Friday, 7 November 2008

Nina (but not Nicholas), A Recipe I Made Up with My Very Own Brain, and Various Thoughts on How Women Love

I'm in one of those bizarre positions where I've got such a lot to blog about and not enough time to SPEAK MY BRAINS in html format! So I'm going to try to cram a few bits and bobs in one single, and probably very disjointed, post. First, I came back from Spain determined to buy a book on Spanish food, particularly Spanish baking. However, funds are a little low ce moment and even though I am slightly enamored of this weighty tome, I have yet again vowed to go on a book-buying embargo (yes, I know you've heard this all before). So I politely asked my brain to come up with an Iberian-style tea-time treat and this is what my brain came up with. Not bad brain! In future I will look after you by keeping off the gin and doing more Suduku!

Dulce Domum's Orange and Almond Cake
3 oz butter
4 oz caster sugar
4 oz self-raising flour
4 oz ground almonds
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp almond extract
grated orange rind (from one medium orange)
juice from 1/2 a medium orange.
Cream together butter and sugar, add beaten eggs gradually. Add orange rind, almond extract and then fold in the ground almonds and the flour. At this point you will need to loosen the mixture with the orange juice (you may not need all of it, just loosen to dropping consistency). Grease a loaf tin (a 1 lb loaf tin is best but I had to use a bigger one), place mixture in tin (sprinkle on a few flaked almonds if you have them) and bake at 150 degrees for around half an hour, or until the cake is firm to the touch. Like all cakes with ground almonds in this cake is an excellent keeper. Oh, you could make an orange glaze or syrup to go on top of the cake, I didn't do this but I bet it would be delicious.

Well, Nina the Waldorf doll is finally finished. I didn't do any crafting at all whilst I was on my hols. So I finished her off this week. She's a bit of a labour of love actually. I've changed her clothes goodness knows how many times, and I think this is because I know the little girl the doll's going to and wanted it to be just right. Anyway, I really must stuff Saint Nicholas (and it's not everyday you get to type a sentence like that) and get cracking on the wool shop order (she wants as many as I can make ...that will be one then) and make a new doll for the girls (a little red-head I think). Also, my friend Zillah sent me a fabulous book on knitting historical figures, believe me, there are some doozies of dolls in this book, but I shall blog about it next week, I think.
Next up, I've been thinking about love, and how the way we love changes and adapts as we gain in maturity. When I was in my late teens I was pretty desperate for love and romance, to put it bluntly I wanted a man to love me. I'm not particularly embarrassed by this, I reckon it's usual for most girls. I was fortunate in the fact that I did fall in love with a man who loved me back, and reader, I married him. Of course, then most of us go on to have children, and our children love us. A small child's love is almost miraculous in the fact that it is purely unconditional, they seem to be hardwired to love their mothers. Oh and aren't these different types of love we women receive great gifts? The love of a good man and the love of children isn't really something we should take for granted, it's something to be nurtured and respected. To be honest with you, as a young woman I tended to define myself by who loved me; boyfriend, husband, babies. But now, as my children grow older and my marriage is more mature it seems as though I've gone through a subtle shift in thinking, I've come to believe that my womanhood will be defined not simply by who loves me but how I love them. That the nature and quality of the love I give serves to define my developing sense of womanhood, that the giving of love may be my reason for being. I don't want this to seem particularly morally grandiose, I get a great deal of pleasure from loving, my family and my husband are lovable, it's just that I've found that age has brought an increased pleasure in the performance of small acts of love, there's a joy in it, and I was just wondering if any of you feel the same way?


Islandsparrow said...

Oh I'm the first to comment! It doesn't happen often - I guess that's the advantage of living on the East coast of North America :)

Your cake sounds delicious - I'd love a piece. one question - is castor sugar like our icing sugar?

Your dolls are adorable - I'm in awe. you're talented. Confession: I'm learning to crochet and I am trying to make a little crochet doll. We shall see how it turns out - I'm not that craftsy.

I really enjoyed your thoughts on love. It's so true that how we love defines us. I also get a great deal of pleasure from doing little acts of love for my husband and my children - also my friends and community. The sweet thing about it is when you receive pleasure from giving rather than receiving then you don't have to wait around until someone gives to you in order to be happy. You find your happiness in giving. Surround yourself with such people and you will have a happy life indeed!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and thanks for a lovely post. I really enjoy your blog.

Mrs Pea said...

Nina is so sweet - you did a wonderful job.

I thought your thoughts on loving, being loved, etc very beautiful and similar to my own experience. I am needing to reexamine myself with regard to those issues.

Glad the holiday inspired you! My family will be happy too come tea time!

Anonymous said...

I found your thoughts on love beautiful, I hope you'll have time to expand on them. The love you describe that you have for your family is the sort of love that doesn't die even during hard times (i.e. if a child rebelled,etc), unlike the more romantic love, which doesn't seem to stand the test of life's difficulties quite so well.

I reckon the English language doesn't have enough love words, unlike the Greek who have a whole plethora.

I used to love the re-runs of the series Butterflies as a teenager. As a teenager, I wanted Ria to run off with handsome Leonard - the love he offered was exciting and romantic (unlike the prosaic Ben). But now when I watch, I want her to settle with Ben to give up the selfish notions of Leonard. In fact the Leonard thing is rather distasteful to me now.

I tend to recoil a bit at the sickly Valentine's Day type love these days. Maybe I'm just getting old! ;)

I would die for my children, but I have a loooong way to go in showing totally unselfish love though! Lol, my patience (despite loving my children oodles) is tried all too easily.

The best kind of love is God's love...'though the mother forsake her child, He will not abandon you.' Real love. The sort of love I...we all...need.


Anonymous said...

Oh I meant to quote good ol' CS Lewis

'Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained'.

He was a wise chap.

Gumbo Lily said...

Sweet, sweet dolly. I'm very impressed!'s so many things. As for me, it does evolve and change and grow. I was just thinking today how good it has been to love my Hub and five children (now the youngest is 16) into grown adults. Hubby and I were 19 when we married so we've "grown up" together. Loving an adult married son and married daughter is much different than loving a small child. You pour your heart and soul into your little ones, but you back away a little more and support and encourage adult children (and try not to meddle or say too much). Hugs still reign no matter the age. And kisses too.

Learning to receive acts of love is a whole 'nother facet of love.

I'm looking forward to more of your thoughts, Dulce.

(May I ask where your bloggy name Dulce Domum came from? Does it mean something that a plain-o American wouldn't understand?)


Gumbo Lily said...

One more thing....your tea cake looks scrumptch! I love almonds.


Dulce Domum said...

Hi Island Sparrow
I'm glad you like Nina, you know I can't crochet for toffee, it's generational, my granny couldn't so I can't! It's funny about you saying about small acts of love and y our community. There is a whole chapter on voluntary work in "A Pace of a Hen" by Josephine Moffatt Benton, where she talk of the value of women's community work.

Hi Mrs Pea
I think a little bit of self-reflection is a good thing (but not too much though!lol!). I too examine my actions and often think "must try harder." You and the little 'uns are invited for tea any time!

Hi Sarah
yes, there are so many facets to love, we need a more comprehensive vocabulary on the subject. I suppose the Greeks knew a thing or two! You're so right about Butterflies. I liked Ben, I wished Leonard would just bugger off and Rhia take a few cookery classes...but I would say that now wouldn't I? I really enjoyed the CS Lewis quote, is it from Mere Christianity?

Hi Jody
T'aint English m'dear, just Latin. "Dulce Domum" means "Home Sweet Home" in Latin. But Dulcie is also a girl's name I like, so I thought it'd be good alias for a homemaking blogger.

I think I'm learning that maturity brings compensations, no more than that really, that it brings fulfillment. I may expand on my thoughts, when I get them in order...or perhaps in twenty year's time, I'm only 35, so I'm hardly Dame Wisdom.

Dulce Domum said...

PS. To Island Sparrow. Caster sugar is I *think* your "superfine sugar". But I reckon granulated will do, as this isn't meant to be a light cake.

Anonymous said...

It's from 'God in the Dock'. However I haven't actually read this collection of essays, it's just a quote I latched onto and rather liked.

I would have loved to have shared a pint with CS Lewis. I'll bet he was really good company.

Nan said...

I thought you chose "dulce domum" because of the chapter in Wind in the Willows. :<)
I also like the name, Dulcie. And Maisie.
Very, very nice posting.

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Sarah
I may ask the Vicar if he's got a copy, he seems to have a huge collection of CS Lewis stuff. Yes, I would've loved a pint with "Jack". He put his God given intellect to good use!

Hi Nan
Yes, I *did* think of that chapter in Wind in the Willows when I chose the name! When Moley goes home, so sweet. We seem to have a wealth of literature from the early twentieth century which really had a feel for home and friendship.