What’s with this family? Last Christmas we were all ill and I think it was Boy Lacer who was actually ill on Christmas Day itself, Easter Day . . . Boy Lacer is ill again, some sort of stomach bug, I just hope we don’t all get it, it’s enough to put me off my chocolate . . .
So this Easter, apart from watching some good sci-fi (or not so good sci-fi), I made Simnel Cake yesterday, which was a fairly stressful experience, which is not the point of baking at all. I’ve never had the urge to eat (and therefore make) Simnel Cake before, the marzipaness of it all put me off but suddenly the marzipaness of it all was what was making it all sound deeply appealing. And maybe last Christmas’ Christmas Cake disaster when I deviated from the normal Nigella Christmas cake over to a Rachel Allen recipe and regretted it, I wanted a fruit cake I would actually eat. So I checked out my vast stash of cookbooks and found two Simnel cake recipes, one was a Rachel Allen and one was a Nigella recipe, you can guess which recipe I went for! The Nigella recipe is in her book Feast and can also be found online here, it’s quite a nice recipe in that for the average baker a lot of the ingredients are already in their cupboard (Allen’s recipe looked a bit more complicated). It’s fairly straightforward to make to, well it should be, I had expected it to take half and hour – three quarters of an hour to make before getting it into the oven and normally I think it would have taken me that long but of course first I couldn’t actually find a cake tin! And here I was proclaiming to be an ‘average baker’, I could find lots of cake tin sides or bottoms but nothing that actually went together, now my kitchen is small and there’s only so many places to put a cake tin and I didn’t have a clue where else I’d put it. I eventually found it in the cupboard with the saucepans (?) and then proceeded to start making the actual cake, got out my unopened packet of sultanas, measured out the 250g of sultanas I planned to mix with 250g of currants, noticed something white on one of the sultanas and it’s a blinking insect larvae! So out goes the sultanas and it’s Simnel cake made with 500g of very carefully checked currants. I then start mixing the cake, just wanting to get this cake over and done with now and in the oven, when Mr. Lacer behind me starts fussing about the stamps, which we don’t have, because he needs one to post a birthday card ASAP, he asks me as the font of all local knowledge (we’ve lived here 5 years now and he still doesn’t know the names of the streets) if the local corner shop sells stamps, now for non-UK readers, most corner shops sell stamps but our corner shop is attached to a post office which at the point of questioning was closed as it was a Saturday afternoon, so when asked if our corner shop sold stamps, I replied “Of course not, it’s attached to a post office,” to which he replied petulantly “Well what if the post office is closed?”, to which I replied “I don’t think they’ll bother stocking stamps for just when the post office is closed,” something to which Mr. Lacer vehemently disagreed with on point of principle. So he’s rattling round the flat moaning whilst I’m trying to bake this cake and he was going “I’m not going to go to the corner shop just to see if they do sell stamps, do we need to buy anything else?”, to which I couldn’t think of anything, honestly at this point if I hadn’t been in the middle of baking a cake I’d have gone to the shop to see if they sold stamps, luckily shortly afterwards I remembered we needed some kitchen towel, so he went off to buy that, checking to see if they’ve got any stamps and of course they didn’t have any. After all that the Simnel cake did eventually make it into the oven, with me not totally convinced it was going to rise, luckily it did and despite me not having enough golden marzipan as it turned (ha could have gone to the corner shop for that!), it’s turned out quite a nice cake, so I’d recommend the Nigella recipe.
So that was yesterday, today Boy Lacer has been on the sofa hugging my Barbican pillow, Girl Lacer has been ‘camping’ outside with the new Easter garden toys even though the weather is a bit miserable (they got an inflatable pirates thing you fill with water and a multi purpose football goal – that’s what Girl Lacer has been camping in), although she is useless at camping (bang goes my recent cheap holiday that’s not at my dad’s idea) as she hates creepy crawlies (yet will happily pick up snails for me). One single ant in the football goal “Mummy! There’s an ant in the tent,” me “Well there’s a lot of ants in the garden, it’s their garden to” (says me, known to pour boiling hot water down ants nests in the summer) Girl Lacer’s reply “Well he’s in my tent!”.
I haven’t eaten any more of the Simnel cake and only one medium easter egg and one little one, my stomach isn’t feeling brilliant either but I’m hoping that’s just the ibs I normally get after coming back from holiday (due to the change in diet) and I probably shouldn’t be eating any chocolate (or cake).
Happy Easter everyone, says she wondering if everyone will be healthy come the next big family day, Mr. Lacer’s big four-oh in June.