When I travel markets are one of my favorite places to visit. Markets and grocery stores. Since I’m still working on Austrian posts, when I found these photos I thought I’d best share them. The Naschmarkt in Vienna has a terrific variety of food stalls and shops, some offering items I could not readily identify. That’s never a problem for me, as long as I can take photos. There are also numerous restaurants so you don’t need to go hungry while you wander.
This is just a little throw together post, as I woke up to realize it is Wednesday and I didn’t schedule a post for this morning. Horrors! I’ve been so proud of myself sticking to my schedule. What was I thinking? What was I doing? So without further ado, here are some of my favorite shots from Pike Place Market in Settle, WA. Like any good market, it is a photographers’ dream.
It is pomello season and I couldn’t be happier about it. I associate these with Chinese New Year, since they are out at the same time of the year. In fact we used to call them Chinese grapefruit. I was able to enjoy this one before my hand surgery – it’s a bit of a two-handed challenge. For anyone not familiar with this fruit, I thought I’d show you how to attack one.
Pomellos are very thick-skinned. You need to buy the heaviest fruit you can find and be ready to end up with a much smaller piece of fruit to actually eat.
You score the skin and peel it all away. Then it’s a good idea to pull off some of the thick pericarp or albedo. (yes, I’ve been using Wikipedia.) You don’ t need to remove all the pith.
I have baked fruitcake every year for at least the last 30 years. I started with a recipe that my mother obtained from someone (she doesn’t remember who) many, many years ago. Since my mother does not bake, she gave the recipe to her sisters. My aunts have baked this cake for as long as I can remember. It was the gold standard for wedding cake. I like to find people who “don’t like fruitcake” because I think this is the cake to change their mind. I used to bake about 150 pounds of cake annually, which translates to 70 cakes. The cakes were given to my husband’s clients as well as friends and family. As they are a time-consuming product, I have tried to cut back on the number of cakes I bake. Last year I cut back to 49 cakes, plus another 7 gluten-free ones. Wasn’t much of a time saver. So this year, I thought I should not bake at all, or cut back drastically. The drastic cut back won. I baked 14 full size cakes and one small one. It was (excuse the expression), a piece of cake!
The recipe I am using is one that has evolved over the years. I consider it very much my own now. My cake baking is an involved process, starting with shopping for ingredients (which are never all available at one place.) Then all the fruits are washed and sorted. People seem shocked when I show them all the bad raisins that can be found in every package. Believe me, they are there. I like the nuts sorted, as there are always some that don’t meet my standards. All the ingredients are carefully weighed and measured. The fruits are plumped with liquor before the actual baking begins. I have done this long enough to have established a system that guarantees a consistent, uniform product. Once baked the cakes are wrapped in liquor soaked cheesecloth. Then every 7 – 10 days the cloth is soaked again to infuse the liquor throughout the cake.
The packaging is important. I buy large rolls of printed cellophane and wrap the cakes with machine like precision. The ingredient labels are custom printed. I have cardboard boxes that fit the cakes perfectly to protect them from rough handling. I’ll admit it – I have control issues. But to me, the finished product is worth it.
Here are this year’s cakes baking and out of the oven. If anyone is interested in the recipe, please comment on this post. If there is enough interest, I’ll share the recipe. My usual rule is that if I give you the recipe, I don’t ever need to give you a cake again. The liquor I use for soaking the cakes is St. Hubertus from Hungary. This was part of the recipe when I started baking, and I wouldn’t think of doing the cakes if it wasn’t available. It’s that good. I will post photos of the cakes once they are wrapped and ready to leave home. Putting the wrap on is my favorite part, but possibly because that means I’m nearly done. At least this year I won’t have to spend too much time shipping cakes all over North America. Hooray for that!