Well, we all had such a good weekend: a nice walk in the woods; a picnic; a mooch around an antique centre and then a visit to a village show. But now it's all back to normal, the DH is at work, my kids are in the garden with half of the neighbourhood's under twelves and I've done some mammoth baking. First, I had a go at making a blackberry crumble cake, mainly to get rid of last year's blackberries lurking in the back of the freezer, but also because the DH loves crumble, but crumble is hardly a portable treat, and this cake can be easily carried to work in a lunch box...it worked out well, but is highly calorific!! It's just a Victoria Sandwich base, with frozen blackberries sprinkled on top of the batter and then crumble mixture and almonds sprinkled on top of the blackberries. You have to cook the cake at a slightly lower temperature than normal, to allow for the extra topping and also a little longer than usual, but it is worth it!
Also, I made my blogchum Marie's Kuchen. You'll find the recipe on her new Pick Up Pen and Needles blog. If you've made the yeast risen Kuchen before and found it a bit of a complicated process, try this. It's delicious and the base mixture is more of a muffin-y mix. We'll be having ours for pudding tonight and I think I'll serve it with cream...I've sneaked a little bit already....irresistible!
I've also been doing a bit of reading (but what's new about that?!?) and I've started Cousin Rosamund by Rebecca West, I suppose West is more famous for her relationship with H G Wells than her novels, but I think she is a good and sensitive writer and Cousin Rosamund offers some honest and beautiful insights into the world of marriage and domesticity. The second-hand Virago copy I have features a cover painting by an American artist, William McGregor Paxton. The painting is beautiful, so I googled it, but there is not a copy of it on the internet. I did however, find some other portraits by the same artist...some of quite grand ladies, but others showing more normal scenes of women's everyday lives.
I love his attention to detail, the concentrated, absorbed look on his subjects faces. He worked primarily in the early part of the twentieth century, a period of time I find fascinating, both historically and aesthetically, and although I think he was influenced by John Singer Sergeant, I think his work a little more honest than Sergeant's.