Good evening from New York.
As much as I have been trying to cling to the beautiful visions of my holiday, my recent weeks' real life has been giving me many challenges. Perhaps it is always like this after a holiday.
One post-holiday routine I have adopted with the hope that it will keep my mind calm is a return to baking. Once upon a time I baked two loaves of bread every Sunday. That time was way back in the last century (how I love referencing the last century!) It's been a very long time since I have bought yeast or kneaded dough.
My current weekend baking involves cup cakes. As this baking wish began, I could not find the two "muffin" tins that I felt might be somewhere in my kitchen cabinets. I am not very tall, and exploring the upper reaches of these cabinets involves my bringing my old folding metal step stool from the depths of a closet to the narrow channel of my kitchen space.
I could not be bothered. I ordered a new twelve cup muffin tin on line. In anticipation of its delivery I bought some paper muffin tin cup liners. The next day I discovered the whereabouts of my two, now perhaps considered vintage, muffin tins. I explored some recipes, checked a copy of the Magnolia Bakery cookbook out from my library, consulted some Nigella Lawson cake recipes on line, and bought additional butter, sugar, vanilla extract and a lemon.
On the next day off I had a little baking frenzy and made some basic cupcakes, and iced them with a plain frosting flavored with lemon zest.
I was quite impatient with the wish to apply the icing. The cupcakes were not quite cool enough...the icing ran a bit. No matter. It tasted great. I put half of this baking endeavour in the freezer.
One of the freshly baked lemon-iced vanilla cupcakes was shared with the evening doorman in my building's lobby. He's a fan of my Christmas cookie distribution, but also seemed pleased with the April sampling.
How delightful it's been to know that I've home-baked little cakes for dessert when returning nightly from rather overly full work days.
Today was another day off. I tried a different cake recipe, and began an exploration of the richness that only can be bestowed by chocolate frosting.
Today's baking results are really good, if I say so myself. Again, six of the batch now rest in the freezer.
Just underneath my little celadon plate are some of the Hockney-exhibition-related books I ordered from good old Amazon after returning from London. I like the book cover colors against the quiet of the china plate. The chocolate icing just speaks for itself.
Keeping with the Yorkshire landscape theme of the Hockney show, I am currently reading a new crime novel by Peter Robinson, entitled Before the Poison. It is set in Yorkshire, a place I have visited several times and whose beauty I appreciate.
It's been a sunny, chilly weekend here in New York, and aside from baking I've had the pleasure of many phone chats with various friends and relatives, and some e-mail catching up with folks here and abroad. I confess that I somehow never got around to doing some very needed vacuuming. Ahh, it will have to wait.
Tomorrow I return to work, and expect that this week will be full bodied. How wonderful to know that every evening will offer the prospect of a home baked, chocolate iced cupcake.
I hope that each of you will have equally appealing prospects ahead of you this week.