Tag Archives: cake

What is Mardi Gras?

So, being a Brit, I had no idea what Mardi Gras was until a few weeks ago…still not even sure if I’m spelling it right! Never heard of it, never seen a king cake and it has never even passed my mind to look for a small baby drowned in a cake! I mean, I understand it and all; its supposed to symbolise Jesus…but if you love him…why would you cook him? According to the surprisingly simplistic answer that Google gave me it is ‘a carnival held in some countries on Shrove Tuesday’. ¬†Fair enough!! Thank you Google, for once you did not refer me to a four page explanation of the history of it. Appreciated! To me, Shrove Tuesday is pancake day, and shall forever remain…pancake day. I see the similarities, a day where it is acceptable to throw health out the window, and an excuse to replace a nutritional meal with a dessert. For those of us who aren’t religious (like me), its all about the FOOD.

Now, I have actually had the privilege of trying a king cake, despite not realising that it was attached to a certain time of the year (Google says Feb 28-Mar 4 this year?). Haha, I love that, I went back to check Google for the dates and spotted one website that had named it ‘Fat Tuesday’….well I guess we might as well embrace the facts!! But back to the king cake; my friend Rachel lived in Louisiana and had her favourite bakery send us their finest king cake. It took about 3 weeks to arrive, but it was well worth the wait. I unfortunately did not find the baby, it was in fact in my roommates piece, and now sits proudly by her bedside. She has many the picture with it in her mouth…don’t ask why!

This was a few weeks ago so I completely forgot about the whole occasion until I was at the gym this morning, breathing laboriously on the elliptical machine. Lined in front of me were 5 televisions, but only the one was catching my eye, admittedly because it had the brighter colours! I was watching away, chuckling stupidly as jokes were being made, despite my inability to hear them. When suddenly, out came a long line of king cakes, ready for some sort of competition. Actually I lie a little, I didn’t initially realise they were king cakes until the competition began and they were rummaging through these poor cakes. It took me a while to realise that they were looking for these plastic babies and THAT’S when my mind clicked! Did I forget to mention I’m a little slow? The competition was won by whoever found the most babies in…I dunno…maybe a minute? Anyway, that’s besides the point, it reminded me of Mardi Gras, and above that, the fact that it is today! So happy Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday to all you people out there! I hope your day is full of cakes or pancakes and that you can spend one day fearing less about your weight. Come on…the Lord himself says its okay!




sheldon planktonYesterday was the day of the recipe…actually make that recipeS. You know, those wonderful lists of ingredients in particular quantities and arrangements that simply make your tongue want to roll out of your mouth and die in delight. I’m talking about THOSE recipes. I believe we each encounter very few and specific moments in our lives when we open our mouth and instead of the bitten and chewed food travelling to our stomach, it travels to our heart. Now, as corny as that sounds, if you have met one of your food spouses, then you know exactly what I am talking about. I began the day with porridge and fruit, nothing unique or worthy of discussion there. However, my lunch was by then already exciting me. My two other friends and I were planned to go to lunch at a restaurant called Elmo before our 2pm class at school. I had briefly looked at the website and knew that it was a pretty snazzy place, despite its less than impressive exterior. In fact, at first glance you would be entirely uninterested to even pass it. We were seated by a couple of gay waiters, just to add to the day’s excitement, and handed our menus. I chose the chicken skewers with a side of truffle fries, a rather safe choice I must admit, but nevertheless it was what I was in the mood for. The food arrived swiftly and we began to eat. The chicken was covered in something called ‘yakitori’ sauce, which was described as a ‘japanese glaze’. i am telling you now…it was heavenly! Far beyond my expectations. I was full and yet I continued to eat fries so that I had a socially expectable manner of devouring every last lick of the sauce on my plate. I believe my friend’s noticed, and chuckled at the sight of my avid appreciation of this small delight.

Next was on the way home from school and during one of those hourly conversations that in some way involves Nandos or Wagamamas, phenomenons I am aware that many Americans do not know of. If you do not, I encourage you to immediately go and find one, travel across state if you must!! Anyway, it has been a long kept desire of mine to own the recipes to the infamous Nandos Piri Piri sauce, and simply anything to do with Wagamamas, whether it be sauce or cake…just ANYTHING. Now I am aware that I can buy the Piri Piri sauce at any local English supermarket, but there is something about owning the recipe, that goes far above and beyond that. Wagamamas is simpler, as they are selling a large and wonderful cookbook, that anybody, friend of foe, is welcome to buy me for my birthday. Nevertheless, I have plans to work there over summer break in the hopes of ‘accidentally overhearing’ the key secrets to the Wagamamas success; Sheldon Plankton style!

Last, but far from least, is those cheap ass, fat filled, chocolate smothered cakes you can buy from any supermarket. You know, the ones that cost about $6 and are made by the thousands every day and the shot across the world. Full of chemicals to keep them from moulding, and placed a fair distance from the more expensive, daily-made local pastries. Yes, those. Most of my curiosity comes from wanting to know how on earth these things can last weeks and weeks. In my books, that’s a little suspicious. The other bit comes from my fascination in its ability to twist a group of people tightly around its finger; some sort of love chemical me thinks! Finally, a little bit of me, and this is the baker part of me, is irritated that chemicals continue to overpower good natural ingredients in the culinary world perhaps if I can own the recipe to these laboratory cakes I can discover a way to combine good eating and good food. As unknown to many, they rarely come hand in hand.

The Little Man

At this moment in my life, and surrounded by other aspiring and competitive actors, it is almost needless to say that I am on a diet. Aren’t we all? Whether it be eating less take out, or cutting out chocolate, or being one of those yoyo dieters like myself, we all seem to be doing something to achieve that photo shopped look. I hate it. I really do! But it unfortunately seems to have become a fact of the 21st century, much like auto tuned music and vegetarian meat (what is that shit?!). The reason I am, and will probably forever continue to be a yoyo dieter, is for one reason, and one reason only; I am a baker. If there is someone out there who bakes as regularly as I and manages to keep to the suffocating restrictions of a diet, please make yourself known. Please tell me HOW IN THE HELL YOU DO IT. It comes down to that guy inside your head saying “now Amanda, you wouldn’t want to waste that last bit of cookie dough would you?” and “the edges of that cake were intended for your mouth, sent personally by the oven gods”. I hate that guy. He is impossible to get rid of!!! They say that we are our own worst enemy…I oppose that argument, saying instead that he, THAT GUY, is. After all, we can’t cry over calories we haven’t eaten, right? I’m sorry, that was bad. But true…

I used to be really good at it actually. I would come home from school at the youthful age of 11 and run straight into the kitchen, open a bag of flour and get cracking. Before long it would be 7pm and all my after school hunger would have been quenched by the sheer fumes wafting from the oven. That was when I was young, and with less room in my head for that little man. Over the summer, when I truly get cracking on my baking (with plans of opening a pop-up shop!!) I expect to gain extreme amounts of weight, and becoming extremely malnourished through my ignorance of all vitamin C that exists in my kitchen. Well that’s in the future, and this is the present. So I will continue my life in the hopes of “throttling” that little man (my new favourite word). If you have any advice, or anything at all to say about this matter, pleeeaaaassse message me!