The beginner here is me. I have always loved baking – when newly pregnant with L2, feeling wretched and wrung out in cold dank November and December, L1 and I baked like fiends. I found the smell comforting and it was something non-knackering we could enjoy doing together. However time has not always been on my side and my baking has existed in fits and starts, months can go by without the oven heated to 180 degrees (adjust time for fan ovens), and when the urge has taken me I often haven’t had appropriate ingredients, leading to some interesting experiments, although to be fair never anything as controversial as the water chestnut spag bol, which I don’t think will ever be forgotten. So I’ve never really risen above beginner status.
Anyway, I have got back into it of late, thanks to Nigella’s easy-access recipes, upbeat insistence that anyone can have a go, and pictures of delicious imperfection in my baking Bible, How to be a Domestic Goddess. Bought as a joke on my hen weekend, while my development as a domestic goddess is mainly graded ‘could try harder’, an exception could possibly be made in the baking arena, where I perhaps merit a ‘satisfactory’, so perhaps the book has worked its homebaking miracle. A bit, at least.
I find when I only have a limited time on weekday evenings pre-kids bedtime, it is a brilliant way to make that time quality time. The Ls love it too, and beg me to bake at points when it’s clearly unfeasible (when I’m picking spiders out of the hand held vacuum cleaner, for example, or administering the monthly sink unclogging dose of drain cleaner to the plug holes), so if given the choice ‘book or bake’, they’ll take the latter. As long as they can lick the bowl. That said, I’ve found a cake that they’re not so keen on in its raw form: Nigella’s astonishingly tasty courgette cake, which raw features, as you may expect, grated uncooked strands of the vegetable itself.
Cooked, however, it is astonishing – comes together as one of the best cakes I have ever tasted. Give it a go, please, just don’t freak out at the ingredients – have faith, and it will repay you with its deliciousness. Here’s the recipe – thanks Mumsnet! Courgette cake recipe HERE!