I have filled the antibiotic prescription for Oscar, who is still really poorly. He seems fine for an hour or two, then declines rapidly in the manner of a Victorian consumptive. Then he plateaus, feels a bit better and then rinses and repeats. Whatever this is is nasty and vicious and horrible and we cannot like it at all.
I have baked three cakes, which is good. Two are the same, the chocolate Malteser birthday cake from Jo Wheatley’s book. This is now the most requested cake in my repertoire. There is nobody, except possibly Stalin, who doesn’t like this cake. It is moist, it is chocolatey, it is light and fluffy, and it is loaded with ganache, and Maltesers. It is about forty billion calories per slice. What’s not to like?
I have also baked a macadamia, mandarin and polenta cake from a Good Housekeeping book I picked up I know not where. It is an Australian book, so the methods are a little odd if you are used to the standard; ‘cream butter and sugar together’ UK style recipes. Having said that, every cake I have baked from it has turned out to be fabulous.
I have been eyeing up this polenta cake for a while. I love cakes made with polenta and have never really had a bash at them. In full on baking frenzy yesterday I gave it a go. In typical Boo family fashion I only had 100g of the 280g of macadamias I needed. And I only had satsumas, not mandarins. Apart from that I was good to go. I substituted blanched almonds to make up the rest of the macadamias, and decided satsumas/mandarins was a bit potato/potahtoh so wot the hell?
Let me tell you. Grinding up macadamia nuts when you haven’t got a blender is an almighty pain in the arse. I bashed away at those damn things using my pestle and mortar for about an hour until they relented enough to form a roughly ground meal, as insisted upon in the recipe. There is now a fine layer of macadamia nut sand all over the kitchen floor. It reminds me of being at the sea side.
During the bashing of the nuts I had to put the satsumas in cold water, bring them to the boil, rinse and repeat three times.
It was basically more of a spell than a recipe by this point.
As I scraped the batter into the cake tin I felt obliged to dance widdershins round the tin three times whilst invoking Beelzebub with the power of a spatula.
Beelzebub appears to have been merciful. The cake is very nice. Incredibly moist, not too orangey, and would be blinking lovely served with a huge dollop of cream or mascarpone.
It is however, unlikely that I will ever make it again in the same way as it took forever to prepare and it was not stunning enough for me to think it was worth the candle.
We are now ready for all party eventualities.
On top of this I took the cat to the vet. Tallulah was able to leave the bathroom, so I took everyone with me. We had a tragic family outing. The cat wailed along with the general doom mongering from the children. By this time in the day the rain clouds had evaporated and it was baking hot, and I felt, as I drove slowly in heavy traffic around the ring road that perhaps we had driven into a Paul Bowles’ novel, and all we needed was a dead monkey to land on the bonnet while a woman died of typhus in a lay-by and it would be perfect.
I did manage to park at the vets in an amazing fluke whereby someone pulled out as I turned into the road and I was able to slide neatly into the space they had vacated. This was excellent, as, as predicted, the rest of the road and all the roads either side were absolutely chock a block with parked cars on both sides of the road.
Derek, it transpires, had an abscess on her tail. There were no signs that she had been in a scrap with another cat over ownership of her manor, just a large and unpleasant bulge which the vet proceeded to drain as I clutched Derek’s head and the children sat in the waiting room wringing their hands and emitting a series of plangent moans. Cats’ paws sweat when they are stressed/scared, and it was my job to ensure that Derek did not slide off the table in terror as the procedure happened. Cats also shed fur when they are stressed. By the time we left the surgery, Derek and I looked like we had been moulted on heavily by large, tabby dandelion clocks. It went well with the macadamia sand when we got home.
Which took ages, because we exited the surgery in rush hour, and what should be a ten minute journey took half an hour.
Having said this, middle daughter has stopped crapping over nine hedges, cat no longer has a malignant tail and birthday tea was achieved. Jason came home in time to eat with us, and eldest child thinks she did OK in her GCSE biology, so it’s not all bad.