Sunday, May 9, 2010

Plum Cake for Mother's Day

Some plums picked just a day ago (so the man who sold them to me said).

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. 


Julie@beingRUBY said...

Dear Jane
Happy Mothers Day to you.. and your mum...

That plum cake looks pretty darn good ... I don't think it will last long!! have a lovely day... xxx Julie

brismod said...

Halleluia for Mums who don't read our blogs! You are right about the DNA thing. I'm cursed with my Mum's habit of talking to herself - it's quite a disturbing trait to have. And that cake looks absolutely delicious - my kind of cake.

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Dear Jane,
Your plum cake looks wonderful. I wouldn't mind a piece of that myself ! We had Mothering Sunday in March, here in the U.K. so I have already been treated like a queen this year by my children.
Your mum sounds a delight and it was lovely to read your words about her.
Have a lovely Mother's Day Jane....oh, and I'm sorry if I've missed some of your posts but I've had computer trouble. XXXX

Mise said...

Your mother's good qualities sound very like yours, Jane - your warmth, interest and kindness show through in your blog and comments. I sometimes wish I had my mother's patience in my relationship with my little girls, though being aware of my lack of patience I try to conceal or overcome it. She set me very high standards, as, it appears, did your mother.

Engracia said...

My mum and I share the same traits of obsessive tidying and love of cooking and sewing, all good traits I think, I choose to ignore those I inherited which I don't consider so good. Hope you had a happy day yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of mothers, mine kindly gave me her copy of Cork, Fork & Ladle, which you mentioned some time ago. She had some friends who contributed to it and although I didn't use it for years I now make a variation of Mrs Samuel Stephen's Tomato Sauce every Feburary. It is very splattered, scribbled on and dog-eared, especially in the Australian Country Cooks section, but my very favourite picture was always your old dining room (love that sideboard)! I have so often thought how wonderful an updated version could be...let me know if you ever want to do one! I feel it a snapshot from Mum's heyday and I shall continue to use it.

Tina said...

What a fabulous looking plum cake! I may have to try this one:) From what I sense from your gorgeous blog Jane, I think you have definitely inherited your Mum's warmth, charm and interest in other people - all wonderful qualities indeed:) Wishing you a wonderful week ~ Tina xx

Laura said...

Well put...I often think the secret to my good relationship with my mother is that we live 3,000 miles apart! Gorgeous plums, and how serendipitous that you have a bowl to match them so well. I may have to try my hand at that cake as soon as the plums come into season here. Love the idea of the pine nuts...

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