Columnist Mindy Hammond revives her baking expertise throughout lockdown

Richard’s unimpressed by Mindy’s baking expertise (Image: Susan Hellard)

After months of minimal manufacturing from our hens, they lastly kicked into laying mode throughout lockdown and Mr H was notably happy, as his favorite breakfast was poached eggs on toast. Production met demand till the egg behavior was changed by marmalade and muesli. Suddenly, the wood egg field, which holds 12, was overflowing. There was just one factor for it. I needed to bake.

The chickens have been productive

The chickens have been productive (Image: Susan Hellard)

An important concept! So nice, the entire of our neighborhood clearly had the identical concept and there was no flour available anyplace. Crustless quiche was the reply. I’m positive 1000’s of individuals make quiche usually, however I’m not considered one of them. I made them often when the ladies have been little however they weren’t followers, so my beautiful quiche dish was retired to the again of the cabinet. Last weekend it was retrieved, washed and stuffed with an unappetising combination of eggs, tomato, onion, cheese and bacon. Thirty minutes later a quiche Lorraine was served to nice applause and in one other 20 minutes nothing was left however the dish and a happy Mindy.

The Hammonds in lockdown

The Hammonds in lockdown (Image: Susan Hellard)

I wasn’t so happy once I emptied the dishwasher that night, dropped a mug on to my quiche dish and watched it break in half. Should I order a substitute, I puzzled? No. The household might have loved that one however it was unlikely they’d need one other for some time.

A number of days later, Izzy was on the lookout for inspiration. “There’s a recipe right here for courgette quiche and you know the way I really like courgettes. D’you suppose you would make that one?”

It appeared easier than the primary. “Yes, OK, I’ll give it a go.”

I cracked the eggs (eight of them), sliced pink peppers and tomatoes then turned to my courgette. The directions stated, “Spiralise the courgette using the linguine cutting cone.” Well now, what’s that then? Surely my all-singing, all-dancing had-it-for-five-years-and-haven’t-unwrapped-all-the-attachments-yet meals processing thingy had a spiralising attachment?

I dragged it out and found a drum with slits in. Maybe that was it? So I shoved the courgette in. It emerged minimize to perfection… in skinny slices. As I solely had one courgette I made a decision there wasn’t a lot distinction between spiralised and sliced, so threw it into the combination. Then I remembered. I didn’t have a quiche dish. I did have a pie dish, although, so I poured the combo into it and put it within the oven, including a sprinkling of Cheddar to the highest.

Keeping the pets entertained

Keeping the pets entertained (Image: Susan Hellard)

I referred to as the troops to lunch and positioned earlier than them an enormous and superbly browned quiche-y pie. Everyone was very impressed till I tried to chop it. The knife went into liquid! I harrumphed and, ignoring the sniggers of my household,  saved my creation by placing it within the microwave for 5 minutes. And then one other three. I minimize into it once more. It wasn’t a lot a quiche as scrambled egg with peppers, topped with cheese and tomato on a sloppy courgette base. Nobody ate it, besides the bin.

My gifted sister despatched me an image of her newly baked, and really spectacular coffee-and-walnut cake that afternoon, “I wish I could bake cakes but I’ve never managed it in the Aga,” I instructed her. She gave me a number of useful hints earlier than including, “Go on, have a go and send me a picture.”

`In the doghouse

In the doghouse (Image: Susan Hellard)

By now, I had a bag of self-raising and a bag of plain flour, so to spice up my cooking confidence I reassembled the mixer, discovered a Victoria sponge recipe, weighed my elements and waited for my sponge to rise. And waited. It didn’t. I lastly eliminated it from the tin and minimize right into a dense, moist, spherical doorstop. Richard entered, “Have you got those eggs for Mum and Dad? I was going to drop them off.”

“Hang on, I’ll nip out and collect the last two to make up half a dozen.” Richard appeared confused. “But we’d loads this morning. How many eggs have you used?”

“There were eight in the quiche and four in the cake.”

He stared at me. “What cake? That’s a cake?”

“Well, I think I used the wrong flour.”

Mindy exhausted

Taking a break from baking (Image: Susan Hellard)

“So we lastly handle to pay money for flour and simply when eggs are like gold mud you’ve managed to waste all that in a day and make nothing edible.” He sighed.

I fetched extra eggs and the following day I attempted once more. It stood 5 inches excessive, stuffed with selfmade buttercream and strawberry jam and with a buttercream frosting – the very best Victoria sponge I ever made. And scrumptious, too.

I’d wish to thank my 5 hens (notably Mrs Speckledy, who lays the largest eggs), my mixer-cum-food processor and sister Nicky for restoring my shallowness. For now…

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