Monday, 21 January 2013

Candle ends and stale cake: Austerity Cooking part three

R. Little, Moffat baker's shop. The narrow frontage may be due to a tax on frontage in the 17th century.
In the course of making sure my mouse has as little encouragement as possible to visit my kitchen, today I discovered a piece of stale ginger cake bought from Moffat's baker R. Little Ltd over a year ago. The cake had not gone mouldy, so I began to think how I might use it. Stale cake can be the basis of trifle-type desserts. Basically, you need to soak the cake in some suitable liquid - in the case of this cake, perhaps rum or ginger wine, and then add a custard and perhaps some preserved fruit - stem ginger? -  and/or nuts. Ginger was always my favourite flavour of rock. One can buy pieces of ginger rock in Moffat's iconic family-owned and run Moffat Toffee Shop, for texture, and perhaps top with a scoop of stem ginger ice cream. I continued to make my contribution to saving the planet by heating the remains of a scented candle by heating the tin that held it in hot water, and tipping the considerable residue into another tin with a similarly challenged candle of the same scent (hyacinth).

I watched three excellent films yesterday on TV: The Hours - an exceptional study of the loss of the will to live in three linked characters, told in each case through the unexpected medium of a party with explicit reference to Virginia Woolf's haunting tale Mrs Dalloway. The excellent cast includes Meryl Streep; Nicole Kidman,Tom Cruise's Australian ex, unrecognisable in a false nose, Julianne Moore and our own Miranda Richardson. I am not ready to turn in my dinner pail ( a propos: I also watched an episode on TV of the new Blandings, which was funny in a toe-curling cartoonish way). I then watched 'It's Complicated' with Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep and Steve Martin - highly recommended if you can catch it 'On Demand' (the new Sky thing) and lastly The Bourne II - the denouement where the mystery agent played by Matt Damon finally discovers his true identity  with Albert Finney playing a character clearly intended to represent J Edgar Hoover in his shambling fat old age. I found myself wondering when and why the Americans started to worry about treachery within. Or perhaps it is a perennial theme

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