cinnamon walnut pear cake with whiskey-mocha fudge

Sunday, November 16

cinnamon walnut pear cake with whiskey-mocha fudge | une gamine dans la cuisine

"But there is always a November space after the leaves have fallen when she felt it was almost indecent to intrude on the woods...for their glory terrestrial had departed and their glory celestial of spirit and purity and whiteness had not yet come upon them." 
                                                      ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars 
Half my kitchen lost power two weeks ago, a term apparently known as a brownout; unfortunately my oven was included in the bereft half. Adding briny salt to the wound, my archaic boiler also stubbornly refused to produce heat properly (three cheers for farmhouse living!). Thankfully *knock on wood,* everything is now functioning perfectly. 

Currently there's a heavy blanket of snow coating the ground, trees, and a befuddled picnic table. Heat is crackling through vintage cosy vents and the oven is content to procure its beloved pies and cakes again, but I am not ready for the glacial chill. I don't know why snow and winter tap into an almost primal feeling of claustrophobia; as though the oppressive milky-grey sky will never again yield to spring's blue or the lush stormy celery greens' of summer. I was literally just beginning to allow myself to melt into the earthiness of autumn. If I dust off the philosopher's stone, there's a tiny part of me, as sharp & shattering as a hip bone, that relishes the grey and the cold and the endlessness. Maybe I fear yielding to this darker half completely, someday. But aren't we all a heady smorgasbord of idiosyncrasies? I doubt I'd feel complete without the sporadic brooding and occasional bout of melancholy.

Four days without heat in 30 F. temperatures makes one extra introspective, obvs. It also induces savage cravings for spiced cakes + wicked dark chocolate things.

salted cinnamon dulce de leche tart with whiskey whipped cream

Monday, November 3

salted cinnamon dulce de leche tart with whiskey whipped cream | une gamine dans la cuisine

" Another year gone, leaving everywhere 
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering 
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wandering of water. This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever 
in these momentary pastures."

~ Fall Song, by Mary Oliver 
There's a peculiar, raw umber coloured piece of gnarled wood on one of my ceiling beams. Depending on what shade of mood I'm in, it either resembles a whimsical Mark Twain with a daisy tucked behind one ear, or the foreboding profile of a clown (aren't most clowns a bit ominous, anyway?).  I stare at this nonconformist bit of gnarled wood as I'm polishing off the last few minutes of yoga (or pseudo napping on the sofa). This morning, whilst enjoying my morning coffee, I happened to gaze upon it from a different angle. Instead of a brilliant, wild-haired writer or psychotic clown, I saw a Celtic ash tree with three stoic ravens + spiraling branches that appeared to be leaning away from a glacial northerly wind. I suddenly felt morose. The newly discovered tree is bewitching, but its bare boned silhouette and stark sentinels remind me of November's abruptness. How is it possible that the leaves have already fallen so completely from every tree? I still have lofty plans for 2014. The me from last March is pacing, anxiously, hoping that this time things will be different. The thought of another unending heartless winter, claustrophobic eight hour days; not being capable of quieting the ghosts who ask me to try the impossible, again & again's almost too much to bear.

This time of year always saturates my thoughts with fevered woes, worries, aspirations & whimseys that were never fully wrung out. Contrary to my contrary self, I'm still ridiculously hopeful. More than likely, it's the remnants of a willful head cold.

Best *cinnamon* Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, October 19

best {cinnamon} chocolate chip cookies from Izy Hossack's Top with Cinnamon cookbook | une gamine dans la cuisine

The last several days have been a tousled mix of rough sand and jaunty stardust. My *attempt* at conjuring a verily belated birthday crêpe cake was an epic disaster (incriminating evidence is still stuck to the disenchanted stove) and, after what should have been a 10 minute excursion, I was overwhelmingly reminded why I avoid big supermarket chains in favour of my cosy local market. Also, Cookie Monster unfollowed me on Twitter. On the upside, I defied a beguiling fear of working with yeast; via challah bread + handsome buttery brioche cinnamon rolls (aka, Tom Hiddleston sticky buns), and I discovered a cosmic, new-to-me, coffee that's dark & smouldering without a bitter curtain call. Also, these cookies!!

Tom Hiddleston .::triple cinnamon::. pecan sticky buns + a giveaway!

Wednesday, October 8

Tom Hiddleston triple cinnamon pecan sticky buns | une gamine dans la cuisine

September escaped through my pale fingers like a hungry will-o'-the wisp. I had so many plans for her; for us, for summer's bookend...a rustic (lopsided) sylvan honeysuckle + plum birthday cake, at least. Luckily I managed to conjure a few jaunty rabbits from September, before myopic October pushed its way, unannounced, through the door. Summer still has a hold on me, it flutters around my ribs as I pull reluctant arms through heavy cable knit sweaters. I'm ignoring, completely, the muted rustlings of winter beginning to tug opaque satin grey drapes across the bruised sky. Just a few more weeks of blissful calender ignorance, please.

Last month's favorite incantation was homemade honey marshmallow fluff. Honey marshmallow fluff (crème, if you're in a little black dress mood) that was gently + lovingly swirled through chocolate chip cookie dough. The cookies reminded me why I love cookies and tall glasses of milk with shy spoonfuls of clover honey. Feeling confident and riding the clicking, sticky heels of homemade marshmallow fluff crème, I decided to press my windy luck with something decidedly arduous + flagrantly decadent.

Why Tom Hiddleston? I chose the title because of the way it flows off the tongue. It's not exactly seamless but it purrs and crunches and has a lush texture. Also, know; maybe, perhaps, serendipitous-stratosphere permitting...

Peach + Curry Buttermilk Doughnuts

Sunday, September 28

peach + curry buttermilk doughnuts | une gamine dans la cuisine

Now, as the wind courts a glacial nuance, I wear my hair short enough to expose a wide forehead and seashell ears to the elements (timing has never been a strong suit). When tresses brush against my neck, i feel constricted...pulled too fiercely against the earth. In another life I must have been one of Titania's faeries (Peaseblossom or Cobweb?). Shorn + tousled hair suits my elfin stature & distracted countenance.

I have my father's eager, aforementioned, protruding ears and vast forehead. Mayhaps luckily, I also inherited his propensity for wistful, impromptu daydreaming. It's usually when I'm lost in enchantment that I come up with romantic confectionery ideas and chimerical flights of fancy; usually Tom Hiddleston playing Recuerdos de la Alhambra  on classical guitar or sweetly verdant schemes involving the planting of moss & honeycomb on the cold, north-facing side of my house. While soaking up one of September's rare summerling days, I had a savage craving for something peachy enough to hold the warm lioness of August in its grip, whilst acknowledging the cosy blazing ambiance of autumn. I'm not a massive fan of fried food, but, every now and then, we need the unwavering comfort that arrives in the form of crisp sugar-drenched doughnuts.

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