Parkin


From Wednesday evening 8th November 2017

I’m making Parkin. It reality I should at this point be finishing the last crumbs of some  Parkin I made earlier rather just getting round to it now but beggars can’t be chooser, so here we are. Bit of a spur of the moment thing, I really should be making tea, we’ll be having beans on toast now instead of toad in the hole, I really haven’t thought this through…

You can tell by the way I’ve gone about it too. No military operation, no careful & organised collection of ingredients & equipment, each put in their proper place, it’s utter chaos, (well it is for me). There’s stuff everywhere & I’m not even wearing an apron. I will have nightmares about this for days… Or rather my OCD will.

And I’ve actually chosen a recipe & completely & utterly stuck to it. No deviations, no adaptions, no little tweaks as I go along. An unheard of occurrence, I NEVER do that – ever!!! I always change recipes, always. There’s definitely something in the air…. I may need a lie down…. Mind you, it does come from a rather excellent recipe book (Cakes – Regional & Tradional) so I am hopeful. Julie Duff is the author & if you want a fount of all knowledge when it comes the traditions of British cake baking then she is the lady in the know. So let’s hope she knows. I’m sure she does.

It also turns out the 7″ square tin I bought some years ago & have never used is actually 9″… It’s obviously been an invaluable buy. Thank goodness for that awkward but equally useful square multi pan thing from Alan Silverwood, now that was an excellent investment.  Unlike the 9″ tin, one for eBay perhaps.

It’s beginning to smell rather delicious with its spicy autumnal overtones, the very definition of devine especially at this time of year. Nothing is more lovely that warm cosy mugs of deeply rich hot chocolate & decadent spicy morsels, warming your insides, calming the soul & filling your entire self with happiness. Unless of course you can’t stand ginger or cinnamon or worse still, are allergic…  So sad but then all the more me.

Twenty minutes to go & then a week under wraps, Parkin is a torturous cake. Tempting you with its promises of sticky gorgeousness but waiting is worth it, if it’s made right. Let’s hope so.

It’s a fairly Northern cake you know, Celtic in origin & called Thor, Tharf or Thar cake which I really rather like. Makes it sound all the more delicious  & possibly a super food in its own right I shouldn’t wonder.  Just as well its traditionally only eaten on Bonfire Night, we’d all be superhuman which really wouldn’t do.

Ten minutes to go, I’d best clear up the mess. Everything back where it belongs, all filed neatly in its place, pots & pans in dishwasher for a good scrub, treacle gets everywhere. I really should’ve worn an apron..

Beep beep beep! Done. It’s out! Well I don’t know about you but that looks OK to me, not bad at all. Of course the proof is in the tasting & so we wait… Although I’m really not sure I can.

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Tales of the Freezer


I don’t know about you guys but I do a fair bit of batch cooking to help with our busy life. Nothing worse than coming home after a sailing event than having to then start preparing a hearty meal or even a light snack if we’re quite late back (Weymouth is a long way!) so in the freezer I normally have lots of homemade soup, chilli, the inevitable spagbol, curries, casseroles you name it!

The freezer is running quite low so today I’m making chilli using both beef & turkey mince & then a turkey korma. I’m learning to cook all over again, what having to feed an athlete now! Protein this & protein that!!!!! It’s been a sharp learning curve since Christmas & good job we all like turkey, what with being turkey being bursting with protein….

We’ve gone even more brown & wholewheat than we were before, which no bad thing, just need to remember brown rice takes that little bit longer to cook. Well the brown rice hasn’t gone down as well as other things but there’s no alternative in the house so it’s tough!

And then there’s lentils… One step too far that one, you really can’t disguise them. Unlike broccoli –  ‘it’s just green herbs’! Although with a spagbol I did recently I hadn’t mashed up the broccoli quite enough & there were complaints, outrage ran high & I thought ah well, that’s fair enough – he’s missed the mushrooms so you can’t win them all.

I’ve taken batch cooking to new level this year, one must always strive (Yes I know – must get out more – it’s on my list) I’ve addressed portion size, especially with soup, to make up individual sized portions, given that at any one time we have soup, we’ll all have different flavours. I know, I can hear you rolling you’re eyes at this one. But the world goes round that bit smoother, sparks don’t fly out the chimney, so it’s ok really…..

My next objective to address is plastic or more precisely, plastic freezer packaging. I use good ole Sainsburys freezer boxes, which you can pop in the freezer no problem. But I don’t have an endless supply of these, so once frozen I’ll remove the food from the boxes, placing them in a freezer bag labelled with the what & the when. Which when empty will end up in the bin. Recyclable yes, but I’d rather use something over & over.  I’m a bit of filer at heart, my cupboards are precision filed, the rest of the house however, is very much a different story, I just need more cupboards. Dilemmas, dilemmas!Maybe I should wash out the bags & reuse them too. I’m sure you all have you own methods, so if you have the perfect solution, share the wealth!

Right back to the domestic, Sailors Mum grind stone.  I though I’d also make some jam….