I can only describe the last few weeks as turbulent. What with the start of a new job, a triple threat of hurricanes and more flooding, and sitting in class two nights a week, coupled with what seems endless homework assignments. Oh, and I have been knitting for sanity's sake.
As far as work goes, my feelings are have everyone should experience your customers instant gratification. I came from an industry that, once the clients needs have been captured on paper, colour and style finally settled on, cost and time line of the projects negotiated ad nauseam, and the contract signed, the rest is out of your control. You art can mean nothing and what happens next is often in the hands of contractors, tradespeople, fickle interior designers, or surly installers. Seldom is a job truly worry free and breezy.
Now lets chuck that career aside and make coffee for a living. Customer comes in bleary- eyed, just having rolled out of bed and into clothes. We are his first stop on the commute to the office. A 20 ounce triple mocha latte with 3 Splenda, caramel and whipped cream on their lips and they are putty in my hands. They leave with a spring in their step and foam on their lips. Three raspberry scones to go? No problem, the butter is on the antique buffet, help yourself. Chocolate, chocolate chunk muffins are still warm from the oven and they're huge, you'd like three? Sure, and a large Granita with white chocolate, hazelnut syrup, don't forget the whipped creme. Coming right up. I come home with tired feet and smelling of warm milk, warm sugar cookies and freshly ground coffee. My mind is clear and I can take my noon shower and tackle the homework with aplomb.
Now, my homework consists of learning a new language, mostly Greek and Latin. Lots of memorization and learning names of obscure body parts. Incidentally the name of that little dent on the upper lip is called the philtrum from the Greek philtron meaning "to love; to kiss" and allows the lip a greater range of motion. Who knew? Anatomy and physiology are my greatest challenge but I will persevere.
On to what is on my needles. Now that the Olympics have ended, I have turn my attention to the Arwen. I am pleased with the outcome so far. I plan to make some major modifications to neck area, omitting the hood and mitring the cables resulting in a middy collar.
Knitting through my stash is always on my mind. I just finished sock one of the STR Club Summer of Lace anklet in Flower Power. They are unashamedly size 10 and not for me. Erik was gracious enough to lend his foot for the camera. Here are some other stash yarns that I plan to knit up next. The top yarn is HandMaiden Sea Sock yarn and underneath another STR club installment called Monsoon. I should probably cast that one on first in anticipation of hurricane Ike.
Last but not least my end of summertime recipe for Pflaumenkuchen, my favourite cake and a taste of home. I make this with Italian prune plum that are available in early September but only for a few weeks. The recipe is translated from my German Dr. Oetker Baking Book and the ingredients are measured in grams.
Pflaumenkuchen, lovingly called Zwetschekuchen in Wiesbaden
500 g unbleached flour
1 package yeast
75 grams sugar
250 ml lukewarm milk
75 g melted butter, cooled
I zap the butter and milk in the microwave for 1 minute. I dump all the ingredients into the trusty Kitchenaid mixer and knead the dough on low using the dough hook. After the ingredients are mixed, continue to knead for about five minutes. The dough should be soft, not sticky.
Cover with a damp towel to rise.
Meanwhile prepare plumbs by cutting in half and pitting, leaving the skin partially intact, cut again so that you are left with a pitless plum attached by the skin in three places.
In bowl fitted with the dough hook blend the following:
300 g unbleached flour
150 g sugar
150-200 g soften butter
Blend until combined.
Once the dough has risen knead once more.Roll the dough out onto a buttered jelly roll pan. Build the side up slightly. Arrange the plums to cover the dough. Use your hands to crumble the streusel over the plums.
Bake in a 225 c oven for about 15-20 minutes.
This cake doesn't last long in my house. Please don't let the steps deter you from trying this recipe. I guarantee you will look forward to the last months of summer and the arrival of Italian prune plums.