Perfect for a plum cake, a German recipe from Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion.
It has a batter on the bottom, a topping of halved plums and ground almonds (and pine nuts as I improvised) and a sugary buttery streusel topping which puffs up and crunches as the cake cooks.
My mother is a great cook, and being from the country it is perhaps surprising she doesn't bake more. It is also surprising she didn't actively teach me to cook, it was something I learned in my late 20s. She had to work, very hard, from when I was 11 years old, and if I asked her I am certain she would say that she just didn't have the time. Perhaps she was too tired, a complaint I am guilty of making way too often these days.
As much as it is tempting to be rosey eyed about mother - daughter relationships, the truth is that they are tricky, and that really hits home once you have a child of your own. I can every day see myself behaving in ways, both good and perhaps not so good, which are so similar to the ways in which my mother behaved when I was a little girl.
It is scary because there is something worse than behaving badly - it's knowing you are behaving badly.
(eat warm with cream)
Genes are very powerful and they come through in all kinds of odd ways. I know I get my obsession with putting food, jewelry, makeup, button, hair clips, socks and all other manner of things in separate and copious containers from her, and I also get the need to have everything spick and span before I can relax from her.
Having said all that, I am lucky to have her as a mother. She is a charming, warm, interested in other people person, who sets a table beautifully, is perfect at making people feel welcome and wants everyone to be kind to each other all the time.
And I can say all this knowing she doesn't text, has no computer or email and certainly doesn't read this blog.
Happy Mother's Day to you, I will love you always.