When I think back to our early days together; I blush. We were at it, but all the time. Well into the early hours, then up before breakfast to do it again before the kids woke up. Like any newly smitten person, I could only think, and talk of, one thing. When I wasn’t with my new love, I was thinking about when we could next get to grips with each other. And when we were together, I found it so hard to drag myself away. I loved all the attention from those around me; all those kind comments, those people who’ve been supportive right from the start, those that were so encouraging; they made me feel proud, as though I’d landed a great catch.
It was quite tricky keeping my obsession from my husband. There really wasn’t room for three in our marriage, so it was quite good that he travels so often. I had to be really sneaky, and became quite adept at guiltily leaping up as soon as I heard his key in the door. Sometimes I was sure my flushed face would give it away, but if he did notice, he didn’t say anything.
Then gradually, the relationship began to change. From an all-consuming obsession it relaxed into familiarity. That’s always a troubling time isn’t it? As the flames of passion die down, you do wonder what you’ll find in the embers, and whether the fire is worth stoking.
It wasn’t long before I felt the strain of my new partnership. There were many times when it no longer bought me joy. It was a worrying burden, a relationship that was sapping my energy and stopping me from spending time doing other things. It’s never good when something takes you away from your friends or your family is it? It’s not healthy when your face looks present in a conversation, but your mind is miles away. I was spending far too much time working out which ratio of gluten free flours was going to work best in a recipe, when I should have been folding washing, filing post, oh and renewing the car insurance might have been a good plan.
I don’t mind telling you that I’ve considered taking a break. I’ve invested so much time, energy, money, precious hours when I could have been sleeping, yet still, there’s always more I could be doing; it never seems to be enough. Sometimes I wish my dear friend Sandra hadn’t set me up with my blog; I lay the blame fairly and squarely at her feet.
But just when I’m about to suggest we split up, someone will make a really nice comment. I’ll be out in cyberspace somewhere and I’ll catch someone gazing at my baby with frank admiration. I’ve seen people surf past, do a double click and come back. People confess to lusting over him, can’t take their eyes off him, he makes them feel hungry. I’m not too sure how to take that last comment. All the attention makes me look at my man in a different light. I stand up a little straighter, casually put my arm around his shoulders and think, ‘yeh, he’s mine, all mine; we're pretty good together’.
And - as with any long-term union - although some of the sparkle has faded, the routine is perhaps a little too familiar, I wish he looked a bit better, wished he took a better photo, expressed himself a bit better… I wouldn’t really want to be without him. Imagine having to start over again! It’s a jungle out there; I just don’t think I’m up to it.
So I guess I’ll stick with what I know - for better or for worse - keep plodding on and grow gently and comfortably old with him. Who knows, maybe one day there’ll be some recognition for all the hard graft I’ve put in? Or maybe one day there’ll be an acrimonious split and I’ll take him to the cleaners? (note to self: must make sure I divorce in England, it's makes good financial sense) Nooo, just kidding.
Happy Anniversary dear Blog, I love you really.
This is a bit of a cheat; a cake version of Organised Birthday Cupcakes. But that’s what you do after a while isn’t it? Start cutting a few corners, stay in with a take-out instead of tarting up and going to a club? I did tweak the flours a little and add the super chocolate beans; I guess that’s the equivalent of buying some naughty undies to spice up something familiar. But when you’ve been together this long, it can’t always be bells and whistles you know; sometimes my blog is just the last chore of the day!
*To make this with wheat flour, use 175g of wholewheat flour and omit the xanthan gum.
*To make Gluten Free but with eggs, use 1 egg and omit the Orgran egg replacer, ground linseeds and 3 tbsps rice milk.
For the cake:
130g dairy free spread
110g golden syrup
50g cornflour / corn starch
100g brown rice flour
25g gram/besan/chick pea flour
60g cocoa powder
0.5tsp xanthan gum1tsp gluten free baking powder0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150ml rice milk
1 heaped tsp of Orgran 'no egg' egg replacer3 tbsps rice milk
1 heaped tbsp ground linseeds (put whole linseeds into a blender and blend to a powder)
To sandwich together, and for the icing:
About 5 tbsps of blackcurrant jam (or other jam if you prefer)
175g gluten free, dairy free dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
70g dairy free spread
2-3 tbsps icing sugar (optional)
1 pack of Whizzers Chocolate Beans
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
- Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment(or two heart shaped tins if you like)
- Put the egg replacer, ground linseeds and the 3 tbsps of rice milk into a small bowl. Whisk together until all the lumps have gone, then set aside
- Put the dairy free spread, sugar and golden syrup into a large saucepan. Heat over a gentle heat - stirring occasionally -until melted. Remove from the heat
- Weigh out the flours, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, (or wheat flour, omitting xanthan gum), baking powder. Put them all into a large mixing bowl, and stir with a mini whisk to make sure they are all combined
- Heat the rice milk slightly and add the half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, stir
- Add the egg replacer and linseed mix to the saucepan and stir
- Seive the flour mix into the large saucepan and stir until combined. You'll probably need to beat or whisk to remove all lumps, it's not a problem
- Add the rice milk and bicarbonate of soda and stir again until everything is combined
- Divide the mix evenly between the two tins and place into the middle of the oven
- Bake until the cakes are risen and springy when gently pressed; it should take between 15 and 25 minutes depending on your oven (mine is fairly temperamental). Remove from the oven
- Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for about 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack. Leave until they are completely cold
- When ready to ice them, place them onto your serving plate and sandwich them together with a thick layer of blackcurrant jam. My eldest daughter told me to stress this point, she is adamant that the layer must be very thick because it tastes, 'soooooo much better'. You've been told.
- TOP TIP: Once the cake is in position on the serving plate, place pieces of baking parchment all around the base of your cake. Try and slide some bits under it as well. This is so that when you ice the cake and the icing inevitably slithers down the sides, it will run onto the baking parchment and not onto your pretty plate/board. Allow the icing to set, then cunningly ease the baking parchment out, and you'll only have a little bit of tidying up to do around the base of your cake. Sorted.
- Melt the chocolate in a 'bain marie'. Put a small amount of water into a small saucepan and heat it. Set a large, heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan, the base of the bowl should not touch the water
- Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into the bowl. Stir occasionally until it has melted. Remove it from the heat when it has just melted, don't let it get hot
- With the bowl off the heat, add the dairy free spread (and sugar if you wish) and beat until the spread has melted and the mix is looking glossy. Do refrain from sinking your face into it, you may burn yourself
- I find the next part a bit stressful, but you need to use the icing when it is thick enough to stay on the cake, but not so thick that it won't spread. Chocolate is a little unpredicatable, the icing could be ready to use in 5 minutes, it may be 12. Start trying it on the cake, and ice it all over
- Whilst the icing is still wet, add your chocolate beans to make it all look beautiful
- Sit back and admire your creation
- Launch the rest of the beans to the sky and catch them in your mouth as they fall. (note: this is a choking hazard, so do ensure someone trained in the Heimlich manoeuvre is within strangulated crying distance, and if in doubt, check with your healthcare provider before throwing the beans into the air.)
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007