I can add nothing about the outrage that took place in Paris last night.
It is a gloomy, rainy, windy day, archetypically November.
MsDD has gone off to play at a Music Conference in Daventry, which she’ll follow with pizza and a film at a friend’s house and thence a friend’s 18th birthday party. I hope the celebration will not be muted. Life must go on. The terrorists who perpetuate their nasty, small-minded, hypocritical, Puritanical, barbaric lies about the life we lead want us to bow our heads and stop enjoying our lives. They must not win.
My dogs have gone into boarding kennels in anticipation of my trip to India. Without them the house feels empty and suddenly far too big in a way that I’ve never recognised before. I’m wondering if this is how it will feel when my children eventually fly the nest. For the moment, I’m enjoying the quiet and the space: a haven of reason and order and tranquility, a comforting cocoon against the harsh realities of the world.
Instead, I bring to you the blog post that I had originally intended for last night.
I came across this recipe for Golden Cake in Nigella Lawson’s excellent, excellent (it deserves the double) book, Feast, a multicultural celebration of the sensory delights of food and festivals and cultures. It is oddly appropriate to include it here today, I think.
The recipe originally used peach slices but I accidentally bought halves. Slices would possibly have made more room for the cake batter. The third picture above illustrates what happens when you don’t quite have the correct cake tin: mine was 24cm in diameter, Nigella needed 25cm. It made a difference to the cooking time too: mine was a bit overcooked on top, though I had to add a lot to the hour’s cooking time for it to be cooked right through and even then the bottom bit with the peaches came out as more pudding (like the soggy bit of bread and butter pudding, to be frank) than cake.
Next time I’d be likely to use a conventional heat setting rather than intensive bake and perhaps I’d reduce the cooking temperature a bit for it to bake more evenly. Nonetheless it is delicious.
I have never made a polenta cake before and there is a pleasing hint of grittiness in parts to an otherwise smooth cake. It’s also the first time I’ve used oil to make a cake. Nigella specifies sunflower oil but I’ve used oh-so-trendy cold-pressed British rapeseed oil here. (The olive oil supply has been affected by a disease that’s ravaging Mediterranean olives, many of which have been growing and maturing for hundreds of years and are therefor hard to replace.)
The rapeseed oil is such a beautiful colour and adds to the all-round goldenness of the cake. I was particularly excited when I decanted the juice from the canned peaches – are they a throwback to youthful puddings for anyone else? – into an ancient Pyrex pint jug that I salvaged from my mum’s flat, and must be at least 40 years old. Look at the beautiful golden bubbles at the interface of the juice and the oil! I was so taken by this spot colour in my monochromatic kitchen that I had to take photos.
As usual, though, there are too few people around to eat my creation and it made me laugh as I stood at my fridge door, Nigella-style, to cut myself a cheeky little slice post-launch when there was no-one to see me. I guess I needed to supplement my sunshine. #carryon