There has been a big disappointment this week that has left me feeling a little less bouncy than usual, but before I explain shall we have some cake?
I must admit that my interest in this year's Bake Off has waned slightly. I didn't really mind the move to Chanel 4 and although I think Noel Fielding does seem a little awkward and out of place at times, mostly the new line up works well... But the bakes? I think they are having a laugh! The technical skill required to make some of the bakes seems way beyond the scope of most amateur bakers and it feels as if they are coming up with more and more obscure and difficult tasks each week. As you know I stepped back from my own personal challenge of doing all the technical bakes the week of the Stroopwafel, not being prepared to buy a wafflemaker just to complete a technical challenge. But I got back into the swing of things with my Portugese Custard Tarts, or Pasteis de Nata, made unnecessarily difficult by the addition of a custard made with a sugar syrup...who on earth makes custard that way? I could have used a different recipe of course (Paul Hollywood uses a completely different method in his baking book) but I've been trying to use the same recipes as the contestants. They weren't too tricky in the end, despite the custard and the results didn't hang about for long. I may have eaten one or two... possibly more, even though I deemed them too sweet.
The next week was Italian week with a ridiculously complicated showstopper challenge to make Sfogliatelle and a tricky signature bake of Cannoli, which are not even baked but fried. The technical bake that week was really simple by comparision - a Margherita Pizza. As I often make pizza from scratch I wasn't going to bother, that was until I got a message from youngest son who was outraged, demanding to know why hadn't I made the technical bake when it was his favourite thing. I sucumbed and made him pizza for lunch. It got the thumbs up!
This week was all about forgotten bakes and mostly I think you can see why they were forgotten. Why would anyone want to bake an oversized architectural Savoy cake, a favourite centerpiece at Victorian banquets, but seldom actually eaten? Or a Bedfordshire clanger containing both sweet and savoury fillings? However the technical bake - a Cumberland Rum Nicky did actually sound quite nice. With a sweet shortcrust base, a lattice top and a rum soaked date, apricot and ginger filling I thought it sounded delicious and I was looking forward to trying it. It didn't disappoint! Especially with a generous helping of rum butter. Once again a helping or two may have been eaten.
So with all this extra baking there wasn't too much chance of me fitting into the skimpy outfit I had lined up for the play... except the play was destined not to happen. It was no ones' fault but despite weeks of rehearsals it really wasn't ready to put on for a paying audience. Although we are just a small AmDram group we do have a good reputation for putting on a high standard of entertainment and so the decision was made it was better to cancel than to put on a substandard performance. It had been in trouble from the start with one cast member having to drop out due to work commitments, another suffering one illness after another, there were lots of tricky movements and some people had an extraordinary amount of lines so we knew it was the right decision. But it was still bitterly disappointing after all the hours learning lines and sitting around at rehearsals... especially with just one week to go until curtain up. But as I've said before, village life is never dull and on Saturday evening there was a chance to dress up in another skimpy outfit as we headed off to a 1960s themed supper.
I got kitted out in a dress that came from our drama group wardrobe and as it happens one that I actually wore about 17-18 years ago to another 1960s themed evening. It wasn't quite so loose fitting as it was back then when I was newly divorced and far too skinny but I squeezed into it even finding the same earrings that I wore all that time ago. We had a fun evening of sixties music, a quiz and a reto supper of prawn cocktail, boeuf bourginon and the most enormous slice of black forest gateau... like I needed more cake. Thankfully I didn't get as drunk as I did the last time I wore it... like I said...newly divorced and somewhat emotionally unstable in retrospect.
So, here I am disappointed and feeling a little down but life goes on... there will be more plays, more cake and no doubt more nights out* before too long, so I along with the other cast members will get over it.
*Talking of nights out we were at another village event on Friday - a monthly cinema club, held in the chapel schoolroom where the film shown was Child 44. I'd read the book with bookclub and had obviously deleted it from memory... it was really disturbing, violent and I found it rather incoherent. The sort of film that makes me long for a gentle drama... and makes me think I'm getting old. Last month it was Kind Hearts and Coronets which was hilarious and charming and much more my thing.
I hope your weekend has been a good one.