Monday, 2 September 2013

A slice of baking history

The weather forecast is good for the next week so here's a celebratory picture of our solitary sunflower, a real 'tournesol' as the French say, which tracks the sun by nodding its head through a rough semi-circle as the day goes by.

Its bees have their counterpart in the wasps which join us for meals outside, some of them for the last time thanks to Penny's simple but effective trap. Shown here, this consists of a small bottle, a hole in the lid and some old myrtleberry jam from a French holiday. It works extremely well and is terminal, unlike the moth one. I am a little sorry about this because I have some admiration for wasps and generally find that if you leave them alone, they do the same to you. But this rules breaks down in al fresco eating in the UK at this time of the year, as Banished observed in a Comment from West Virginia on last Wednesday's post.

As for me, my mind has been off the moth ball for a while as I hinted yesterday. The reason is the Men Only Baking Class at Kidlington Flower Show for which you had to make a chocolate Battenburg cake. A gang of us entered and produced a dramatic range of products, including an elegant version with end-twists of marzipan like a Harrods cracker and, at the other end of the scale, a 'Batteredburg' whose admirably home-made marzipan - not required by the rules - was uncontrollably slippery.

In my view, our very nice next-door neighbour made the neatest and deserved to win, but he came second and look who got the firs prize...   Now we've got to eat it and we can't push it off on anyone else, because they've all got one too.


Countryside Tales said...

Is there no end to your talents? Personally I don't care much for marzipan, but well done for coming first. My father in law was very disgruntled to come second in the local village cake bake competition some years go, given that his was the only entry...

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there! I am disgracefully proud of this and very sorry about your Dad-in-law. Hope things have looked up. I got a comment from the judges noting that I had 'followed the recipe exactly' which was true, as I suspected that judges were on the lookout for typically male attempts to aggrandise or over-ornament their Battenbergs. Still I mustn't get carried away, and I didn't face as fierce opposition as Penny's cheese scones did, or my 94-year-old Mum-in-law's excellent photograph of Kidlington church.

All warmest