After a busy Easter Sunday when our family came to lunch, we were quite tired in the evening, so I lit candles – even though I’ve said on several occasions I’m not keen on candles and consider them a fire risk. However, it was a chilly, wet evening, and although it was dusk and not sufficiently dark enough to warrant closing the curtains, I suddenly thought that candles would make the room look more cosy – and they did. But I still draw the line at paying silly prices for scented candles.
We then settled to watch some half-decent TV programmes, which made a pleasant change. First, the new series of The Big Painting Challenge, when “ten enthusiastic amateurs face a six-week artistic boot camp, with professional mentors Diana Ali and Pascal Anson,”[Radio Times.] At the end of the first programme, one of the amateur artists is eliminated and so on until the end of the series. And, my goodness, the difference in their painting styles while each painting the same still life arrangements. We thoroughly enjoyed the programme.
This was followed by Countryfile and then a quick change of channels to see Escape to the Chateau, the third and final programme in the current series with Dick and Angel still fixing up their crumbling chateau, and with Angel putting the finishing touches to their ‘geodesic’ dome (on a pontoon, floating in their moat) so that the closing shots were of the Strawbridge family, with little Arthur and Dorothy, having a sleepover under the stars. Ahhh!
And then, the first part of the new drama series, Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence. It was the usual country house murder mystery with a cast of misfits headed up by Bill Nighy and the victim played superbly by Anna Chancellor. I only wish that Bill Nighy would cease his whispering-speak voice and speak up! It wasn’t just in this drama that he whispered his way through it; he’s like this on every occasion. Perhaps he can’t speak more loudly? And so we had to put the subtitles on simply so we could hear him. Most other characters spoke very clearly. Which makes a change!
So a very good evening’s entertainment. Which certainly made a change.
Easter Sunday lunch table – the bunnies are for our sons and our daughters in law, and our grandson had a traditional Easter egg
As well as the chocolate cake I made a raspberry Pavlova for dessert but I had some mishaps. First, when I cracked the first egg to separate the yolk from the white, it totally disintegrated, so the yolk was mixed with the white. No good whatsoever for a Pavlova. So that had to be thrown away, the bowl washed and a re-start made. And as I’d run out of caster sugar, which is required, I’d ground some granulated sugar in the electric grinder, but when the egg disintegrated, some of it went into the sugar – it splashed everywhere – and so that sugar had to be thrown out, too, and a re-start made.
By then I was getting just slightly annoyed, so I decided to forego caster sugar and thought I’d use granulated. But really, that was a mistake. Granulated is denser than caster, and so even though I’d whipped the four egg whites well, once the sugar was added, plus the cornflower and vinegar necessary to provide the mashmallow texture of a Pavlova, the Pavlova didn’t rise as much as it should’ve done (even though it tasted the same.) But everyone liked it, there wasn’t a scrap left. Once the meringue based was made, I allowed it to cool before filling with whipped cream and raspberries.
Early this afternoon, having remembered that I had rhubarb in the fridge, I decided to make a Rhubarb cake. This is like the toffee apple cake but substituting rhubarb for apples. It’s very easy, you simply chop up sufficient rhubarb for the top of the cake (this sinks into the cake but that doesn’t matter) and then you saute the rhubarb in butter (or soft margarine) with a couple of dessertspoons of Muscovado sugar, which with the margarine results in a toffee consistence. This then cools while you make the cake, creaming together 6 oz of margaine or butter with 6 oz of caster sugar, to which you then add 2 large eggs, and then 3 oz of plain flour, 3 oz of ground almonds and a teaspoon of baking powder. You can also add slivers of stem ginger to the rhubarb mixture.
Rhubarb with stem ginger sautéing in soft margarine with Muscovado sugar
Once you have made your cake mixture, put it in a prepared (lined) round cake tin, and pour the cooled rhubarb on top, with the toffee mixture. Put the tin in the centre of a pre-heated oven 160C for about 40 minutes, then check with a skewer to see if it’s ready. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out, carefully, as this is a very soft cake, more a dessert than a cake. It’s lovely served warm with cream (which unfortunately we didn’t have, I’d used it all on the Pavlova.)
This is the first time I’ve made this particular cake. Next time I will use caster sugar, and perhaps add less of the toffee mixture, but even though this cake ‘sinks’ a bit, and doesn’t look exactly pretty, it certainly tastes delicious.
I do not claim this as my own recipe; it was from the blogger named Karen who goes under the title of Cornflower.
Candlelight at dusk yesterday
We have been warned by the weather forecasters that we’re going to experience yet more rain tonight and tomorrow, flood warnings are in place in some areas, with even the possibility of snow on higher ground. Never mind, we have a warm home, food in the larder/fridge/freezer, books to read, and an Easter egg from elder son, his wife and our little grandson, and a lovely box of chocolates from younger son, daughter in law and Barry-the-dog. Indeed, we have much to be thankful for.
I hope you have had a lovely Easter,
Until next time.