It’s Sunday morning. Phil is on call and hasn’t been seen since Friday at 7am (although the evidence suggests that he did make it home to reheat his dinner on Friday night at some point) and it is November. And, being the domestic goddess that I am, I know that we should make the Christmas cake.
During the week I bought some ingredients I could remember we needed but it’s going to be a bit hit or miss. The problem is that I have said to The Girl that we will make our Christmas cake, therefore it needs to happen. And it needs to happen now. Right now.
So we get out the Delia Smith complete cookbook. This is the only recipe I have ever made from this book and I have done it 3 times before. It seems to have worked in previous years so I persevere with the same one.
This year however, The Boy introduces a new dynamic, he is “dairy free” – not because it’s trendy, but because if he eats dairy (including through my breastmilk) then he poops blood, which even as a trained medic I find somewhat alarming. So, I’ve introduced a “baking block” – a generic non-milk based butter alternative – something I am 100% sure Delia would not approve of…Much like my lack of fresh nutmeg would no doubt not go down well, nor would the lack of orange rind (which I have rather cunningly substituted with slightly ‘past it’ satsuma skin who knew it’s not that easy to grate the skin of a satsuma? It just sort of peels itself). It also turns out my candied peel’s use by date was last year and my eggs are not large.
I could, and perhaps should, nip to the shop but it’s 10am, I was up 3 times in the night, none of us are dressed and I can’t be bothered to take the gang to the supermarket (this would also mean my trip to the butcher’s yesterday to buy the most expensive chicken in the world “it is grain fed and free range” was entirely avoidable as I could have bought one at the supermarket for half the price). So I don’t, I crack on with the cake baking, with all of us in our PJs. Well, I’m in my bra and dressing gown as The Boy did some sort of epic projectile vomit down my PJs before we got out of bed this morning, and I’m yet to locate some spew free clothing.
But it all goes rather well, The Girl sneezes, narrowly missing the mixing bowl and The Boy requires 2 nappy changes mid-bake. At one point The Girl describes my slightly curdled butter, sugar, and egg mix as “looking like a nappy- but smelling nicer” which I accept as a charming compliment.
She does however temporarily bamboozle me when she informs me that the treacle “looks like Mike”. The only Mike we know is Caucasian with mousy brown hair and a fairly solid rugby player type, so I’m unable to see how she is making this association. But with further discussion “it’s Mike that daddy spreads on toast”. Marmite. She means Marmite.
Anyway after an hour and a half of prep (with a very much preheated oven, as at Delia’s request we turned it on at the start of this venture) the cake goes in, and half a day later comes out resembling a fruitcake.
A fruitcake which is now going to be heavily laced with booze for the next 6 weeks to disguise its short comings, a fruitcake which is definitely not chocolate flavoured (despite what The Girl is insisting) and a fruitcake which is not to be eaten for the next 6 weeks. A concept that The Girl is having significant trouble understanding.
Next year I’m just going to brave the supermarket, buy a reasonably priced free range chicken and a ready made Christmas cake. In hindsight, the better option.