Archives for posts with tag: baking

Well, I know I said the last post would probably be the final one before Christmas, but then I spent a while making Christmas Cupcakes (they are sort of like miniature Christmas cakes, only more cakey, with rum and dried fruit) and Mum told me I should post my creations online. So here they are!

I have endeavoured to cover the three main languages spoken by the bulk of my readers (English, Spanish, Portuguese). If your language isn’t covered, it’s not because I don’t love you, it’s because I don’t speak it. And I know all of you speak English. And I still wish you a Merry Christmas.

Just so you know, it was no easy feat getting the ingredients for these cupcakes. I know the apocalypse didn’t happen (funny, that) but it felt like the world was ending in Morrisons supermarket Huddersfield yesterday. I should’ve known when it took me 30 minutes to find a parking space that I ought to turn around, but instead I soldiered on to get my icing sugar, rum and whole milk and joined the longest queue in human history, only to wait for more than an hour to pay for my 15 or so items. I have honestly never seen anything like it in my life: queues of hundreds of people the length of the entire supermarket, blocking all the aisles and corridors, people scrambling for the last turkey and trolleys overflowing with mince pies and sherry bottles.

“It’s Blitz mentality in ‘ere!” remarked a Yorkshire man at one point, as customers guarded each others’ places in the queue while they went to fetch items they’d forgotten, and I went to grab bottles of ice-cold water for myself and another stranger as we both sweated and choked with thirst in aisle 22. (The Christmas items aisle – one of the worst to be stuck in in an Apocalypse scenario on Christmas Eve Eve, surrounded by enormous tins of Quality Street and Roses and sweet packets adorned with different kids’ celebrities’ faces to make them sell better. (Do kids really think their One Direction jelly sweets actually have anything whatsoever to do with One Direction, seriously?))

Eventually, after an entirely exhausting hour and a half in Morrisons, I managed to pay for my items, by which point my friend had made almost the entire journey from London to Wakefield. At least the cakes turned out nicely.

All that remains to be said is Merry Christmas.

Spurred on by the hundreds of reruns of Come Dine With Me that I’ve watched since getting cancer and the three recipe books I’ve been sent from different friends and colleagues, I decided it was time for a bit of cooking therapy.

The Tom Yum Soup recipe from the Leon cookbook had been on my to-do list for more than two years. I must have some sort of an aversion to newness because I like to wait for things to get old before I use them. Whenever I buy new clothes, I wait at least two months before I wear them, ensuring that I am positively never wearing anything fashionable. It’s not something I do on purpose, it just sort of happens. It’s like I need a while to get used to the new thing being in my life and phase it in before showcasing it in public. I order books and DVDs on Amazon with alarming frequency, yet I rarely watch DVDs and I’m a slow reader, so the Mad Men box set waited almost 2 years before being watched (it was another year before it was watched to completion, but I am now fully up to date and ready for season 5 when it arrives on my doorstep next month).

Well, the same goes for cookery books. I even bookmark the pages of things I want to make, but it takes me years before I get around to making them. This entire syndrome is particularly heightened at the moment with the fact that I only have a one-week window in every three-week period in which I am even capable of getting out of bed to buy ingredients and cook something. (Fortunately, my mother is there with her apron on the rest of the time.)

And so it was finally the turn of the Leon Tom Yum Soup, and a salmon teriyaki dish from a Delia Smith online recipe. Soup is such a great thing to make when you’re sick and it’s cold outside. I particularly love Tom Yum soup in Thai restaurants so I had been looking forward to making this recipe for quite literally yonks. (Perhaps that’s why I wait so long, to build up the anticipation, like planning a holiday a year in advance). So I was disappointed when, after all my chopping and food-processing efforts, not to mention the time spent pounding up and down the supermarket aisles in search of ingredients (let me tell you, it is impossible to find such things as Sake and Mirin in Huddersfield Morrisons, and don’t even get me started on manioc starch), it turned out to be very bland and frankly not that tasty. The salmon teriyaki, on the other hand, was delicious, but unfortunately the above photo doesn’t do my presentation skills justice because I forgot to take a photo of the two nicely presented dishes and instead ended up being left with my own salmon, which had broken in half and which I hadn’t bothered to present in beautiful restaurant style.

Oh well. More cooking to come.

In other news, I received an email to say that I didn’t get a place in the 2013 London Marathon. This is probably a good thing. I applied in April, before I knew about the cancer, obviously, and have been applying for the last couple of years in the hope that I’ll eventually get a place. It would be pretty tough to run 42k in April after only finishing radiotherapy in February and having not run at all since June. But I might’ve given it a go. They are supposed to be sending me a raincoat as a consolation prize, but I have a sneaking suspicion I won’t get one because I entered as an overseas applicant, which is just downright rude. Anyway, it’s a good job I did the Buenos Aires marathon this time last year, checking that box just in time on my mental “Things to do before I’m 30” list. Things jolly well happen for a reason.

The postman has been busy, as per usual. Thank you to Martina for the amazing care package full of goodies for my ‘brain, body, indulgence and health!’ … And a belated thanks to George for the brilliant Neal’s Yard Remedies treats for my hands, nails and general wellbeing… And to her big sister Danie, aka Rouge, for another very creative card… And to Valdimir for the São Paulo postcard, reminding me of my former home and workplace! I feel like a celeb who gets sent loads of amazing free stuff all the time, it’s brill!

Finally, I just had the last of my 10 daily immune-system injections and am very much looking forward to having 10 whole needle-free days! Hooray for Fridays. Happy weekend, all.

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