Thursday, 26 February 2009
Why the bird sings . . .
There is nothing sweeter of a morning, than to listen to the birds as they wake up and begin their dawn chorus . . . so melodic and beautiful to hear. It really fills my heart with joy. It is in the spring time that their little chirps and cheeps become even sweeter and more pleasant to listen to, making each early morn a pure delight to listen to.
An Ornithologist might well tell you that birds sing merely to attract a mate, and, while that may be true, I prefer to think of the following explanation . . .
There is an ancient Jewish legend that tells us that, after creating the world, and before creating Man, God took a break. He gathered all his angels around and asked them what they thought of His work thus far. All agreed, to the very last one, that the Earth was, indeed, a beautiful masterpiece.
Then, one angel dared to suggest it lacked a little something. All gasped in dismay . . . how could this be . . . and then he explained himself by stating that the world lacked only the sound of praise for it's Creator.
And so . . . God created birdsong.
I think I like that little muse . . . birdsong does very much sound like a celebration of praise for all the Creator's hard work. What a wonderful thought . . .
Sometimes I feel really nostalgic for years gone by and I crave something to eat that is totally homey and comforting. This cake fits that bill perfectly. It is a basic cake that my mother used to make for us during the whole time I was growing up. A plain and simple sponge, she always filled it with raspberry preserves, as that is the way my father loved eating it most of all. I have always loved it filled with lemon curd, but . . . my Todd is much like my father, he loves it with raspberry preserves as well. It's a beautiful little cake, very moist and delicious, no matter what you choose to fill it with.
Sometimes the simple things are the best of all things. I think one bite of this lovely cake may very well cause you to agree . . .
*Mom's Hot Milk Cake*
Makes one 7 inch square cake
The original recipe for this cake is written on a scrap of paper, with only a method laid out and the ingredients interspersed. Old recipes often are put down in this way. It's all a part of their charm, I think. I have tried to explain it in a more understandable way here. Once cooled the cake can be split in two and then filled with lemon curd and topped with some whipped cream, or . . . you can do as my mother did, and simply fill it with some raspberry preserves. Either way I am sure you will love it. We do.
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk, heated until quite hot,
with 1 TBS butter melted into it
1 tsp vanilla
Fruit preserves or Lemon curd
Icing sugar, optional
Whipped cream, if desired
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Grease a seven inch square baking pan and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl until light in colour. Slowly beat in the sugar, beating it until the egg yolks form ribbons when the beaters are lifted from the bowl.
Stir together the hot milk, butter and vanilla, stirring until the butter melts. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat this into the egg yolk mixture alternating with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with dry.
Carefully fold in the egg whites, folding gently until they are totally amalgamated into the mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until well risen and the top springs back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool for five minutes before removing the cake from the pan completely and allowing it to cool on the wire rack until cold.
Once cool, split into half horizontally and fill with the preserves or lemon curd and top with either a dusting of icing sugar or some whipped cream.