Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I know that I've confessed that Halloween is my favorite holiday, but Easter is right up there. I have so many sweet sentiments attached to Easter: as a baby I was baptized on Easter, 28 yrs later I found out I was pregnant on Easter, and a year after that my baby was baptized on Easter. Plus, being in our house is like living in a little Easter egg, with all of its cheery pastels.

This year we hosted some family over the weekend and I tried my hand at Nigella's chocolate honey cake. I had put off making this cake for years out of basic frugality - it calls for about a cup of honey. About 2 weeks ago a Rx rep brought lunch to our office and left about two cups of honey in a container for us to have with dessert. No one even opened it and it was about to meet its end in the trash (what a pity!!!). Fortuitously, I swooped in and greedily salvaged it for this recipe.

Although my affection for Nigella runs deep and wide, we almost had to break up after I baked this cake. For some reason, it caved in in the center and the glaze didn't do a very good job covering the bumpy sides. I spent a while cursing the loss of all that honey, but when I finally tasted it, Nigella was back in my most loving gastronomic embrace: it was heavenly. My eyes about rolled back in my head. It was both heady and light, rich but not so sweet, and the honey was mellow and subtle.

So, if you are planning to make this (and please do), might I offer the suggestion of baking it in a water bath, and then when glazing, add a bit more powered sugar and let it set up a bit before drenching your masterpiece. As for the marzipan bees, they're cute, but didn't add much to the cake. I simply had a can of marzipan ready to expire, so I used it here. But wouldn't some gold leaf be gorgeous on top?

My embroidery machine has been hot, hot, hot as well. I've gotten pretty good and navigating it and creating some spontaneous projects. Last fall I found these new, pretty pink napkins at Goodwill, and Friday I spent an hour running them through the machine for some personalization. Lately I've felt a real creative pull toward adornment and re-purposing of items. It's not so much in the name of being "green" as it is just taking pleasure in finding unexpected uses for common things. Plus - for the celebration of the Resurrection, what could be more satisfying than giving items new life?