One thing I love about my mum’s cooking style is that she is serenely fearless. Mum will throw herself in and try a new recipe without a second thought. She has a great natural instinct in the kitchen and is a well-seasoned cook, which helps to promote her peaceful performances. Whatever she seems to make, it just works.
Mum has the ability to sense when something may be a little off, and will adapt accordingly sans any stress or meltdown. She remains cool and calm, completely and utterly enjoying the process. She just loves to cook, and I think that comes across in the always special finished product.
Mum’s kitchen manner is something I try to embody myself. I put on some French tunes (perhaps Madeleine Peyroux, Carla Bruni or the Amélie soundtrack), and endeavour to cook and try new recipes without fear, without pressure and without drama. The latter is something I am still working on… I may or may not be prone to dramatic outbursts. This is one of my fundamental culinary aspirations, along with owning a Kitchen Aid Mixer and a Smeg oven – to be able to channel mum’s cheerfully calm and creative cooking style.
A few weeks ago I went down to Red Hill for a family catch-up, and was greeted with this beautiful cake. If I were trying out a new cake recipe for a special occasion, you could probably have banked on me being a little stressed – hoping it rises properly and tastes ok. Yet mum tried out two new recipes, ever so serenely and fearlessly, and provided us with a delicate sponge-like cake and a robust citrus zing in the crunchy glaze. Mum used a different glaze than was recommended in the cake recipe, as she had long been wanting to try David Lebovitz’s Crunchy Lemon Glaze. We were all very pleased with the glaze, and I just adored the subtle flavours and light nature of the cake. I will request mum makes this cake again and again. And I will attempt to make it myself, sans any dramatic outbursts if my glaze doesn’t quite work 😉
Sally Sampson: Verdi’s Double Lemon Cake with Fresh Lemon Zest Glaze * Note: mum used buttermilk rather than yoghurt, and she didn’t use this glaze recipe.
David Lebovitz: Crunchy Lemon Glaze