I’ve been horribly remiss with my blog. I can’t even claim I was doing anything constructive in my absence because I was binge-watching Jane the Virgin on Netflix and sending short story snippets to my writing partner, S.E. Berrow, which have no bearing on my WIP novel whatsoever.
Alas, my impromptu holiday had to come to an end eventually, so I decided to play catch-up in the most efficient way. For this reason, I’m answering a fortnight of posts in one fell swoop.
Week 25 – My favourite recipe
I love food of all kinds and it was really hard to pick a favourite recipe. So I didn’t (although I do provide the link to the scrumptious Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cheesecake >> pictured above). Instead, I picked a recipe that I most decidedly dislike.
Let me set the scene.
It’s September 2016. There’s a bakery competition at work and the measures of success are ‘Appearance’, ‘Taste’ and ‘The Unexpected Element’. I spent an entire week choosing what I was going to bake, because I love the process and had never yet received any complaints. In fact, the last time I made that Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cheesecake for work, it disappeared in seconds with demands for more. I was confident.
(OK. I was cocky. That was a mistake.)
I was exploring vegan recipes at the time, as two of my close friends had recently gone vegan and I have a pathological need to provide for people. A few of my work colleagues are also gluten free so I decided to make a cake they could eat, as they’re usually really put-out around bake-off season.
So I made… *drumroll* A Chocolate Avocado Cake >>
It looked beautiful. It ticked all the boxes. Everyone wanted to try it. I wanted to try it, because I’d licked the batter spoon before I added the last of the milk and put it in the oven to bake, and it tasted amazing.
But I was a fool, a fool I tell you, because I followed the recipe to the letter. I should have known better but, like the recipe said, I used – OF ALL THINGS – soy milk.
I hate soy milk. I don’t actually know anyone who likes soy milk: it tastes like the devil made it and spoils anything it touches. So you’d think I’d automatically substitute it with a more palatable almond milk or similar, wouldn’t you? No. I just completely lost the plot and it didn’t even occur to me that, when you add something that tastes foul to a lovely cake mix, it will make the cake mix taste foul.
It tasted so foul, in fact, that the cake judge SPAT. IT. OUT. in front of the entire office. I was understandably horrified. I’m now known as the ‘Avocado Cake Lady’ and the fond memories of my Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cheesecake are long forgotten. All because of this, my least favourite recipe. Alas, poor bakery reputation, I knew you well.
Incidentally, I recommend the Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cheesecake >>. That was a winner.
Week 26 – The Best Parts of Each Season
I’m very much an ‘Autumn’ kind of girl, as I mentioned in another post >>. I like rain and mist and pleasantly cool temperatures, so the current UK heatwave is not something I’m enjoying. However, there are good parts about every season, if you know where to look.
Lambs. Every year, my family and I visit a farm during lambing season to see these woolly bundles of joy making their way into the world. The thing I love the most about Spring is the presence of new life all around after the barrenness of Winter. Snowdrops used to line the gardens on my way to school every Spring and they were always the first thing to bloom in the chill weather. Seeing them now gives me a pleasant sense of nostalgia and makes me look forward to the year ahead.
Summer is my least favourite season because of all the bugs and spiders. I recently tried to combat my fear of spiders by calling them ‘Spiddly-Widdlies’ but I’ve yet to see the results in action. I’m a big believer in not being afraid of something that makes the Teletubbies seem macho, so I have high hopes. There are so many of them in my garden, it makes it difficult to hang washing out.
I also don’t like hot weather. I’m ginger and I don’t do well with high temperatures and the Outside World in general. Summer, however, marks the beginning of icecream vans, of which I am a massive fan. My favourite icecream is the yellow lemon kind that I’ve honestly only ever found in Kent, England, which is where I’m from. I’d love to buy this in bulk, so if anyone knows where I can find tubs of it, please let me know!
I love everything about this season; Autumn is my jam. The colours of the trees, the misty, rainy, moody weather, and the sound of crunching leaves as you walk home for the night. It’s the season of Halloween, of conker fights, of hot chocolate and fireworks. What’s not to love?
Fairy lights and snow. I love Winter because it can be so very, very pretty, especially around Christmas and New Year. Houses are decorated with cheery fairy lights (I’m a coloured lights person, by the way. Reds and golds all the way) and – if the UK gets very, very lucky – a sprinkling of frost and snow. I usually get snow around my birthday, too. A few years ago, it snowed on one day of the year – 3rd February – and I considered it my personal birthday gift from the universe. Winter is also the season of iceskating, which is the only sport I can actually do.