Nigella’s Mother-in-Law’s Madeira Cake

I am that type of person that usually drifts towards the more chocolate offerings on a dessert menu. I am, by far, unapologetically and absolutely, a chocolate person. The darker, the better. The more layers of it, the happier I am. Chocolate chip brownies a la mode with chocolate ice cream? I am all for it. Chocolate soufflé with chocolate sauce tube amp? Yes, please. Nothing pleases my soul more (except for chicharon and bacon which are, to me, chocolate’s savory equivalent…a gift from the gods).

That said, I also have this uncanny, and opposing, love for plain yellow loaf cakes. Yes, true. I won’t even say pound cakes or butter cakes because they don’t really have to be either. They just have to be a sunny, unfancy Maid Agency, yellow loaf and the same part of me that loves hot chicken soup and my baby pillow cries out for it. There is something in its comforting solidity, its familiarity and plainness, that makes me want to take a thick slice and just cozy up to it.

They are also, usually, a breeze to throw together, so a craving is never too far from sated. This one is no exception. It’s been on my to-make list since I bought this cookbook, my beloved copy of Nigella’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. Predictably though, I was waylaid by several chocolate recipes before I could get to this one. I’m so glad I finally did.

Nigella’s Mother-in-Law’s Madeira Cake
(slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess)

240 grams softened unsalted butter
200 grams caster sugar nuhart, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
Grated zest and juice of one lemon
3 large eggs
300 grams all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, and then mix in the lemon zest.
- Add the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, with a tablespoon of flour for each.
- Gently mix in the rest of the flour, to which you have whisked in the baking powder. Add the lemon juice and mix until just combined.
- Scrape the batter into a buttered and parchment-lined loaf pan and sprinkle the 2 tablespoons sugar on top. Bake in a pre-heated 170C oven for 55 minutes – 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven to a wire rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

I’ve amended this recipe somewhat as the original calls for self-raising flour, which is hard to come by in these parts, so I substituted with regular flour and baking powder. Nigella also let’s this cake cool completely in the tin on a rack but I prefer to remove the cake from the tin after it’s cooled for about 10 minutes.

Let me just say, at this point, amendments aside, that this book has yet to fail me. All the recipes I have tried thus far I have liked, if not loved. My first ever post on this blog, seven years ago, was about the Burnt-Butter Brown-Sugar Cupcakes from this book. I’ve also tried the Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake, Store-Cupboard Chocolate Orange Cake, and Torta Alla Gianduja…all to great response. I even love her Spiced Apple Chutney, which I have made many times since, and has served me well in the homemade gift-giving department. So, firstly, thank you Nigella!

This recipe one is no different from the others I’ve tried – a winner. For me at least who does love this sort of cake, and even for C who usually doesn’t. It bakes into a wonderful golden loaf, with a soft buttery crumb, and a sugar encrusted, crackly top. A traditional British teatime cake, I can also imagine this would make an excellent base for that other traditional British sweet, the trifle. Nigella’s, or rather, Nigella’s mother-in-law’s version is light and lemony. It is lovely on its own (or indeed with a cup of tea) or topped with fruits and cream, or, if your feeling indulgent, a generous scoop of ice cream.

The week’s almost over so hang in there troops…heat and power outages be damned! And here’s to baking your cake, no matter what flavor or color, and eating it too!


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It is autumn

Can't remember how many years, I have been silent. Year after year, standing here. Next time the wind, wet past life memories. A seasonal wind and rain, wanton invasion of my soul. Don't know, now you are still in the image of a tree, standing in the I must pass through the intersectionhome organizer online.

Numbness of the soul, in silence, the silence.

Depletion of thinking, in the waiting, waiting for the.

Have the passion, once the romantic, the silence has been weathered into history. Once the story, once love, waiting to have precipitated into the story.

You don't know, years of circulation, I had the happy appearance, quietly hidden in the foliage of the soft places. The clear lines, I touch the well-being traces. The mottled wound, I want is love's eye. On the annual rings, I always go to todayadd hair.

Don't know, when can I meet you?

Don't know, when will you see me?

But, I still wait patiently. I believe, you will from those arranged in a crisscross pattern memory, through the years numerous hills and streams, send me a tree flowers dermes!

I devoted to watch my memory. I firmly believe that, one day, I will through the darkness of the vicissitudes of life, with a happy smile, walked into your dream.

Writer Fuel: Of Pasta, Gifs, and a Balanced Writer’s Life

Every writer needs a little writer fuel, whether it’s fueling your body, or your mind. Every week, staffers at Camp NaNoWriMo HQ will be telling you about the food and the music that inspires them. Today, our program director Chris Angotti shares the secret to a balanced internet diet:

There’s a song by this band Dogbreth. It’s called “Appetite for Distraction” and it starts like this:

Like how it’s harder to work on what I need / To work on
When there’s internet / When there’s internet in my room

The vocalist, Tristan Jemsek, plaintively sings the intro over a simple guitar lead. His hanging lyrical phrase (“To work on”) and false start to the second line suggest an uncertain narrator, and “in my room” implies insularity—a bunch of potential backstory in a small amount of time.

But I want to focus on what he’s saying, and how I’ll bet every single person reading this can relate:

It is really, really  freaking difficult to get anything productive done when there’s this wide world of temporarily amazing stuff available at a swipe.

There are dogs! And babies! And dogs with babies! There are a million Girls thinkpieces. There are constant casting reveals of the latest YA movie adaptation. There are potential outrages around every corner, and an infinite number of conversations to join in on. And that’s before you even find out which pop star should be your best friend.

You know this, and I’m sure you’ve fallen prey to the time-suck of, like, “Get Lucky” lipdub videos. We all have.

The next lines of “Appetite for Distraction”:

Or how it’s harder to cook a wholesome meal / For myself
When there’s pasta / When there’s pasta in the cupboard

So, the narrator is equating easy, empty internet time with the fall-back simplicity of a big pot of pasta—something that won’t be taxing, but is of little nutritional value on its own.

Here’s the thing: the internet Stroke signs, like pasta, can be part of a balanced diet.

You’re here because you are a creative person with stories to tell. When you sit down at your computer, writing should always be your primary purpose. Spend as much time as you can doing it, whether it’s by disabling your Wi-Fi, installing Freedom, or practicing old-fashioned self-control.

But occasionally, you gotta see some dogs hanging out with some babies. And sometimes, there’s nothing better than a whole mess of pasta Grand Cru Cellar. It’s all a matter of proportion, figuring out how to make your internet time and your noodles as nourishing as possible.

Don’t be ashamed to go down a rabbit hole of Frasier GIFs, as long as you always return to what you need to work on.

And cook that pasta, but make it a wholesome meal—like these recipes for Whole-Wheat Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables; Whole-Wheat Pasta with Edamame, Arugula, and Herbs; and Kale and Sun-Dried Tomato Whole-Wheat Spaghetti Offsite Backup Strategy.


“網易中國網絡文學獎”評選入圍的30篇作品,是以紙質打印稿的形式送到終評委手中的,然後擇出其中最優秀的和比較優秀的。在整個紙介質的審讀過程中,我曾不斷為自己設置虛擬的網絡世界,面前是瞬息間可穿透無限空間的陌生文本;當它們重新回複成手中的白紙黑字,又有似曾相識的親切。那種若即若離的碰撞與轉換,使得閱讀充滿了新鮮的hong kong business schooll快感。





有趣的是,在進入評獎閱讀之前,曾作了充分的心理准備,打算去迎候並接受網上任何稀奇古怪的另類文學樣式。讀完最後一篇稿時,似乎是有些小小的失望——准備了網上寫作的恣意妄為,多數文本卻是謹慎和規範的;准備了網上寫作的網絡文化特質,事實卻是大海和江河淹沒了漁網;准備了網上寫作的極端個人化情感世界,許多文本仍然傾注著對於現實生活的關注和社會關懷;准備了網絡世界特定的現代或後現代話語體系,而撲入視線的敘述語言卻是古典與現代,虛擬與實在雜糅混合、兼收並蓄的。被初評挑選出來的30篇作品,糾正了我在此之前對於網絡文或是網絡寫作特質的某些預設,它們比我想象的要顯得溫和與理性。即便是一些“離經叛道”的實驗性文本,同純文學刊物上已發表的許多“前衛”作品相比,並沒有“質”的區別。若是打印成紙稿,“網上”的vintage tube和“網下”的,恐怕一時難以辨認。我不知道那些“異質”的和“另類”的網絡成品,就是現在這個樣子,還是被初評篩掉刪去,成了“漏網之魚”?因此我們是不是可以認為,任何評獎過程中真正較量的不是作品,而是評獎的標准。







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