The day after Bake Off I didn’t know whether to be euphoric because it is most definitely the start of Bake Off season, or in a slump because I had to wait for Bake Off for another week.
So, Tallulah and I decided to think outside the box, and make a cake which meant that we could imagine ourselves being on Bake Off, and if we suddenly felt sad we would have cake to eat which would undoubtedly cheer us up. A winning idea I think you’ll agree.
We made a magnificent Victoria sponge filled with raspberry curd and whipped cream. It rose like a dream, tasted as light as air, and was an all round winner. We were overjoyed. We had made entirely the right decision.
The rest of the last two days has been spent alternately cooking and knitting, which is not a bad way to spend your time, if you’re me.
We had friends round for a play date yesterday, and there were a lot of mouths to feed, so I made an Antonio Carluccio pasta pie, which was basically shepherd’s pie with pasta instead of mashed potato. We had it with a huge panzanella (bread and tomato salad), which I’ve always meant to have a go at, but never quite got round to. You need good bread for it, and it needs to be slightly stale, which poses a problem for us. If bread is really good it gets eaten way before it has time to go stale.
Yesterday the panzanella was destined to be made, because Tilly had made a huge loaf the night before and it was too late in the evening for us to eat it all, so I was able to cut off the stale heel, and put it to good use.
We ate like kings.
The afternoon was spent in preparation for my last knitting class. I have been meaning to tackle another pattern for a while, and had enough wool to make a pair of fingerless mittens to match the hat and scarf I made for my sister in law. I will refrain from making leg warmers as well. That would be too weird. I managed to finish knitting one of the gloves and had started the other by the time I got to the class, so I felt that I had something to show for myself. I am also on my tenth scarf blanket section.
I admit that I did sneak off to the wool shop yesterday afternoon to purchase the wool for my next non-blanket project. I have another scarf length that I have knitted in seed stitch, which is no use for my blanket, but too nice to waste. I am going to do another hat and scarf combination and wanted contrasting wool for the ends of the scarf and the hat, and I needed another hat pattern. I don’t want to make the same thing every time, and I wanted to slightly up the difficulty level on the pattern front so that I can progress. My ultimate aim is to knit myself a fantastic coat, and I won’t ever be able to achieve that if I don’t build up my skills, so another hat must be made.
The first pattern I had chosen from a book in the library was far too difficult. It turned out to involve knitting with circular needles and four double ended needles. I am not ready for that kind of malarkey yet. I can barely cope with two needles. The lovely Fiona at the shop helped me pick a different pattern from the book, which still uses regular needles but is complex enough to challenge me. I admit that when I looked closely at the pattern I quailed rather, but I am sure all will be well, eventually. I envision a lot more maths and creative swearing before the hat will resemble the picture in the book, but that’s all part of the fun.
Today, I had vague plans to go to the garden centre. We have some vouchers to spend, and I wanted to replant my first two boxes, which have rather gone astray and look mostly dead. I need hardier, more boisterous plants that will survive being ignored.
Instead, my friend Lizzie texted me about having made cake pops, and what with one thing and another that ended up with her entire family coming around with the cake pops for us to decorate.
I made lunch in return. We had more panzanella, mozzarella, tomato and avocado salad and more pasta. This time I made two Carluccio sauces (I am really testing this book). I made his version of arabbiata to see how it compared with mine (about the same, to be honest, which is cheering for me), and smoked salmon with tomato, cream and vodka sauce. I’ve had this in restaurants and loved it, so was delighted to find a recipe. I was even more delighted to find out that it was easy, peasy to make. It was also delicious.
We had a late and long lunch which meandered on through tea time, which is just the kind of lunch I like.
And now I am full, and sleepy, and my husband is home, home from the wars, and I intend to spend the evening dozing on the sofa, alternately reading my book, knitting, and resting my hands on my rotund, food filled belly, while smiling at my husband and being very pleased with my life.