A tale of two challenges

You can sometimes feel like a very long time. As I’m going through the torment that is February, it feels like the idea of getting towards another Christmas, take even getting to the summer feels like a marathon tasking itself. Not least the fact I feel like a member of the working wounded every single day of my life.So I’ve set myself a little task of keeping myself busy. We decorated the dining room. I binned about 4 years worth of Heat Magazine, it was remarkable. There was a time pre-Kardashian. I don’t want to remember such a time. I have consolidated my cookbook collection. I had to take a sharp intake of breath when I saw it all together. It’s hilarious how many I haven’t cooked from. But also when I realise how skint I am at times I will gaze over them and see where my hard earned pounds have gone. Into some rather random titles purchased from the works as well as into the entire Nigella Lawson back catalogue.

Finances aside, 2013 was pledged to be the year of change. Well, change one is Pete and I are holidaying all inclusive. *Shocked Faces all round*. I was worried that this was a tacky endeavour. I feared the wine would be Mexican Shiraz, the vodka called Suarez Vodka, the food buffet style, hence my previous reluctance to sign up. But Amy introduced me to a hotel she had been to before. Luxury always on the menu. I shopped around. Pete wanted a 2 week break this year. Over the last year or so, things have been quite a challenge for Pete, and consequentially this last year has been challenging for both of us. Perhaps this is why poor old Daphne, my child substitute, is so immune to my overly cuddly self she just lets it happen. So when Pete wanted to go away for 2 weeks, I had to listen. We shopped around, heading to travel agent to travel agent. Interesting experience. You find out how far your money goes. I fancied Cuba. Pete wanted Mexico. The boy won. So two weeks are coming up, so I need to focus on my body and soul, to ensure I’m beach ready. So come on Adam, I shouted. Do something. And boy did I listen.
First up, I have joined a cake club. Not just any cake club, but in a local branch of the clandestine cake club, the group started with one local branch that has now spread nationwide. Not quite knowing what to expect, I signed up on my adventure to my first meeting with the kind of trepidation a single man feels we’re going on a first date, I should imagine its like going on a blind date- one has actually no idea whether you’re facing something that is going to be of the painful couple of hours of pulling teeth for the start of you next meeting for relationship.
Fortunately It was not as painful as tooth extraction without anaesthetic. It was actually a fantastic way to while away couple of hours on a Saturday morning. I will however let you know that after 12 even tiny slivers of cake on a Saturday morning before 12 o’clock, the rest of the day did feel as if it is being approached from a slight sugary hazy coma. What is most exciting is that the group is exactly the challenge you need to push your repertoire forward. I must admit I am a tad liable to end up in a food rut. You know what I’m talking about, the rotation of pasta and meatballs, chicken balti/rogan josh, baked fish, fajitas….. And repeat. Week in, week out. This isn’t because I’m a candidate for freaky eaters, its just that most dinners are turned around in less than 40 minutes from the first turning of a gas knob to my belly, and you tend to stick to what you know fits the bill in the window you have.
Challenge one for cake club- chocolate cake. Now this is going to shock. I’m not a chocolate cake kinda gal. Well, I’m not a gal full stop, but I’m certainly not a chocolate cake person. Every disappointing dessert I have ever had was a chocolate one. Fudge cake schmudge cake, dry shitty brownies, claggy crap chocolate cheesecake. I prefer lemony/ fruity or something spiced. So with an adult set of taste buds, I looked for a cake recipe I liked. Of course I remembered an Ina recipe. Do you remember the episode she takes the picnic to Bridgehampton Florist, including the cake Michael’s grandma used to make? I do. I’ve seen it 400 times. It was a more mocha cake, rich and chocolatey with a cup of hot coffee. I went for it and chose this one. I had to listen to myself tho and try and add a savoury edge to the cake, so I decided to add a later of salted pecan nuts to the icing, the tang of the salt cutting through the sweet buttercream and dense cake. The cake stand was clean at the end of cake club, which I have taken as a fabulous sign.
You may consider now to be an odd time to join cake club. Why would a man who is getting beach ready spend Saturday mornings eating lots of cake? Because world I’m a contradiction. I have taken the leaf of a colleague and trying to be a sensible boy Monday to Friday, and am not eating bread during the week. It is an amazing experiment. Not eating bread forces you to have a think about what it is you are eating, making a sensible decision for once in my life before forcing calories down my neck. Wasteful calories. Urgh I hate diets. I love my bread.
Bread is just epic stuff. Savoury treat? Cheese on toast. Anchovy butter on toast. Salted butter on toast. Sweet? Lemon curd. Jam. Lotus spread. Amazing. Pizzas. Flat breads. Tortillas. Amazing. But I’m 32, and its harder to have a calorie fest including such peaky carbs. They stick to my bum, to my hips, to my belly. As much as I’m doing, which is more exercise than ever, its got to be taken in context which is against a body which loves converting food to fat at lightening rate!
Veg box deliveries keep coming. Love it. That is challenge number 2. The seasonal veg comes, I must answer the call. I must use it however I can. Fabulous adventures so far. Today I’m using the spring cabbage by making an Italian wedding soup a la Ina Garten, which I’m very excited about. This weeks box just arrived. A leek and cheese quiche with a sun dried tomato pastry crust will be tackled at the weekend. I ask you, why I couldn’t have been blessed with hollow legs.

Omg amazing news I forgot to tell you all. Bicester calls. Outlet shopping next week. Some Mexico outfits need to be sourced. And I need a new cafetiere after breaking it. I have chartered a charabanc and am taking a group of Sheffield’s finest down to discount designer heaven. Of course, I’m more likely to spend a small fortune on dogware than on me, but that is just the trouble with being a daft shallow gay. But the dog is worth it and she has such a small wardrobe, its an investment. Capsule wardrobe, she is so modernist.
Well, that’s all for today. Hope all is well chez you.
Blog later folks
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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