1940’s built. Minimal personality.
I dubbed it the “house from hell” – that house had issues.
Lots and lots of issues (red velvet wallpaper, shag carpet, crumbling plaster, tile coming off the shower walls). It certainly gave me a crash course in home improvement.
But it was home. Love it or hate it, I was grateful to have a place to call my own.
It sat on a busy, busy road. As a result, I don’t think the previous owners did anything with the front of the house except to park their cars there – in a half-gravel/ half-grass turn around. Lined up along that very unaesthetic patch of land was a row of thorny shrubs. Oh, how I hated those shrubs.
Those shrubs didn’t last one summer after I moved into that house. I can remember being very pregnant and insisting that those dratted shrubs had to go. How could I possibly raise a child around those death traps? (Oh, the drama of youth… The Cher of today would probably take one look at them, grunt and find something else to do.)
Anyhoo, once those shrubs were out of there, I was left with a big ugly mass of dirt and roots and holes and what not. Since money was pretty much non-existent in those days, I can remember begging, borrowing and stealing plants to back-fill the space. Something – anything – to add a modicum of curb appeal.
Slowly, surely, over the course of a few years things slowly took shape.
Peonies came from a co-worker. Irises from a neighbor. Tulips from I don’t know where.
While there may no longer be roses in my garden, they have entered my life in different ways.
Occasionally, The Dude will bring home a batch of roses (orange or yellow are my favorite - HINT).
Rose hips will be brewed into a cup of tea.
And then, there is cake.
This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was for an Ispahan loaf cake – an almond flour based cake flavored with rose syrup + extract and dotted with fresh raspberries. I have been excited to give this one a try for a long time – especially after seeing this beauty made by Candy.
I covered it with a simple glaze of Chambord and confectioners’ sugar in an effort to hide where I cracked the cake open while clumsily turning it out of the pan. It didn’t hide it very well, but it sure tasted good! I also served it up with raspberry coulis as a finishing touch and thought it rounded things out very nicely.
Surprisingly, this cake only lasted about a day in the house. Both the Fussy Eater and The Dude went back for seconds. I would love to give this a re-do using a lavender simple syrup and blackberries or pairing hibiscus with strawberry or cherries.
The possibilities seem endless.
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.