I’d had the afternoon off work, I had plans but the arrival of the second cold in under two weeks, the day before, put a squash to that. So I was doing pretty much what I had done all day yesterday, when I had been feeling worse, knitting blanket squares, which has to be the most no brain craft ever, so it’s pretty perfect. But today I was a bit better and knitting blanket squares wasn’t really doing it for me, as it turns out knitting my sky scarf wasn’t doing it for me either, so I dragged myself into the kitchen.
I wanted to make chocolate cake, as *ah hem* reward for not running down to the corner shop and stuffing myself with the nearest bar of chocolate, which is what I wanted to do but all the chocolate cake recipes I found just looked too complicated for my recuperating self, so I made soda bread instead.
I used a recipe from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake (there’s a similarish recipe here) and it is as easy as it comes, dry ingredients in first, followed by wet ingredients, give it a stir, tip it out onto your floured work surface, wodge it together, stick it on your baking sheet, score, bake, bob’s your uncle. I decided to be miss fancy pants and also add in some cheese and fresh thyme to mine (Mr. Hollywood did say it was ok to add extra flavours).
Once the specified baking time was up, I took it out of the oven and gave it a knock on its base to see if it sounded hollow, now I think it did but once it had cooled enough for tea I was not totally convinced it was cooked in the middle. It looked quite ‘dense’ but it did spring back when prodded, so it obviously wasn’t that doughy. I actually think it might have been the cheese, messing with the texture a bit because it sure as hell didn’t do much else. You could taste it faintly but the thyme was much stronger. The thyme was nice (to quote Boy Lacer “I like thyme”) and I think it won out over the cheese because as I’ve found before with our regular brand of medium strength cheddar, it’s lovely in sandwiches, pretty tasteless when baked with. But this was a ‘use what I got’ job.
Anyway it was served up to the family (minus the very middle bit that was the densest) and they all liked it, so result. But I can’t help but think, specially with Great British Bake Off back on our screens, that Paul Hollywood would not have been that complimentary.
I have hardly baked at all over the last few months as I am trying to loose weight and I know one of my weak areas is home baked stuff but I shouldn’t let that stop me all the time, so I made apple bread from the old classic, Tessa Kiros’s Apples for Jam. Compared to some things you could make, it’s relatively ‘healthy’ …. sort of. I made it with the kids and we had great fun, it’s a nice simple recipe. We missed out the walnuts, as me and Boy Lacer aren’t too keen on those. The resulting cake was absolutely gorgeous, but it stuck massively to the tin, despite good greasing and so fell apart when I tried to get it out, hence no photo, if I were to make this again (and I should), I use some sort of tin liner. You will have to put up with my description instead, the cake was not what I expected, it came out much, much darker than I thought (although it wasn’t burnt), sort of both in appearance and texture like a lovely, moist gingerbread loaf. The recipe required both cinnamon and cardamom and those two added to the gingerbread vibe. The cake wasn’t that apple-y but I think it was the grated apple that was behind how lovely and moist it was.