Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Let Me Eat Cake

With age comes wisdom and what I've learnt is.....don't fight it, bake it............it's the only way to get through the winter. I've had two massive attacks of cooking fever in the last two weeks, both of which were super successful: Nigel Slater's chocolate hazelnut cookies (dangerously addictive) and Lucas Hollweg's orange and almond cake, both sinfully easy to make too. But why have I taken up the wooden spoon? Because for me, it is the ideal way to calm down and carry on when it all gets a bit overwhelming. Plus, in the case of the orange and almond cake, it makes the kitchen warm and citrusy.........always good on a wet Wednesday afternoon in January.

So, armed with a stack of soft-baked, chocolate hazelnut cookies, I am able to return to the fracas masquerading as my life at the moment, and help my slightly over-excited friend plan her slim, elegant, fortysomething wedding (without turning into bridezilla), get my mother safely into India while keeping my son safely out of Helmand Province (which knocks undone homework into a cocked hat) and attend to the business of working, paying bills, going out, staying in and keeping warm.

The travel plans to the jewel in the crown are coming on a pace but I am not a travel agent for good reason...it's quite stressful. I am more used to travelling with an idea and a map than an itinerary and a timetable, but with a 72 year old in tow I felt that booking early to avoid disappointment was the order of the day. However, despite getting a supremely lucky break on very cheap BA flights, and almost unravelling the mysteries of India rail, the final leg of our journey from Hampi to Patnem has fallen foul of a slight technical hitch: I booked the sleeper train to get us there no problem, unfortunately the AC part of the the train to get us to Goa is full....forever it would seem. And although I would be happy to travel the eight hours with just the breeze in my hair, without AC, I have visions of it all going a bit Passage To India, my mother coming over all Mrs. Moore and no Dr. Aziz on call. Still, when plans don't fall into place, the adventures can begin and nowhere is the saying, 'it's the journey not the destination' more appropriate than in India.

Top tip: guarantee to be in the youthful minority, go to the matinee of anything at The National Theatre


  1. I'm with you, immersing myself in some home baking can work wonders at times of stress, even if it does little for my waistline!

  2. I want a recipe to these said hazelnut cookies - - mmm...