Guardian Girl

Hot date cake

Posted in Brain & heart, Fashion, Recipes by guardiangirl on April 30, 2010

My goodness me, Mr Lepard was underestimating this cake when he said it was in the running as one of the best date cakes around. I’d nominate it as one of the best cakes full stop.

My enchantingly intuitive and crurally balletic friend Emily came over to share it with me and, although she described it as “very nice, comforting, warm and old-fashioned tasting”, she did leave the crust on the plate. The fact that there was a crust to leave may, I concede, be part of the reason it was discarded. I didn’t particularly go out of my way to weigh any of the ingredients at all, but I did use my lovely measuring jug and my keen eye for a teaspoon to make the mixture. I used the right sized tin for once but the cake only took 30 mins to bake, not an hour. Maybe I put in too much sugary stuff and not enough flour.

To ring the changes and wrestle a bit of profit from the conglomerates I had done my shopping at Mother Earth this time, and I couldn’t find any tamarind paste in the shop. But no matter – I had foreseen this eventuality and thought of the sort of substances I might use to replace it. I don’t know if you’ve tried it but there’s this delicious pure fruit spread stuff called Sunwheel that’s a bit like molasses, but made of just apples and pears. In my experience of tamarind paste, this Sunwheel thing isn’t completely different, and it did add to a nice, moist cake. The walnuts didn’t even sink! The icing was a disaster, of course, but I don’t mind that much. To me it seems entirely natural that I would be able to bake a tasty cake but get the icing wrong, in much the same way that I can choose myself a lovely frock but my accessories will always let the whole thing down. Details or something. But who wants to be good at icing, anyway? That’s just a rubbish skill. Be good at cakes.

Here it is:

Tamarind date cake

Other kind of date cake

Other kind of date cake

I was intending to do a home styling shoot last night but, what with running, bathing, entertaining and putting the recycling out – which somehow seems to take me hours – I never got round to it. The dahlias also remained in their packet due to the heavy rains my neighbourhood was experiencing at the appointed planting time.

Other updates: the final outfit of the week has me replicating this young lad’s vibe. I’m sure you’ll agree my success is uncanny.

Checks

Vexed

Vexed

I think that pretty much rounds off the week, other than to say that I have carried in my heart and mind Oliver Burkeman’s words, as always, to test out their life-changing abilities. This week’s column had quite a positive impact on my daily life, as it happens. This Column WIll Change Your Life is often among the pages to capture my imagination the most when I open the magazine on a Saturday, but it barely gets mentioned in my blog. I think that’s because I’m so utterly rubbish at writing about it. I just had to delete a whole paragraph I’d written about this week’s because it made me feel nauseous. I seem to go extra pompous sounding as soon as feelings are involved. I think I’ll try to work on this. In the meantime, I trust you’ll find my writing lovably imperfect.

Advertisements

Lazy Marmalade

Posted in Brain & heart, Fashion, Recipes by guardiangirl on February 25, 2010

Last night I arrived home to the not unpleasant task of baking Chelsea buns. They took a bit of time but I did try to be patient, which was made easier by the fact that there was plenty of leftover noodle soup to stave off my hunger.

I thought I already had vitamin C tablets and strong white flour at home, so didn’t buy any on the way home. Sadly I was wrong, so the buns had to be made with plain flour and no fizzy fluffening agent. That might explain why the finished buns had the collective mass of a black hole. Also, I took my usual ‘relaxed’ approach to measuring and rising times, which has now become such a feature of my cooking style that I rarely challenge it (much against this week’s advice from Oliver Burkeman, which I have otherwise been attempting to bear in mind.)

Despite their heaviness, the buns were tasty and a proper treat stolen warm from the oven. Housemate Nin has taken the rest of the batch – plus more leftover noodle soup – to her studio to feed her students with today, so the reviewing of Guardian-created foodstuffs has now opened up to include even more opinions. Their verdict on last week’s bean and cinnamon stew, incidentally, was unanimously positive. I suspect they might be less kind about the noodle dish (which had turned into a linguine dish, and very unsouplike at that), since it had become insipid and claggy by the time I revisited it last night. Most dishes are best served lukewarm, not least revenge, but this one lost its appeal as fast as it lost its temperature.

On another note I have cheered up slightly since reading this bleak NYT article on weight gain/sedentary lifestyles.

I’ve cheered up because without a broken foot I am back to my militant walking, running, stair-climbing, bag-carrying, fidgeting way of life, and this article says to me: “dahhrling, of course a broken foot and the subsequent three months of enforced sitting down are going to affect your lumpenness levels. Stop blaming the Guardian quite so damningly for introducing you to the joys of daily suet puddings. Just keep moving around and enjoy your life like a normalton again, please, with less of this monotonous whingeing about dresses not fitting.” May the glory of Chelsea buns be officially reinstated! Whoo-hoo!

Marmalade Chelsea buns

Marmalade Chelsea buns

Badly made Chelsea buns

Badly made Chelsea buns

Say hello

Say hello

Say goodbye

Say goodbye

Conclusions:

  • I am verily not enjoying today’s outfit or its accompanying centre parting. I have put a grey blazer over the top for work, which helps a bit. It’s the kind of ensemble that just about works in front of the mirror if you ruffle up your hair, hold your head at a precise angle, suck in your tummy, adjust your blazer so it falls right, stand up tall and dim the lights. In all other conditions I suspect the positive points of the outfit fall away rapidly.
  • I promise that I’ll stop talking about the pastry/dress size correlation very soon. It has become a rather significant element of the experiment, and it is turning my blog into some sort of Rosemary Conley confessional booth. This was not my intention at all. But my intention was to be honest in my documentation of living the Guardian lifestyle, so I am caught in a trap. As traps go, however, it’s not exactly life threatening, so we’ll just breeze our way out of it elegantly.
Tagged with: , , , ,