You will have to wait another week for more tartan talk - today we have a snow day.
I am baking a variation on a traditional Italian Almond cake. I am starting with a recipe that I tasted at a house concert that my early music vocal trio, Sine Nomine performed for a local Italian conversation club last month. The recipe was transcribed by one of our hosts from her Italian mother-in-law as she prepared the cake - Parrozzo alla Maria Alboini Pascali.
Parrozzo or Pane Rozzo means a rough or coarse bread and this cake imitates the dark bread Italian peasants used to eat, but it is a rich, flavorful cake with a bittersweet chocolate icing.
I am creating a gluten-free version today and also using coconut sugar rather than a more refined sugar. The original baker used some Italian ingredients - a powdered vanilla called Vanillini, a leavening agent called Lievi di Angelli and bitter almond extract. I found all of these available online and ordered them but only the Lievi has arrived so far. I decided to go ahead and try it out today with what I have on hand and then later I will make a more authentic version. I think the bitter almond extract will make the most difference in flavor.
Apparently bitter almond has a small amount of cyanide naturally occurring in the nut and for that reason it is not widely available in the US. My recipe also says that if you can find bitter almonds, only 2 or 3 will flavor a whole cake. These can be parboiled, skinned and then grated to replace the small vial of extract.
This cake is supposed to taste better a few days after baking, but here at The Burrow we are going to make the ultimate sacrifice and taste it today!
I have made some progress with my first quilt - I finally decided how I wanted to piece the back, cut & stitched it up and then made my fabric/batting/fabric sandwich on the floor of the upstairs bedroom and safety pin basted it all together.
I wasn't sure if I had enough of the special curved safety pins for basting - guess how many were left when I finished?
This afternoon I am going to start the quilting!