Clementine Cake

Sarah knows how much I dig clementines. Every year, when the end of November rolls around the clementines fresh from Spain or Morocco are at grocery stores and produce stands, I go nuts and eat a kilo or more at a sitting. I love how sweet and tart they are. I love that I can peel them without any utensils. I love that there usually aren’t any seeds to bother with.

So when she spied this recipe, she knew it would be something I’d have to try. So we did.

We didn’t deviate from that recipe at all, except to use a glass 9×9 square baking dish. Ours didn’t come nearly as pretty as hers, but the flavor is surprisingly citrusy and it goes outstandingly with a cup of hot chocolate…and you know I’m not talking about the likes of Swiss Miss. More on the hot chocolate later, when we’ve perfected the recipe and eliminated the need for a weekly pilgrimage to Angelina in Paris.

Other perks: it’s got neither dairy nor gluten products in it, so great for those friends and colleagues who always have to fall back to their carob rice cakes when everyone else is pigging out on traditional desserts.

Here’s the Clementine Cake recipe, for posterity, with small cosmetic adjustments by yours truly:

  • 4 – 5 clementine (about 375g total weight)
  • 6 eggs
  • 225g (just over a cup) golden caster sugar
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 1 generous teaspoon of baking powder

Put the clementines in a pan and cover with cold water, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a lively simmer. Leave the clementines bobbing away for 2 hours.

Drain and cool the clementines. Once cool enough to handle, cut the clementines in half and remove the pips and then mash everything, skin, pith, fruit into a pulp.

Heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and butter and line a 21cm (8″) cake tin.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Add the sugar, ground almonds and baking powder and stir everthing together with a metal spoon.

Fold the clementine pulp carefully but firmly into the other ingredients using a metal spoon.

Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and bake for about 50 mins to 1 hour, when a skewer comes out clean. You may need to cover the cake with baking parchment or foil for the last 20mins if looks like the top is browning too quickly.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. When he cake is cool, take it out of the tin.

The cake is without a doubt better after 1 or 2 days, according to her. We’ll see if there’s any left to judge.

Paris Walks Marais Walking Tour

The Joint

Paris Walks
Peter and Oriel Caine
12 passage Meunier
93200 Saint Denis
+33 148 09 21 40


Twenty Euro well spent! We took the ‘Old Marais Quarter Circuit 2′ tour, with a focus on the existence of the Marais as Paris’ Jewish quarter and that community’s changing fortunes, then turning to famous Parisians through history and their roots in the area. The walk was two hours (dress warmly and bring an umbrella) and our guide, Iris, kept us moving at a good clip – not too fast, but fast enough to keep things interesting and blood circulating. In addition to a comprehensive knowledge and apparent interest in the history of the area, she had a few personal tips (where to get a good falafel or a great chocolate boutique) that made us want to come back and explore the neighborhood more on our own.

Paris Walks has a variety of tours, any of which I’d be tempted to try on a return trip.


Note: it’s only 10 EUR per person. That’s 5 EUR per hour you’re paying to walk around and get the inside scoop. A fantastic bargain. Definitely money and time well-spent. Thanks Iris, for your enthusiasm despite the rest of the group appearing somewhat nonplussed. We dug this tour!

Travel Deals 12.12.2008

Kinda slow off the mark this week. Sorry, it’s been a doozy and the pickings looked slim.

Cruise Pricing

Anyone out there interested in cruising?

Eewww, no, not that kind of cruising. The big boat kind.

Vacations To Go reports that all of the major cruise lines are doing away with their fuel surcharge for the 2009 sailings. Huzzah, I say! To look at their site, you do have to give an e-mail address and they will send you two weekly newsletters, one for cruises, one for resorts. I think it’s a great resource, or at least a good jumping-off point. And the deals available on cruises are staggering (not just on VTG). Unlike an airline, it is not in the cruise ship’s best interest to sail half-full because they depend on people signing up for excursions and tipping for the line and the crew to make money. So they will slash the price of a cabin as much as needed to get bodies on the boat. We found our cruise a good way to sample lots of different areas we had yet to visit.

Europa hin- und zurück

Lufthansa is running a special for roundtrip flights within Europe for 99€, inclusive of taxes and fees! Look for your home airport and see where the deals take you. Move fast on this one – the offer ends on Sunday, Dec. 14. But you can fly starting today and going all the way to Oct. 30, 2009! Blackout dates probably apply, but it doesn’t say so specifically (as far as I’ve looked, anyhoo).

That’s pretty much it. Like I said, slim pickings, but I expect a pickup in the next couple of weeks. Let me know if you’ve seen any killer deals.

Get the $%&? off my lawn!!

I feel like an elderly grump.

Why, you ask? Because I don’t understand ‘the Twitter.’ It looks like glorified text messaging/IMing to me. I see everyone’s Twitter plug-ins on their blogs and I read up on it at Wikipedia, but I still didn’t get it. So I established an account. After it mined my e-mail contacts for people I know on Twitter, I went and looked at their Twitter pages.

I am still missing something.

Can someone explain what’s special/better/shinier about Twitter? I’m really feeling like I’m missing the boat on this one.

Hotel Sully Saint-Germain

The Joint

Hotel Sully Saint-Germain
31 Rue des Ecoles
75005 Paris – France


We reserved this hotel due to the price, location and wireless connectivity. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. The price was fixed and the location (a short walk from the Maubert-Mutualité Métro station) was ideal. The design of the lobby and the rooms is quite attractive. The basic double room is fairly small by American standards, but has lots of storage space (closets and drawers, etc.).

Unfortunately, the promised internet was not accessible in the rooms. To use it, you had to bring your laptop and other materials down to the lobby, then jockey for position with the rest of the hotel guests set up for surfing. We like to bring our laptop with us to help with planning our outings, so reliable, room-accesible internet is important to us. We were a little disappointed on that score.

There were a couple of other odd occurrences. There was a brief power outage one evening – about 30 seconds with no lights. Not a big deal to us, but we did overhear another couple complaining to the concierge about another outage the previous evening that happened while the woman was in the shower. So I guess that happens with some regularity. Also, on the morning of our checkout, I couldn’t get the water temperature to cooperate. It started out normal, but then started switching between burning hot and freezing cold. It made rinsing my hair an adventure.

The breakfast included in our rate was adequate, except for the coffee (it was dreadful). The elevators are extremely small, so occasionally taking the stairs is the best option. Generally, it was a pleasant experience. It is by no means a luxury hotel, but as a place to sleep, shower and keep your stuff while you’re out experiencing Paris, the Sully Saint-Germain is a good choice.


Sarah hit all the points I’d make. Location was the most important aspect for me — it’s an easy walk to the Ile de la Cité or the Louvre or just hop onto the #10 Metro line to get out to other parts of the city or a bigger train station.