Mission Impossible

Tom Cruise has been filming some scenes for the latest Mission Impossible movie about 15 miles away from here. Doing the usual spy capers….fighting on top of a speeding steam train.

Usually he’s trying to save the world from apocalypse….

If he’s braving the Yorkshire weather then it must be a really big world threat this time. Something truly horrifying must be going down in Yorkshire. In a separate note I’m about to bake a cake.

It’s cooking Jim but not as we know it

Warning this post contains some disturbing baking images.

This house had an idea. Some next level pancakes….

Not content with messing up normal pancakes let’s go a stage further. Pancake sandwiches. So what filling could we go for?

Chocolate biscuits. Carefully warmed chocolate biscuits. How hard could that be.

First Try….

Erm…. As Spock would say ‘it’s a chocolate biscuit filling Jim but not as we know it’.

After a number of other shocking tries we finally produced this….

We can officially call this a warmed chocolate biscuit filled pancake sandwich.

The message here. If keep throwing punches, you might be the worst boxer ever, but eventually one will land.

Searching

It is a beautiful planet.

What is never beautiful is my food skills. What words are more appropriate.

Abomination

Shocking

Horrible

Disaster

Dreadful

Petrifying

Well today I almost outdid myself. Nearly messed up the easiest thing. All I had to do was make strawberry jelly. The supermarket didn’t send the Jelly Cubes but that was not a major issue. I had rather cleverly put aside a packet of the powder jelly just in case.

So I came to make the said jelly. All I had to do was add boiling water, stir then put the bowl in the fridge. So I emptied the powder into the bowl, added the water and stirred.

Ok why is strawberry jelly brown coloured……

I continued to stir expected it to turn red eventually. No that is definitely brown. Now it was time to check the jelly packet. Ok ot was the same shape as a jelly packet. The same colour as the normal brand of jelly we buy. BUT the words STRAWBERRY JELLY did not feature that prominently. What did feature prominently was the words CHINESE BROWN GRAVY.

In my defence why would you put Brown Gravy in a bright Red Jelly looking packet…

Jelly is off today’s menu, Stir Fry is strangely very much on….

Pancakes

Oh no it’s pancakes. I have been let back into the kitchen. How can I wreck the pancakes this year. Like most things baking – they don’t come naturally to me. So this year the ingredients are ready. Carefully measured out.

What could possibly go wrong…

AND the results…..

Where do I start….

Not exactly round. Not exactly fluffy and light think putty. Either to thin or verging on a bread loaf. The taste well I thought ‘delicate, unobtrusive flavouring’ while Hawklad thought ‘tasteless mush only saved by mountains of sugar’.

So somewhere between 5 out of 10 to 1 out of 100. But here’s the thing. Pancake Day was special this year. Really special. It made the day DIFFERENT. In these lockdown times that makes it special.

Birdbrain

Our little part of the world has been rather cut off from civilisation. The occasion delivery person and the daily postie have been our only visitors really for months. Well that’s not strictly true. We have daily visitors. The birds.

Well when I say daily there was one exception to this. The weekend of the national Birdwatch garden survey. We sat for hours and guess what. Our daily visitors decided to give us a miss that weekend. No amount of food could tempt them. Yet as soon as they Birdwatch was over they flocked back again. Pesky characters they are.

But I will forgive them for messing my survey numbers up. They provide so much joy. Over the many months you start to recognise the individual birds. Many having really unique personalities and habits.

One really odd thing is the ‘pecking order’. Small birds first, big birds second. As soon as the food is put out the small ones arrive. The larger hooligan gang start to gather in the trees. After the small ones start to fly off the hooligans arrive. Then it’s about an hour of them squabbling. A few wiser ones just feed while the others are distracted.

That happens like clockwork everyday 363 days a year. Rain, sun and snow…. They obviously take two days off for the Bird Survey. I will grant them that especially as they like my baking. That’s got to count for something.

Give it a miss

Finally a little bit of blue sky but it’s really wet under foot. Prefect mud for a long haired dog. Definitely a long bath is heading his way.

Maybe not as long as some things.

Dad have you got some homemade bread in. I fancy a ham sandwich.”

That’s right I was making a loaf. What happened to it? I did make it, I think.

****a check of the kitchen revealed no fresh loaf****

Dad are you sure you made one.”

Yes I did. I made it. Put it in the tin and put it in the airing cupboard to rise….. Oh I didn’t did I

Dad what have you done.”

****a check of the airing cupboard revealed a loaf of bread left to rise****

Dad how long should it have been in there for?”

About 45 minutes

How long has it been in there?”

A bit longer

Dad how much longer?”

About 4 days…. In my defence I put it in there and my sister phoned and I completely forgot all about it.

What a muppet Dad. You really are. Might give the sandwich a miss then.”

To plan

There comes a time to bake. A time to bake that Christmas Cake. So the festive playlist was cranked up. The baking implements readied. Time to get the ingredients out. That’s when the plan unravelled slightly.

Butter, eggs and Marzipan FOUND.

NOT FOUND

Raisins

Cherries

Sultanas

Oranges, orange juice or orange peel

Dark Sugar

Treacle

Almonds

Flour

Spices

Jam

Icing Sugar

🙀🤯🤷‍♂️🤪

So I had better add those to the next order. But what to do. Simple make egg sandwiches and then start to nibble on the marzipan. That’s a result.

Then go outside and catch a beautiful sun setting moment. Yep that Christmas Cake turned out very nicely.

Fair Warning

I do like a good slice of cake. Like it just a little too much. Especially Christmas Cake. That’s with icing, that’s with marzipan, that’s with a slab of cheese, that’s au naturale. My family knows this. Every Christmas my mum would bake me a cake, my sister would do the same. Both most definitely knew how to bake a top cake. So every December I was well fed. Too well fed. That’s why this Thor like muscle structure hides under a Homer Simpson baggy exterior.

But times move on. Mum has now left us. But my sister still comes up with the goods every year. And then 2020 hit. Due to covid restrictions and Hawklads anxieties I’m not meeting up with my sister this December. So no chance of a cake handover.

I’m cakeless…

That means one thing. One scary thing. I either buy one or I BAKE ONE. The bought ones are never as good as my family ones. So……

It’s baking time. I don’t have a good track record on the baking front. But there is always hope. Always a first time. So you have been warned. Things could get interesting here. You had better not stray too far from your panic room.

Fair warning.

Return of the muppet baker

The sky that keeps on giving.

That’s so unlike our kitchen which certainly does not keep on giving. We are not having much luck with shopping over the last week. No pumpkin for Halloween and now no toffee apples for bonfire night. Our local store is only stocking essential items. Clearly they don’t have children – toffee apples are most definitely essential. Our supermarket is not stocking them this year. But most helpfully are stocking toffee apple flavour breakfast bars (not very good on a stick) and toffee apple flavour strong alcoholic cider. Actually cider might work for some teenagers but again not very good on a stick.

So the only option was to try and make them ourselves. I’ve had major issues with toffee apples before. Looking good as we had golden syrup and caster sugar in stock. Attempt 1 and 2 arc welded to the pan. Attempt 3 had the stickiness factor of water (even after 20 minutes boiling away).

Attempt 4 produced a little bit of stickiness so we took that one.

Dad I will get the wooden sticks, where are they?”

Oh no I forgot to get them. We can just use forks stuck in the apples….

What a muppet.”

Sorry Son.

“Dad where are the apples.”

Pants I didn’t get any apples as well….. We’ve only got the ones from our tree. They taste super sour.

You are a gigantic muppet”

We could just eat the toffee with a spoon….

AND THATS WHAT WE DID….

Is the world crumbling

An apple crumble. One of my apple crumbles. Actually not a bad one at all. Very tasty.

Unfortunately not all crumbles are the same. Certainly not mine. Like the one I made a couple of nights back. All seemed on track. Apples picked from the tree. Apples cored, peeled and cut into pieces. Placed in a bowl and seasoned – generous helpings of sugar added – these are sour apples. Then a fine gluten free crumble was made and applied lovingly to the pie dish. The crumble was cooked at the right temperature and for the right time. A beautiful custard was prepared. Just perfect. What could possibly go wrong.

Dad I can’t taste any apples. In fact I can’t find any apples in my portion!”

Nonsense must be there Hawklad. Your just imagining that……

Oh hang on I can’t find any apples in my portion as well, just crumble and custard….

**** So I went into the kitchen and there on the table was the unused bowl of apples. I had made Apple Crumble Surprise. The surprise being that it contained no apples. ****