A million years ago I used to stay in a hotel called the Principe di Savoia in Milan. It was (and probably still is) a very regal, proper hotel. With the most wonderful bar/lounge where they had real barmen who poured old-fashioned cocktails and would never have dreamt of throwing bottles around a la Tom Cruise in Cocktail. There was always a piano player, an elderly man – who told me he had played “with Important Orchestras in Each of the Important Capitals of the World”. The Principe would never have considered piped music. People behaved with decorum, there were sofas to sink into and the rococo decor always made me smile. You could exhale at the Principe.
I am not much of a baker. No, let me revise that comment: I am not a baker at all. Totally hit or miss, no finesse. Results vary greatly. The Nans fondly remember ‘Da Bizzkit’ a flop of a chocolate cake I made last New Year’s (along with the flopped braised ribs – an almost unfathomable miss). But, I perservere, often getting ideas above my station and throwing the results away before anyone gets to see them.
sofamother is convinced she is the best cook in our family. We all have our own specialties – but she figures she can beat any of our efforts in the kitchen … the semi bondage quote is her culinary catch phrase.
Glennie makes the best apple tart in the world. Her roast potatoes are peerless. Chicken curry excellent and chocolate cake addictive. She loves it when we call for recipes – reminding us of her status as she issues them.
While I was playing with beeswax the other day – I came across this recipe for Hokey Pokey. I’ve never made caramel .. even less something that aerates – all a bit Heston Blumethal for me. But it seemed easy enough and didn’t require a machine or thermometer …. and it was curiosity week. So I thought I would give it a try.
Some of you will have been following my misadventures in ice-cream making – and know that I have ended up with iced cream. Or creamy ice. Not good. The revelation came when sofabrother asked me if I have been making a custard – before I freeze my mix. Well I be damned – I have not. Nor did I know you had to. But, this turned out to be just the advice I needed. Because my next attempt came out gorgeous.
Baking has always seemed like a science to me: I’ve heard stories of epic fails – and tasted epic successes – so entering the arena always felt daunting. And unnecessary.…