baking california fruit life

Elspeth

7 September 2016

Our little sweet pea Elspeth Iris was born in San Francisco on August 18 and we’ve been happily navigating these sleep-deprived newborn days for the past few weeks. Mostly ensconced in a sunny ever so lovely spot in West Marin, we’ve been enjoying warm days and cool nights and a good amount of fog, as you’d expect from this area. As I type, both girls are snoozing away and I have the door open to the coastal breeze. I have a view of the golden California hills of summer and Tomales Bay is just slightly in sight as a bright smear of blue. Earlier this morning I took my coffee out on the sun-drenched deck and listened to the birds calling and singing to each other, and the wind through the trees, and soaked in all the stillness.

We chose to return to the Bay Area so our second daughter would be born in San Francisco; it’s a family tradition after all and we love the thought of telling them we’ve all been born in our favorite city. So this summer has been spent in the city, in Sonoma County, and now here in my my husband’s home town and one of my favorite spots on earth. It’s a special time because we’ve just had a baby, yes, but also because we can almost pretend we live in Northern California again. Californians love California and no matter how far from it we roam we will always return, pulled toward its epicenter as though it is a magnet. We’ve rented a little cottage that is perfectly sized and full of light and it feels like slipping back into comfortable ‘real life’ while we’ve been here adjusting to our new status as a family of four. Our house in Riyadh is enormous and rather dark and I’ve sorely missed natural light both in my kitchen and out of it. Among many other things.

There are two apple trees on the property and as the season wanes we’ve been picking and eating them, often multiple times a day. I’ve also made several apple cakes that feel just right for this late summer weather. A slice with morning tea or coffee is perfect, though a few bites savored alongside a glass of sparkling wine in the afternoon would not go amiss. I’ve also wrapped up the last bits and tucked it into my pocket when we’ve gone down to Shell Beach to wade and swim or for short walks in the Seashore. Many days I forget that we don’t actually live here — so easily we slip into routines of the Saturday farmer’s market and organic eggs and delicious local dairy and afternoons at the beach in blazing sun and wind — and I’m allowing myself the fantasy that we do. We may again, you never know. So for now I’m baking apples cakes whilst I can and taking home big, beautiful bunches of chard and buying salty, chewy loaves of bread baked by the sea and making the most of it.

  • Leah Onori 12 September 2016 at 5:59 am

    Great recipe! I made it this weekend and our family devoured it :) CONGRATS on the birth of your daughter. She is precious!

  • Juliet 10 September 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Congratulations. She is beyond beautiful. I wish you and your family good sleep. :)

  • Helen Spiridakis 9 September 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Lovely post….nice capture.

  • Jill 8 September 2016 at 4:19 am

    You really captured the essence of your days (and nights)…sounds like a lovely spot to call home, if even briefly. Xox.

  • Anne 7 September 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Cake and babies, can it get any better?