One of the interesting side effects of social distancing and being isolated in our own homes, is the amount of baking and cooking which seems to have surfaced on social media. I'm irresistibly drawn to anything which looks appetising and takes minimal ingredients and effort. The last time I 'nested' like this was when I was pregnant (13 years ago), so is it any surprise that what I'm producing these days looks half-baked? I hope it's no reflection on my writing ability because I cannot help but draw comparisons and wonder about the fact that some authors' baking looks exquisitely professional and probably tastes equally divine, while mine looks, well ... well-botched.
Having recently submitted my latest manuscript for consideration with an agent, only to have my daughter point out too late that an entire scene is repeated, I wonder if this is a trait that is entrenched in all my artistic efforts. I know I work my backside off at what I do, but I never seem to be able to achieve perfection. My focus is always on taste and seasoning, though I also have a tendency to overload people's plates (see where I'm going with this?!). All the ingredients are there, but perhaps I need a helping hand for that final flourish, making it look too delicious to refuse! Ah me, delicious delirium, I can but fantasise for now ...
In the meantime, thanks to some generous authors, I bring you a couple of recipes that appeal to the amateur, easy-peasy, bog-basic nature of my current nesting:
First off, SImplicity Cake. Alison Stuart pitches this as a 'traditional cosy cake recipe, perfect for curling up with on the couch while you binge Netflicks <or your favourite book, I might add>. All the ingredients in one mis and ready in under and hour!'
You might like to enjoy this with one of Alison's 2020 new releases: 'Revenge in Rubies' of 'The Goldminer's Sister' (available 8th July). You can find out about Alison's other historical romance novels from her website: https://www.alisonstuart.com
Next up, Robert Lukins, as well as having given us the fabulous 'Everlasting Sunday',
'The Corona Loaf"
Robert's pitch: Minimal ingredients, minimal effort, minimal results for these necessarily minimal times.
3 1/3 cups some flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups something milk-like
Add whatever else you've got - herbs, olives, spices, anything
Just bring it together, barely mix it, don't knead.
Squash into pancake, 1 inch-ish thick
30 mins 190/370-ish degrees.
Tap the base and it it sounds hollow it's done.
Robert also adds, 'It's very forgiving!' Sounds like a winner to me. You can find out more about Robert and his debut novel The Everlasting Sunday here: http://www.robertlukins.com
Finally, Soup for the Soul.
I found this recipe courtesy of Jonny Geller (literary agent, Chairman and CEO of Curtis Brown) and his wife, Karen Mattison. They described it as the Jewish Penicillin, scientifically proven to make you feel better. It's great, but if you've actually succumbed to the virus, let's take that with a pinch of salt.
The rest of the recipe ( and other comfort cooking ideas) can be found through the following link: