It was just one of those wonderfully relaxed Sunday afternoons - winter sun slanting through the shutters, tea, bubbly, shared food, meandering chatter, knitting friends, and, of course, lots of knitting.
Thanks Fee for lending us your kitchen table for the afternoon, for making tea and generally ensuring we were comfortable, and for sharing this photo of the detritus of our arvo tea.
I've not been cooking or baking much lately, but I decided to make what my mother would have called a 'plain cake' to take with me. It's a very basic recipe for an apple cake that comes from Erika, an old family friend:
Erika's Apple Cake
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g self-raising flour
About 1/3 cup milk
Ground cinnamon; extra sugar.
Heat oven to 175 degrees centigrade. Mix butter and sugar till well amalgamated. Beat in eggs, one by one. Mix in vanilla essence. Sift in flour in three lots, interspersing each with some milk. Add more milk if mixture is too thick.
Pour mixture into greased pan (I used a 23cm diameter pan and lined the base with baking paper to turn the cake out easily).
Peel and core apples and cut into quarters. Press apples into mixture in cake pan in a pleasing pattern. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon and extra sugar.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
This cake is really versatile. You can substitute most fruits for the apples. It's particularly good with stone fruit such as peaches or apricots and excellent with plums. I added a few pecan nuts - but almonds or walnuts would also be fine. Or you can make a crumble of brown sugar, butter and flour and scatter it over the top of the cake.