Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Making Christmas Cake

Every year I make a Christmas cake, in the same way my Mum did before me.  For as many cakes as I remember mine has been a variation on Nigella's.  This year I am trying something different and opting for Jane Grigson's  Country Christmas Cake - as interpreted by Laurie Colwin of course.

Today the children and I went shopping for the dried fruit and this evening I began the process by soaking it.  Given my busy week I don't expect I will get time to bake it until Friday so it will be very well soused by then!

I have always loved a dense, rich, moist fruit cake.  I never forget the huge square fruit cake sent with my best friend when she joined us on a holiday in the Lakes.  I must have been about 14, and no other fruit cake has ever compared to the taste of that one.  My friend's mother had made it for an occasion and it wasn't used so we were the lucky beneficiaries.  It was full of fruit and lots of glace cherries which I love unashamedly.  I have high hopes given Laurie's pronouncements - 'Country Christmas Cake has a rich, deep taste, as complicated as brocade or tapestry, and makes a person think of  those magnificent aged Sauternes. It is suave, intense and delicious down to the last crumb'. So wish me luck on my quest, hopefully I will find a way back to the taste of that fondly remembered cake sometime soon.....

Monday, 12 November 2012

Should I ever find that rare thing....

There was point a few days ago when a song came on the radio, Nik Kershaw's Wouldn't it Be Good to be precise, and I was instantly catapulted back in time.  It was an eye wateringly perfect rush of feeling, the feeling I had when I was 15,16.  That cusp of everything feeling.  Nothing has ever felt so perfect, so optimistic and so open to experience and possibility as it did then.  So much of my character, the novels I love, the music and art that defines me, my influences I guess, were discovered and anchored down in those formative years.  Those years formed me and although I won't ever get that shiny new, invincible feeling back again the realisation that I can still mainline back to it was a salve to my middle aged self.

That is me in 91' taken by talented friend and confidante from those early days, Jacqui McIntosh