Month: April 2006

dude! where's the cheese?

Bought some nice fresh basil at the weekend. This week is busy, busy, busy with deadlines, and we’re both tired. So we decided to have a simple supper last night – pasta with mozarella, olive oil, and the aforementioned basil.

The discussion was had about what sort of pasta – we plumped for standard spaghetti from the Yellow Packet. We boiled the kettle. We put the water in the pan, brought it back to the boil, added the spag.

We got the basil and the moz^H^H^H – hang on … where’s the mozarella? Much rummaging ensued. Disaster – no mozarella. Meanwhile, the pasta bubbled on.

In great haste, we chopped an onion and sauted it in some olive oil, and chopped up some stilton. Stirred it into the pasta when cooked. Very nice.

But not what we wanted.

victoria sponge redux

Well, I tried it again. I used the right size tins, I checked that the oven was the right temperature with a thermometer, I even softened the butter Just In Case.

And still, my cake was more like a biscuit. An uncooked biscuit at that.

My sponge making days are over. Gloom.

I've never been much cop at baking

But for some reason, in the past week or so I’ve been making some cakey things. I started with carrot and cinnamon muffins (delicious), then did some espresso flavoured cup cakes (also delicious).

Then, fired up with confidence, I decided to make a sponge. A SPONGE. How hard can it be?, I asked myself. I found a recipe in Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. I rummaged in the back of the saucepan cupboard and found a brace of 6″ sponge tins. I rummaged in the bottom drawer in the kitchen and found the pre-cut cake tin liners (cut them myself? Are you mad?).

Then, in accordance with the recipe, I preheated the oven to Gas 4, tipped all the ingredients in the Magimix, bar the milk, whizzed them all up, and then added the milk. I did think the ingredients looked a bit – well – odd, but I got Pete to check them. Then I poured the mixture into the sponge tins, set the timer for 25 minutes and went off to watch Doctor Who.

And never heard the timer … so they had 35 minutes instead of 25. But they weren’t burned, and hey had risen quite enthusiastically, and the skewer was clean, so I left them in their tins for a bit to cool as instructed, then turned them out. Then, a bit later, I spread one of them liberally with rhubarb and ginger jam, sandwiched them together, and triumphantly cut us a slice each.

And it wasn’t cooked through. On re-reading the recipe, Nigella uses *8″* tins, not 6″ ones. Stupid woman.

how to make an omelette

I like this 🙂

“Here is the recipe for the omelette: I break some good eggs into a bowl, I beat them well, I put a good piece of butter in the pan, I throw the eggs into it and I shake constantly. I am happy, monsieur, if the recipe pleases you”.

— Annette Poulard, 6 June 1932.


Being tired and hungry, we thought we’d have some porridge this morning, so I found the box with the oats in, and bunged the requisite amounts of them, the milk and the water into a bowl, and placed it in the microwave.

And only then noticed that the bag said “best before April 03”. How bad could it be, I thought? When they were cooked, they didn’t smell very appetising, to be honest; so Pete had a rummage in the cupboard where we keep such things, and emerged triumphantly waving another bag of porridge oats.

“Best before 2000”, it said.

So we’re still hungry.