Recently, I’ve been (re)reading Dorothy Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh’s A Presumption of Death. Set in the English countryside during World War II, the novel is based on a series of letters between the characters (known to the public from her earlier fiction) that Sayers wrote during the war to lift public spirits.
Well, Tuesday being my classless day (just kidding; I’m classless all the time), I settled in for a spate of domesticity. But as I put together the batter for two different kinds of cookies, I was thinking to myself, four eggs! How terribly extravagant. Could I replace them with powdered, do you think?And last night, doing the grocery shopping, I caught myself wondering if I couldn’t get away with less sugar by replacing some with grated carrot.
Happily for NTS, I recalled in time that there is not, in fact, a world war on and the cookies escaped unscathed.
The baker, on the other hand, was slightly traumatised by the difficulty of fitting out her kitchen for patisserie. After reading every label in the baking isle last night (for a very long time, NTS assures me), I was forced to return home in defeat, sanspowdered baking chocolate. I spent much of the night (when I wasn’t busy getting lots of sleep) debating with myself whether the substitution of melted baking chocolate would change the solid:liquid ratio of the dough and spoil the consistency of the cookies, and if so, how much of something else I would have to add to offset that effect. I oscillated between experimenting with liquid chocolate or giving up and making sugar cookies, back and forth, until I had an inspiration. I would check the tea and coffee section!
My brainstorm effective, I returned victorious to compound my doughs, which are now chilling. Unable to decide between them, I made not one, but two kinds of chocolate cookie dough. I promise, they’re not (all) for me. I need some for a social event this weekend with my Scottish dance group. The kind that involves going away for a weekend with your friends, your booze and your dance shoes.
Despite the difficulty over baking chocolate, I am finding it difficult to stay angry with British grocery stores in the matter of baking. For one, I am cooking for the first time with sugar grown in Europe. It’s British, and it’s derived from sugar beets. How interesting!
The second reason? Apparently, British bakers like to cover things (mostly fruitcake, judging from the picture on the wrapper) in marzipan. This perhaps explains why they sell it in 500g blocks in the baking aisle. And that explains how a large block of marzipan, a commodity I considered somewhat expensive and fiddly to procure, now stands in my cupboard next to the baking chocolate.
For more photos of my everyday, check my album Life in Edinburgh.