Every now and again, I get this urge to declutter. I have to get rid of my stuff and recently, it’s been gnawing at me a whole lot more. It’s not just the ‘oh, I have to tidy and I don’t really use that stuff anymore’; rather, I’m feeling like I need to live a lot simpler and enjoy life the way it was meant to be.
Plus, I have way too much stuff.
So recently, I’ve been sifting through the piles of stuff that I own and sorting them into piles. Stuff I want to keep, stuff I want to keep but don’t have room for at the moment, stuff I don’t want to keep, stuff I want to form into something else, stuff I’m using and stuff I’m not using. It’s a pretty big job and it doesn’t help that a lot of my stuff is still at my parents’ house. Yay, more stuff to go through.
My sister and I are planning to have a garage sale. We both have stuff to get rid of, but not enough for a sale each. (Although going through my stuff, I’m not so sure about that…:)
I come from a family of packrats. Hoarders. My Opa kept stuff in the back room, in his two garages and the tiny shed in the backyard, all over the back yard… my mum is queen of ‘we might use it later’ which is a mindset I’ve adopted. I’m also a collector, of sorts; I like pretty things, those free postcards, business cards, ribbons… I like to remember things.
I write things down and put them on my walls… I have a lot of paper related products lying around that need to go. Where, I’m not sure. They’ll probably end up in the recycling bin. Or possibly the fireplace, not sure yet.
With the help of Love and Trash, Courtney at be more with less, the bloggers at SuperForest and a whole bunch of other influences (including Jesus and some of his followers) I am on a journey to live simply so that others may simply live. On that note, let’s talk about cake.
This is a simple cake. It comes together in about ten minutes, takes about half an hour to bake and is simply delicious. It’s called a Swedish Visiting Cake and so in another, yet somehow related train of thought it immediately brings to mind not only visitors, but visiting – getting to know your neighbours, connecting with real people instead of a computer screen.
And yes, I’m aware that you’re reading this off a computer screen.
The point is that by learning to live without, others can live with. And you don’t even notice the difference, except that you’re happier, more content with yourself and with the world. Surprising, isn’t it?
So make the cake. Bring it to a neighbour’s house and share it over stories, stories that remind you that each person you encounter is the star of their own story, just as you are the star of your own.
Swedish Visiting Cake
Adapted from Baking: from my home to yours
zest of one lemon
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste/scrapings from one vanilla bean/two teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour*
125g butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and butter your pan. Traditionally this is made in a cast-iron skillet. I don’t have one so I made it in a springform tin – I suggest using a nine-incher, as my ten-incher cake turned out a little thin. Not that I’m complaining…
Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until incredibly lemony and you can just help yourself licking your fingers. Or not. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the salt and vanilla and whisk until incorporated.
Fold in the flour, then the butter. Pour into your pan and sprinkle the almonds over the top. Bake about half an hour.
Share with strangers.
*The first time I made it, I made it with spelt flour and it was amazing. I think you could also do this with a mix of almond flour and perhaps another type of flour for the gluten-free among us. Just a thought.