We returned from our trip to Sicily last week and I can’t wait to share some of the details with you in a future post. I have so many photos to go through so it may take me awhile, but I promise to share everything with you.
September is not a time of year when we usually travel so it did feel like summer came abruptly to a close and we returned to sweater weather (today notwithstanding). I’m not mad about it! I love this transitional time, when you can still wear a pair of shorts with a heavy sweater like we used to in college. Or just embrace the oncoming chill in the air, switch out the closests and lean into your Fall favorites.
These have been mentioned before on the blog, but every time I wear one I get compliments and they are the perfect wardrobe staple for this time of year. The Dudley Stephens Park Slope turtle comes in 2 fabrics, vello and terry fleece. I have only purchased the terry and right now it seems that they have more colors in the vello which is a slightly heavier fleece (check the website for the description), but I think either material is great and the color selection is really fun. I have more colors than I should but I wear them all.the.time and love them. Size up as they run a bit small. Note that this style hits around the belt line and they have two other styles that are longer if you prefer…
The other purchase I made before our trip is these Allbirds Wool Pipers which I am going to wear for as long as possible as they are super comfy (despite a little breaking in on the trip) and supportive enough for walking around town.
And lastly, for all those who embrace the outdoors, I have high hopes for these fleece-lined pants I just purchased from L.L. Bean. I had the same pair of fleece lined Lulu pants for way, way too long. They had pilled but were still warm and Lulu never remade them for whatever reason. It took me until last year to get a new pair from Smartwool that are very comfortable, and am hoping this navy pair from Bean will round out my cold weather exercise pants! I especially like that they have functional pockets.
Now onto today’s post about Parmesan Sponge Cake! Another wonderful thing about Fall is the resumption of the various group activities I am fortunate to participate in, like my cook group that I’ve mentioned countless times here on the blog. We have a lot of fun and to kick off this year’s meals, our hostess asked us to bring vegetarian dishes inspired by the Fall. Initially, I had planned to make a caponata inspired by our recent trip. But as the menu was unfolding, the caponata felt somewhat out of place and maybe leaning too far back to summer, rather than forward to Fall.
Another recipe from my pile surfaced for a Parmesan Sponge Cake from Stephanie Alexander who is an Australian food authority. I have wanted to try it for awhile and thought it would be a nice appetizer or perhaps go along with the vegetable stew someone was preparing. The recipe was mostly written in metrics so I did need google to help me rewrite the measurements and think I got it right.
Self-rising flour is mixed with baking powder and salt. A little bit of semolina is added next. I used a package I had from the Armenian markets that was named Semolina Coarse, but Bob’s Red Mill makes a finer Semolina Flour that is widely available that should work just fine. Then the key ingredient, Parmiggiano Reggiano is added. This is the star of the cake so I would get the best quality possible and make sure to grate it as finely as possible for max flavor. Into the bowl it goes, along with cracked black pepper (lots if you are me), 3 egg yolks, some melted butter and whole milk.
3 egg whites are whipped until soft peaks and folded into the batter – think souffle – to lighten it up. Batter is then transferred to an 8-inch cake pan, preferably springform and baked until set and slightly browned on the top. Best to serve warm or, as Stephanie suggests toasted.
At cook group, we decided to serve it as an appetizer as the vegetable stew also had dumplings on it, but we also brought it to the table in case anyone wanted more with their dinner (I did!). Everyone really liked the flavor of the cake, which we cut into small (but tall) squares for nibbling.
And I just have to show you what my friend, Missy prepared. Inspired by the internet’s sudden obsession with “butter boards”, Missy made the most delicious Feta board that I could have eaten to its conclusion and forgotten about dinner. She mixed feta with a little cream cheese and spread it onto a board. She topped the cheese with diced roasted peppers, marinated olives, lemon zest, parsley, mint, black salt on top and drizzled with olive oil. I’m probably forgetting an ingredient or two. It was incredible and she brought along delicious crackers and vegetables for serving (including endive leaves which were the perfect receptacle)…
Isn’t that gorgeous? I may bring it to my book group next week since I offered to bring an appetizer!
And here’s some snaps of the Parmesan Sponge Cake, a piece of which went really nicely with my breakfast this morning I might add…
Does this look like Pac Man?
Parmesan Sponge Cake is great for an appetizer, but can be served alongside almost anything. I think it would be a fun alternative to corn bread when serving chili. So what do you think – will you make it? Please let me know!
Until next time…