One-armed Bandit

So, it’s been quite a month. My family and friends have been amazing, assisting me, driving me around, humoring me and propping me up when I needed it. And I learned to ask for as well as accept help. Practicing patience, I still managed to churn out a complete manuscript. Don’t ask me how many hours that took, because I did not count – I just wanted to get it done. Phew. The editing is always a fun process to me. I enjoy playing with the words and sentences until they flow nicely, in service to the story. That will be my next two weeks, and I look forward to it.

All in all, life has been as cumbersome as you can imagine in any and all aspects (sleep, showers, getting dressed, applying lotion, chopping vegetables …). But it was a sunny month, and I tried to spend as much of it as I could outdoors, which was a treat.

Mushroom season has begun, and my favorite, Porcini mushrooms, are gracing us with their presence once again. I’ve not made any elaborate things with them so far, because I can’t really cook with one hand, but they’re wonderful of course even just as a stir-fry with rice or noodles.

I did bake, though. In the book I’m working on, there was mention of a cake I had not heard of before, and it made me curious. Are you guys familiar with poke cake? It’s a cake you literally poke holes in after it comes out of the oven with the handle of a wooden spoon. The holes are then filled with fruit puree, whipped cream, buttercream, syrup, melted chocolate … anything that makes the cake nice and moist. I read up on it, looked at the many pretty pictures, and then I couldn’t help myself and made a very indulgent version indeed: A chocolate-orange cake filled with salted orange caramel sauce.

It was a bit decadent. Not even sure how I came up with the combination of caramel and orange, but I can tell you it was very, very good. Recipe? Sure.

Very Indulgent Poke Cake

150 g chocolate

150 g butter

150 g brown sugar

4 eggs

200 g (spelt) flour

Bit of milk

Vanilla to taste

3 TBSP dark syrup, molasses or the likes

2 TBSP orange marmalade

Zest of one orange

Pinch of salt

2,5 TSP baking soda

As you know, I’m now the proud owner of a KitchenAid food processor, and may I say it could not have come at a better time. It made a perfect cake batter, as you’d expect it to, and cracking eggs one-handedly was actually doable.

First, melt chocolate and butter in a pan. Pour in the food processor and beat. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and syrup and continue beating until nice and smooth. At this point, the batter will look a bit like chocolate mousse.

Now add the jam and orange zest. Combine flour and baking soda and add carefully. Turn down the speed for it will make a dusty mess if it’s on high, and add a dash of milk if you feel the batter is not creamy enough anymore.

Butter and/or line a spring form with parchment and scrape in your batter. Bake at 140-150 °C for about 45 minutes.

Let cool for a while. In the meantime, make your orange and caramel sauce.

Orange and Salted Caramel Sauce

Juice of 2 oranges

Zest of 1 orange

200 g sugar

50 g butter

50 ml cream

1/2 TSP salt

1 P vanilla sugar

Start with melting the sugar and vanilla sugar in a pan. It should be a dark amber-colored liquid. Pour in the juice. It might spit a little. Stir, let the sugar dissolve and reduce the fluid. Stir in butter, cream and salt and let cool. It should be a slightly thick, creamy consistency.

The recipe I used called for the cake to be cooled down completely before poking and pouring – but I was too impatient to do that and it was fine anyway. So, once done with your sauce, poke holes in the cake and pour on the caramel. Then let cool (or eat warm) with a side of whipped cream.

I take absolutely no responsibility for any cardio-vascular consequences.

My husband’s tomato plant has given us these beauties over the past few weeks. It’s so much fun to walk out in the morning and pick the ripe and heavy fruit – not to mention the fantastic salads they make.

And the wild flower mix bed has been providing us with the cutest late-summery posies :-).

Crafts were a no-go, sadly. It’s been my longest abstinence since my pregnancy edema 20 years ago, and I’m beginning to feel so weird without being able to make anything for a whole month. I’m seeing the doc tomorrow, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to ditch the cast, or exchange it for an elastic bandage. Fingers crossed. Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

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