cake frenzy

I’m just surfacing from a lovely baking spree. This evening’s results:

* Mary Berry’s walnut cake

* a pint of real custard

* chocolate sponge (pending)

I only ever embark on real custard (eggs and all) with great trepidation, but each time it seems to turn out fine – strangely soothing to make and truly the ultimate in comfort eating.

Anyway. Worship wars. Where were we?

parsnips etc

One of the benefits of being at home in the holidays is access to not only my dad’s theology books but my mum’s extensive library of cookery books (don’t worry, they read each other’s).

More on the theology front later perhaps – I’ve already decided which tomes to cart back to Edinburgh with me when I leave, and will be letting dad know later.

Among the recipes I’ve been browsing through is a Parsnip and Satsuma Soup, featured in The New Free Church Cookbook – published in 2005, and to be thus known, in spite of whatever its official title is, until a newer one comes out. (Officially the nation’s number one resource for communion baking, or at least until the ladies of the FPs get their act together and start publishing at, it features everything from tablet to tagliatelle and is a bargain at £6.00.)

Anyway, the parsnip soup sounds perfect for my ever increasing passion for big hearty soups to feed crowds at weekends without excess hassle, and goes something like this:

Peel 2lb parsnips and cut into chunks, then put in a pan along with 3 onions and the juice of 4 satsumas. Add parsley and seasoning. Cover with water, add a couple of stock cubes, and simmer until the vegetables are just cooked. Cool, liquidize, and adjust consistency to taste with more fruit juice if required. Serve with a swirl of cream. (Serves 8.)

That’s a plagiarised version of what was contributed by one Margaret Macleod of Tain, whose suggestion of garlic I’ve taken the liberty of omitting.

I’ve also decided, thanks to Nigel Slater’s Real Cooking, that it would be a good idea to make more use of bulghar wheat in 2008, and caramelise more onions than hitherto, and on the puddings front, expect to hear more of Nigella’s chocolate pear pudding, and cheesecakes of one sort or another.

preparation time: five days

I’m looking for recipes for lamb for a birthday related dinner in a day or so, and came across one that involves shoulder of lamb plus baked tomatoes and a concoction with butter beans on the side. Serves six. Only problem is that you should start making it five days in advance – mainly because you have to massage salt into the chilled uncooked meat every twelve (12) hours for three days, before you even think of poaching it, for nearly two hours, cooling again, and refrigerating for a further day or two.

I’m not going to tell you where this book comes from: the snobbishness of it scares me a lot: and you, gentle reader, might be stunned. However, it does have a couple of lovely puddings, including the extravagant but worth-it chocolate caramel pots, so I suppose I can forgive the odd freaky digression into a world that I can’t imagine. Would my fridge even have space to keep that much meat just chilling, soaking up salt for three days?