When what you see isn't always what you get - fifth anniversary on the blog and a surprise treat
This month marks the fifth anniversary of this blog. That's a lot of recipes, a lot of photos, a lot of trying and failing and sometimes succeeding, isn't it? A lot of testing and eating yummy food too. It's not been an easy, always cheeful ride, it hasn't been all that joyful, but it hasn't been hell, or I wouldn't still be here. At the end of the day, it's been the perfect place to experiment and play around with things, be it the styling, the photographing, the editing, even the cooking. It's also been a place where I can vent and rant at my heart's content, and that, in a world that sees venting and ranting as negativity, has been priceless. My place, my rules, my rants. Those who don't want to be associated with it, there's so much more to entertain them online, isn't there?
There isn't much more to say, about this blogging adventure. Have I come a long way? Have I grown? Have I evolved, gotten better, am I doing a better job? Ah, see, this is NOT a job. Frankly, I have no idea whether my photographic, styling and editing skills are any better now than when I first started, they must be. Some evolution must have happened, I guess - I photographed in AUTO when I first started, so there you go! I think what has happened is I've come into my own. I've found my personal style and ended up sticking to it. Playing in what most people will consider to be a safe zone, a mediocre, average creative zone. I don't stand out, but rather go by unnoticed. And yet, when I look at my images here or on Pinterest, they warm my heart. There's this sense of comfort and pride that I did that, I created that, and this is why I persevere, this is why I'm still here. In the end of the day, it's all that matters, that I do myself proud onto my eyes, that I am enriched by what I make.
As for marking the date, and seeing I've been run off my feet with other issues in life than this blog, I had prepared these photos way in advance. I knew just how I longed to mark the date, and I wanted it to be festive and pretty, but also moody and eerie. I longed to have something that captured the essence of what and who I am, and also the essence of this blog. Somewhere between light and dark, with a sense of home and of hearth, a cozyness to it, an atmosphere of magical possibilities and the safety of one's home. I wanted it to be a fairytale come fantasy adventure, a passage between the lush possibilities of the unknown and the comforts of what's familiar. All wrapped in a festive mood, of course. And so, this is what I came up with. This concoction, which is very much like me.
Something that, at first sight, will lead you to form an opinion, think it's one thing. But then, as you dig in, plunder through, turns out to be something else, entirely different. In the end, it does make sense, and you come out either horrorised or entranced by it. You either love it or hate it. Pretty much like me, really. There's no mid term, either you like me or you loathe me. And I'm never what you think me, at first sight. Like this beauty. There you are, thinking perhaps it's cake, I've brought you a celebratory cake, after all, it's the blog's anniversary, and there is always cake! Not if you know me well enough. I'm not really a cake person, despite having marked every other anniversary on this blog with a cake or other. This time, I decided to do just what I excell at, just what I like best. And as you should know, that's not cake. It's bread.
Yep, this is bread! It's a sweet soda bread, and one of the best I've baked so far. So here's the recipe:
- 250 gr flour
- 100 gr spelt flour
- 1 tbsp bran
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup blanched, peeled, roughly chopped almonds
- 50 multigrain and oats mix - the one I use has dried fruits and nuts as well
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp chinese five spice
- 1 tsp cinammon
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp soda bicarbonate
- 1 level tsp salt
- 1 egg on the large side
- 2 natural yogurts (125 gr each)
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup blanched, peeled, whole almonds for decoration
Pre-heat the oven at 190º. Prepare the 'buttermilk' by adding the cider vinegar to the yogurts, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Line a round tin with baking parchement. Place all the dry ingredients inside a large bowl and give it a stir with a fork, mixing everything thouroughly. On a separate bowl whisk the egg and the yogurts together. Using the fork, stir the wet mix into the flour. Once it starts coming together, pour over a floured surface and use your lightly floured hands to bring the dough together. Shape it into a round ball and fit it into the tin, dusting the top with more flour (use whole spelt, it will add a nutty crunch and flavour that is to die for!). Place the whole almonds on the top of the bread dough, pushing them gently in with your fingers, in the design you prefer. Bake it in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, and let it cool before you start cutting. Enjoy with some homemade jam, or butter, it is a sweet treat you'll be thanking yourself for trying!