Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On The Eleventh Day of Christmas: Friends IRL

When was the last time you made a new friend? I mean, a real life new friend? Not just a new person stopping by your blog, leaving a comment, and with whom you feel strangely connected? But a real, flesh-and-blood friend? How do you even make that kind of friends??

It's no longer something you just do, is it? I'm making the assumption that the larger part of food bloggers are past the age of elementary school here, but really. They don't just fall into your lap, once you've reached a certain age, do they?

When you're a kid, you're constantly bombarded with new friends. First, kindergarten - all new people. Then, you start school - hello! If you're lucky, you know some of the kids from kindergarten, but if you're not, they're all unfamiliar faces. Then it's high school, college, university, whatever you call it where you live - and then slam! It's over. Yes, there are jobs, new jobs, new faces, but honestly, its' not often you stumble across someone that actually gets to be part of your life. That you feel like you need to keep in your life. Why is that? Do we simply grow to lazy to put in the effort it sometimes take to establish a friendship? Do we already have enough friends?

I don't know about you, but my interest in food started relatively late in life. I have a lot of dear, dear friends, and it's not like they don't like food. But. It just seems it's not as over-shadowing an interest to most of them as it is to me. And sometimes, you just want to spend hours waxing over the superiority of organic products vs. regular, or arborio vs. carnaroli rice, without constantly having people yawn with boredom. Having found this forum, this foodblogging business, where you can make as many internet friends as you want, that all, each and everyone, are as crazy about food (if not more so) as you? That is a gift.

I had the great fortune to turn a couple of these so called virtual friends into IRL friends when M and I travelled across the States. Some of them were even so generous as to open up their own homes, even the homes of their relatives, for us. That trip just wouldn't have been the same, hadn't it been for you women. Did I ever thank you? Like publicly? Just in case I didn't, and because either way, it can't be said enough, let it be heard, from the bottom of my heart:

THANK YOU. For giving us a home while on the road, for feeding us, giving us a place to sleep and an opportunity to wash our clothes. For showing us great times. For being your lovely selves. For telling us about your culture, your country, your people. For being real.

But why do you have to be so far away?;)

I've also had the chance to have a couple people come meet me here, in Copenhagen. Got the chance to show them a tiny bit of the city I love so much. Awesome, too. There really is something about putting a face to all those words you read, almost on a daily basis. To find out they are real people, with feelings and opinions, in other departments than the food one, too. and it makes reading of their blogs (if they have such ones) so much more interesting.

But why do you have to be so far away, too??

Luckily, it seems the virtual-turning-IRL friends aren't only to be found outside this country. Because there is also Anne.

Anne is a girl that, about two years ago, found my blog. She found my e-mail adress and wrote me the dearest mail, explaining about her own relationship with food, how she loved it and how she was in the midst of doing an internship at a cooking school in the South of France, and oh, the food they made, and is Pierre Hermé a genius or what?? How could I not like this girl? We e-mailed back and forth for a while, planning to meet once Anne was back from France, I was done studying for exams etc. etc. You know how life is.

And finally, a couple of weeks ago, having met each other only briefly one night in December 2006, when Anne coincidentally came to have dinner at the restaurant I worked at, we managed to set up a cooking date at my place. One Friday afternoon, we finally browsed cookbooks together, planned a menu, went shopping for ingredients, came back, cooked and talked about food, men, life histories, more food and oh - you know. Everything you talk to a new friend about.

It wasn't hard, or weird, or akward, as I thought it might have been. In fact, it never has been, when I've met my virtual friends IRL - and hopefully, this isn't the last transformation of friendships that's happened. Because it's just plain old fun and good times. And you know? There's ALWAYS food involved - good food!:)

Henriette's Apple Cake - from Æbler af Per Kølster (Recipes by Camilla Plum)

Anne made this cake for us - one of the great things about new friends is their fresh look at what gems your cookbook shelves are hiding. I would never have jumped at this recipe, but Anne saw it and decided that was what we were having. Good choice, too. It's sorta meringue-y, but the apples takes teh sugar high tendencies you sometimes get with meringue onto a reasonable level. Oh yes, and you MUST have this with whipped cream - I'm usually all for creme fraiche with apple cakes, but softly whipped cream is but pure love with this. Give it a go.

(the original recipe calls for double the amounts given here - since we were just the two of us, we scaled it down)

750 g. apples - you want something like Belle de Boskoop or Cox Orange
50 ml. dry white wine (you could substitute water easily)
1 vanilla bean
2 tabelspoons sugar

180 g. blanched almonds
180 g. sugar
110 g. butter (room temperature)
1 egg
1 egg white
40. g. flour

Butter an 18 cm. spring form pan. Line it with parchment paper, then butter the parchment. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Peel the apples and remove the core. Chop the apples up and boil them in apot, together with wine, sugar and the vanilla bean (cut it open and scrape out the seeds into the apples - put both the seeds and the pod into the pot) Boil over a low heat until you get a very firm apple "mash". You don't need to boil it to oblivion, some firm pieces in there are fine - just make sure it isn't too wet. Leave to cool

Chop the almonds very finely. Beat them together with the butter and sugar until it's soft and creamy. Stir in the egg and egg white (I actually think we just used two whole, small eggs) Stir in the flour. The batter will be pretty soft, so you need to spread it out evenly into the prepared spring form pan. Only use half to start, making a layer about 2 cm. thick.

On top of that, spread your apples. Top with the rest of the batter. Bake for 45-60 minutes - if it grows to dark on top too fast, cover with a little foil.

Leave to cool before unmolding. Eat with softly whipped cream.


Lauren said...

Oh my, that looks fantastic!

Cathy said...

That looks so good! From reading the recipe I get the impression it's apples with just a little something to hold them together :) PS - I'm also struck by how easy the switch from "virtual" to "IRL" has been with you and others. Aren't blogs great? :)

aurélie said...

I made this cake yesterday evening and it is sooooo good!!
Thanks a lot for this recipe!!