On chocolate goo & timing

I have learned today, on the anniversary of a day of joy (at my gorgeous son in my arms) and dismay (on being inside the dispiriting hell of an NHS London hospital), that it is not a good idea to make a birthday cake from a new recipe barely more than an hour before the boy and his friends come home from the movie and McDs.

Not a good idea at all. The recipe looked fantastic, and was written and endorsed by no less than Elizabeth David (I'm slightly in love with her after reading her biography by Artemis Cooper) and Joanna Cary who is my favourite UK foodie blogger. But I put it in a loaf tin and forgot that in my experience, no matter what the recipe says, eggy concoctions such as this should be spread low and wide, not deep. It all fell apart when I removed it from the tin, and goo oozed out. Very nice tasting goo I might add, but not the kind you can ice and put candles on and cut up for eight year olds.

So when they came back, FH encouraged them out the back to play while I nipped down to the supermarket. Supermarket cakes are not bad soya and additives filled concoctions today; they are f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c.

Somewhere amongst birthday celebrations which included hosting my parents for lunch, I cut down the globe artichokes and began to try to prepare one to eat. I gave up after the first attempt. They are impressive looking plants and when I bought some marinated artichokes once, I did like them, but sometimes local, home grown and home cooked is not so attractive after all. Maybe I will find an online set of instructions and get better results (I followed Annabel Langbein's instructions tonight). Maybe.

I've been re-reading Kay Baxter's articles on growing nutrient dense food in recent issues of Organic NZ. I need to re-focus on gardening basics, specifically composting. I've been perusing the Koanga Gardens website, considering what I really want/need and also thinking about what changes I can make in the garden using my current compost and a visit to the beach (very close) for seaweeds.

I have more craft thoughts than I have craft stamina at the moment. Brighid's special friend R turns four on Friday and I have the materials to make her a button necklace, copying some I saw in a lovely jewellery shop in Devonport. I found two different sets of fish shaped buttons in my button jar, so tonight or tomorrow I shall make the necklace using plaited embroidery thread.

Mum gifted me some more towels today, including a worn red one which I quite like. I'd just thought (as I raced madly to create some vague sense of civilisation in at least the dining room and bathroom for their visit) that we need more hand towels. I haven't decided whether a same person would simply go to the shop and purchase some more damn hand towels or whether it is much better to split the towel in three and edge it with something pretty and thus refashion the towel into three new and cheap and useful items.

Then, a 40th birthday invite via the telephone today. I know the birthday girl is someone who appreciates handmade things. But what? And how to get it made for Sunday? It is a pot luck meal and I do promise I won't be taking chocolate cake. But one thought is to make dukka (NOT on the day!). I love dukka and cannot buy it for love or money here in Wetville. I have some cute jars... Must pull out the recipe and hit Simplifoods (which is what our old Bin Inn is now called) tomorrow. I can't wait to look at her garden - the birthday girl is also my West Coast gardening guru.

That's it. No intellectual thoughts. Maybe I will start to catch up on the Guardian Weekly editions from our holiday tonight.


Corrine said…
lol, I've had the exact same experience with chocolate cake, (not a birthday thank goodness), but we are an hour away from a super market so I put it all in individual plates, put it back in the oven for a while, and called it lava cake.
Janet said…
I love home grown artichokes but only bbq'd or cooked in a heavy steel pan. The way I do them is fiddly to prepare but easy to cook and eat. Basically I pick when fairly young (sometimes getting several heads regrowing), pull off all the leaves, cut off the top, trim the stalk with a vegetable peeler, then slice down the middle and take out any of the flowery bits in the middle (the choke, most unpleasant to eat). They are then tossed in olive oil, salt and lemon juice and bbq'd until tender. Very delicious.
Just to let you know that there is a new, revised, e-book edition of "Lunch with Elizabeth David". The novel involving David and her mentor, Norman Douglas, originally published by Little Brown, is available in all e-book formats and can be sampled at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/29680
It is also in the Amazon KIndle store.

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