Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Confession

Who has seen North and South? BBC's mini-series based on Elizabeth Gaskell's novel has become my preferred viewing at the moment.

The confession part is this: I have a crush on John Thornton. Not the actor, Richard Armitage, mind, just the character of Mr. Thornton. Oh, swoon. I've now watched the final installment several times, and I still start welling up at his broken-heartedness at her return to London, and again at their encounter at the train station. His brow finally un-furrows and I get blubbery. Anyone else have this problem?

For those who haven't seen it, my romanticizing is probably not helpful, especially since I'm really bad at sharing what the film is actually about. Well, go and see it yourself, and then you'll know. And then you'll be less likely to call me a sap.

Victoria Sponge

I have something of a love/hate relationship with Nigella Lawson's recipes. Overall, I love them, because when they work out, they're awesome. When they don't, though, they really don't. Kind of like the little girl with the curl...
Anyway, her Victoria Sponge definitely works. And it's so easy. I would even venture to say that it might become your go-to cake when it needs to look special and there's not a lot of time for "special". So here it is:
Victoria Sponge
A note for the Americans: the measurements are in grams, because that's how she gives it in the UK edition. If you're struggling, buy the American edition of ...Domestic Goddess, or buy some weighing scales. I'd never manage in my kitchen without them!
You'll need
225g butter
225g fine granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
200g self raising flour
25g cornflour (corn starch)
1 tsp baking powder
3-4 tbsp milk
Preheat the over to 350 F/ 180C. Line a couple of cake pans - I would call them sandwich tins.
This is where it's easy: Tip all the ingredients (except for the milk) into your food processor. Whiz it all up until all the lumps are gone, then add the milk while it's still running. When it's nice and smooth, divide the batter between the 2 pans and bake for 20-25 min. When the tester comes out clean (and by tester, I mean knife, skewer, or knitting needle - whichever is to hand), cool them in the tins for 10 min, then turn out and cool completely.
You can then sandwich them with some icing and cover with icing, a la birthday cake, or you can do it properly and sandwich them together like so:
smear on a couple tbsp of some kind of berry jam, then cover with a couple handfuls of coordinating berries. Whip some heavy cream (about 125 mls) and slap some of that on. Then settle the top layer on and sprinkle some granulated or even icing sugar on the top.
For the pretty.
It's good eatin' - you'll see.