Hooray!! Hooray!! Its Deb's (virtual) Kick Chemo to the Curb Party today!!!
When Bush Babe mentioned to me her secret idea, I applauded her wildly (but of course I didn't show it, because I am all cool most of the time), and then fell into one of those pits of despair.
I have nothing to wear and no beautiful photos to share.
Then I bucked myself up with the old stoic "its not about you" slap across the face.
I also got a lightbulb moment when I realised blogs are truly a blessing when dealing with social anxiety.
And the lightbulb turned green when I worked out I can do what I tend to do at parties, which is bring food.
(I know, I know - eternal proof that neither genetics OR environment will make one artistic)
May I present to you the "Nectarine Apple Upside Down Cake" - and its motto - "may look like crap but is beautiful to all other senses".
In fact, to borrow 'Salina's superlatives, it is "heaven, delicious, scrumptious, tasty, devine, extravaganzational" and she has requested it for her birthday cake forever more, which I think means its pretty good.
In fact, discovering this recipe was a bit like discovering Deb's blog. Bear with me while I try to make that analogy work.
I happened up my trove of recipe books for inspiration and ended up with the bones of a cake that came alive with my substitutions.
Deb happened upon a comment at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman (who would be the trove of recipe books part of the analogy), visited Bush Babe (that would be the inspiration) and the rest, as they say, is history. Like this cake if offered around.
And I happened upon Deb and found someone who not only had the ability to see blessings and joy in every detail in life, but who also had the gift to give that joy to others through her writing. I ended up with the cake.
Speaking of cake, this was one of those recipes born of need. You know, you have 4 nectarines that sort of got forgotten in the bottom of the fridge and no-one is stepping up to the plate to scoff them anytime soon and you are in a delicate situation where (a) you need to make something sweet because having something sweet in the house is a definite bonus guaranteed to lift any spirits (and possibly sink any scales), and (b) your every cent is allocated and it would break your frugal heart to dispose of perfectly good fruit.
Anyway, the recipe - first a nod to the original recipe found courtesy of Dr Google many many moons ago.
I have substituted from the original when you see the *. Due to the great sugar depression over the last few weeks in this household, we didn't have brown OR caster sugar but had to make do. The best recipes are devised with make do.
Preheat the oven to 180 (moderate). I used one of those cute little flexible cake tins - a round one about an outstretched-woman's hand across (very technical here!) so no preliminary skirmish with greasing or flouring required.
80g butter - melt and pour into the bottom of the tin.
1/3 cup raw* sugar - sprinkle over the butter.
4 nectarines* - slice and find a few 9 year old girls to arrange artfully over the sugar and butter mix.
Beat 2 eggs, then beat in 2/3 cup sugar in small batches.
Grate an apple* (I maybe could have used 2 here) and add pulp and juice to the mix.
Add 1 tsp vanilla essence and beat.
Add 1 cup self-raising flour and 1/4 tsp salt and mix.
Pour over the topping mix.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Let cool, hide from small children, unmould and attempt to photograph!
'Salina wanted me to write "smile and enjoy your party, Debby!"
I hope you enjoy your day and the joy that it is the last chemo and I do say a prayer of thanks that you live in the modern era where you can be turned into a pincushion and walk out the other end of treatment with hope - because you give so much hope, darling.