There were times when a fresh new year start will put me in a wonderful anxiety to get ready for setting new goals. 2013 however, seems to me somehow strangely started in 2012. The goals came naturally, like something that was there and should have been somehow due to completion. I feel happy that the new year is not bringing anymore a too much formal way of setting goals (goals that in past succeeded), but instead a continuation of desires I set internally and wishes to become true at some point in time, when their completion seemed opportune. You can not hurry things.
2012 has not been only a year in which some of my dreams become true, but also a year in which I grew up so much, emotionally and artistically. I acknowledged more than ever that nothing can be obtained without hard work. A lot of hard work! 2013 makes me not only think about what I have done in 2012, but also in previous years – this is my way to appreciate, balance, measure my progress and internal values.
When I started this blog and I said to myself that I want to start learning photography – this was a big, hard step. A lot of discipline and hard work went inside over the time, and one of the biggest goals accomplished was to understand these key elements. But beyond this, to keep going and never give up. Of course, a lot of obstacles appeared in my way, there were times when I wanted to progress fast, when I wanted to see my photographs differently, and nothing seemed moving. But I never stopped, and I never gave up to keep practicing, and the harder it got, I knew that at some point I will be able to exceed these limits. When I saw disappointed that I was not able to capture what I wanted with the camera, I was practicing more and more, and each time after a climax of struggling, I felt I was improving, and this was a big satisfaction. This road paved with so many obstacles, the strength to not give up and the desire to actually do something good, kept me going forward. At some random point (maybe) I felt the struggles were somehow repeating and the torment was mortifying me, keeping me thinking on how to improve.
Today, looking behind, I feel proud about this journey, which is still not completed, but has brought me at a level, where I can understand what I want better in life. This journey put me in contact with wonderful people along the way, and most of all has showed me exactly what I want. This journey rejoiced my soul more than anything. This is not my 2012 resolution, at least not in the old way, as I don’t want to showcase numbers or names as accomplishments here – these are enough for me to know out-there is you, the reader. My joy is to be able to tell you about this wonderful journey. We are different in all sorts, but no matter in what kind of activity we are involved, we feel we are alive and we are happy when at the base is some passion, driven for something in particular.
We all touch emotions differently, but there are also other many ways to bring feelings of people together. Photography for me is the happiness drawn from this struggle, that changed me, made me want to feel the creation, to be vulnerable and show my feelings in form of art, and I understood finally I want to explore all this. As part of this inner exploration I decided to finally publish a dear project that was in my heart for some time – florilegium, an artistic personal monologue about feelings, imagery, persuasions of all sorts, that could take you outside your existence and meet my imagery persuasions, a journey across what inspires me.
For the cake:
150g softened butter
135g caster sugar
120g brown sugar
300g crème fraîche, at room temperature
170g self-raising flour (or all-purpose flour+6g baking powder)
150g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely ground cinnamon
85g brown sugar
60g roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
35g butter, coarsely chopped
30g all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 140C. Simmer sugar, citrus juice, lemon rind, cinnamon quills, star anise and 1.5 litres water in a casserole over medium heat until a light syrup forms (5-10 minutes). Wrap quince peel and cores in a square of muslin, tie and add to casserole with quince. Cover and bake until quince are tender and light ruby in colour (2-3 hours). Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside to cool then coarsely chop. Reduce 400ml poaching liquid over medium heat to syrup consistency (12-15 minutes; reserve remaining liquid for another use). Set aside to cool.
2. Increase oven to 160C. Beat butter and sugars in an electric mixer until pale (2-3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add crème fraîche and beat to just combine, then stir through flours and cinnamon. Spoon half the mixture into a buttered and floured 24cm-diameter spring-form tin lined with baking paper. Scatter quince over, then pour over remaining batter and smooth top.
3. For crumble topping, combine ingredients and a pinch of fine sea salt in a bowl and rub with fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over batter. Bake until cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the centre withdraws cleans (50 minutes-1 hour). Cool slightly in tin. Remove cake and cool to room temperature. Serve drizzled with quince syrup.