Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Temptations (and more haggis)

More shocking temptations from the Lakeland demons. Can’t even look at the back of the envelope without getting the urge to spend money. A home candyfloss maker! OMG. Imagine being the only mummy in your little girl’s class equipped to whip up candyfloss at parties. I see it’s made by a company called Gourmet Gadgetry – clever things. I’m getting a lot of email about gourmet gadgets at the moment, mostly plugging ideas for Father’s day. (What is it with men and gadgets?)

Open up the envelope and, would you believe it, they’ve invented a whole new genre of cake. Cake, for me, is mainly a cold weather thing, comfort food, sweet and dense after a cold walk. But look at this – a cake baked in a silicon mould shaped like a sandcastle. They’ve invented a beach cake! You can even buy a silicon mould to make little sea shells out of icing!

Now, the floodgates are open. A beach cake is a simple sponge… it must be given a flavour, surely. Especially because we’ll all have a worrisome thought at the back of our minds that if it looks like a sandcastle, it might taste like a sandcastle. Having eaten sand at the age of about three (it looked like sugar), I have no urge to repeat the experience. So, what flavours would suit a beach cake? Is there any scope for introducing some carefully controlled sea salt? This would be enough to trouble my brain while I slept* if I wasn’t distracted by the fabbie ice cream van cupcake stand on the facing page. Imagine the cheery family scene. Almost justifies giving birth. Good job I didn’t see it when I was in my twenties.

I leafed through the rest of the catalogue as fast as I could – trying to pick out anything unusual without lingering long enough to start an obsession. I’m still feeling the lack of crumpet rings in my life. Past the baking tins, into the expensive bits of kit, trying to keep moving… and then I came to a shuddering halt when I got to the perfect pinwheel pastries. Look! £4.99 gets you a really nifty pastry cutter – just add a blob of practically anything, sweet or savoury, to act as a filling, fold the points into the middle and hey presto!

If I had one of these I would be making pinwheels out of everything. (Look, I know I don't need a pinwheel pastry cutter to make pinwheel pastries. But I want one.) Literally every jar of jam in my cupboard, and every scrap of leftover veggie haggis, would be pressed into service. It would be like that fairy story where a man is promised that whatever he is doing as the dawn breaks, he’ll be doing all day. Cunningly, he plans to be counting his money when the sun comes up. Then he realizes that he will need lots and lots of money bags. He runs up as many as he can – and slightly miscalculates, so he’s sewing money bags at dawn. He spends the day tearing up his clothes, his curtains, his carpets, and making money bags out of them. So it would be with me and the pinwheel pastry cutter. I’d be feverishly making them all day long. Rarely have I seen anything I want so badly, no joke.

By the way, I cooked the big scary veggie haggis. Possibly I didn’t take it out of the oven on time because it burst. Thankfully it didn’t plaster the whole of the inside of the oven with matter. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the consistency was far firmer (nay, crumblier) than the burger-shaped version. Having located the elusive pine nuts I did make the sausage rolls – I’ll paste a picture in to prove it. They were pretty good. Next time I’d up the seasoning even more so that a little bit of filling holds its own against a mouthful of puff pastry. Really glad I pushed on with the experiment, it was only the texture of the burger-shaped version that I didn’t much like, and the texture of the big brother is quite different (with the proviso that the experience might have been different if I hadn’t cooked it to bursting point…).

* PS - Last night I dreamed of a new sort of chocolate called an 'ocean whisper'. It had the texture of a Wispa bar, with tiny bubbles, but included a dash of sea salt. Somebody make me some.

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