Decisions reached in desperation

Welcome to day 2 of the 3 day weekend. It’s that thing of British quirkiness, the bank holiday weekend. In the light of the banking crisis, it feels ironic that we still have public holidays that are dedicated to allowing our bankers an extra lie in.

Well, my cake fast went well, it lasted till Friday. I had a horrendous morning in court and decided when I returned that the 5 Celebrations that I ate in one mouthful was not sufficient. Therefore I decided to devour a cream horn ( love that name) in 4.2 milliseconds. It was worth it.

So how have I decided to spend the weekend thus far? Well, firstly I went for a run. And a nice 6 miler at that. Sadly, however, I seemed go be as weak as kitten running wise and it was a slightly laborious dragging of my carcass rather than a strong bold run around the city I prefer. Post the run, I had a shower and arranged with M-C for some of our washing to be done. It’s madness that we have had such rotten luck with our washing machine. The bastard thing just keeps breaking down, but whilstsoever we have a warranty in place we will persevere with the model we have. Part of me things we may eventually have to take the plunge and buy a new one, one with a fast wash cycle as well. Oh for a 15 to 20 minute cycle.

We went to have a mooch around the vintage fair at the town hall. Well, correction, we walked as far as the entrance to the town hall, saw a queue a mile long, asked a girl if it was worth it, she said in a roundabout way no it’s not, so we went to TK Maxx. I bought a tie for Carly and Paul’s wedding, and a new muffin pan. The glamour. I tried on a vest that would have been so cute for Mykonos- it turns out I’m a large in all things Junk de Luxe. Shouldn’t be, those bloody Europeans. Always want me to feel fat.

Pete and I went for a turn around the M and S food hall. We took them up on their 2 dine for £10 offer. Sirloin Steak, chips, salad, berries, meringue and a bottle of red. Don’t mind if I do! We also managed to get cheap Sea Bass, quiche Lorraine and fresh thyme. It’s always relatively cheap, relative in comparison to Fortnum and Mason, not Aldi. But it’s amazing how long the food lasts, whereas sometimes we only have milk for 36 hours before it dies from one of those discount supermarkets.

So I returned home and got. Bit bored. What to do. That’s when it hit me. Edd Kimber this week made his version of the Sweet and Salty Cake I have been staring down in several cookbooks. There is one in the Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days book I have been sniffing round. Now, I decided to submit and go for it. My first mistake? Deciding after I had shopped. I suddenly faced a dilemma. Firstly, no sour cream, secondly no light corn syrup.

Now sour cream was easy. I tablespoon of lemon juice in the double cream I had. Light corn syrup? Now I don’t know what that is. Well, I do. It’s some American sugary syrup which acts as some kind of emulsifier and Stabiliser. I think. I saw it in Selfridges last week. Now, Oxford Street is a long way to go for such an item. I googled for a substitute and saw you can use cream of tartar or liquid glucose. Still, it called for more double cream than I could justify or had, so I improvised. Although, it’s not really improvising to use dulce de leche instead of making caramel, it’s kinda common sense. To add the salted element, I reheated the caramel and added fleur de sel.

I hit a bump in the road. It’s a three layer cake, and I had plenty of mix, but could only find the insert to my third sandwich pan, but no rim. So I had to do two bakes. This is where I got a bit daft. It appeared I had tons of

cake batter, so tried for a fourth layer. Alas, if truth be told I still only had wrought for three, and the two extra sponges broke up when I tried to move them. It means I have a load of broken chocolate cake. Tips please?

Instead of a ganache frosting, I used a chocolate buttercream frosting. It was worth it. It’s light, chocolatey and does the job.

(Excuse me whilst I pause for refreshment mid post)

Where was I? Ah, cake. I added the caramel layer on top of the bottom sponge and again the top, and spread the frosting on top of both caramel layers and around the edge. This created a homely, smoothly frosted cake I swirled the top with frosting and caramel and sprinkled it with fleur de sel. It looks incredible, and tastes amazing. Like a slightly sharp chocolate fudge cake, which I have never liked. This however ticks my box.

So today, I awoke, thinking of cake. I awoke about 7am and thought of getting up, but sacked that off. I then awoke at 9.30am. And I never ever lie in. It was a miracle. I immediately thought of food, so watched the first episode of Two Greedy Italians. If you have not watched it, I implore you to watch via the iPlayer. It was one of the most moving tv shows I have seen in a long time. It was beautifully shot, and Italian food is like poetry. Everything about the sheer simplicity of the ingredients and the ease with which this food is meant to be eaten drew the viewer in. But the real beauty of the show was the sheer joy of the love between Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo. I must admit I was skeptical, after the James May and Oz Clarke forced friendship in the wine tour of France. But there were such unscripted joyous moments between Gennaro and Antonio. When they got ready for a night out in Amalfi, and joked at each other’s bellies, when Gennaro covered Antonio in a blanket, when they shared food with one another. It was a true friendship, and they were truly kind to one another.

I watched episode one today, and it was so heart aching to hear Antonio regret his lack of family and his yearn for love. And to see them so moved when they visited the rehabilitation community and meet people who found hope through learning skills with food. It made me realise that these were two people who had so much soul and love to give. I really loved it. God bless the BBC, they know how to make truly great television.

Post this celebration, I headed to Waitrose, and spent a small fortune. I made Brisket for dinner, slow roasted, and teamed it with an olive, rosemary and anchovy foccacia. I also made a White loaf. Baking really is an art form and a vocation. I have been in my apron all day. Thank heavens for Chat en Ouef.

I also did an interview with a journalist from Diva Magazine. I know, rather unexpected. She wanted to know about the work Out of Office do. Was really good actually talking to someone out of the city about what we do. And to realise that we are tackling an issue that’s bigger than this one city, and can be seen UK wide. It means we aren’t kidding ourself.

So I returned, so serve up dinner before facing the age old dilemma in the Pete and Adam household. What to watch. It’s romcom vs boys own. Meryl Streep vs Daniel Craig. Julia Child vs James Bond. I always submit. I have tonight compromised with National Treasure. The one Nicholas Cage film which does not make me want to hunt down his hairstylist and lob off his hands. I’m not really watching mind, as I’m typing this post for you dear readers.

What to do tomorrow? There is always ironing, and the gym, and bad tv to enjoy. Oh there it is, a master plan if I have ever formulated one. And perhaps a bit of light baking? Oh go on then. Adam, you are a devil.

And so to bed. Night dear readers, until tomorrow. See you in the kitchen.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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