We surprised ourselves by watching and enjoying the Comic Relief Bake Off and as a result I made S sign up to Comic Relief to do some baking himself. He’s not a baker. He’s not used to cooking and follows recipes to the letter as a result. The challenge was to bake three things – cookies, cakes and one other of his choice. So how did it go?
He chose to cook chocolate brownies, chocolate chip muffins and chocolate oatmeal cookies (we’re big chocolate people in this house, can you tell?)
When my mum was teaching me to bake, she made me blend things by hand and not by machine so that I learnt properly. I decided this was the best method for S too. And this gives me practice from when I teach E to cook! But I didn’t want to interfere too much so I sat in the dining room while he got on with it. He was very diligent. He chopped the butter into little cubes like they do on the TV. I never do this. He also measured everything out into bowls first, like Delia does, so that he can “keep ahead of the game.”
Brownies first and as he wrestled with the creaming process, I heard the phrase “till light and fluffy? Jesus…” come from the kitchen. (For info, we used Nigel Slater’s brownie recipe from Kitchen Diaries 1. It’s very tasty.)
Having had strict instructions not to stir the chocolate as it melts in its bain marie, he stood and gazed at it. It’s only later we discover that he’d forgotten to add the extra egg yolk to the mixture and as a result, the brownies take much longer to cook in the middle than they should. They are still tasty but a little dry on the outside. He takes them to share with his fellow gardening volunteers and no one complains.
When it comes to making muffins, I ask if he is aware of “folding” as a technique. It just means flopping it over, he says confidently. Well, yes, though that’s not how Delia might describe it. He chops the chocolate slab into tiny pieces. As a result, although the muffins are very tasty, the chocolate drops are lost. We were confident enough to let our babysitter eat one and she hasn’t reported any side effects. Though thinking about it now I haven’t seen her since…
The final recipe was a tried and trusted one from a set of recipe cards my mum got me when I left home. It’s pretty foolproof despite us having to improvise as we didn’t have any baking powder or an orange in the house as the recipe dictated. Triumphantly we bear them to my mum’s house for a visit. They go down very well, so much so that she asks for the recipe.
I ask him for a quote for the blog. “I was very confident from the start,” he says. He’s watched enough post match interviews on Match of the Day to spout this sort of guff without batting an eyelid. “And I think that confidence was well placed.” See what I mean?
It seems I’m going to be hard pressed to get him into the kitchen again though – the baking still falls to me (until E is old enough to make me cakes) but we’ve raised some money for Comic Relief so that’s the important thing. Thanks to S’s sponsors! If anyone would still like to donate, the page to do so is here: https://my.rednoseday.com/sponsor/simonbarsbybakes