makar [ˈmækər]
n (Literature / Poetry) Scot a creative artist, esp a poet
[a Scot variant of maker]

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Seven weeks ago, I had a miscarriage. I was 11 weeks pregnant and on holiday with my whole family. My eldest boy broke his arm that week and needed surgery, so it really was a ridiculously shitty week. As my husband said, "at least it all happened in this beautiful, healing place". I could see the beauty, but I wasn't feeling it, and I certainly wasn't healing. In the weeks immediately afterwards, I found myself floored by a deep sense of grief; one that shocked me with its volume and ferocity. As I sobbed over my desk, quietly on the bus, and desperately in the shower, the hot water flushing away my tears, I was reminded of the grief I endured after I lost my mum, over a decade ago. And yet, I had never known the person I grieved for, I had never even seen them because the only scans I had were the ones to confirm that there was no longer a baby inside me. The person I grieved for was an imagined person, an imagined future, demarcated by imagined milestones. And yet the pain was real.

Last week, I went back to the place where I lost this fourth not-to-be child of mine. To begin with, there were reminders everywhere of what had happened. When I looked at the design of the bathroom floor, I saw blood, when I rode past a certain landmark, I felt the cramps strengthening, when I went to the pub, I recalled the moment I realised it was not going to be okay. But it was school camp and there wasn't much time to dwell. And besides, it felt good to be there, in a place that has so many happy memories for me; a place I first visited when I was 6 months old and which I have loved all my life. And then, when it was almost the end of the week, I found myself sitting in the evening sunshine, with some amazing women, holding a tiny baby in my arms, and telling them, without, crying, about what had happened. Only a few weeks ago, I could not bear to look at a pregnant woman or a baby; I could not stop crying and I certainly could not talk about my miscarriage. Going back was the best thing that I could have done.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Some days require cake and today was one of those days. Not because anything was particularly wrong, but just because I had the urge to bake. It calms and centres me. It makes my home feel like a functioning and productive place, a warm and welcoming place. I think I might actually like baking cakes even more than I like eating them! This one is sooo good.

Citrus Polenta Cake

125g fine polenta
225g almond meal (I have also made it with hazelnut meal)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2tsp ground cloves
225g butter (unsalted)
200g caster sugar
Grated zest of one grapefruit and one orange
3 eggs

100ml juice from the grapefruit and orange
50g caster sugar
Grated zest

Preheat oven to 170 centigrade.
Combine polenta, almond meal, baking powder and ground cloves.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and half of the zest. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between. Fold in polenta and almond meal until well combined.
Spoon into prepared tin.
Bake for 50 minutes.
Prepare the drizzle 5 minutes before the cake is baked. Combine ingredient in a saucepan and simmer for a few minutes. Pour onto the cake while it is still warm. Allow the cake to cool in the tin.
Serve with whipped cream or plain yoghurt.

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