The scent of orange and cardamom waft through my apartment as the cake bakes in the oven. Meanwhile, I continue the cleaning and dusting, wondering why I feel guilty if I sit around for too long enjoying some quiet time on my own.
Today was a perfect day to go put some miles on my running shoes, however, when I got home, I felt drained, not just physically, but mentally as well. I wanted to run, enjoy the warm sunny day. At least every part of my mind wanted to run, but the rest of me would not corporate. I collapsed on my sofa, hoping that a few minutes of relaxing will make me feel better. However, 30 minutes of sitting around, surfing the world-wide web, did nothing.
In the last few days I have been trying to plan my forthcoming trip, trying to book tickets, hotels, things to do. As much as I look forward to 2 weeks adventure in new countries, new experiences and of course lets not forget the food, the part of trying to make it happen is the least favorite part for me. Like everything else in my life, I over-think and obsess on details.
After a while of making no headway with my plans, something in me snaps, making me feel guilty for not being constructive with my time.
Running can be crossed off my list for this evening. As much as I have the desire for it, I cannot muster the strength to step outside the door. Maybe baking something will make me feel better, even though that is far from constructive for my waistline.
I stare at the pantry and fridge wondering what I can make. Recently I seem to be adding cardamom in everything I bake, so why stop now. I have an orange, a lemon, yoghurt, eggs, butter, flour, sugar, which means I can make a cake. But what kind of cake is always the most challenging problem. I suppose these are first world problems.
So I pull out the cardamom, during which time a bag of bay leaves fall out as well and then there is that orange which needs to get used, somehow I have an inclination that this is going to work in my favor, or so I think.
Instead of grabbing a book, sitting down and enjoying my evening, I turn the oven on and get my mind working on what I can do to blend all the flavors together.
I want to infuse the sugar with the cardamom and orange and a few bay leaves, I tell myself worse case scenario I can blame it on mental fatigue. I proceed to blend the cardamom, bay leaves and orange rind into the sugar and set that aside.
Next I beat a stick of butter, add the flavored sugar, add eggs, yogurt, flour and a squeeze of orange juice into it. I put the cake in the oven and hope that it will not be a disaster. There is nothing wrong with disaster, I have had my fair share of them in the kitchen. That is my way of learning and improving my skills.
Once the cake is out of the oven, I melt some powdered sugar with milk and yes a pinch of cardamom and drizzle it on top of the cake. The outcome is not too bad, I taste the cardamom and a hint of bay leaves, however, it seems the orange overtook everything else. Next time, maybe I will leave out the orange and add lemon instead.
Now that the cake is baked and my kitchen is once again semi-spotless, I can go back to my book or my vacation planning and that sense of guilt of sitting around enjoying my evening, will be gone and hopefully not to return for a while.