I enjoy cooking and like any excuse to spend a morning in the kitchen with Radio 4 and no time constraints. This morning, I had to make one of my brown rice salads to take to Cherington later, where my WI is entertaining a party of Highgrove garden visitors to lunch. Whilst I was listening to Desert Island Discs (Richard Ingrams, surprisingly interesting and entertaining I thought) I decided to get on and bake an apple cake from the Ottolenghi recipe book. Ottolenghi in Islington is one of Edward's favourite restaurants and having shared a great, relaxing meal there with him I bought the book intending to give it to him. No chance though - when I saw the yummy things inside I hung on to it and have made a couple of things very successfully already.
So, with friends coming over for supper tomorrow and a few things from the book chosen, I gathered the ingredients for the Apple and Maple Syrup cake and set to following the rather unusual recipe which begins by whisking sugar, vanilla and eggs into olive oil.
As I peeled the Bramley apples, I had the same thought I always have when I do this: I thought of my Nan who baked several apple pies almost every Saturday for friends and family. she'd peel the apples using an ordinary knife and would always challenge herself to get the peel off in one long strip - no breaks. On the odd occasion when she did this, she'd pass the peel to one of us to throw in the air to see what letter formed - that would be the initial of our husband to be! (I've just googled this and found a few variations on this story here It would appear that it's wasn't just my Nan who did such things)
I can't peel anything using a knife and struggle to get the peel off in one go using a peeler, even. Perhaps apples these days don't have such tough skins? who knows... But today, I did it. For the first time I can remember, I managed to peel one of the three apples in one go. I threw it into the air and watched it fall and tried to interpret the letter on the kitchen floor just for old time's sake - a bit late to identify a husband!
I continued through the recipe, stirring in the apple mixture, folding in egg whites and poured the batter into the prepared tin. I thought that the instruction to level the top with a knife was a little superfluous since the runny batter needed no levelling at all and put it into the oven. As I gathered up the bowls for washing up I found the bowl of sifted flour, spices and baking powder!
I quickly opened the over door, poured out the mixture into the bowl again thinking how surprising just two minutes (or even less) in an oven starts the cooking process - quickly folded in the flour, greased a new tin and shot it back in the oven as quickly as I could.
We'll see how it turns out!
As for the letter on the floor - you'll have to go here to see.