Thursday, 19 May 2011

Wanted: A Considerably Tighter Bottom.



I've had what's known in the trade as "one of those days" today.

It started well enough.  Coffee and the freebie paper in bed, being generally lazy, kids gone to school/college, and us planning what to do with our non-worky day.   Bliss. 

Me Man and I want a puppy.  A border collie pup to be precise.  We're keeping an eye out for rescue dogs of course but as I've wanted a dog of my own for the last 25 years and as I've waited so long, I really do want to stick out for for a puppy so that I (we) can experience the joys(!) of puppydom.  We check regularly online and in the local papers but they are soooooo expensive.  We're talking £200 minimum and up to £450.  There's no way we could afford (nor would contemplate) spending that much money so we're continuing to look.  We were poring over this morning's local paper and lo and behold, there were some Border Collie pups being advertised at £100.  Being a tad excited I called the given number but no reply.  So I text with the standard 'buying a pup' queries.  About ten mins later I got a reply saying that yes, she had two little boy pups left, wormed, not vacc'd as yet and still with Mum.... did I want to come and see them?   Do the bears sha-la-laaa in the woods??!  Mr B nearly had to stop me bouncing up and down on the bed in excitement.    Alas it all fell apart in the response to my next query "Great  - where do you live?"

"Lampeter in mid-Wales".

Flippin LAMPETER??!!  Two and a half hours away... and considerably longer for us as we don't have a car!!  Why advertise in a paper so far away?!  Gutted was not the word.  Oh - and as a parting shot after I told her we would have to decline because of logistics she responded "Oh we were in Wolverhampton with the pups just last night".

Well thanks.

Thanks a bunch.


So anyway... on the agenda for Mr B today was threatening Harriet (Honda) with a lump hammer  mechanics of a delicate nature which included technical stuff like "taking the carbs off".  Harriet is his beloved Honda VFR 400.  She's very pretty but incredibly petulant and has worked approximately once in the 14 months we've been together.  I despair.  He has the patience of a saint.  The carbs have been on and off more times than the drawers of a Lady of Ill Repute.   She still refuses to budge.   Mardy mare. 

The Lady of the House (ahem  - that's me, don't ya know!) decided to have a baking day.  I had some fresh peaches in the bowl - which were absolutely fine, - but were just at the stage where if you looked at them a bit funny they'd threaten to burst into penicillin.  So I ran at them with a big knife and taught em a lesson.  They turned into these!  Scrummy peach and vanilla muffins!

I had been inspired by Poohtle's award-winning Fig and Date Loaf see here ~~~~>  Poohtle's place    and unusually for me I had all of the ingredients in the cupboard thanks to the local health food shop and their knock-down prices shelf.  So I gave that a go too.  Whilst I was too darned impatient didn't have enough time to soak the fruit overnight, I gave it a good few hours stewing away in a nice strong bowl of Tetley.  It's turned out really nicely - apart from the fact that I left it in the oven too long and the edges are a little on the "spongey" side.  A good old slather of butter and no-one will be any the wiser.  Apart from you lot.  Shush now!! 

A couple of weeks ago I made James Martin's (swoon) cola cake.  My Mum had tried a piece of this delectation when she went to her hairdressers and declared it to be the best cake she'd ever tasted.  Well what a challenge!!  I located the recipe on the t'interweb and duly gave it a go.  It's a bit of a faff, but it didn't turn out too badly.  The longer you leave this cake the better it seems to get - although I would suggest consumption  prior to it growing tentacles or hair.  When I made it, I followed what I thought was the right recipe only to find out that the measurements for the liquid ingredients had been listed incorrectly.  I shoved a bit more flour in however and it turned out fine. 

Well today I decided that I'd have another go to see what it was like with the correct measurements of ingredients.  Clever me found the You Tube clip of James Martin actually preparing the cake  and I followed his destructions to the letter, whisking when he did, stirring when he did and pouting seductively when he did.  The mixture had the consistency of slurry.  I'm not kidding.  Consistency?  There WAS no consistency!  However looking at James' bottom as he put the cake in the oven James' version as he puts the cake into the oven proved THAT looks like slurry too.   And I played it back a few times to check.

SO... who was I to question?  I poured the mixture into the loose bottomed cake tin, whacked it into the oven, and went off to regale the chickens with my tales of woe and to inform them that as I had depleted our egg stock with my bakeathon then they needed to kindly get a move on with production.  Well....When I got back to the kitchen (waylaid en route by Mr B who wanted me to push his button) (ok then - Harriet Honda's start button) I noticed this.......

Doesn't bode well does it?

Holding a chair in front of me (think lion tamer) I opened the oven door.

And this had happened.

The peach and vanilla muffins didn't escape either! 

I can only say that my bottom isn't as tight as it used to be.  Bloody antique cake tin! It's let me down once too often.  The scrap metal man will be 3 whole pence better off tomorrow when he picks up the tin from the bottom of my drive! 

Ah well.

The cola cake eventually set/cooked/whatever and a load of chocolatey-splodge dumped on top disguises the worst of it. My son still loves it.  It will be eaten along with the spongey tea bread.

Not so sure about these though.  The result of a 'nearly end of cooking time telephone distraction'.

Oh, and whilst I think about it - If you're reading this blog James Martin, you can darn well come and clean my oven!!!


  1. Oh I love reading your posts!!! You make me laugh! And OMG those peach muffin/fairy cakes..
    Would you care to share the recipe?
    You'll have to excuse me now, I must go re-read this post again.
    Oh and btw, I own Sparky, the Wonder Honda!

  2. I am still chortling at your post= lots of fun- bakeathon looks yummy. I save and freeze any left over fruit fresh or tinned - all goes into cakes or crumbles and tastes great!!! Hate waste!!! I do the sme with veg - all goes into soup so perfect for the job!!

  3. You are funny! One of my pals got a border collie from a local animal rescue centre last week, she's not a youngster but she's an absolute beauty.
    That baking looks wonderful despite the shambolic oven. xxx

  4. Methinks you need a timer me dear. Loaf looks fabby doo dah and so do the muffins, as for cola cake, that sounds rather nice, alas I have promised the favoured daughter a Bakewell tart tomorrow.

    BTW, cheap puppies from Wales - beware, they are renowned for puppy farming, not saying these were but be wary of anyone offering to deliver, or cheaper than average pups, not to make you despondant but I'd hate to see you with problems after longing for a pup for so long. xxx

  5. Border Collies are great dogs, and do NOT require constant exercise (as so many say). My neighbour has just got a pup' called 'Bok', and he is our Monty's new best friend.

    re Your baking. I always ask Lady M to over cook a few whatevers for me; I like them to be a bit black on the bottom etc.

    Haven't you been a busy gal!

  6. Sounds like a puppy farm, you had a lucky escape there. Keep looking at the rescue, your dog will come along. Don't rule out a slightly older dog, one of ours was 18 months old when she came to us and she is still behaving like a puppy, without all the peeing and chewing LOL

  7. Ah thanks guys . Re the potential pup - Thinking about it I should have heard alarm bells ringing when she said that she had bought the puppies over to the Midlands the night before - sounds a bit odd doesn't it? Have puppies will travel?? We would never support a puppy farm so I think that we did indeed have a lucky escape. Wise words folks - my heart rules my head sometimes!

    Re the baking - I can honestly say that the loaf and the choc cake are crap! Looks like the chooks will be dining well this week - or not!!