I´ve always had a bit of a cookbook habit, but of late it´s spiralled out of control. I´ve realised it´s the perfect reading when you have a new baby cornering the market for attention.
Cookbooks are cut down into very manageable chunks, so that even if you have the concentration span of a mosquito, you can generally get to the end of a recipe. There are no sub-plots, barring the occasional suggestion to serve with mashed potatoes. And always, always, there´s a happy ending: serves 4-6.
But this is strictly for entertainment. Now I only cook things that I know by heart, that are very simple, and can either be done ahead of time or in a very short flash. The soups, sandwich fillings, roast tomatoes or rice I might do while Pía lounges in her buggy and looks on with very mild interest. The quick stuff I reserve for just before dinner, when J can look after her and I am left alone. At the risk of sounding like an evil mother, I´ll say it´s a very relaxing break. I focus on the food, and the food only, and come back to my baby much refreshed. And I get to eat dinner, too.
The shopping is somewhat more erratic than it used to be, and I find myself with surplus stuff that needs to be used, fast. This is what I did yesterday with a bowl of plums that needed to be eaten. I´m very pleased with the result: a dead-easy, delicious cake that can be done on the spur of a moment (no need to remember to leave butter to soften), isn´t guilt-inducingly decadent, cooks fast and keeps very well for a day. I know that for a fact, because that´s how long it´s lasted, but for all I know, it might keep for longer.
All you do is use the batter for these little lemon cupcakes, sans lemon, and put it in a square pan of 21x21 cm. Then cut 8 plums in half, and arrange them in the batter so that you can later cut sixteen squares.
Bake as you would a normal cake. Sorry to be so imprecise, but my oven has no buttons. It took somewhere around 40 minutes in a mid to lowish one, with the heat coming only from below.
The result is a dense, slightly coarse sponge that surrounds quivering sweet fruit. Can´t wait to try it with pears.
I´d meant to post this picture ages ago, before the little mite was born, in fact. It´s the blog header for Lego y Pulgón, a favourite blog. Go check it out. It´s not all food, but it´s lovely. Just don´t blame me if you begin to feel very dejected at not being in the Canary Islands under flowering fruit trees.
First off, a big thank you to every one of your very sweet messages. I´ve loved them all, and would have loved to answer each and every one, except that typing with one hand free and a baby in the other isn´t my forte, yet (I´m getting better).
This morning I managed a pretty impressive one-armed feat, and prepared toast with tomatoes and olive oil and salt. Slicing tomatoes, now, that´s not easy, beleive you me.
The baby ensded up covered in crumbs, which made me feel I´m not cut out to be anyone´s self-sacrificing mother. But hey, if I don´t have a good breakfast, I can´t keep up my status as a dairy queen, right?