Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Christmas cakes and procrastination.............


Oh what a difference a little sun makes. Even if it is just a temporary appearance. And even if it does light up the copious piles of stars STILL waiting for the ends to be sewn in. Sigh. I like putting off things as long as I can. 

This morning started with some important phone discussions, moved on to a visit to a nearby gift shop, whose owner is a wedding planner and wanted to know re bunting, moved to the next door coffee shop for liquid refreshment, and continued on home. 

Avoidance techniques perfected. 

It gets even better. 

I decided to make that Christmas cake I spoke about. The kind I haven't baked since Geoff died. He loved fruit cake. In fact, I think he may have been the only family member to like it. But I like the smell of it baking, and the added smell of the newspaper heating up. Newspaper, you ask? Yes. You grease and line the cake tin, and then tie folded sheets of newspaper around the tin with string, to slow down the cooking process and prevent the fruit from charring. Or something like that. You use newspaper. You just DO. Like my grandmothers always did. And my mother. And my friends. . 

Anyway, I decided today was the day to bake the fruit cake. So I hauled out all the dried fruit. Mixed raisins, sultanas, candied peel, glace cherries, glace pineapple (I couldn't find any glace figs I was prepared to buy)(One could buy a whole fig tree for the price of a tiny box) and popped them in the pot with water and butter and sugar to cook for 5 minutes. 


Then I got out all the other ingredients - flour, bicarb etc, and spices like cinnamon, mixed spice, ginger, nutmeg, cloves.....wait a minute, where are the nutmeg and cloves??????

And then I remembered tossing out the contents of my spice cupboard when I purged the kitchen a few months ago. I completely forgot to buy nutmeg and cloves, because HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU USE NUTMEG AND CLOVES?? Never. Unless I am making a Christmas cake, which will tell you how old the last lot was when I tossed them out - Geoff died  more than 6 years ago. 

So back in the car I leapt, and off to the wonderful spice and Other Wonderful Food place I went. In town. More time used up. AND home again, for coffee as I finally got the cake in the oven, completely forgetting to take a photo of the raw mixture in the tin with the paper tied neatly around it. 

This one will have to do. You can see some of the paper. Because my oven is broken, I cooked it in the little microwave/convection oven. I had to trim the paper to the height of the tin, because it is a small little oven and a large deep tin, and we did not want a fire, believe me.  

One of the drawbacks of the little oven is that its cooking timer programme only goes 90 minutes. This cake cooks for half an hour on 180C and then 2 and a half hours at 160C, so, as you can clearly see, I had to watch it and could not possibly go and sew in ends, now could I? 

And then Margaret popped in for tea, and we sat and chatted in the kitchen, because the cake cooking smelled wonderful, and it also warmed the place up a bit. Margaret did not remover her coat. Maybe I need to cook things on a high temperature to warm my friends. I have plans for the crockpot tomorrow. That will warm the kitchen. Do crockpots warm rooms? I forget. 

Anyway, here is a better photo of the cake. It smells wonderful, even if you don't like rich fruit cake. I may or may not put marzipan and icing on it. I loathe marzipan. Maybe I will just tie a bow around it and plonk artistically arrange a Father Christmas on the top. Or something. It is cooling in the tin as I speak. 

So this evening, I spoke to friends on the phone, spoke to my son on the phone, skyped with my sister on the computer and here I am, and it is after 10pm and I have not sewn in on star's ends. 


Tomorrow. After aquazumba. 

And now for something completely different - I mentioned that Facebook wanted me to vote in the American elections. I was so honoured to see this message repeatedly on my Facebook page,. I deleted it and back up it came again and again. I nearly told it to find my polling place. The hilarious part is that one of my son's friends works for Facebook, and he left a comment saying that I should not be seeing it outside of the USA, and that led him to examine the coding and at that point, I told him  that I was rather enjoying being American for the day. Unfortunately I couldn't reach any polling place before they closed. 


It did make me grin though!


Isabelle said...

That looks lovely. We all like fruit cake. And marzipan. Yum.

Needled Mom said...

I can almost smell the spices here. Yum!! I agree with you regarding the marzipan though.

Anonymous said...

Tiggers don't like marzipan. Rather partial to fruit cake though !