Kenwood mixer

Mum and Dad drove over to watch Fionn play league today, then had lunch at our place. As usual, Dad had a wonderful bag of goodies from his garden, this time swedes and potatoes. Huge spuds - I could make gnocchi for all of us from just one his spuds I reckon.

Mum gave me a Kenwood mixer!! She has been planning and plotting this for ages, waiting until she had two good quality second hand mixers of the version widely considered the best around (I forget the number, but it is the dark blue model). Two because she wants my sister and I to both have one. It matters not what we imagine we want in our kitchens (nor whether our brother harbours secret baking longings, though there isn't much evidence of this so far), these are the gifts which she wants to make.

My Mum is a superb cake and biscuit maker who used to win prizes at A & P shows and the like before she got married. After she got married, she was still well known for her excellent kitchen skills but it was mostly Dad and us kids who got to scoff her concoctions. I can still recall the taste of tan square, belgian biscuits and caramel slice from the tins after school. If I'm going to make good use of this gift, then I can't see my nutritional goals of limited refined flour and sugar being met consistently.

It was Mum who taught me to bake. There was nothing romantic about the passing on of these skills. My mother is efficient and methodical. I am, by comparison, dreamy and chaotic. There were raised voices, tears and grandstanding most baking sessions. Once I got good enough to be left alone to bake while Mum carried on with the Saturday laundry (which used to trail out of the tiny laundry at the beginning of Saturday morning and carry on non-stop all morning), then tempers improved. On both sides. Mum would admire my finished products without the frustration of seeing that I had (I was 11 or 12 at the time) used the oven inefficiently by focusing on one recipe at a time. I used to make a cake, a batch of biscuits and a slice on a Saturday morning. Sometimes I made pikelets as well or instead and we would have them for Saturday lunch. Making pikelets is a great lesson in cooking skills - playing around with the just right temperature which cooks them right through without burning or becoming rubbery. I think that the smaller size is a lot less scary than getting pancakes 'right'.

These baking basics made it pretty easy for me to learn more complex cooking skills later on. I'm planning on giving my own children the same grounding. If we are all lucky, it won't be so fraught, but I'm the one thin on patience these days so don't bet on plain sailing.

I think I'll pull out the Edmonds recipe book sometime soon. But I would really like to know what other people use their cake mixer for which is a little healthier. A recipe for one of those gorgeous carrot cakes like they have in old style health food shops would be lovely if anyone has one to share. I need to pull out my old Grassroots magazines as I know there have been several vegetable cake recipes in them.

Comments

Corrine said…
Ha ha. I had the same upbringing. Mum insisted Dad get her a Kenwood, since he loves Pavlova and Mum refused to make it by hand. By about 10 or eleven my brother and I were in charge of the biscuit making at our place. We worked our way through the edmonds book too. I also insisted Thor get me a Kenwood just as soon as we could afford one. I have to encourage the boys to make cakes and biscuits, and they can, but they don't make a habit of it. My hopes are pinned on Sian for future baking. I do have a recipe for carrot cake if you want it. but I think it is the kind of recipe you'll find in a cafe rather than a health food shop. I also have a zuchinni loaf recipe that is simalar.

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