I just realised it has been a few days since I last blogged. Partly because I had been extremely busy in the kitchen, partly because I have changed Internet service provider, which, surprise surprise is not going as smoothly as it should or was promised. But that, my friends is a blog for another day. . . . . .
From Thursday, we have been celebrating A’s birthday. Not just any old birthday, but a 70th birthday! This started with lunch in Tankerton, Kent, at a delightful Meze resturant called Jo Jo’s. With views overlooking the sea, at the mouth of the Thames, we were treated to dish after dish of amazingly cooked food. Calamari, cod, patatas, flat breads, chorizo, cured beef, and taramasalata which was not bright nuclear pink, nor over fishy. If you ever find yourself in Whitstable for the oyster festival, make a booking at Jo Jo’s for lunch or dinner. It’s a great eating experience.
Over the weekend, we had a tea party. So on Friday, I started baking scones. Plain scones, fruit scones, cherry scones, and more plain scones. I have to admit, after the first 12 came out almost perfectly, I got a bit carried away. 48 scones later, I decided there were enough for the 22 guests we were expecting. This, along with 30 lemon and orange cupcakes, (I needed to practice my icing skills) 8 mini Victoria sponges, and a batch of macaroons, which didn’t turn out as expected so they were renamed almond kisses!!!!!!
N made the quiches (plain, onion and smoked cod) along with enough sandwiches to sink a battle ship. It was a perfect match, all that was needed to compliment the party was the birthday cake.
I had practiced the cake over the past few weeks, icing, flavours, colours, and in the words of the awesome Mary Berry “I have made 1,000 Victoria sponges”. Ok, ok, I exaggerate, maybe I’ve not made 1,000 but I have made a good few hundred. Well, my tried and tested recipe was assembled, the mixtures were placed in my new silicone bakeware, and the timer set.
I happened to glance at the sponges about halfway through, not opening the oven door, just peeking through the glass door. Well, one had sunk, the other refused to rise. Out they came, one being turned into mini sponges the other discarded (eaten warm by G and a few others). In went another two sponges, both stuck to the non stick bakeware.
In went another 2 sponges, one disintegrated, one was ok. By now panic was setting in. It was Friday evening, party was at 3pm on Saturday. Early Saturday morning, I was back in the kitchen. To get myself in the baking mood, in went another 2 batches of scones. Then for the cake. I prayed, I begged, I crossed my fingers, toes and eyes. It worked!!!!
By now it was too late for a lot of icing, or fancy decoration, so I decided on a simple real roses centre piece, tied together with cling film (plastic wrap) around the stems, which was then delicately shoved into the top of the cake. I had also found some pink sugar crystals, which were sprinkled a top the icing sugar to compliment the colour of the roses.
I have to say, everything for a reason, and the reason for the sunken stuck cake disasters was to make me keep the main cake plain and simple. Lesson learnt!!!!!!!!
Tomorrow, I am back up to Mistley for a pasta workshop with Sherri Singleton at The Mistley Kitchen. Expect to see some posts in the near future of flour covered utensils!!
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