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.


Happy Mother’s Day

I think receiving something hand-made by my offspring for Mother’s Day is just the most precious thing. I have a box (ok maybe 2.. 3, ok a room!) brimming with hand-made creations. Beautiful cards, crazy surrealist paintings & drawings, heaps of pictures of cars & rabbits, all made just for me. Each one a nugget of love. And in turn I love them all. And just because I give the appearance of being a ‘growd up’, doesn’t mean I should stop making crazy, slightly surrealist, brimming with love creations for my Mum either. It’s something my siblings & I have always done, from things made at school when we were little nippers, to full-blown theatrical productions, my poor brother only occasionally being made to dress up as a girl. There were some very ambition projects undertaken, just for our Mum, I think she liked them…

These days I would normally bake something I know my Mum loves, and she is very much allowed to scoff whatever it all to herself but she never does, she’s generous like that. And I have to say, it’s an easy thing to do (especially when you bake for a living), but it’s not all about cake here at CocoaNoko Makes you know, especially last week! Being ill the lead up to Treacle Market & Mother’s day was not my finest moment but what can you do? Well, what I can do is make things & having a bit of time on my hands, I decided to hide away in my very neglected work room & make a little something for my Mummy for Mother’s Day. I’m glad did it, I’m very pleased with my efforts, to me it’s perfect, I know she’ll see how much she is loved.

To My amazing Mum
To My Amazing Mum

It may sound a little smug, but making your Mum happy, to show she’s loved on Mother’s Day is what it’s all about isn’t it? To each their own…

I hope Mother’s Day was a beautiful moment for all yesterday. In our busy, non-stop lives, those little moments of unconditional love make all the difference. A simple, single thoughtful gesture, that cuts through all the commercialism, through all the lifestyle pressure, time constraints, distance & family politics, can make all the difference.

So love & be loved, create, eat cake, drink tea! And stop…. Take a moment…