It’s been quite some time since I last posted here, and indeed, quite some time since I last baked. The past few months have been a bit of a blur; my relationship of almost six years came to an end, I moved house, and seem to have spent most of my spare time since organising my new flat and toasting to the next chapter of my life with my wonderful friends.
At times of stress or trauma, it seems natural to retreat to self-preservation mode, living day-to-day and focusing on the basics of feeding yourself, general life-admin (mainly consisting of desperate attempts to get through the bottomless pit of laundry without the aid of a tumble dryer and phonecalls to utility companies), and work.
But living like this does little to inspire creativity, happiness, or wellbeing. I’ve found myself craving a return to the more well-rounded me, and a big part of that is tied up with baking and writing; the great satisfaction of creating something from scratch. Whether a piece of prose, or a slice of cake – to create, share, and enjoy, I’ve realised, is fundamental to my happiness.
Just a few weeks ago, newspaper headlines declared we were in drought, and decried the start of a hose pipe ban. ‘But how will I clean my block paved drive way witouth my fully-loaded penis-esque Karscher pressure washer?!’ demanded middle-aged men with middle-aged spread.
Fear not, hose-wealders. As if by magic – or by the power of that lesser known phenomenon, Sod’s Law – at the very mention of a hose pipe ban, the mighty sky retaliated by rounding up a gang of the greyest, densest, meanest clouds around, and heartily encouraging them to piss down upon us all for the best part of ten days.
Well, well, well. It’s been almost three weeks since I posted the second part of this triology; probably the time it has taken me to finish the Steig Larsson trilogy in the two hours a day I merrily spend with my Kindle on my commute.
Time seems to move at a different speed in London to Bristol or Newcastle; time seems much more precious, and I seem to have become worse at making the most of it. I hope that will change (at least a little) when I get the iPad I pre-ordered last week.
Following on from the Drizzled Lemon Curd Cake I made recently, the second installment in my triple-layer triology is this utterly charming, porcelain white beauty.
Coconut and lime are one of my most favourite combinations; whether in a cocktail, a thai curry, or these super-cute coconut and lime cupcakes, there’s something about the sharp zing of lime paired with the sweet, creamy flavour of coconut that makes it simply irresistible for me.
This post showcases the first of three tantalising triple-layer cakes I’ve baked recently. Why have I baked so many of them, you ask? Especially when most people are on a new year, clean-eating-boot-camping-green-tea-swigging-booze-craving de-tox.
Well, there are two reasons; one, I prefer dirty eating – particularly in January and February, generally the coldest, most depressing months of the year. Secondly, when it comes to cake, I feel there are few things more satisfying than watching a cake slice gently glide through three decadent, fluffy layers of sponge, and lifting up a resplendent, towering triangle to endless ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s.
As I’m sure you know, with moving house (and cities) comes great upheaval and chaos. For the last week or so, along with trying to expore this bewilderingly big and endlessly entertaining city, I have been pretty much in nesting mode for the last week. This has mainly involved a lot of squaring up furniture, trying to make our new flat cosy and organised, and discreetly pushing boxes of miscellaneous ‘stuff’ under the bed or to the back of very high cupboards. Out of sight, out of mind…
I was also desperate to get into my new kitchen and get baking, but was lacking a lot of ingredients and the determination to dig out most of my equipment. It was on this premise that I decided to go for cookies. I really forget sometimes just how much of a win-win bake they are.
I came home tonight and spotted a card from Royal Mail, who’d left a special delivery with a neighbour. I’ve already had all of my Christmas presents, so I had no idea what it could be.
I love a surprise, and this one was no exception. It turned out to be my very own limited edition printed copy of the Kerrygold Community Cookbook with my very own recipe and name printed in it!
Those of you who follow me on Twitter might know that I’ve got a very exciting and hectic few weeks ahead of me. I’ll be relocating from Bristol to London just before new year to start a brand new job fundraising for the Prince’s Trust – an amazing charity, and one I feel absolutely honoured to be joining.
It seems hard to believe now, but this time last year, I was making my first ever batch of pastry.
Yep – ever.
I was pretty new to baking, and after trying my first ever mince pies a couple of weeks before (yep – ever. I know; such a deprived child), I decided I’d like to make my own. The prospect of making mincemeat and my own pastry was far too daunting, so it was Asda’s own that went into my pies – and very nice they were, too!
If you caught my last post on the kindness of strangers, you may remember that – before a remarkable series of events took place – it was originally destined to be about custard tarts.
I just couldn’t not share these beauties with you.
The custard tart was one of the bakes on my Bake List – though I’ve probably already mentally added about 30 things and removed others by this stage. It’s something I’ve loved to eat since I was a little girl, but had never made myself.