Would you like a tip? It is particularly useful if you discover you have run out of baking powder in the middle of a recipe which requires it, and it is this: bicarbonate of soda is not a suitable substitute for baking powder. Certainly not weight-for-weight. Have you ever eaten pancakes with a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda in? I would recommend you do not.
Perhaps – just perhaps – I should take this discovery as a sign that I need to get over my aversion to leaving the house mid-recipe. The problem is that a) when I am cooking, it is because I want to eat, soon, and also b) – have you not noticed? – it has only just stopped raining. For the first time since May 2011. Why on earth would I go out there? Yes, never mind that we moved into a flat less than a minute’s walk from the shops, or that I own several and various items of clothing specifically designed to keep the wearer dry: it’s wet! and, usually, dark (although not any more – is anyone else eternally grateful for the return of British Summer Time?), and the shop is so very far. I have to go all the way across the road to get there.
How’s your Easter week-end going? Chances are it’s been more relaxing than mine, I hope. If you’d like to find out, here’s a test: if you close your eyes, can you see bindweed roots? I can. I would have dreamt about them too, if I wasn’t so exhausted from all the digging (seriously, who knew digging was so hard? and why didn’t they tell me? I was woefully underprepared!) and the raking, too. I had no idea I had muscles in those places, but apparently I do, and they are making their presence felt.
On the plus side: I have a new haircut which will allow me to wear lots of eyeliner while pretending I’m Mary Quant (I flatter myself not at all), the sun is out (!), and I have a near-perfect butterzopf stashed in the freezer ready to finish off its baking in time for tomorrow’s breakfast. Perhaps life is not so hard after all.
Butterzopf is one of those things that I ate all the time (quite literally – when you see the ingredients, you’ll realise what a marvel it is that I fitted on the plane back home) while I lived in Switzerland, and miss terribly now I’m back in England – along with dried mango, and M-Budget chocolate. While I am fairly sure I don’t stand the faintest chance of either finding a) mangoes ripe enough to dry and b) some sun in which to dry them, or of setting up as a chocolatier in the utility room, making some bread – that should be a doddle, right? Right?
This might be a potato-heavy week, everyone. Firstly, I have to tell you about my favourite thing to do with potatoes, and then tomorrow I’m having my second favourite potato thing (at which point it will promptly become my first favourite – I can be very fickle), which I also feel strongly that you should know about. I would apologise, but I happen to really like potatoes, and I refuse to believe that the whole world doesn’t share my views. (This also applies to many other things, not just potatoes, but that’s by the by.) After all, what reasonable person could walk past a plate of potato skins roasted to a crisp and loaded with cheese and bacon and not take just a tiny one? The same sort of a person that passes the gratin dauphinoise dish around the table without taking a spoonful, that’s who: frankly, very suspicious.
I do intend to make
myself you a cake in between, though, partly so that you don’t desert me in favour of less starch-laden climes, and also partly because I have been thinking about very little else for over a week now, which says very little in favour of my time management skills. In my defence, I did spend most of Saturday miles up a hill in the mist chopping down hawthorn, and then the rest of the time since then pulling inch-long thorns out of places that should perhaps have been better protected from them. That is my excuse.