So why I wonder am I procrastinating in front of the television again? Okay so the answer to that is I’m a sucker for a hospital drama and ridiculously easily distracted at times. Ridiculously easily distracted on Sunday at any rate – I set off into town in search of another Gladys Mitchell. It wasn’t available (poor show on behalf of the high streets only remaining dedicated bookseller) but they did – and still do – have the penguin decade’s series in a three for two offer which changed my dilemma from the normal ‘can only find two books’ to the still overly familiar one of ‘too much choice’.
I was sorely tempted by a Julia Childe cookbook until I worked out (by reading the cover, but it took a lot longer than might reasonably be expected) that it was volume 2. No volume 1 being available I went back to the penguins and dithered for a very long time. Choice finally made I set off for home again full of good intentions regarding ironing and hovering, and then got waylaid by a bench with an attractive view. In my defence I don’t have a garden of my own, and the park is on the way home, and it was far too nice and sunny to be doing housework anyway.
In the park (okay in park number two – it’s a leafy area) I was utterly sidetracked by a huge quantity of wild garlic, I’ve seen it every year for the last five years and every year swear I’m going to pick and cook some – it’s taking such a long time because I want to identify a patch which hasn’t been visited by dogs/cats/foxes/tramps and a time when passing youth won’t laugh. Sunday afternoon wasn’t quite the time. Besides which why do when you can read about doing? (A lot of good answers to that question which I will probably be ignoring.) So it was home for a good browse on things to do with wild garlic – at this point I had every intention of going back to gather some but ended up distracted by something in River Cottage Everyday... Apple and Almond Pudding Cake. It was very good, and yet again I ended up going to bed wondering how it is that I do so few of the things I mean to do on a day off. I still need to hoover.
3 or 4 good sized apples
25g unsalted butter
1 heaped tablespoon granulated sugar (I prefer golden sugars for apples)
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
150g soft butter
125g sugar (I mixed golden castor sugar with a spoon of muscavado – because I could!)
1 teaspoon of Almond extract
75g of self raising flour
75g of ground almonds
20cm springform tin, lined and greased
Peel core and cut the apples into chunky slices, melt the butter and sugar, add the cinnamon and cook for about five mins until the apples are getting just soft. Put to one side and heat the oven to 170°C gas 3
Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add 1 egg and beat some more, add egg 2 along with the almond extract and a spoon of flour to stop it curdling. Fold in the rest of the flour and the ground nuts and spread onto the bottom of the tin. Arrange the apples, complete with any juices, on top of the cake and bake for 45 mins. Good hot or cold – that Hugh knows his cakes.