Saturday, July 9, 2011

British Baking, Part 2: The Cake Maker

British Baking
Part 2: The Cake Maker

Before setting out on our journey to Scotland, I made the conscious decision not to bring any cookbooks or recipes with me.  I wanted to bake traditional British and Scottish dishes, so not bringing along American recipes made a lot of sense to me.  Within a few days of being here, I undertook the task of finding a cookbook, or...four!  We had taken my son to the lovely Dornoch Bookstore to supplement his little library, and I, too, got to supplement mine. I found a series of small books that are compilations of recipes from a magazine aptly named GoodFood.  I immediately snatched up three of them:  GoodFood 101 Cakes and bakes, 101 Tempting Desserts, and GoodFood 101 Cupcakes and small bakes.  Perfect, I thought.  I also found an adorable children's cookbook, Usborne Farmyard Tales Children's Cookbook, that I purchased with the notion that the recipes would be simple and that Nicholas could help make them (he loves helping Mommy).

Wonderful, now that I was armed with recipes galore, I came home, and eagerly flipped through pages folding down the corners of the ones I hoped to bake (there were a lot, trust me).  Then I set about the task of seeing what all my kitchen was stocked with in terms of bakeware.  As it turned out, not much.

I went to a local store that my sister-in-law refers to as the Five and Dime where the proprietor, an weathered older tattooed man asks "what can I help you with Love?"  I explain to him that I am looking for baking cups and spoons.  He looks truly bewildered.


Not easily deterred, I say "you know, to measure teaspoons and tablespoons?"  He points me over into the children's medicine section to see if there are any of those little, tiny measuring cups for measuring kid's cough syrup.

Oh dear.

He sees me flummoxed.  I try again explaining that in the States we have cups and spoons that we use to measure things when cooking.  He retorts with "here we use these big measuring jug sort of things."  I sigh, and thank him for his help.  I've gotten no where though.  I think to myself " It can't be true.  Surely, people have something to measure teaspoons and tablespoons with.  Right?" 

Next, I ventured into the neighboring village Golspie and stumble across a new bakery, the Cake Maker. 
Well, that certainly is straight forward, why on God's green earth didn't I come here first?  Aimee, you moron.

I saunter in, happy, happy, happy.  My kind of store.  They have shelves with some cookie cutters and such, but no measuring spoons, cups, or muffin tins.  I ask the girl if they had any to which she replied no they didn't.  Where can I find them?  She looks at me as if I were three-headed, purple, dancing the jig and asking her to marry me.  She had not the slightest idea, and looked at me like I'd escaped the insane-asylum for even asking.

Wait a second, I am in the Cake Maker's, right?

Oh God, it turned out the poor thing was just in to help her friend for the day.  I think she could tell I was incredulous.  She very kindly took my name and phone number down to have her friend call me to order anything I might need.  Still, I have nothing.

A little beaten down now, I decide to give it one last go.  A few doors down, is Lindsay's, a combination gift/ hardware/ housewares/ toy store.  And Eureka!  They have everything: cups, spoons, baking sheets, tins for bread, muffins, etc.  I leave with many items and am content to commence my British Baking experience.

And here is the irony after all of that the first dessert I ended up making here didn't require the use of an oven at all.  That's right, you heard correctly.

It was Strawberry Trifle from Nick's children's cookbook and the cakey bits, or trifle sponges the call 'em here, you buy at the local grocer's already baked for you!  Arrggghhh!
Oh well, it was mighty tasty though.

Delicious, juicy, flavorful strawberries

Lemon Zest.
 I never thought to use a grater to zest a lemon but it is wonderfully efficient.
  I am throwing my good-for-nothing zester away when I return home.

No baking required Strawberry Trifle

No comments:

Post a Comment