I wasn’t sure how I would cope with not knowing how a recipe would turn out… My day job means that I have the skills and techniques to have a fairly decent idea how a project will turn out before I start. And I tend to like to be a little bit in control of most aspects of my life. How would I find not being in control at all of the recipes and what I would make when following them – especially as the techniques are taken as known by Miss Reeve so there are very few instructions?
Not bad, I have to say. I have learnt:
1. I quite like journeys into the unknown.
2. I have met some very interesting people on the way – in the middle of food shops when trying to find ‘arrowroot’ and the assistant doesn’t know what it is either – some very helpful knowledgeable cooks who happened to hear my conversation stepped in. A discourse on the difference between arrowroot and cornflour followed. Brilliant stuff.
3. I have a much better idea of lbs vs gms vs gills. Before I just used to go for ‘one of my handfuls of mince please’.
4. I know which of my friends are happy to help – one who stayed up past midnight making the ‘Father’s Toffee’ for me rarely gets any time to spare so it was a real testament of friendship that one! Others who consider themselves to be good cooks (and they are very good) not remotely interested in helping – they have their own recipes and that suits them fine, which is fine by me. And then others who don’t consider themselves to be good cooks (but they are very good) have thrown themselves into testing the recipes and calling every now and then with the answer to one of the questions on the site.
5. There are lots of interesting people out there in the twittersphere and on the internet whose sites and discussions are really inspiring. Some of them are even like me – cackhanded with a whisk and no idea whether wrapping string around brown paper on the outside of a baking christmas cake is the same as wrapping blue wool around some parchment paper on the outside of a baking christmas cake as I didn’t have brown paper or string!
6. My (Neff) oven cooks some things more on one side than the other. And fan-assisted ovens need lower cooking temperatures than Miss Reeve’s Recipes would suggest.
7. My mother in law’s ancient Kenwood Chef (I was born in 1965 and she had it before I was born…) is doing sterling work.
7. I showed my husband the Miss Reeve’s Recipes website and he said she would be thrilled that more people than just me would see her recipes based on a lifetime of domestic science/cookery teaching.
I type this blog as the Christmas Cake is in the oven for a 4 hour stint at 140. (No – I am not a few months behind in my baking! I first wrote this blog on another site and, when I wrote it it was indeed December. I have since transferred it to this site!) The Miss Reeve’s Recipe didn’t mention a temperature so I looked at all the Christmas Cake recipes I could find at 150 seemed to be the going rate so I knocked off 10 for a fan assisted oven! It is all about sucking it and seeing, it seems. I like that. After all.