Sunday, 22 May 2011

My internet connection is playing up...

So am having to write this very fast, in the brief moment I am connected, before it disappears again. Have been fiddling with router, failing to diagnose ailing symptoms, and am throwing myself on the mercy of BT tomorrow, as soon as they wake up.
Meanwhile, I made the most delicious ginger cake ever... the secret ingredients were black strap molasses and spelt flour, plus lashings of fresh ginger AND crystalised chunks, and a simple topping of icing sugar with lemon juice. I appear to have eaten most of it myself, as neither of my friends came round for tea. Harumph.
PS. For all lovers of costume jewels -- whether by Chanel or another -- here is today's Closet Thinker column.
PPS. Herewith gingerbread recipe, from Nigella's How To Be A Domestic Goddess (and my adaptations in brackets).
150g unsalted butter
125g dark muscovado sugar
200g golden syrup
200g black treacle [I used black strap molasses]
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger [I love ginger, so also added some chopped up chunks of crystallised ginger, left over from Christmas.]
1 tsp ground cinnamon [I substituted ground ginger.]
250ml milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 2 tbs warm water
300g plain flour [I used white spelt flour from Doves Farm].

[I also had two very ripe bananas, which needed to be used, so I mashed them up and added them to the final mixture.]

1 roasting tin 30x20x5cm, greased and lined with parchment or foil. [I used a square baking tin, simply greased with butter, and not lined.]

Preheat oven to 170C/gas 3

Melt the butter with the sugar, syrup, treacle, ginger and cinnamon. Take off the heat, and add the milk, eggs and bicarb in water.

Place the flour in a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating well (it makes a very liquid batter, so don't be alarmed). Pour into the tin and bake for about 1 hour.

[Mine was cooked in less than an hour -- about 45 minutes -- and when it was cool, I iced it with a mixture of sieved icing sugar with freshly squeezed lemon juice.]

PS. Please read last comment on previous blog for further details of secret midsummer back garden festival. I will bake a cake...

18 comments:

Knitting Out Loud said...

Sounds delicious! Laurie Colwin's gingerbread in her wonderful cookbook "Home Cooking" is also very good.
Computer problems are as awful as low back pain.

Sam :) x said...

Are you doing any book signings in the near future? One of my children has spilled a glass of water onto my friends Coco Chanel book that you had kindly signed to her personally and I'm desperate to replace it. Many thanks.

Justine Picardie said...

I've got lower back pain, neck-ache, and computer problems -- but gingerbread helps with all of the above!
Sam -- I'm signing on Tuesday after my talk at the Hay Literary Festival. But where are you based? If in London, I could sort something out...

Sam :) x said...

Hi Justine - Many thanks for replying. My friend had left her book in our staffroom at work after the second time of reading it and my daughter came in to see me and knocked over a glass of water on the desk - I was mortified when I realised you had signed it for her and have been desperately trying to search for any book signing dates you are doing. I'm based in Derbyshire but my brother lives in Romford and works in North London, I'm sure he would help or I could arrange to come down myself. Anthea is on holiday at the moment but is due back on Wednesday so I have yet to break the bad news, another sleepless night for me...

Justine Picardie said...

Don't worry, and please don't have another sleepless night! I will leave a signed book for your brother to pick up at a bookshop in north London. What shall I write in the book? And what is your brother's name? I'll arrange for it to be waiting for him at the Muswell Hill bookshop (London N10).

Sam :) x said...

Oh, that's wonderful news, I can't tell you how relieved I am. The message in the original book just says - To Anthea, best wishes, Justine and then you have signed Justine Picardie under the printed name at the bottom of the page. My brother's name is Tyrone Wheatcroft. I'm so grateful for your kind help. I know this will mean a great deal to Anthea, she really loves the book and has been urging us all to get a copy - thank you most sincerely - Phew!

Lilacs In May said...

I am off to make a banana and walnut cake after a contretemps with my computer this morning... Good luck with Hay, hope it goes well, and the sun shines for you.

Justine Picardie said...

Banana and walnut cake, delicious. Are you free for tea on June 21st at my secret back garden festival?

Lilacs In May said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen Pope said...

Justine, you need to carry an indelible waterproof book-signing pen at all times - handy for knocking out rain-tolerant plant labels when you're in the garden too. (It's great you're going the extra mile for Anthea, by way of sleepless Sam...that's lovely.) There are probably chiropractors who double up with computer tech-support skills too - you need one of those as well.

The secret back garden Crouch End micro-festival rendezvous sounds tempting, especially with the promise of cake, distant friends, and your easy-to-guess 'mystery guest' - impressive that you've persuaded Ryan Giggs to show up given the rocky publicity he's been enjoying lately. Tuesday 21 June...?

enid said...

Back garden party here I come.

Sam :) x said...

Hi Justine - I've sorted things with my brother, he's happy to help - I wondered if you could let me know when it's available to collect, he says the shop closes at 6pm so he'll arrange to finish work early to get there in time? Many thanks for this, everyone has been so kind in offering to help, especially you :)

Justine Picardie said...

Is Friday too late for me to leave the book? I need to get hold of a copy, as the hardback is now sold out everywhere except for amazon.

Sam :) x said...

Oh please don't rush thanks Justine - whenever you can do it is more than fine, it's just to let my brother know when to go, as it seems he's changed jobs since I last spoke to him and he's now on Foley Street, London, W1. He's making a special journey over for me to collect it so I'll tell him to give the bookshop a call on Friday before he sets off - thank you so much for your efforts, I greatly appreciate it.

Justine Picardie said...

Sam, now your brother is in W1, it makes more sense for him to go to Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street. I'll go in there tomorrow, and sign the book, and then leave it for him to collect at the counter.

Justine Picardie said...

Sam -- I'm off to Daunt Books now in Marylebone High Street, W1. Signed copy will be left in your brother's name.

Justine Picardie said...

Have delivered the book to Daunts.

Sam :) x said...

Many thanks Justine, I will arrange for it to be collected. Thank you again for going above and beyond to help me out, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it :)