Tag Archives: victoria sandwich

Good Eatin’: My Mum Makes Good Cake!

 List Item: Try half of the combined 1001 food books

As I write this it is the beginning of a particularly busy time at work. So busy I have had to *groan* delegate some of my workload. Ugh. Feels like failure. Anyway, like any normal overweight person this has helped to refocus my energies on getting more of the food list crossed off.

Food item: Victoria Sandwich

I am fortunate that  I popped into my mum’s place after she had baked a Victorian Sandwich as part of an afternoon tea with some friends. There were also home-made scones with jam and Cornish clotted cream. How English does that sound, right?

The great thing about a Victoria Sandwich is just how quintessentially English it is and, to be honest, it is one of the easier cakes to make. Unlike Queen of Puddings which really looks like a hassle.

My mum really has making a Victoria Sandwich down a pat now. To the point that it was really enjoyed by my partner’s friend who was over to stay from The Netherlands.

Food item: San Francisco Sourdough

Frankly, I have no idea how anyone has the time and/or patience to make sourdough bread. I sure am glad people do because it is easily one of my favourite types of bread.

Why? Because it’s firm with a slightly chewy crust and a sour flavour that only needs a light spreading of topping to taste good. I mean, it is even good when it is slightly stale after a bit of olive spread has been put on top. Thank you Waitrose (and Wholefoods) for supplying this type of sourdough bread.

Food item: Lemon Chicken

So, ever since I wrote about the Pollo Al Limone I had a real hankering for the other kind of lemon chicken. The battered and smothered in a lemon custard sauce kind of lemon chicken. The thick, saucy, good with ho fun noodles kind of lemon chicken. Needless to say, it had been years since I had this and I am glad to have it once again.

There are so many of these chicken dishes with a Chinese flavour on this list. Looks like I am going to be hitting up my local Chinese takeaway for a good while.

Food item: Simnel Cake and Toasted Teacake

Firstly, a thank you to Morrisons for selling Simnel cake out of season. I didn’t get any during Easter because I didn’t feel that paying £6 for a fruit cake with marzipan on top felt worth it. A smaller piece for 75p though? Completely worth it for a go. To be honest, it was like a pretty standard British fruit cake (being akin to a Mr Kipling’s Country Slice). It was nice, but I am SO very glad I did not pay through the nose for it.

The toasted teacakes? Well, this is something that just feels British… and is something that I have had a few times since starting on the new list and just forgotten to write about. My main issue with ordering this is that they tend to overdo it on the butter. A good teacake only needs a light layer of butter to melt into it. Otherwise it just drips off and makes me feel a little bit sick.

Food item: Pain au Chocolat

So, my mum bought these for the engagement partner as a thanks for helping out with her laptop. This comes under the ‘happy accident’ category of list foods as well as the ‘had this before and did not realise it would be on the list’. There are still a number of French sweets on this list for me to try out (marron glace being next one I have my eye out for) but this is another one crossed off for now.

Food items: Ajvar and Bucatini all’Amatriciana

This jar of ajvar was with me thanks to our trip to Slovenia (oh how I miss thee) as I found it in a Mercator as we were looking for some breakfast stuff. I didn’t crack it open since I knew there was going to be some pasta in the near future and figured that ajvar spread on some bread would be nice on the side. It tasted as if you tried to make pesto using aubergine and roasted red peppers i.e. it was really nice. I hope I can get it again from the UK.

Finally, we have the Bucatini all’ Amatriciana. I used the BBC Good Food recipe for the sauce with the additon of garlic and a bit more Maggi. I also had a bit of a butterfingers moment when I added the oil. Luckily it didn’t ruin anything. It basically tasted like a spicier bolognese sauce but with less meat and vegetables in it. Nice and simple to make too – other than the time needed to properly cook the onion..

The main thing of note here, at least for me, was the bucatini. This was the first time that I have ever had bucatini and I have to say that it was very welcome. For the uninitiated think of thicker spaghetti with a small hole running through the middle. It actually squeaked when it was being served due to the release of air.

Progress: 570/933

Happy Mother’s Day… Cake

List Item: Bake a cake
Progress: Completed

Now I am not to proud to admit that, despite being a 24 year-old guy, I am incredibly close to my mum. Over the last few years both her (and my partner) have put up with the emotional rollercoaster that has been my teaching career. In many ways she is is my best friend… and not in a Norman Bates Psycho sort of way.

So when Mother’s Day comes around I like to make sure that I do something that she likes and this usually involves the baking of some sort of cake. Last year, the cake was a Victoria Sandwich and this year I went for a variation on this with actual strawberries and with white chocolate mixed in with the whipped cream (there may also be some white chocolate in the cake itself.

photo 3As of writing this post (about 24 hours before publishing it) I have not tasted this cake yet but I have helped myself to the raw batter as the sponges were baking. I have a good feeling about this cake, although I had to remove all the strawberries before sticking it in the fridge otherwise it wouldn’t fit in my Celebrations tin. I hope it looks as good tomorrow when I put it back together.

One thing I think came across in my attempt at weight loss post as well as my post yesterday is that I really enjoy cooking and see myself as a bit of a foodie. In fact with the exception of sweetcorn, raw onion and fibrous stems there is not much that I will not eat or try to cook. So I included some pictures of other sweet things I made recently.

photo 2First we have a Grasshopper Pie. I made this using a heart-shaped springform tin that my partner’s sister got me for Christmas. For someone who doesn’t drink I did really enjoy a pie whose main ingredients are liquours (crème de menthe and crème de cacao blanc), but the use of Bourbons and marshmallows will have helped this somewhat.

photo 1This penguin cake is probably the proudest I have ever been when trying out cake decorating (since it is also the only time that I actually designed a cake). The biggest mistake I made here was making a Victoria Sandwich the base since… every time you cut into it raspberry jam started oozing out. Next time I will not make the same choice in flavours…