Adam’s award winning chile and other stories

So I have been a negligent blogger yet again. I’m sorry world, I’m a bit useless sometimes. I would love to say I have been horrendously busy, but when I come to explain myself I’m a bit at a loss.

Well Saturday was out, as I was at Carly and Paul’s wedding which was lovely. Good cake as well, which is obviously something I look for when celebrating nuptials. But before? I find life just gets in my way sometimes. So last week I was having a week of it all. Stranded at the office whilst everyone else had a week off. I was like a lone wolf. It drove me mad a bit, I’m a people person. I had to make lunch arrangements for myself to ensure I had some fun. So I never got an early finish in the office really, but because it was quite quiet I shifted a lot of stuff off my desk.

Thursday night I had a go at making custard creams. All butter biscuits flavoured with custard powder, with a custard flavoured buttercream. It was like a biscuit factory!

I have a teeny kitchen and filling it with tiny discs of biscuits was a mammoth task, and I made the cream a bit thick. It was not piping bag friendly, and I needed to go in with a knife, which meant a few broke. Chef’s perks are ok, but I was always going to devour these bad boys.

Recipe is on Edd Kimber if you are curious. I do seem to make everything he blogs at the moment, I think it just seems to fit my mood most of the time, and my butter obsession.

And so the weekend arrived and Friday night Pete and I went to see X Men First Class. I really enjoyed it, however I had to enjoy it through quite a freezing air conditioning blast that was positioned above my head. I was quite seriously frozen. I had devoured a billion custard creams, and asked Pete just to get me a small popcorn. It turns out that it was cheaper to get a large and a free kit kat. They want me to be fat, its ludicrous. I cannot understand how that works- more for less.

Saturday was really nice, I like a good wedding. It’s always, alas, a long day. Even with a service at 1.30pm, I was still getting ready from mid morning. I didn’t really relax till we got to the reception. And that’s when it became beer o clock for me. I wasn’t drunk drunk, I just had a few sharpeners. We ate quite late, which meant that I didn’t get the energy really to throw the shapes on the dance floor perhaps I was anticipated to throw. I apologise to anyone who wanted to see my slick moves, but it’s the wedding calculation- time + drink + a sit down x carbs = less mad shapes.

I wondered how I was going to get on on Sunday, but I did well. I was at Waitrose for 10am, for the 30 mins browsing time they do. I filled the trolley high, higher than I anticipated. I got a bit carried away. I bought a lot of lovely things tho. I’m ready to tackle the veal lasagne Theo Randall made on Saturday Kitchen. I love me some i Player action, never miss a beat! I even caught up on Something for the Weekend. Lets have a debate readers- what do we think? I like it, but I cringe a bit. I think it’s Louise Redknapp. Her presenting is getting a bit better, but there is still a way to go. And Simon Rimmer really, he is a bit…. straight. Not in a heterosexual sense, more personality wise. Don’t know. I like him, but he’s not a favourite. I like Tim Lovejoy though, but he is quite indulged. I mean, I don’t know anything about football, and their football chats dominate any unstructured talking bits of the show. It just always feels like it’s not really a show aimed at a guy like me. But I’ll watch it anyway, I’m unapologetically greedy.

I went on to make a couple of loaves and to try out a recipe I have been dying to make for ages, a Lemon Polenta Cake.

Lemon Polenta Cake


Now, my frost word of warning is that this cake evokes a confusion of the senses. It will never be a crowd pleasing ” oh wow ” production. It doesn’t rise, it’s slightly sunken, and looks like something like an upside down cake or a sponge pre decoration. And the decoration never comes. It’s the cake equivalent of an unseasonal fir at Christmastime. But it’s a delight.

The recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen book. It’s a flour less cake.

100g polenta- I bought it in a kilo bag for something daft like £1.20.
200g ground almonds
200g caster sugar
200g room temp butter
1 and a half tsp of baking powder
3 eggs
Finely chopped zest of two lemons

Now what you effectively do is cream the butter and add the sugar. From here, you mix the dry ingredients together and add intermittently with the eggs one by one. Finally add the lemon zest.

Et voila.

Stick in the oven at 180 degrees or gas Mark 4, in a lined and greased 23cm cake pan, and you are done.

Cooking time should be around 40 minutes, and it comes out golden and inviting. Like I say, not the most fancy looking cake for company but what happens next is divine.

Juice the two lemons left over. The tip I learnt from my old malaysian landlady was to roll citrus fruit to release all the juice. It works, and she introduced me to a whole world of culinary madness and delight, and I owe her a debt of gratitude. I raise my glass to you Shirley.

Add the juice to a small milk pan, and add 120g of icing sugar. Brith this to the boil and then simmer it slightly, and take of the heat. I simmered it to reduce it to a thick syrup to pour over the cake. My friend Linda had made this and told me there was too much syrup for her and it had all dribbled to the middle and made it mush-like, so I didn’t just abandon mine, I kept going back to it and moving the syrup evenly over the cake with a spoon. It was only mildly labour intensive. It meant it was evenly moist. I admit, there was still some mush-like Resemblance, but it adds to the charm.

Seriously, this is a winner. I will be making it religiously.

And today? I took the afternoon off to be in for the washing machine repair man. He turned up, couldn’t fix it and I face a further absence from work when he gets the right bit. Annoying. And to make matters work, I went to a launderette. It’s a rite of passage when a person gets beyond student age to never enter a launderette. To get ones own washing machine. To be able to do a load with only 3 things in it. To have a house full of clothes horses. To have an endless cycle of gym clothes drying, and towels over radiators. It’s what makes adult life that bit more real. This launderette was too real. An old man bought his bath mat in for a service wash. A woman shouted at me because I was unfamiliar with launderettes. She shouted at me for not moving quickly enough to the machine she identified for me. She then shouted at me that paying for the privilege was taking too long. She then shouted at me because the machine had finished some seconds before and I’d not emptied it yet. It was horrendous.

Thank god I made a chile and won an award for most comforting tea at the end of a frustrating afternoon. And I had two new Ina’s to watch. Jeffrey had a Jewish birthday dinner which I was not bothered about, and secondly was a Chilli made by Ina’s friend Devon. It was a nice episode but I’m less bothered by these non themed episodes where someone else comes to cook with her. I like old school Ina. And Ask Ina is hit and miss. But in my opinion, even a bad Ina is pretty darn fabulous. Tonight a question came from a gay oncologist. She is so high end fab hag. Love it.

Right bedtime.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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