Getting my mojo back, the Chelsea Flower Show and banana cupcakes
It is what it is
All my best intentions flew out the window after my last post almost 3 weeks ago… I’ve always said April/May has never been kind to me and but this year has really been taking the mick…
My husband has been really ill, and during that time, I’ve lost a bit of my own mojo – it’s difficult finding anything positive to write about when you’re worried about someone you love.
Food, whether that’s cooking or eating, simply hasn’t been a priority. I have been cooking out of necessity more than anything else, and keeping our food simple and nutritious and palatable for the poorly one.
At the moment, I feel like my life has been put in a tumble dryer. I’m going through all the usual motions – going to work, cleaning, washing, cooking, paying bills, balancing accounts, juggling diaries, planning stuff, more washing, more chores etc etc etc – and I know my life is no different from others but I think I’m probably not handling it as well as others possibly are. I am keeping on top of things but only just!
I feel constantly on the back foot, being tumbled from one activity to the next with very little control over anything that’s happening. Having one’s life partner unwell has really messed with my mind. It has been a turbulent, depressing, tiring and difficult time for us both.
But I finally feel a silver lining returning… my husband is slowly on the mend though his illness may mean many, many more months/years of treatment before he is truly fighting fit again; no matter though, all that counts is that right now he is better.
It helps too that the sun has finally made its appearance after almost two months of dreary grey sky and constant drizzle.
Up until 8am this morning, I still hadn’t decided if I was ready to return my attentions to thebigfatnoodle, but I decided it was time and once I did, it felt ok, it felt really nice.
After these last few weeks, indeed months, of upheaval, it does feel good to put (figuratively) pen to paper again.
And I kid you not, the moment I decided to start writing today’s post, two things happened:
1) At 11am, I got an email from a new Wiki group project called mycitycuisine.org, who asked if I would let them link my recipe for chicken galantine to their Wiki galantine page,
2) Then at 1.30pm, I found out that I might be asked to judge the Godalming Food Festival’s baking competition too. I hope I do get invited – that would be awesome!
Whether it’s divine provenance or not, it’s given me a much needed boost of encouragement!
While my husband was ill, I hadn’t been able to progress my original plans to try and set up a stall at this year’s festival so I am over the moon if I can still participate in some shape or form.
That said, I’m also not giving up on my own plans yet. While thebigfatnoodle has been silent, I have also been testing some of my products with our local butcher, fishmonger and greengrocer, and they have loved what I have made (at least that’s what they’ve said); in fact, one of them has already said he’d be happy to make room in his shop so I can start selling some of my sauces there!
So, I am now turning my attention to branding and production. I am working with a friend to design a label and I am still researching the best way to produce my sauces in bigger quantities. I am relying a lot on friends to help and as we all hold busy day jobs, and coupled with my husband’s recent illness, it’s going to take me longer than I thought to get this off the ground.
However, baby steps and all that jazz, right?
Meantime, here’s the banana cupcake post I promised three weeks ago. I was originally trying to make a banoffee custard frosting to go on them (a Hummingbird Bakery special) but my custard came out lumpy, and the cupcakes actually tasted so lovely on their own that we ate the entire batch without any frosting at all.
In an odd way, choosing this recipe to post now vaguely reflects where my mind is at at the moment…my husband and I will take each day as it comes, and enjoy it for what it is, very much like the unfrosted cupcakes we ate. Anything else we achieve will be an added bonus but shouldn’t detract from simply enjoying what we already have, stresses and all.
Till next time…
Lots of love
Frosting-free banana cupcakes
Makes a generous batch 12-16 cupcakes
100 grams unsalted and softened butter
300 grams castor sugar
250 grams plain flour
1½ tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
250 ml full fat milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs (preferably large)
4 small ripe bananas, peeled and choped
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius.
Fill a muffin tray with large muffin cases.
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add your flour, baking powder and salt until well mixed – the texture will be like that of fine breadcrumbs.
In a jug or bowl, whisk your eggs, milk and vanilla essence and add this to your cake mixture until the batter is smooth. Fold in your chopped bananas.
Fill each muffin case two-thirds full and bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes.