Life never fails to surprise me these days. One minute I’m struggling to keep it together in a darkened flat in Falmouth and the next I’m entranced by a stunning sea view in Mousehole. It’s like night and day (literally) and the transformation in my own mental outlook has not gone unnoticed to pretty much everyone who knows me. I don’t know how many times over the last few days I’ve been stopped in my tracks by the sheer beauty of this little village and thanked my lucky stars for this new phase in our life. And now, just as we’re settling in to our new home, I’m heading off to New York with my Mum to see my Sister perform at Radio City… like I said, life is full of highs and lows but this is emphatically a phase I’m relishing.
As most of you already know I’ve just completed my first cookbook. It was a dream come true and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that i’ll never forget. And even though I’m proud of everything I’ve put into it, I can’t help thinking that I would’ve written a very different book if I’d been in this new space, with this renewed sense of self and unbridled positivity oozing from every pore. But then again, maybe it wouldn’t have actually been a better book, just a different one – and maybe having the book to focus on when I wasn’t feeling tip-top myself was a blessing in disguise… who knows, but it’s written now and that in itself in an achievement.
Of course, I think anyone who’s endeavored to work in a creative industry, whatever that may be, struggles to be proud of the finished product – my Husband and I always see the faults in our work and rarely appreciate what we got right. It’s not necessarily perfectionism but just a failing to recognise your own strengths – I know my nagging self-doubt is something that will continue to plague me but at least I’ve learnt some coping strategies, and forced myself to forget about what others might think and simply ‘do my best’ because after all, what else can one really do? None of this rationale helps soothe my nerves when I think about how well the book will be received, mind, although the process has stirred up that foodie fire within me and I’m already working on ideas for my second installment.
Right now, I’m ready to get back into the blogging world. I’ve had a much needed rest and now have a renewed passion for revealing glimpses of my little world, warts and all. It feels like a new era has suddenly entered in and the only way I know how to celebrate such a thing is by baking a cake. Now, I’ve never actually baked with beetroot before although I’ve heard it’s praises sung many’s a time, and let me tell you, those praises weren’t far wrong. Moist with just the right amount of crucial cakey crumble this is definitely a new favourite, which got duly devoured at our impromptu dinner party on Friday night – always a good sign. I would say, ‘hopefully you’ll like it too’ but I’d be pretty stunned if it’s chocolatey charm didn’t win you over at first bite… then again, life is never short of surprises.
what you’ll need
90g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 small beetroot, peeled, boiled and pureed
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
for the frosting
100g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
for the topping
1 tbsp icing sugar
what you’ll do
Pre-heat the oven the 180 degrees celsius.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb into a large bowl. Gently stir through the caster sugar.
Peel and boil the beetroot for around an hour and then puree in a blender. Whisk together with the golden syrup and balsamic.
Melt the chocolate in a double broiler and add to puree – stir until smooth.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients. Gently fold and transfer to a lined cake tin. Bake for 30-35 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting – to make the cake completely even and suitable for the raspberry topping, slice off the top with a serrated knife.
Mix the icing sugar and cocoa powder together before adding the water and beating with a spatula until thick and smooth. Spread over the whole cake using a palette knife – or, in my case, a gifted butter knife.
Muddle the raspberries, leaving a few whole before stirring through the icing sugar. Just before serving top the cake with the raspberry mixture and slice.