Small Miracles

It's a very normal process, happens just about everywhere and in completely varied conditions, but some how germination is very wonderful. This week 2 germination surprises happened. It started when I happened to wear a rain coat that I hadn't worn since October last year when we went with Andy and Barbara, my brother and his wife to their place in France. Whilst we were visiting Domfront, in front of the Mairie I noticed a very pretty white flower that I didn't recognise, which rather conveniently also had ripe seed on the plant. I surreptitiously pocketed a few seeds, stuffing them into my coat pocket where they remained forgotten all winter and were only recovered and sown a couple of weeks back. Now here they are their cotyledons showing and hopefully later this year I will have a mature specimen I can enjoy and identify.
The second was a few wizened looking berries, which I have kept for years, actually since the day my Mum left Chester and moved to Ludlow near me. That day I happened to walk through the Grosvenor Park and picked up some of these orange Sorbus berries which had stayed on the tree all winter and had come down in a spring storm. But despite the storing, after spending 2 weeks in my fridge to end the dormany followed by a pep in the propagator, the first seedling is up.
OK I recognise that this is pretty obscure for lots of people, and indeed Andrew's comment was "brilliant photo, I'm sure lots of people will be desperate to hear how the little seedling is growing..." I must say such irony - if I were a sensitive flower I could be cut to the quick. Well perhaps I delete all this very soon anyhow.
But definitely worth a mention is our friend Caro's absolutely amazing Tunisian Citrus Cake, which we had at their's last Sunday.
Tunisian Almond Citrus Cake
1 x 100g pack ground almonds
finely grated zest of 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 lime
40g dayold bread (I used a granay loaf)
200g castor sugar
One a bit tsp baking powder
7fl.oz veg oil (I used sunflower)
4 medium eggs, beaten
For syrup
60g caster sugar
juice of the orange and lime and half the lemon
5 star anise, 2 small cinnamon sticks
5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

An 8" square or round cake tin lightly oiled and lined with parchment
Put the bread in a food processor and whiz finely then transfer these to a large mixing bowl and add the almonds, sugar and b.powder. Mix the oil and eggs together and with a wooden spoon stir them into the almond mixutre along with the zests of fruits. Beat well to make a thick batter-like consistency and pour into tin. Place on middle shelf of oven 190 C. 375 F. of gas 5
After 20mins check not getting too brown if so cover with parchment and bake further 30 mins,
Meanwhile make syrup. Combine sugar, juices and all the spices in small pan, set over a low heat for 6 - 8mins until sugar has dissolved, bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for a couple of mins. Set aside, off the heat, then strain the spices and reserve.
When cake is a rick brownm has shrunk very slightly from the edges and a fine skewer comes out clean when poked thru the , remove from oven, let it cool for 5 mins in tin then turn out onto a large serving plate, peeling off the parchment paper as you do.
Next, pierce the cake all over with fine skewer and while its still warm start spooning over the syrup until its all used up. This will take 2-3hrs but it will eventually absorb it all.