Be a tourist in town

Now the Olympics are over and we’re allowed back into London because it won’t be so busy.. hmm.. something wrong with that sentence.  London seems to have got busy..  I’m normally there mid week flitting in and home in time for supper when I go, which isn’t that often these days.

I was fortunate to spend some time there last week with friends.  It’s been a while and I was very happy to follow where they went and do what they did.  We each listed something we’d really like to do and if the whole group fancied it too it happened.  A few of us wanted to go on the eye so that was done yet before we got on we started remembering how we were with heights, enclosed spaces, vertigo and the likes.. oops..

30 minutes later, some fared better than others yet we all felt like we’d achieved something.  We were very lucky with the weather, it was an amazing bright sunny October autumnal day and London was shining still.

Sometimes we need to see our daily routine and places we go through new eyes and from a different perspective.  Revisit known places with others and with a different attitude than we usually take with us.  Relax, chill and be a tourist in a place you go for work occasionally to feel what a difference the day can make..

The day I baked fruitcakes

It’s been a while since I wrote here.   There’s been lots going on in my work and home life and blogging had to take a back seat for a while.  I do have lots of things I’ve wanted to write about and I’m starting with cake.

Each year I remember, then forget, then expect to do it better than last time, then do as well as I can and await the response with anticipation.  This year’s no different and yet…  Last year, one of my cakes was just perfection apparently.   This has tainted all others that comes in it’s wake.  I try to use the same techniques with them all so I never really understand what makes one stand out above the rest.

Was I watching the oven a bit closer?  Did I not get distracted during baking?  When I split the fruit cocktail mixture did one have more juice in it?  Did I add more cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice?  I bake quick and rough and keep telling myself I do it for enjoyment not to become a master Christmas cake baker (the only time I’ll use the word in this post, I promise).

I like to have my family fruit cakes all done and wrapped by the end of September at the latest.  This year 3 large ones and 2 small ones slipped into the first week of October.  I have been known to bake in July or August.  Dried fruit is soaked in rum for many weeks, which provides for an interesting aroma throughout my house in late summer.  Last weekend, as I baked from morning to midnight (each large cake takes 4.5 hours in the oven.. you do the maths) I ate on the smell infusing everything throughout the house.  It was wonderful, and I treasure days like that.

The cakes are now all done and await their fate and feedback.  I can do no more.  I think they’re a little dry this year.  My family will be the judges of moisture levels and will let me know whatever their decision.  Each time, I try to write the recipe as I make it yet each year something happens to change what I do to greater or lesser degrees.  I have a great day the day I bake forever and I’m glad that others enjoy eating the results a few months later.

Do you have any family favourites that you are the baker of?