After my attempts at saving money by making myself lunch from bits left in the fridge and cupboard yesterday I got enthusiastic about using up a found bag of shortcrust pastry mix and using it to make a fruit pie. So, off I pop to the greengrocers and got myself some nice cooking apples and some very good value blackberries (not the mobile phones) and later on I nipped back to get 26p worth of apricots to add to the mix. The apricots were blanched and added last minute before I put on the pastry top and gave it a lick of egg wash. All was going well.
I'd had a couple of beers whilst cooking everything, and with happy-wobbly thoughts, I decided to use up some flour, sugar, lemons and half a bottle of almond oil and create some Madeleine cakes. Well, why not, as the oven was on already. After creating the cake mix and letting it sit in the fridge for a short while I lovingly spooned in the unctuous almondy mixture into the molds and put the first lot in the oven for fifteen minutes. I have done this many times before and they turn out so nice that my six neighbours block the light out of the kitchen window as they gather round, salivating and waiting for generous Phil to hand them out.
I was in a very jolly mood, the food was looking good, there was French music playing throughout the house and Nigella Lawson was descending the stairs in her flimsy night gown. Ahem. Suddenly three naughty wasps entered the hallowed kitchen. I could tell they were trouble the moment they buzzed in without calling cards. Nigella shrieked and beat a hasty retreat back up the stairs and I tried to politely shush them out but they insisted on banging their wasp heads on the closed window before I entertained them or (put them out of their misery) by flicking a tea towel in their general direction. To help myself rid the kitchen of these buzzing pests I jumped up and down a bit and frantically waved my hands defensively around my head whilst putting on the cunning guise of looking demented.Like that worked! Time for more aggressive action, methought.
The first flick of the tea towel sent one spinning to the floor dead, the second hit knocked his mate sideways and it limped (can wasps limp?) out into the garden. The third flying aggressor disapeered, still yet to be found. Hopefully not found - gorged to death - inside my fruit pie.
So, back to the cakes. I opened the oven to find that they had all failed to rise and I left them in a few minutes longer to see if that did the trick. Sadly not, and the second batch faired no better.
I found myself to getting somewhat tetchy even, dare I say it, boardering on tears of frustration. All that effort and anticipation for nothing. Determined not to waste the baked ruins that should have been my yummy cakes I summoned the Oracle otherwise known as my neighbour Jo. Firstly we thought I could use them as a base for a trifle so after a relaxing beer I ground them to a biscuit state in my food procesor. Apparently I shouldn't have done this and we came to the conclusion that maybe a cheescake would be the better option. Nigella came to the rescue. Alas, not in her flimsy nighty state but in a recipe for cheesecake by her goddess self.
Now I had to go to the Co-op store to get marsapone cheese (Nigella would have had some in, I'm sure) and I came back armed with 250g worth and some butter, sugar and strawberries. I used the cake crumbs as a buttery base and when I'd got half way through the recipe I realised, to my dismay, that I needed a full 500g of marscapone after all! Read the recipe ingredients list beforehand Phil. This was turning into a farce! Back I stumbled to the Co-op and purchased another 250g and upon returning home got on with the final parts of the recipe. This was supposed to be my relaxing day off work. Now where's that Nigella when you need a busomy cuddle?