We’re back from the beach. It was a good, good week with lots of sandy legs and naps and books and scrabble. I was reading Julie & Julia and Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess (yes, reading it day after day- total food porn) so I managed to gain quite a few scrabble points with foody words – Ragout was a particularly good one. But we existed mostly on salad sandwiches, fish and chips and quick pastas. Mum bravely dug up her own pippies in the surf one afternoon and fried them up with garlic and olive oil then proceeded to throw most of them away. I give her mad props for being adventurous anyway, and they did smell good, even if they were gritty and rubbery.
Back to life as usual. I loved J & J – and read it quickly. As I had Nigella’s book sitting along side it, of course it crossed my mind more than once that it would be fun to cook every single recipe in that book instead. As Kylie pointed out in the comments in the cook book entry from before we went beachside, that “if one aimed to cook through the book in a year (a la julie & julia), i know i’d be the side of a house, but gee, the recipes taste freaking amazing.”
So I have decided not to do it over a year, nor make it a project (though I do love a good project) but gently work my way through the pages, there are other things to cook and do after all. I do feel this is probably a good way to cook things that I would never otherwise attempt as when it comes down to it, I am very limited cook… for no good reason other than fear of failure. So watch out Victoria Sponge, Gin and Tonic Jelly and Pistachio Souffles, your ass is grass. I am ready to take them on – succeed or fail. Why not?
Apart from time frame and the fear factor, there is the other issue of weight gain. Firstly, I am pregnant and I am craving treats so I think this is as good as it is ever going to get when it comes to permission to eat a lot of cake. Little baby number two will come into the world and see his/her beatifically huge mama and think that this is bliss regardless (hopefully!). Also, my plan is not to actually cook all these recipes and eat all of it myself. Of course, there will be sharing with Big-p and cakeaholic-Amelia, but to save all of us from having to buy entirely new wardrobes, I am going to inflict these goods on friends, mother’s groups, family and unsuspecting neighbours (who hardly know us, but I am sure will love us after they have huge trays of scones, muffins and brownies thrust at them through the narrow cracks of their front… doors, presuming I actually succeed at some of the recipes that is). There will be no sharing of the cakes at Amelia’s new preschool however (she starts in Feb!), as they have a rule that cakes for birthdays must have been bought and prepared in an industrial kitchen so that if anything goes wrong it can be traced back to the source. How sad!
Anyway, the book has two little crosses penciled in it so far – Madeira Cake (the first in the book) and the Banana Muffins (how could I resist). The Madeira cake was ok, but was prepared in a hormonal fog of gloom so it lacks a little, um, oomph. I shared it with some friends who ate it and said it tasted good, and there is only one slice left, but I thought it was a little ‘eh’. Yes, I will blame my hormones for that one. I’m sure it won’t be the last. The banana muffins were, however, amazing and I will make those again in a heartbeat. I made them the week before we went away in a haze of summer holiday expectation so it’s no wonder they were sweet and moist and oh-so Nigella.