Purple Plum Torte and Little People at Easter Time

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Happy Easter to you Izzy, and Little C at opposite ends of the world.  From Bells Beach (Rip Curl 2014 Surf Pro?) to Bel Air (at Jessi’s house), dad and I cannot wait for you both to descend on us in Sydney in a couple of days.

It is so nice to have four days in a row. Dad, who has worked twenty-six days without a break certainly needed this week-end. I took him breakfast in bed on Friday, which he loved.

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It would have been an unusually quiet Easter Sunday without you girls, if not for a week-end of visitors in and around Sydney, including three gorgeous little one-year olds, two of whom were here today for lunch with their parents, and your cousins  T and D. Dressed in their Easter best, the baby twins were gentle and sweet  and quite won our hearts.

Across the way in Darling Point, cousin C has visitors one of whom is a precious one year old too! You’d love these little people, Izzy- warm and small and oh so sweet!

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I cooked some favourite suspects for lunch- thought with babies a meal at room temperature might be more practical to give us lots of time to start and stop with them if needed,  and not worry about things getting cold.

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For dessert, we had a plum torte which I served with Persian fairy floss and dollops of thick cream. This is no ordinary plum cake, Izzy. It is, in fact, ‘the world’s BEST plum cake’! Don’t you love it when you come across something that claims to be the best? I found this recipe and immediately had to read more. The tartness of the plums and the sweetness of the butter cake make a wonderful medley of tastes. It is a cinchy cake to bake- you’d be impressing everyone big time with this one, little Izzy.

Well, I’m getting my Ottolenghi cook books out for when you gals arrive let’s get cooking’! Cant wait to spend some hours cooking with you while we catch up on all the news….in person! Until Tuesday my darling girls.

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Purple Plum Torte

This is ideal with purple Italian prune plums, but if you can’t find them, other plums will do.

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder (the aluminum-free kind, if you can find it)
Large pinch of salt
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar plus 1 to 2 tablespoon (depending on sweetness of plums)
1/2 cup (115 grams or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
12 smallish purple Italian purple plums, halved and pitted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon or tablespoon ground cinnamon (see Note up top for explanation)

Heat over to 350°F. Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy and light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl, then the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan (but if you’re worried, you can always lightly coat it first with butter or a nonstick spray) and smooth the top. Arrange the plums, skin side up, all over the batter, covering it. Sprinkle the top with lemon juice, then cinnamon, then remaining sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into a center part of the cake comes out free of batter (but of course not plum juice), about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on rack.

Once cool, if you can stand it, and I highly recommend trying, leave it covered at room temperature overnight as this cake is even better on the second day, when those plum juices further release into the the cake around it, becoming not just “cake with plum,” but cakeplumughyum (official terminology, there).

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-with thanks to the Smitten Kitchen-

Eating Fresh In LA And A Glimpse of Little C !

Hello from LA, Izzy! The last ten days in California have been so great. Palm Springs was chilly some days, but clear and bright.  We had a full dose of Modernism out in the desert: we looked at lots of architecture, and had a tour with a delightful character who was an impressive expert on the topic.

Mid-Century Modern Tour in Palm Springs

After the more ‘official’ part of the trip ended in LA, I stayed on to see some friends, also to meet Little C, and send her on her way to Coachella.

IMG_6419So many good memories, Izzy. Especially when I went to a school event one evening. I happened to have tickets to the school’s annual Huston Memorial Lecture, where an author of note is invited to speak.  When we lived in LA I came one night to hear Jhumpa Lahiri speak.

Anyway, on Wednesday night, I joined a crowd of Brentwood School faculty, families and friends in the gym to hear Khaled Hosseini speak about his books The Kite Runner, and A Thousand Splendid Suns. He was handsome, eloquent, charming, funny and self deprecating. You would have really enjoyed the evening. The first person I saw there was your cross country coach; he looks better than ever.  Of course he wanted to know if his former team captain was still running…

The days have all blurred with highlights of seeing friends, shopping, a bit of cooking, and writing. I’ve been driving all over town, back and forth over the 405. I’ve had some amazing meals. Of course I stopped at In and Out Burger for old times sake. The price has gone up from $1.99 to $2.87! Wow- still the best value for a very tasty burger. Enjoyed a very special home cooked feast in Marco Place, with Bruno and Cooper in attendance.

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Of course everything came to an almighty stop when your sister arrived yesterday. I was so excited, I hardly slept the night before. I woke at six to pick her up at LAX from the very early arriving Melbourne flight. I was so excited to see Little C! She seems super well, but it was quite evident that you were a huge help to her, getting her ready for this big trip before she left. Thank you, big sister for looking after her!

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Well, as I write this, Little C must be in the desert by now, checked in to the La Quinta resort with a bunch of buddies, and getting ready for a crazy good line up of music starting soon. Such fun.

I am just about packed up myself, and getting ready to head home. Your dad has started the journey already, boarding the plane in New York. In a few hours, I will get on the same plane and we will fly home together. i’ll be pleased to see the doggies, and to be HOME!

Little C and I went straight from the airport to Santa Monica and stopped at Wholefoods on Montana, right where we lived and shopped. She made a bee-line for the fresh fruit, and we bought sweet strawberries and a papaya. Apparently, these are luxury items at college…. I cooked her (perfect) poached eggs this morning with big hunks of buttered toast: for the long day ahead of her in the desert, I thought she needed to start with eggs!

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Tonight, I am slow cooking a leg of lamb that’s been marinading in a green paste of parsley, thyme, rosemary, anchovies, lemon, and lots of garlic. A quiet meal before getting on the plane late tonight.

I’ll be glad to snuggle up to MB on the flight tonight and watch a movie and sleep a little before we arrive home. I have felt quite separated from you on this trip- I do miss you and hope you’ve had a happy, constructive couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, here a list of wonderful places to eat great fresh food in Los Angeles, for your next visit, Izzy.

See you soon back in Australia. Thank you, California for your sunshine, delish food, great friends, amazing art, tasty market produce, unparalleled shopping, KCRW radio station, In and out Burgers, and great star and car watching. Yes, so long Rollers, it is now all about the Tesla!

 

The portrait of Rob Ford – you can’t stop loving that guy

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Incredible life cycle of a Texas wild wasp

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Are we ready for another cold war against terror?

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Working out: wanna have a better butt?

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In placerat arcu quis tempor laoreet. Maecenas rutrum mollis fringilla. Phasellus ac urna in lectus posuere fermentum euismod cursus arcu. Aliquam nisl diam, aliquam eu posuere ac, mattis non ipsum. Aliquam molestie sollicitudin varius. Aenean ac sem ut justo convallis scelerisque in ut sem. Integer rutrum velit sit amet nunc congue tempus. Duis in massa sit amet purus adipiscing mollis eget condimentum sem. Vivamus nunc nibh, porttitor id lorem eu, condimentum euismod eros. Nunc auctor est lectus, ut imperdiet erat hendrerit sit amet.

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Don’t drink anything else but water

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Don’t eat sugars!

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Eat oats, whey and good carbs

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The sequel to The Incredibles is on the way

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The Incredibles is set for a reboot

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