Harpsden Cricket Club have a fixture tomorrow - yes, that's right, tomorrow, Tuesday afternoon. It's against a touring club, and most of our players will be schoolboys (it's half term). Alfred was asked to play, but he ducked out of it, as he's pulled a thigh muscle, and he wants to be in peak condition for a game of house cricket at school next Monday. So, instead, he and I are making and serving cricket teas. I've made a mountain of cakes, and, as my freezer is already full, I'll be stuck if this game is rained off.
General instructions for cricket teas at Harpsden are to be found on our club blog, and they could well be useful for anyone having to do the teas for their club. We take it in turns to produce teas, and so there are huge variations in what's on offer - although we all stick to the format of sandwiches and cakes.
So far, I've never gone out and bought cakes - I like baking, and don't get the chance to make cake very often, for fairly obvious reasons: all that butter, all those eggs. Not the sort of thing we eat often any more in this house, although we certainly do on high days and holidays.
I always make Nigella's dense chocolate loaf cake, it's delicious, easy, and someone always asks for the recipe. Today I've also made a banana cake, because we seem to have quite a few that no-one's eating, and because it's Alfred's favourite. It's another Nigella recipe, from How to be a Domestic Goddess, the first time I've tried it. It's not so quick as my normal recipe, and I'll report back on whether it was worth the extra trouble.
Soak 100g sultanas in a little hot water. Melt 125g Flora and mix in 150g soft brown sugar. Put this in a big bowl (I used my Kenwood, but it would be easy to mix by hand), and beat in two eggs, then 300g banana (ie 4 small or 3 medium bananas). Once this is all mushed together, add 175g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb. (You can mix this up beforehand, OR you can put the flour in a heap on your mix, add the BP and bicarb and mix it in with the flour before beating the whole contents of the bowl. If you see what I mean.)
Pour into one lined 2lb loaf tin or two lined 1lb loaf tins (which is what I used), and bake at 170C for 1 1/4hr or 40 minutes, depending on size.
Cool in the tin. Mine looks just as good as the one in the book - but it's easy if you use that sort of liner.
Special access - Following on from yesterday's books post, and as a postscript to this one from 2013, Linda Lear's biography of Beatrix Potter gives another telling detail to...
12 hours ago