I am simply no good at baking. A lesson I am learning slowly, step by step throughout my life, one flat cake after another soggy sponge.
On open days at school, the cakes I'd so proudly display for visitors' enjoyment would remain uneaten. My brother and boisterous cousins were better at icing cupcakes than me. My attempts at Victoria Sponge would somehow end up on my Gran's garage roof, the feasting grounds of all birdy visitors in her garden.
For some reason, this has never stopped me trying. I love baking, mainly because I love munching on cakes. My favourite kind of sweet treat is in line with my personal 'vice' - oats and dried fruit (can these things count as vices? The quantities I eat can be, I'm sure!). Muesli, granola, flapjacks, crumbles, oaty cookies, fruity muffins...
On Tuesday I was craving flapjacks. I (mostly) followed a recipe; it all looked authenically flapjack-esque, I took the tray out of the oven in greedy anticipation. I waited as long as I possibly could before picking myself a slice of this golden oaty sheet...only to grasp at a couple of oats as the rest crumbled beneath the knife. I was left with a pile of sweet, buttery oats on my plate; too sugary and fatty to see it as granola, too un-solid to even consider it to be a flapjack! Disappointed, I ate the rest from a bowl, with milk. If I'd have wanted cereal, I'd have made cereal.
After a long morning run, I was once again craving oats and dates (dates must be dried pods of heaven, I think). I found a recipe on Nigella's site, which I followed exactly this time (not something I tend to do, admittedly). Date squares. Also known as date slices. Again, this implies some sort of solid snack.
A sloppy, sticky, over-sweet splogde on my afternoon. Actually, it looks quite good in this photo. More of a sweet oaty-date pudding.
Maybe I'll stick to savoury dishes from now on, but don't hold me to that ;-)