Friday, 5 August 2011

Carrot cake

Cake fresh from the oven
I've had a commission - to make an iced carrot cake for a badminton friend. This is what I have come to in blogging terms - there is nothing vaguely dietetic to report. The rest of my 'to do' list includes laundry, cleaning the oven and sorting out the weeds in the paved area of the garden. This list has remained remarkably consistent, since there never seems an end to the laundry, and the oven and the weed jobs are my least favourite and are therefore likely to remain on the list for quite some time to come.

Actually, there is one dietetic point to note - I didn't get the job I was interviewed for three weeks ago. I have received feedback on points that I will have to work on. Latest adverts: Swansea and Trafford.

So, carrot cake. Without even going online, I have found five recipes in my everyday ordinary cookbooks off the shelf, including one I took the trouble to copy down by hand. Delia's is far too fussy, so she's eliminated straight away; the recipe from the book I won includes ground mace (which I've never even seen in a shop), but is otherwise straightforward. Sophie Grigson's has wholemeal flour, which I think I would like in a carrot cake, but also poppy seeds, which I don't. The one in my own cookbook is weird - 5 eggs and no flour, but ground hazelnuts and fresh breadcrumbs. I must have made it and liked it, otherwise it wouldn't have found its way into my cookbook, but I don't think I'll do it again.

The fifth recipe is from The Ultimate Recipe Book: 50 classic dishes and the stories behind them. It arose from a column in the BBC Good Food magazine that I once subscribed to, in an era when I had time and inclination for interesting cooking. The author, Angela Nilsen, took basic dishes, consulted various eminent chefs and cooks, and tried to come up with the ultimate versions. It ranges from sauces to accompaniments to main dishes and puddings, and everything I have tried from the book seems to work well.

As this is a commission, and must absolutely be a fine cake and no mistake, I did a test run which worked fine. [Now I have the problem of what to do with the test cake - Mr A is not keen on cakes of any sort, and they are currently off limits to me.] The final version is a sandwich with butter icing, and looks very good. I don't think making cakes for profit would be a sensible career option - it's taken me the best part of three days to assemble all the ingredients and equipment and get it finished.

In between all that, I have done some charity shop clothes shopping, all on my own without Lola II. Ordinary retail outlets are still much too scary without Lola II (except for Marks and Spencer), but charity shops seem less intimidating, and luckily Leamington has many of them. The other advantage, apart from the prices, is that you get to try on clothes from lots of different places - stores that I would never enter under normal circumstances. I tried on about 15 different trousers. The pair I ended up with was from M&S.

I also went into Birmingham to meet up with friends, one of whom came with me to see the latest Harry Potter film. He is blind, and unfortunately the film/cinema did not provide Audio Description, so I had to do my best to provide a personal service by whispering key points. I'm not a very good audio describer, and there are an awful lot of characters in the film and quite a lot of fighting. Luckily he'd read the book, so some of the time he could tell me what was going on.

Stop Press: A job within commuting distance has been advertised today. So enough blogging, I have to get my application in.

Finished iced cake

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