Clementines, Both Edible and Readable

Oh, January.  Brown, sluggish January.  We need some laughs.  Something sweet, something tangy.  We need clementines.  Some to eat...

...and some to read.

I made Nigella Lawson's famous clementine cake.  And it was delicious.  And I know I should just type the recipe out, but if you click here you can find it on the Food Network website, in Nigella's own voice.  Try not to read it without hearing her voice, I dare you.  (You can also find the recipe in its original metric system format at Nigella's website.)

Okay, okay, okay, enough.  Time to be real.  Let me tell you the truth:  I've been sitting on this post for over a week.  There's a reason for that.  My springform pan broke when I tried to loosen the latch to release my cake.  Mr. B had to pull the pan open with his hands, and...

 The cake broke down the middle.  Here I was, writing a blog post in my head and tying it in with the books I planned to start reading with the girls, and my pretty little cake fell apart.

My friends are funny.

Something you should know when you make this cake.  A springform pan in a must!  This is a very sticky cake.  And the parchment paper?  That is a must, too.  And while my glaze tasted good, because my cake was already broken, the bottom of the cake became gooey.  

But remember how I was going to tie this in with a readable Clementine?  Well, this Clementine is a bundle of energy and constantly in trouble. 

Her friend Margaret, she says, looks like a girl in a magazine.  Margaret's mother looks like a mother in a magazine.  Her apartment and bedroom look like pictures in magazines.

Clementine does not look like a picture in a magazine.  Neither does her family.  Or apartment.  Or bedroom.  She comes to realize that's perfect after all.

My cake did not look like a picture in a magazine, either.  (It did taste good, though!)

Perhaps my less-than-perfect cake is a good tie-in for this series of books.

Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee.

I discovered this series in a sweet, old-fashioned way.  We had just finished lunch at our favorite indie bookstore a few years ago and decided to look around the children's area.  The girls were tiny then.  Little Sis was only a baby.  There was a cardboard standee on top of one of the shelves.  It was of an adorable curly-haired ragamuffin named Clementine.

One of my favorite names in the world.  Really.

(Or maybe I've seen this movie too many times.)

So I found the book on the shelf and read the first page.
I have had not so good of a week.  Well, Monday was a pretty good day, if you don't count Hamburger Surprise at lunch and Margaret's mother coming to get her.  Or the stuff that happened in the principal's office when I got sent there to explain that Margaret's hair was not my fault and besides she looks okay without it, but I couldn't because Principal Rice was gone, trying to calm down Margaret's mother. Someone should tell you not to answer the phone in the principal's office, if that's a rule.  Okay, fine, Monday was not so good of a day.  - from Clementine by Sara Pennypacker (Hyperion Books for Children, 2006)
I bought the book.  Never mind that my girls were too little to read it yet.  I knew I was going to love it.  I've bought each book in hardcover as they come out, because they make me giggle.  I read the first three to Big Sis when she was four.  She doesn't remember, though.

Back to dull, brown January.  We finally finished On the Banks of Plum Creek.  I'm still reading Winnie-the-Pooh and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to Little Sis, and Big Sis has her Junie B. Jones books, but we needed some laughs together.

The Clementine series is providing the laughs.  If you haven't read the books, but love characters like Ramona Quimby, Judy Moody, or Junie B. Jones, you should enjoy Clementine.

You can read a synopsis of each book on this page, courtesy of Sara Pennypacker's website.  The next book, Clementine and the Spring Trip, comes out this March!

I don't see a career in food blogging in my future.  I think I'll go back to my kiddie-lit/vintage mama bubble now.

And here is one last attempt to make a pretty bloggy picture.
It isn't a pretty bloggy picture.  Okay, fine*.
*Clementine says, "Okay, fine" a lot.

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  1. I've had my eye on Clementine for a while but haven't raed it with Keira yet. I notice your Live Traffic Feed over there - maybe I should put that on my blog too. I love looking at my blog stats and seeing all many different countries that have visited.

    1. The Clementine books are so funny, with a lot of heart. They're quick reads, too! The live feed thing is fun to see the different places where people come from, but it also reinforces the fact that the numbers Blogger comes up with are skewed, thanks to the spambot sites like zombiestat and vampirestat and the other crud that shows up in Blogger under "referring URLs."

  2. Oh this is fabulous! so sorry about your cake. here's a secret about Nigella. Her stuff is really hit or miss. Andrew isn't even sure she can really cook. But I love her anyway. And her stuff that does turn out, turns out really well. Have not read Clementine yet! It's on my list!! I think your cake looks wonderful, even though it broke. Love your FB comments from friends :)

    1. I do prefer to watch her than cook with her at times. There is a chocolate cake recipe I really like, and my husband LOVES to make her pork chops. (And of course, he loves to watch her even more than I do.) The cake does taste good. It's a different cake, of course - the almonds give it a completely different texture. While my glaze was tasty, it really wasn't necessary. The cake runs on the very moist side. If it hadn't broken, I might have sifted some powdered sugar on top instead. My friends did make me feel better, and rather quickly. ;o) The Clementine books are wonderful! We read the first one in only two evenings.

  3. I've had pretty good luck with Nigella's recipes in the past, but I've never tried this cake. There's a chicken schnitzel recipe in Nigella Express that seems to turn out perfectly every time that I really like. Sucks that your springform tin broke. They definitely make it easier to get a cake out in one piece (when they work, that is!).

    1. I have a couple others, but this one was the perfect size for the cake! Oh, well. I was only making it for the family (and the blog). If I'd been making it for someone else or a party, then I'd have cried. ;o)

  4. I bet it tasted just fine--looks good to me! I never dare attempt to bake, so I applaud any effort made by others to do so! :) The clementine series looks wonderful--I think Juliet might like to read it on her own pretty soon. Thought you should know that we are celebrating kansas day a day late here with a few tornados!

    1. I've noticed! I Googled to see where Adairsville was - my mother used to live in Canton. We used to drive up to Chattanooga, so I'm sure we drove through there. I hate tornadoes.

      The Clementine books are great. They're the perfect series to follow Junie B., I think.

  5. Ever since I saw your insta of that cake I've wanted to try a slice... but I won't be attempting it on my own. Just not that daring. ;) It really really looks so yummy to me!

    1. It really wasn't that hard. I had to grind my own almonds, which was probably the hardest part. Well, until my pan went splat...


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