Friday, 30 July 2010

Au Revoir?

For now, this post will be short as it is not my happiest, albeit I hope it doesn’t give a depressed feel either.  I guess I'm just feeling a bit nostalgic, dreaming of the days when decisions weren't so hard to make or implement, and friends were conveniently clustered into one easy to reach area.  The time has come yet again when mass goodbyes are to be had.  Not only am I returning to my beloved Oxford, but a colleague at work is also leaving.  Unlike me though she is definitely leaving whereas I am still not sure.  Like the Terminator, I will be back... maybe.  It's a sad time, and doesn't appear to be getting any easier.  Just as I re-acquaint myself with everyone in the bustle of Southampton and get to love them all again, I up and leave them once more.  I guess I miss belonging to one area as well, it's strange being a drifter - finishing university is a lot more than just no more lectures, it cuts one loose like one can not ever have imagined.  Suddenly I am asking myself where I belong, must I move on? Settle where I am? Go back home? Or is now really the time to break free completely?  Scary.  I suppose I will feel better once I find a job and when my lack of income can stop making me feel so insecure.

In the meantime though, I continue to bake and write in my blog, and below is a variation of the chocolate sponge cake  I thought I would try out for my leaving colleague.  Once again I had issues taking the cake off the DIY cake rack and was sad to see that icing sugar made the whole thing horrible to look at, so take two on the other side of the cake, I used my remaining flaked almonds and some sugar to dust the cake instead.  Result? Better, but I need to find a way to stop my cake sticking.  Maybe next time I will cool the sponges on sugar dusted greaseproof paper, which is what I do when I make Swiss rolls.  I made the cake in the evening, so no natural light was to be had, I tried dimming the flash a bit but to no avail.  So if you all see a psychedelic cake, I apologise in advance.  It looks normal on my monitor…

Lemon Sponge Cake
 (serves 8)

 
 Ingredients:
100g Self-raising flour
125g Caster sugar
4 Large Eggs
1Tbsp Water

Zest of  Lemon
Juice of half a lemon
25g Butter
3 oz Icing sugar
25g Flaked almonds
Sugar to dust

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/170C/350F
  2. Over a gentle double boiler, whisk the eggs, lemon zest and sugar together until tripled in bulk.  This took me just over 5 minutes to whisk by hand using a large whisk.
  3. Remove from the heat and continue to whisk for about 2 minutes until the mixture has cooled.
  4. Dribble in the water down the side of the bowl and sift in the flour.  Using a figure-of-eight motion, fold in the flour with a spatula or metal dessert spoon until just incorporated.
  5. Pour evenly between the two sandwich tins, level and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and beginning to shrink from the sides.  If the sponge springs back when lightly pressed it is ready.
  6. Meanwhile, allow the butter to soften before beating and gradually adding the sifted icing sugar.  Add enough lemon juice to make a spread able consistency.
  7. Turn the cakes out onto cake racks to cool and sandwich together with the lemon butter icing, then sprinkle with almonds and sugar to garnish.

NB: You could sprinkle the almonds onto one sponge before it enters the oven to get toasted almonds - they might stay on better as well.

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