It's the university holidays and I've been trying to use my time off wisely. However, in the Winter and as someone with a lower than average body temperature, it is all too easy to stay indoors watching Mad Men. In what I suspect was an attempt to increase my contact with the outside world, my flatmate recently offered up our house as the venue for our monthly book club. I've always thought I would be a valuable member of a book club. I love reading and talking about books and sometimes – albeit rarely – hold opinions on things like themes and character development. Regrettably, it appears I overestimated my potential. Or underestimated my laziness. Potato, potato(e). That doesn't work as well in print. Maybe read this aloud.
This month was a double fail. We were due to discuss Heroes and Villians by Angela Carter, a dystopian novel, picked for the very reason that I had studied it as part of my Gothic Fiction course. I didn't read it during term, and I didn't read it during the holidays. As my fellow book clubbers looked to me for insight into the complex and multi-layered text, I offered them more cake.
And this is where I realised my book club strength: provisioning. That and selecting the background music, for which I received at least one compliment. Throughout the afternoon, our snack table remained well stocked with a variety of both savoury and sweet treats. I was in charge of the gingerbread loaf. I love that what is essentially a cake, is given a name like 'loaf' to hide some of its guilt. Like banana bread. The only thing bread-y about banana bread is its ability to be cut into a slice. Anyway, I digress. Here is Aunty Kitty's recipe for gingerbread loaf. The best thing you can slice since sliced bread.
2 cups of plain white flour 1 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 tablespoons ground ginger powder teaspoon mixed spice teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 and 1/3 cups of golden syrup
225 grams of butter
1 cup of milk
Aunty Kitty says to preheat the oven to 150 degrees. My oven is gas fuelled and temperamental so I throw caution to the wind and turn it up a little higher.
Line a loaf shaped tin with baking paper. It makes a large loaf, so use a large tin (Aunty Kitty says 11 X 30 cm, but who has a ruler?) I find that spraying the tin with a little olive oil helps the baking paper stick, making it easier to pour in the mixture. Some would say this is unnecessarily doubling up on the non-stick. I say, do it.
Sieve the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix.
Melt the golden syrup and butter on a low-ish heat. Add to the dry mixture. I like to employ the Well Technique I learnt in my Form 1 food technology class.
Lightly beat the eggs and milk and add to the bowl. Pour the very wet mixture into the tin.
Cooking time is going to vary with the quality of your oven. At the very least, it is going to need 1 hour and 10 minutes. Use a skewer and check until it comes out clean. Leave it in the tin for 30 minutes before eating.