Let's just say, I have friends in high places. What I mean by "high places" is blissfully calm and serenly beautiful places. And by those places, I just mean place.
Venice. My second home.
According to my iphoto albums, all my photos of Venice for the past few years look the same. The city is identical, as is this photo of the view from l' Accademia, one I've taken many times before, to the point that I could just be fishing through old photographs and pull out a snapshot from previous years. One thing that changes are the inhabitants that are left in the city.
As well as the cakes that are left on the table!
What I do is I have one base chocolate recipe memorised in my mind. It's actually the family chocolate cake recipe that my mum made me memorise as a child. No matter how skilled I am in the chocolate making world, no matter how many cakes I know, I will always stick to this. It makes me think about baking as a hobby, and not as a job.
So here it goes:
250g Butter.250g Dark chocolate. 250g Sugar. 7 eggs separated, 120g of flour. Pincha Salt.
Oven 180 degrees
Melt CHOC and BUTTER (melt, not too hot)
Add Sugar and Egg yolks and Mix.
Meanwhile Beat Egg Whites w/ pincha salt.
Stir in Egg Whites.
Put in a greaseproof dish with baking parchment or well greased with butter. Cook for 20 mins
This is a cake I have been transforming since my adolescence. When I first made this cake, I added more chocolate and less butter. Sometimes, I add more flour and less butter and a sachet of baking powder if I want to make a very airy birthday cake with lots of cream on top. For example, the cake I made in Venice had more chocolate and less flour, as I wanted it to be dense and rich with softened roasted pears.
BY RUDYARD KIPLING
(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Source: A Choice of Kipling's Verse (1943)