I hadn't made the last meeting due to all 3 men being at a cricket practice session and Little Miss being too young to stay home alone. At this time of the year the group know I'm battling against the tide to get out of the house!
Anyway they'd had a good meeting in March and the chosen book was delivered to me.
It was this.....
A very odd choice!
Now I love a good read and didn't see the appeal of a cookery book. I have enough of those already and cook, or more accurately bake, a lot.
I hadn't watched the TV series either so it was all a bit baffling.
Anyway the message which was delivered with the book, was that a challenge had been thrown down too. We were to browse the book, read and bake whatever we wished, but for the next meeting we should challenge ourselves to make something we'd never made before. Well once the gauntlet has been thrown down (or should that be oven glove?) I'm not one to shy away! Life is a little hectic at the moment so I flicked through on a couple of evenings for inspiration. I eventually settled on croissants, the ham and cheese variety. I thought something savoury would be a good idea as the majority of the book was sweet. I checked the ingredients and I had pretty much everything already so I waited for the morning of the meeting.
Monday last week was the appointed date, I don't work on Mondays but after the weekend, especially after the Easter break, there was a lot of tidying and cleaning to do.
Mid morning I thought I'd make a start as I assumed there would be "rising time" - it was a bready kind of recipe. However the bit I'd failed to notice was the method, halfway through I came to the bit which said "leave to stand overnight"!
Oh dear! A bit of a disaster; by this time I was very red in the face and flustered, tea towel in one hand, duster in the other - goodness knows where the broom was!
I madly flicked through the book again for anything I could make in the limited time I had left. Melting moments looked easy enough - but this is not an easy book! I mixed the required ingredients (leaving the half made croissant mix for another day) and forced it into a piping bag with twirly nozzle. I only use piping bags occasionally so just keep a stash of disposable ones, I squeezed and squeezed but no matter how hard I tried the mix was too thick to push through. The piping bag split and I was covered in goo. I tried again with a new bag and the same thing happened, three more times! I eventually removed the nozzle and made the opening a bit wider on the last piping bag.
That worked and I artistically twirled my mixture into several "dog-turd" kind of a shapes! They were baked and had to be sandwiched together with a kind of buttercream, not ordinary buttercream of course. A buttercream icing that involved making a roux, cooling and mixing. All this seemed to do was dumb down the sweetness of the icing though.
They were finished in time for me to do the ballet run (boys x 3 at cricket) and I arrived home with about 10 minutes to spare before the group arrived.
I needn't have worried about my disaster though, as each person (except 1) came through the door they all said, "oh what a day I've had" or "I must explain the disaster-on-a-plate I've brought with me"
We did however end up with a table that looked like this...
So it wasn't all bad, we had a tea party!
On the table there is a tarte au citron, battenburg cake, rum baba's, stilton, spinach and new potato quiche, wholemeal bread, rum and raison cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies
and my melting moments. Quite a feast!
And we all agreed that this is the most talked about book for months. However not much of the talk was good, and no one wants to buy it (we had library copies). All the recipes seemed over complicated and time consuming. Everything tasted ok, not spectacular but ok. None of the recipes warranted the time they seemed to take and could probably have been made in half the time using a different recipe, and tasted just as good.
We did however, all leave the meeting a few pounds heavier!
We are now reading my choice which is....
It wasn't my first choice, in fact it was about my seventh choice! The library couldn't supply 10 copies of anything I asked for so suggested I pick something from their "recommended reads for reading groups" list - I shut my eyes and pointed! So when I collected it from the library it was a surprise to me too, I couldn't remember what I'd ordered. I'm not sure about it really, it doesn't sound like an uplifting read - I'll let you know!
Anyway have a good week, I hope you're all seeing some sunshine.
P.s. As an update to my last post, I'm afraid despite my best efforts I saw no celebrities on the Norfolk Broads. I don't know anyone who did either,
maybe the tourist board were just having us on?!
P.p.s. I eventually got back to the croissant mix on the Thursday and finished them off - they weren't worth the wait!