Friday, 4 February 2011

when all else fails...bake!

I always think there is something very therapeutic about baking. 

Maybe it's the lovely smells that emanate from the oven...I think it is just about impossible not to have a happy feeling when your kitchen smells of warm, buttery cake! 

Maybe it's to do with that primitive urge to feed the family - there is something very satisfying about providing and although I love to cook pretty much anything, presenting golden, delicious baking probably wins over most things in terms of how it is received. It's funny how, however often you make the old favourites, they never become boring!

And I did need a bit of distraction therapy yesterday! Our boiler stopped working first thing Tuesday morning leaving us with no hot water or heating - its amazing how quickly your house gets sooo cold. By yesterday evening, several hours in to the Fixing Man trying to work out what the problem was, a spot of baking seemed essential!!!

All good...until the point at which he rather tentatively asked if he could turn all the power off!

Fortunately, I had not quite got to putting cake in the oven but had to finish mixing and putting in the tins by candlelight! We seriously take for granted our ready electricity supply, don't we?

Eventually, at about 8.30pm, normality was restored - I have never been so glad to hear the roar of the boiler kicking in! It transpires a part of the wiring in the circuit that the electric programmer is attached to had been subject to some kind of surge which had caused the fuse in the circuit board to melt - hence no power to the boiler at all. I didn't know whether to be relieved that it wasn't a problem with the boiler itself (which was a very expensive replacement just 18 months ago) or horrified that our electrical system is so dodgy. Over the years we have been here, we have discovered numerous 'little issues' with work that was done by the previous owners and I suspect really the wiring should have a complete overhaul. But we are assured that it is not lethal and we are certainly not in a position to spend that sort of money at the moment so I cross my fingers and carry on, hoping that we never have a major blow out that causes a fire.

If we ever win the lottery... (unlikely, given that we do it once in a blue moon!)

Power restored - flapjacks and buttery crumble cake made the world seem a better place! Wish you could smell them - the house smelt gorgeous!

I hadn't made this simple cake for some time - it is a base of vanilla flavoured buttery sponge topped with a layer of crumble and is truly delicious. Not one for using margarine though - definitely has to be butter!!! I make it in a small roasting tin; suspect it should be in a slightly smaller one and would come out a bit deeper. I gained this recipe from a friend when our kids were in reception and it has always involved a little bit of guesswork as crucial bits like tin size and baking time got missed out! My lot like the crumbly topping so slightly flatter cake with higher proportion topping goes down ok!

Seems odd to think those kids are now all learning to drive age - and that was the other reason for baking. Son 3 failed his driving test yesterday and although I was able to tell him he was in good company (both R and I had to take it twice many years ago) he was seriously in need of cheering up. There are times when I think it is particularly hard to be the youngest - when both your brothers have sailed through all the milestones there is a certain amount of self-imposed pressure to do the same. And at 17, I do remember it feels the Worst thing to not get through the test and a retest seems a lifetime away! No amount of me saying that in the scheme of things he will soon get there was going to help! I have to confess to a secret sense of relief as, unlike the other two, I wasn't convinced he was ready to be let loose on the roads on his own (and in my car!!!) - he is still quite tentative and anxious about driving anywhere other than empty country roads. So, not that I would say to him, I am quite glad he has a bit more time to practice and hope that in the next few weeks his confidence will increase. He seemed revived by cake and a chat with his lovely mates!

One more photo...gratuitous flower shot...

These tulips have lasted really well and I am loving the colours!

Off to center parcs tomorrow for girlie weekend! Intending to come back recharged - will let you know!


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