Pistachio chocolate chip cake

Pistachio cardamom chocolate chip cake

Pistachio cardamom chocolate chip cake

Sad news about Seamus Heaney! It’s strange because I’ve been thinking about him lately. As you may have notice I’ve been semi-obsessed with mythological characters–reading about them, writing about them, reinterpreting the lives of ordinary people as if they were mythological characters, following some pattern of characteristics of all mythological characters in all cultures. Back in March I declared Heaney a poet laureate of The Ordinary, and I said this about him…

    His poems seemed washed in the affectionate, melancholic light of memory, so that everything he touches quietly glows. We all cast mythical shadows in his poems, we’re all the gods and goddesses of our own creation. However humble our labors may seem, they become honorable in his words.

Probably not a very scholarly or accurate thing to say about his poetry, but that’s how it feels to me, and that’s how it fits my mood lately.

When asked to choose two poems that summed up his life’s work, he chose two with mythical overtones. In The Underground, he imagines a scene from his honeymoon in light of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.


    There we were in the vaulted tunnel running,
    You in your going-away coat speeding ahead
    And me, me then like a fleet god gaining
    Upon you before you turned to a reed

    Or some new white flower japped with crimson
    As the coat flapped wild and button after button
    Sprang off and fell in a trail
    Between the Underground and the Albert Hall.

    Honeymooning, moonlighting, late for the Proms,
    Our echoes die in that corridor and now
    I come as Hansel came on the moonlit stones
    Retracing the path back, lifting the buttons

    To end up in a draughty lamplit station
    After the trains have gone, the wet track
    Bared and tensed as I am, all attention
    For your step following and damned if I look back.

Damned if I look back!!

This is a mild, plainish cake, with subtle flavors. A tea-cake, if you will. Good with your coffee in the morning, your tea in the afternoon, and your wine after dinner. It’s very easy to make, I did it all in the food processor in a matter of minutes. It has pistachios ground right into the batter. It’s flavored with vanilla and cardamom, and of course it has chocolate chips, because all good cakes have chocolate chips!! I made it in the French style, with whipped eggs and no extra leavening.

Here’s Seamus Heaney reading The Underground, for your song today.

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PIstachio cake with cherries, peaches and chocolate

pistachio crumb cake with cherries, peaches and chocolate

pistachio crumb cake with cherries, peaches and chocolate

Saturday storytelling time is back! And the crowd goes wild! I missed a week, and I can’t tell you how many calls and letters I’ve gotten from people who wanted it back. Well, I can tell you: it was precisely none, not one more or less. But I felt a little bad about not getting my story done, even though I know it obviously doesn’t matter. I just couldn’t focus on it, which I’ll blame on the weather and the boys, and maybe the dog, too. But I think that’s the whole point of writing every day or every week…you press on through, because the ideas are always there and the words are always there, even if it feels as though you can’t easily access them. The more you write the more you write, and this applies to all things. Anyway! We’re back, and as I’m sure you recall, this is the day I post a found photo, and invite everybody to write a story about it. I post mine after the jump, and you could have yours there, too, if you feel like writing one!

Here’s today’s picture. Why is this man at the train station? Where is he going? Where is he coming from?

pistachio crumb cake with cherries, peaches, and chocolate chips

pistachio crumb cake with cherries, peaches, and chocolate chips

This was my birthday cake! I did a splurgy shop before my birthday and bought cherries and pistachio kernels, and I decided I wanted to combine them in a cake. The pistachio kernels were salted, so the cake has a nice salty-sweet quality. Some of the pistachios were ground very fine and mixed into the cake, and some were left crunchy, and sprinkled on top with brown sugar and butter. Basically I couldn’t decide if I wanted a fruit crisp or a cake, so I made both. I wanted to make brown sugar vanilla ice cream to go with this, but the heat lately has been too much for my freezer, so the ice cream maker didn’t work. We poured the chilled custard over the cake, and it was really lovely! The boys called it sweet soup.

Here’s Waiting for a Train by Mississippi John Hurt.

Story and recipe after the jump.

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