For a long time, almost every relationship I had finished after about nine months.
I think nine months is about as much time as you can spend together without realising that you have to make some pretty serious decisions. I thought I was fated to be the ‘I just don’t love you enough’ girl forever.
Last night my boyfriend and I went out to dinner to celebrate our third anniversary. In lieu of anything better, we have fallen into the habit of celebrating the anniversary of the night that we first met. When we stood outside a bar in the rain, waiting for our friends to come out, and he snuck his hand into mine.
These three years seem to have passed in the blink of eye and yet it’s difficult to remember what life was like before them.
We are not, by nature, a particularly romantic couple. Our text messages and emails mainly consist of discussions about what to have for dinner and what time we’re planning to leave our respective offices. Whenever we have pizza, he has to ask me again what my usual order is. We have a little chalkboard in our hallway and instead of writing love notes to each other, we write things like ‘you’re so stinky’ and ‘you look like a hippo’. That’s the kind of couple we are.
We celebrated with dinner. A fancy dinner that required a quick change in the office loos and red lipstick. We drank a cocktail made with pomegranate and ginger and champagne and ate foie gras and lobster (and I ate five desserts which probably accounts for why I feel quite so jaded this morning).
Sometimes, most often in the middle of the night, I am paralysed by regrets. By the bad choices that I made and the good choices that I didn’t. By all the stupid things that I’ve said and done. But I look at that tousled head next to me, deep in sleep and oblivious to the panicked thoughts that are racing around my head, and I realise that he doesn’t care about any of that. He loves me in spite of all the silly things I say and do (and maybe because of them). He loves more more than enough.
I’m not going to lie, I think he loves me even more because of this blog and because he knows that most weekends will now involve at least one type of cake. We’ve been eating this cake a lot recently.
This recipe is actually a re-do, with a few small tweaks, of one in the archives. In my first few posts, I sped through some of my favourite ever recipes and it feels a shame that they are languishing there, unloved. It’s a dark and sticky cake, rich with molasses and a hefty kick of ginger. It’s a real winter cake, spicy and warm. The changes I made shouldn’t come as much as a surprise to anyone – olive oil rather than butter, whole wheat rather than plain flour – but I also played around a little with the liquid sweetener. The original recipe calls for black treacle which I’ve used successfully before. This time I used a mixture of blackstrap molassess and a lighter molasses (the exact ratio depends on how much you like the taste of molasses; blackstrap molasses has a pretty robust flavour). My experiment using a proportion of pomegranate molasses was, sadly, not a success at all.
90m (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)extra virgin olive oil
120g (2/3 cup)dark brown sugar
300g (approx 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)treacle/molasses (see note above)
180g (1 1/2 cups)whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoonbicarbonate of soda/baking soda
60g (1/2 cup)ground almonds
Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F (fan) and grease a 20cm square baking tin
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil, sugar, water and treacle over a medium heat until it starts boiling. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes, making sure to stir frequently so that it doesn’t catch.
Put the mixture aside to cool and go and do something else for a while. It does take a surprisingly long time to reach a sensible temperature.
When cool, beat in the ginger and then the eggs, one at a time.
Fold the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground almonds into the mixture.
Pour into the cake tins and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until a knife comes out clean and it feels firm to the touch.
Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
PS. On a completely unrelated note, I have (finally) set up a facebook page if you want to keep up with the blog there. I was one of the relatively early joiners to facebook but this whole page thing has got me completely confused. Of course, you can still find me on twitter, pinterest and instagram. I probably need to do something more productive with my time…