Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cherry & almond cake.

cherry cake1

You know what's embarrassing? You're at the supermarket buying toilet paper. You reach up to grab a pack off the top shelf. They're precariously stacked on the shelf, and as you pull your packet down, all the packages of toilet paper fall off the shelf and onto your head.

You know what isn't embarrassing? Making a perfect cake. So perfect that people ask you for the recipe. And after my last cake debacle, I needed to bake something that made me feel better about my skillz.

This cake definitely did that. It was dotted with cherries and perfectly risen. Dusted with icing sugar, it was the perfect dessert to share with family. You could probably sub something in for the cherries if you can't find these, like some nice seasonal berry (they're not in season here. Yet.). I think a splash of almond extract would bring out the flavour of the almond meal, but it isn't necessary, because the cake is perfect. Just as it is.

cherry cake2

Cherry & almond cake:
Slightly adapted from 'Sweet Food'

125g unsalted butter, at room temp
185g sugar
2 eggs
95g (1 cup) almond meal
185g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 jar (680g) morello cherries

Drain the cherries in a colander/sieve (reserve the juice for yummy drinks later).
Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease a 20cm fluted tin.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Stir in the almond meal.
Fold in half the flour and baking powder, then all the milk, the remaining flour/baking powder.
Gently fold in the cherries.
Scrape the mix into the prepared tin.
Bake for 45-50 mins, until cake tester comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the pan for 10 mins, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday I'm In Love: Covered up.

Yesterday was deceiving.

The day started out warm and sunny, but then the black clouds swept in and rained all over everything, and ruined my dreams of springtime.
Not only that, but my usual rostered early start at work had been changed, and I turned up to work 6 hours too early. How. Embarrassing.

But there was a highlight in amongst this drab and dreary day. Umbrellas.

I really like umbrellas. Not necessarily what they represent, but I really like the way they look. I also find it really fun to walk around, covered up by a big umbrella.

So here's some lovely pictures of umbrellas, to make you feel better about grey, rainy days (sources below).


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hey! Bag lady!

library bag

I've seen these posts popping up in blogs all over the place, and honestly, I felt a bit silly doing one, but I really wanted to! And since I had to change bags today to go to the library, I thought now was a good a time as any.

My bag isn't that exciting, unfortunately. I mean, text books?! Boooooring! But it was good to clean out my bag, if anything. Usually the bottom of my bag is full of scrunched up bits of paper and pens that I've stolen from work (whoops!).

At the moment, it's got all the things I need: wallet (from Topshop), a scarf, pencil case, phone, ipod, sunglasses, lipgloss. Even though this isn't my favourite bag (my favourite one is a vintage navy blue one that I got at the op-shop for $3), it does hold all my stuff good and proper (this one is from Sportsgirl).

And since I was wearing my library outfit today, I thought I better share a photo of that, too (A vintage green button-up shirt with a bow at the front, and a pair of jeans).

at the library

Sunday, August 21, 2011

belated birthday.

My blog birthday went slowly past, and I didn't even realise. I can't believe I've had apples & almonds running for a whole year! To be honest, when I started this blog I thought it would last for about two months before being left by the wayside.

beetroot soup

But I've kept it going, and I've learnt so much, and I've even made a few bloggy friends! Over the year, I've done 98 posts, I've had 14,521 page views, been featured on Foodista and Tastespotting. I've slowly developed my food photography skills and I'm slowly developing my own writing style.
And since I've made it this far, I have no doubt that I can make it to next year.

Olive muffins
school fete & choc chip cookies

So for a birthday round-up, here's a list of my favourite posts so far on apples & almonds. Here's to another year!

Anarchy cupcakes. (My very first post!)

Thank you for being here! Ursula x



I'm on a mission.
I'm searching for the perfect carrot cake recipe. 

I would like a cake that is tall, and moist, and dark, and full of nuts and carrots and brown sugar. I would like a carrot cake that doesn't have pineapple in it. 
I would like a recipe for carrot cake that doesn't need tweaking. A recipe that is perfect all on its own. A recipe that can become a household staple for me, one that I can pass down to my children and make for their birthday parties.


I do not want a carrot cake recipe like this one, the one that I used. It looked promising, but it wasn't meant to be.
And now I'll be eating this dry, dense, flat, undercooked cake for a week because I can't bring myself to throw anything away, and I can't even share it with other people because it just isn't good.

I did find the perfect carrot cake once, at my old work. The cake was exactly like it should be: tall, moist, not too sweet, with it's three layers full of cream cheese icing. But I didn't get the recipe because it's not appropriate to go into a bakery and ask them for their recipes.

So I'll just have to keep making every carrot cake recipe that I come across. I might even have to start buying cream cheese in bulk.

Thursday, August 18, 2011



I walk the same way to work every day.
Usually I just listen to music and don't pay attention to my surroundings.


But today I paid attention, and I noticed some things I'd never noticed before.
I hadn't noticed that the blossom is out, even though it's still winter.


I noticed that the bare, twisted trees look like something out of a Tim Burton movie.
I realised that I like walking to walk so early in the morning when there is nobody else around.
As if I'm alone in this city.


And unlike someone I know, I really like winter.
Not only does it give me a legitimate excuse for staying inside all day,
but I like the cold weather.
Especially when it's getting closer to the summertime.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday I'm In Love: bluegreen (!)


I really like painting my nails. It makes me feel girly and nice. But they only look good for about two days before they chip all over the place.

Baby Blue! Emerald Green! What a colour combination!

Also, I have a confession to make. I'm a bit late jumping on the Regurgitator band wagon. Like, 14 years late.
Of course I liked Polyester Girl when it came out, but I was a lil' bit young to actually appreciate the rest of their music. But they're playing at The Falls Festival this year, so Brent thought I should actually listen to their music.

I'm glad I did.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Crispy grapefruit.


Today was one of those days. Those days where you can't find any clothes to wear and then you can't even be bothered to blow dry your hair.



In the end, I threw on my old jeans and one of Brent's t-shirts to wear to work. It turned out that the shirt had some (semi) famous artist's design printed on the front, and everyone complimented it.

I'm pretty sure that one good way to make you feel less scummy in the morning is to eat something girlie for breakfast. Like a ruby grapefruit.



I'd never eaten a grapefruit before this morning. The ruby grapefruit's looked so lovely sitting in a big pile at the shop that I though I would buy one and see how it went.

It met all my expectations: bitter, tart and slightly sweet. Delicious.



But grapefruit's have this... stigma about them. As if you can only eat a grapefruit if you're on a diet or something. I know they're good for you, but I don't understand why they're not an everyday thing.

I did think that I would still be hungry after only eating one half of the fruit, but I wasn't! And the oats, butter and sugar really make you feel like you're not trying to be super healthy.

Mmm.... butter and sugar. And in less than 10 minutes!


Crispy grapefruit:
serves 2
Adapted from All Recipes.

1 ruby grapefruit
1/4 cup oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat the grill to a high temperature.
Cut the grapefruit in half, and slice around the pink flesh so that it will be easier to scoop out later.
Mix the oats, cinnamon, butter and sugar in a small bowl until well combined.
Pile half the oat mix on each grapefruit half.
Place the grapefruit on a tray and stick under the grill until mixture is brown and crisp on top, about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on the grapefruit, making sure they don't burn.take out from under the grill and serve straight away.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

If only.

I've been watching The Renovators, and it's really making me wish I had some spare time and lots of money to do up my house all nice.
Because Brent and I rent our (tiny) apartment, we can't do anything to it. A shame, really. I'd love to put up some nice, textured wallpaper in our bedroom...

Here are some pictures of my dream house. One day. If only.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cinnamon buns.


cinnamon buns




cinnamon buns1

Cinnamon buns recipe:
From Smitten Kitchen

For the dough:
1 cup milk
3 tbs unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
7g packet dry, instant yeast
1 tsp salt

Place the milk and butter into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter has melted and milk is warm.
Pour into a big mixing bowl and add 1 cup of the flour, sugar, egg, yeast and salt.
Beat on low speed for 3 minutes.
Add the remaining flour and beat until incorporated and the dough is sticky (You might have to do this with a wooden spoon, rather than a hand mixer). The dough should be sticky, but not too sticky.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface to knead.
If you find that the dough is sticking to your hands, sprinkle the dough with flour and keep kneading until the dough is smooth and almost elastic, about 8 minutes.
Form the dough into a nice ball and place into a large, lightly oiled bowl.
Cover with cling wrap and a clean tea towel and place in a warm, draught-free place until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

For the cinnamon filling:
3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 tbs ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sultanas

While the dough is rising, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

Tip the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Roll the dough out to a 15by11 inch rectangle.
Pour the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and sultanas.
Starting at the long side, roll the dough up towards you into a tight log.
Seam side down, slice the cinnamon log into 18-20 small slices.
Place the slices into 2 greased tins (I found that a 20cm springform tin was easier to get out, but a square tin is fine too), cut side up.
Cover each tin with cling wrap and a clean tea-towel and place in a warm, draught-free spot to rise for 40-45 mins.
Pre-heat oven to 190C, and stick the trays in the oven.
Bake the rolls for 20 mins, until the tops are golden.
Take the trays from the oven and flip the buns out onto a wire rack to cool.
Glaze buns when cool.

For the orange glaze (optional):
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
juice and zest of half an orange

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. If the icing is a bit thick, add more juice until it's runny enough to pour onto the buns.

A bitter afternoon.


I spent the afternoon at my parents house making bitter orange marmalade, because it's that time of year again.


Dad cut up lots of seville and ruby navel oranges, and I took lots of photos and drank coffee.






I love this photo. They're all standing, waiting patiently to have their photo taken, but Dad decided that everyone should hold an orange, to emphasis the whole point of the afternoon. Caitlin and Arki look so skeptical, the way teenagers do.