I love it when a blogging friend recommends a recipe they have enjoyed, and I often give it a go myself.
These are Hagrid's (Not Horrible) Rock Cakes from the vegan blog Nom!Nom!Nom! And if I fancy making a particular thing, I'll often end up looking for a recipe online if I can't find one in my cookery books on the shelf. I've discovered some really delicious things like this, not least the Chocolate Chunk Cookies that I make all the time. Here I've converted them to ounces, but being adapted from an American recipe (thank you Martha Stewart) they were originally in cups.
I do like the idea of measuring things in cups, it always seems quite simple and old-fashioned, and the kind of thing you could do if you happened to find yourself in a shack in the woods with no fancy equipment. And I always like using my measuring cups.
They don't look like much, a little battered and dented, a bit tarnished and as if they have seen better days. But to me they are treasured. Back when I was a child, we had family friends who were from Bermuda. My "auntie" had grown up there and moved to this country when she was a young adult. And she still made occasional trips there and brought back wonderful pictures. I remember doing a project on the island (for guides maybe?) and poring over her beautiful photos of this dazzling paradise of pink and white sand beaches and brightly coloured birds and palm trees.
To me, she was such an exotic person. Slim, beautiful, classy, with enormous sunglasses and sometimes a scarf in her blonde hair. She played tennis and had lots of friends whom she invited to supper parties where the food was complicated and different (taramasalata!) and everyone was so grown-up and witty and well dressed. To a quiet suburban girl in glasses who didn't get around much it was all desperately exciting. I loved visiting her house, and I remember sitting in the sun in her garden under her apple tree one evening and thinking that I wanted to be exactly like her when I grew up.
On one of her trips home to Bermuda she brought back these measuring cups for my mother. They'd been doing a macrobiotic cooking course together, and often the ingredients were measured in the American way, and back then measuring cups weren't so widely available here. So her gift was a really useful one. And for the rest of my childhood they sat in the drawer in the kitchen, ready to be used any time the recipe called for measurement in cups.
When I left home at eighteen, somehow they ended up coming with me. My mother died when I was a teenager, and I have one or two things of hers, including the cups. And every time I use them it makes me think of my exotic auntie and Bermuda and how beautiful and sunlit her life seemed to me. I love older things with a little history behind them. So the fact that they're a little dented and tarnished is fine. They're used every week, and every week they bring a little bit of Bermudian glamour into my small everyday kitchen.