I love baking, and it’s much quicker and easier than sewing too, in fact, you can bake an amazing cake from scratch in under an hour and leave people hugely impressed by your amazing baking talent, when actually all you need is a good recipe and maybe some nice bakeware. Bread is even easier, last night I had forgotten to buy any so just baked a loaf after work. With my Grundig stand mixer it took a few minutes while making dinner, and I was eating a hot crust of delicious bread not long after. I don’t use a bread maker, I sort of want one, but I have never actually had bread from one anywhere near as nice as that baked in the oven.
In a moment (Ok an hour) of ridiculous indulgence Monday night I was watching Nigella Lawson’s Christmas programme on BBC while reading a Nigella book. I adore Nigella, I think she is clever, funny, charming, very beautiful and most importantly she clearly loves cooking and eating food. I somehow only have two of her books – Nigella Christmas and How to be a Domestic Goddess and I really ought to get some more. I regularly make her chili jam, and for the last couple of years have given one of her chutneys as a present to people. I do want to bake more, and make more preserves too (although my partner will cry on hearing this and declare that I make more than enough already; he is wrong) so I am going to try and make at least one thing from HtbaDG a week. The book is not all cake – there are breads, tarts, pizzas, biscuits, preserves and so on. Most of them are cheap, not difficult and not too time consuming, and all of them look impressive; they are also easy to adapt and she gives some suggestions on doing so. I’m veggie so her Italian Pizza Pie is not for me, but would be delicious with cheeses, olives and veg maybe, for example.
This weekend I will be making her Spruced Up Vanilla Cake. I don’t have that cake form, and don’t intend to buy it, but I do have the rather gorgeous Nordicware Castle Cake tin. Nordicware are amazing, all the detail comes out beautifully and the cakes somehow come out easily, and they wash well! I have the Pirate Ship too and want pretty much the whole range. This Fleur De Lis pan is a thing of beauty, as is the Cathedral, the Rose and so on… but I digress. I made the Vanilla Cake a couple of weeks ago for my housewarming and even though I made a lot of cake it somehow all vanished… I plan to make another for Christmas, as it is light and delicious, can be eaten almost like bread with jam and cream, or enjoyed as it is.
I will also be making her Christmas Biscuits. I haven’t tried these before but they look simple and pretty and will be a nice thing to take to my parents’ place with me.
Finally I plan to make Snickerdoodles, a family friend first introduced me to these, and not only do they have the best name of any food ever, they are my second favourite Christmas cookie. My favourite are the Austrian Vanilla Kipferl which for me will always be the taste of Christmas, but which my mother is making as I wasn’t sure how much I could do with a broken finger. Also, because I eat the dough raw and always have to make twice as much to compensate for my nibbling 🙂
I will post pictures of what I bake, of course, and let you know generally how it turns out. If I run out of time, the Christmas Biscuits will be dropped, but I hope I can make it all and get the other things I need to get done completed on Saturday. My time to relax and do nothing comes after Christmas, not before. At least I have all the wrapping and shopping done now 🙂
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