An odd combination I grant you but bear with me. I’m starting to lose my patience a little while waiting to reach the part of the book with actual meals in, although I do understand these are the basics I need to know before progressing to the more advanced stuff. Patience never was my virtue, ask any man I have ever dated. I decide to knock few a few recipes in a day to try and reach something I could call dinner this side of Christmas.
So, although not really a recipe I approach breadcrumbs, not something I have ever really needed before. I dry the bread out as instructed, on a plate on the counter, failing to mention it to flatty matey. Thankfully, used to my current food experimentation she doesn’t discard the unattended bread or take it for another example of my questionable cleaning standards.
I don’t believe for a second my blender (which looks nice but generally mocks anything I put in it by failing to blend it while making an awful lot of noise) will do the job, but I am astounded to find it chops them up perfectly. In fact I am so taken aback I fail to turn it off and blitz them to a pulp. They’re still breadcrumbs but I don’t suppose they would have done Hansel and Gretel much good. So here we are, a lovely bag of crumbs for the freezer to put with the giblets and frozen egg whites in the draw marked ‘room 101’.
On to salad dressing. The Oracle always used jam jars for this when I was young and I am not one to argue with the Oracle. Unfortunately the bag of jam jars I was gifted the week before is now residing somewhere in the Dartford area after getting waylaid in a pub on the way to W.I. and imbibing rather too many cider and blacks than is wise for someone of my diminutive stature. I made it off the train, the jars not so much. I delve around in the cupboards however and finally find a lone specimen hiding away.
In goes….. I put my left leg in, my left leg out, shake it all about etc and out comes an oily substance that looks about right. Now the problem I have is that I am programmed by life and those God awful ‘save 100 calories with these easy food swaps’ articles so popular in women’s magazines to be against pouring oil all over my food. I can hear them telling me that a spritz of lemon would do the same trick without encouraging the re-emergence of my back hamsters, muffin top or general love chub.
So…. Onwards towards the old school that is the Victoria sponge. I can practically feel Mary Berry scowling at me as I go. This is to the maiden voyage of my KitchenAid and I couldn’t be more excited/scared/aroused. Nigella assures me all I need to do is throw all of the ingredients in, plus some extra baking power and throw the switch so I duly comply. The machine whirrs into action and its love at first churn. Although my bingo wings won't get the workout they once did, I can't help but be grateful I won't ever find myself cowered on the floor over a bowl of butter that is refusing to cream and weld with sugar ever again.
Bunging it all in the oven I sit on a stool and watch as it rises to a glorious golden dome which I turn out to cool. I turn around, turn back and the whole thing has sunk back on itself, and has the cake equivalent of acne - weird craterous blisters. I think it must have overrisen, perhaps it didn't need quite the full 2 tsps of baking powder Nigella advocated? Another error - having no cooling rack I let it cool upside down on a plate, and the delicate yet pockmarked top stuck to it and ripped a big hole in the top of both the cakes. Undetterred I performed a rudimentary skin graft and applied an unlikely amount of icing sugar and it (almost) worked!
I also used the KitchenAid to whip an inordinate amount of cream to go in the middle, and was petrified the whole time I was going to leave it a second too long and turn it to butter but it was fine. I tipped a jar of raspberry jam on, plastered on the cream, bunged on the top and voila! Considering the shrinkage I encoutered it was still light and fluffy and I think a bit of tinkering with the baking powder proportions and it will be perfect.
Kitchen wisdom gained:
- Cornflour - replace a little of the plain flour in a sponge with it and your cake will come out heavenly light!
- Eating anything that is almost exclusively olive oil is not my cup of char.
- My blender actually blends things, who knew?!
Final score: Kat 1 - Nigella 0