was before i started a degree as a mature age the time i finished studying 10 years later i couldn't stand novels..i tried..quite a few times..but university seemed to have distorted my taste in reading to the point where i seemed to only tolerate the dry academic stuff..

but i didn't give up on novels....i'm back to reading them but it's now a sporadic feast because once i find an author i like i read everything they've written in a short space of time and then it takes me ages to find another author i like and so it goes..

last week i picked up a novel when i was perusing the books at the op shop..something about its title i suppose..who knows..because in reality there was nothing special about more special than any of the other titles of the books lingering on the shelves..i've read four books by the author of that book since then..and no i didn't buy the one in the op shop..i headed straight to the library instead..

i've read 'the pedant in the kitchen', 'the lemon tree' (short stories), 'levels of life' (short stories) and 'a sense of ending'..i'm yet to access the book 'england, england' that i saw at the op shop!

if you read, what type of books do you like and do you like to read them quickly or savour them?

Friday, 14 February 2014

almond cinnamon cake

i'm always on the lookout for interesting recipes using egg white only rather than whole eggs because i often have several left over from making custard, creme patisserie or ice cream..yesterday i came across a recipe for an almond cinnamon cake in the book 'nigellisima', that i'd borrowed from the library, that piqued my interest..this morning i made it with the four egg whites i had languishing..and..hey.. it's extra versatile because it's gluten and dairy product free..

almond cinnamon cake
'nigellissima' nigella lawson
serves about 8

ingredients (i halved the recipe)

4 egg whites
75 gms castor sugar
75 gms almond meal
60 mls light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (tsp) baking powder
finely grated zest of small orange
2-3 drops almond essence
50 gms flaked almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
icing sugar


~ beat the egg whites until opaque and starting to hold their shape
~ add sugar in small increments whisking and until it's incorporated and the mixture is thick and shiny
~ mix in zest and almond essence and then add the oil and almond meal mixed with the baking powder in three batches
~ pour the mixture into a 20 cm baking paper lined tin, smooth the top and sprinkle with the faked almonds mixed with the cinnamon
~ bake at 180 deg c for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
~ cool in the tin on a wire rack
~ sprinkle with icing sugar to serve


~ i think this is a particularly lovely's not very sweet so it could be served with a citrus compote or a citrus glace such as the glaced cumquats i've been wanting to make..and i think rhubarb would go nicely with it too

~ the almond essence flavour was not particularly discernible so i'd consider increasing the amount of  essence to 3-4 drops next time i make it

if you made this cake what flavours do you think would complement it?