I’m on day four of the Whole30 Challenge and I’m feeling cautiously fabulous. By now, according to the challenge timeline, I should want to ‘kill all the things’. But – aside from totally normal fleeting moments of disdain or fury (people who stop at the top of tube escalators, people who say 100 words when they could see 15, that sort of thing), I’ve felt pretty fucking great.
J and I have both noticed we’ve not had our usual peaks and troughs of energy – no 3 o’clock slumps where I’d normally hunt down a biscuit or two with a cup of tea to keep me going. I’ve had a pretty full-on week and have really felt I had the energy to power through it.
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.
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.
With ear muffs, hats, gloves, scarves and several layers, I headed out to join the celebrations for Chinese New Year this Sunday in London’s Trafalgar Square and Chinatown.
After a couple of hours squeezing down colourful streets crammed with excited children bringing paper dragons to life and hungry grown-ups hunting out the best dim sum, I moved on to take in some of the dancing and music in Trafalgar Square.
The sandwich is a modest little thing. If it were a person, I imagine he would stand with his hands in his pockets, scuffing the floor with his shoe and trying not to make eye contact.
But this unassuming chameleon has a lot to be proud of; he can take on anything – from fish fingers to fillet steak, marmite to ham and mustard. Done properly, with delicious, fresh bread, a hearty filling and those crucial condiments to add ‘je ne sais quoi’, it is truly one of my favourite simple pleasures. In its versatility, you might say it’s a little like my absolute favourite pleasure – CAKE!