When I get to work on Monday morning Christmas will have officially begun, I would say it's to early but the stock has been an unwelcome reality for a few weeks now and it's going to be such a relief to have it out on the shelf rather than in a solid wall between me and anything I want to get to, also I've seen pfeffernusse. Still it's hard work and I'm sitting here at the end of the week wondering if I can put off dealing with laundry until tomorrow, and what would be more relaxing - bed with Mae West (on film) or a bath with Mae West (book). Most likely is falling asleep on the sofa until I get woken by cramp or cold half way through the night...
A bright spot in all this is cake. I had been on a bit of a self imposed baking ban over the summer but after I found some very elderly cans and jars at the back of a cupboard there was a bit of a tidy up and a ready made excuse to use up some of the many half full bags of sugar, nuts, dried fruits, and all the rest of the stuff with best before dates looming. A superabundance of
elderly nicely matured marmalade and dessicated coconut has made Dan Lepard's 'Short and Sweet' the inspiration for most of my recent baking - Lepard seems to like both and it's been fun working through quite a bit more of this book.
From being a book I wasn't going to bother with 'Short and Sweet' has become almost indispensable, it's even close to usurping Nigella's 'How To Be A Domestic Goddess' as the go to cake book - close but not quite there, not until I find the equivalent of Nigella's Brownies which have been providing an unequalled sugar and chocolate hit for more than a decade now.
Cakes baked have been the brown sugar chocolate loaf cake - this one was a disaster after most of it escaped from the tin and landed on a baking tray that I'd thoughtfully placed under it against just such a possibility - I don't have a lot of luck with loaf cakes. More successful was a marmalade and vanilla cream layer cake but it all got eaten before I could take a picture - there were guests, it wasn't just me and a fork. Had I actually used the fine cut marmalade specified rather than the chunky home made sort it would have been even better.
Most successful however was an Orange Macaroon cake, this is the one I'd make again. Nice texture, good flavour, and just the right amount of coconut. Now all I need is another cup of tea.