Well our little cottage is in the hands of the real estate agent now so fingers crossed they find a tenant soon. Carpets are clean, a broken light was fixed, two panes of glass were repaired and keys were handed over. I feel like I am getting lots of jobs ticked off, I also feel like I am spending a bloody fortune at the moment and wondering when I am actually going to start saving. I have had Ruby cleaned to within an inch of her life, she has new brake pads and I have posted her on various for sale websites. Busy, busy, busy.
Another thing I have done is book my final flights. My original round the world tickets did not include flights to Costa Rica and I needed to get those done before we leave so as to avoid any complications with scary customs and arrivals into the States and to ensure there will be no question from them of us overstaying our visas. So in the last couple of weeks I have also booked return tickets to Costa Rica. I decided to fly from Atlanta. Why did I choose Atlanta? Well, it is a bit like when people ask me why did I choose Costa Rica? Well why not? In reality I chose Costa Rica as I have always wanted to go there, and also in terms of Central / Latin America, it was a country that was reliably coming back as one where our safety would not necessarily be an issue. I don’t want to have any concern about fighting off drug lords with my bare hands as they eye off my blonde haired, blue eyed children. I don’t really know anything about Costa Rica, but it appeals and in all honesty, why the hell not?
So back to Atlanta. I wanted to pick a destination that will force me to do a bit of travelling around the States as otherwise I will stay in Providence and drive my little American family of Strach, VP and Sally up the wall. So I figured I might as well ‘pop’ down to Atlanta and I can just ‘pop’ back to Providence when we return in December. I can imagine Strach, VP and Sally cringing as I use the word ‘pop’. In reality it is 8 or 9 States and approximately 1600 kilometres. But I am not going to get bogged down in logistics. Just like I imagine myself as Miranda from Picnic at Hanging Rock whenever I think of climbing Bald Rock, now I keep seeing myself as Scarlett O’Hara going to Atlanta. For some reason I am wearing that green picnic dress from the beginning of the movie. So with imaginings of Gone with the Wind, mint Juleps, cocktail hour on breezy decks, Tennessee Williams, the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Midnight of the Garden of Good and Evil I am heading south.
Of course the three of us are more likely to fall out of a Greyhound Bus after a 30-hour hell ride across 9 states wearing stinky bus clothes and our Birkenstocks. There is also the matter of when we return to the States from Costa Rica that we will have no winter clothes and we will be flying back into winter. So at some stage between Atlanta and Providence we shall have to visit Walmart to get some jumpers. Hardly Scarlett O’Hara but I can keep on imagining things and I shall deal with logistics later. In terms of details I am going to go all Scarlett O’Hara and say, “I’ll think of it tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get back to Providence. After all, tomorrow is another day.” I really genuinely hope that Archie and Rissie don’t kill me on this trip. I can feel the death stares from my daughter already, especially if I am wearing my green hooped frock and practicing an appalling southern accent as we disembark from the Greyhound.
I posted a Chocolate cake photo recently on Facebook that I was not happy with. I had to redo it. I found what I wanted. This simple chocolate glaze is the perfect topping for this cake and I finished it off with candied cashews. I had to get rid of it to my mum and Phil’s house as otherwise I would have eaten it all in one sitting. Now I think of it, it is the perfect cake to take to my afternoon house calls in the south – drinking mint juleps and eating chocolate cake and waiting for gentleman callers. How could anyone even ask me why I chose Atlanta? It is just so obvious.
Chocolate Cake with candied cashews
This recipe makes one small cake of about 6 inches. Double the recipe for a normal 9 inch round cake.
Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (fan forced)
Grease your chosen tin and line with baking paper
210 gram plain flour
200 gram caster sugar
45 gram cocoa power
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
95 ml olive oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
12 teaspoon vanilla essence
Sift together the dry ingredients. In separate bowl mix together wet ingredients
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix with beater
Bake for 45 minutes and check – this cake can take some time depending on your oven, so you want to cook until a skewer comes out clean.
This cake is quite moist and is lovely just dressed with some fresh berries and dusted with icing sugar. I was craving cashews though so I added the Chocolate Glaze and the Candied cashew nuts!
Candied cashew nuts:
2 Tablespoons water
¼ cup caster sugar
1 ½ cups raw cashew nuts
Bring water and sugar to the boil, add nuts
Stir, reduce heat, keep stirring until sugar crystalizes, remove from heat.
150 gram icing sugar
50 gram cocoa powder
2 tablespoon hot water
Combine and mix thoroughly, add more water if need be, then drizzle over cake and dress with the cashews.