When life throws a lemon... make a lamington

3/13/2016 08:27:00 pm

We're currently trying to reduce the amount of junk, and number of superfluous items filling our unit. We've started selling things on gumtree (who knew that people actually still use Nintendo wii....?), precious items are being weeded and culled, and what remains after this ruthless treatment is carefully wrapped and placed in a box. 

If this turns out like the last time I moved, some of those items will be removed from their box and wrappings in approximately 6 years time, ready for the next chapter: the bin.
Actually, these cups and saucers were a gift from my late grandmother, and they have survived life in multiple share houses, tucked away inside a shoe box. I will leave them wrapped and safe, and hopefully make some friends in Dubai so that I can get the full set out occasionally for at-home high tea. 

Anyway, cooking and cleaning are all I do at the moment and as I've been cooking, by the book, I have found my collection sadly lacking. I have many recipes involving noodles, and about three different books of chocolate recipes (even though I don't really like chocolate sweets) and a number of books full of only petit fours, which, although they are delightful to look at, are impossible to make in a kitchen with 30cm usable workspace and a fridge more suitable for a single person or a whippet.

I need a book with basics that are not quite as basic as the Commonsense Cookery Book ("sauce, white"; "chops, fried"). You know... really important recipes like rustic bread, syrups involving rosewater, and any kind of recipe utilising organic tomatoes. Preferably homegrown. 

I had just a quick look online. Really just a brief glance. You couldn't even call it browsing. And I found a few contenders, but I'm exceedingly indecisive and the one I really wanted was expensive. 

Women's Weekly - Love to Bake. I am probably a combination of types...the lazy, weekend show-off. Like, it has to look good on social media and taste good. I have standards. And some health too, obvs. What kind of baker are you?

And then, Thursday last week, a meeting in North Sydney followed by a walk through Greenwood Plaza to get back to the train station. It was sitting right on the corner of one of those weird free-standing book stalls that always seem to have lots of John Grisham and Maeve Binchy novels, and children's books that don't look quite right. You know the stall I mean. 

So I bought it. I swooped like a ninja. Didn't even look inside. Women's Weekly Love to Bake. 

I don't even care that it weighs 3kg and the recipes are mostly all available online because it's sooooo pretty. And it involves many tasty dishes involving organic tomatoes and exotic syrups! 

I'll admit to you that having had a big night out last night, I was tempted to cheat on this and just buy a sponge to soak in lemon syrup. I've always been intimidated by sponge because of a deeply held belief that sponges are very difficult creatures to master. Something about all those eggs and the whipping. 

But then I had a closer look at the recipe, and it was a coconut and almond sponge that involved very few steps and nothing specific about eggs or whipping, so I decided to go for it. Because afterall, I do love to bake. 

I've almost got a workaround for the oven too, I think, now that I have lived in this unit for 6 years. To insulate the cake pan I placed it inside my cast iron roasting dish, and although there was still very uneven cooking and some crisp edges, the result was much better than some of my past disasters (and was nothing that some judicious trimming couldn't fix).  

So here you go:

By the Book - Week Eleven

Mini lemon almond lamingtons

Follow this link. Their instructions are far better than mine anyway.

I think I inherited my love of baking from my grandmother, along with those teacups, a predisposition for type 2 diabetes and macular degeneration, and a lazy susan that my grandfather had made for me special so that I could spin the cakes for decorating.

We all have my mother to thank for my awesome taste in music though.

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