They say you should start the year as you mean to go on.
I don’t know about that; that sounds like a challenge for tomorrow morning. But if how you end it says anything, I should worry.
My shoulders are permanently knotted from work stress and they make a range of snap, crackle, pop and clickity noises whenever I move my head, neck, arms or shoulders.
My memory is so bad, I have a near total dependence on the Google function of my iPhone to recall the most basic of facts. (“That actor who was in that movie…he was also in that…other movie. With the other guy. I can’t remember his name either. Hang on, let me Google this…”)
Yesterday I spent 10 minutes – 10 solid minutes – nattering on to my husband about various train/tube/overground routes and the lack of consistency in Oyster charging policy across the Greater London TFL network yesterday. (At this rate, I fully anticipate by the end of 2013 I’ll be standing at the end of Platform 1 at London Bridge station with my pencil and notebook in hand, engaging in heated debates with my new – and by then only – friends, the other trainspotters: “Clapham Junction; its just not a junction!”)
And finally, this morning I appear to have left the house dressed, well…really not that dissimilarly to Mr Tumnus (tweed jacket, cashmere turtleneck jumper, long scarf and carrying a cane umbrella). Possibly a side effect of watching too much Narnia on Channel 4 this Christmas.
One good thing, however, is that I started the day with a slice of my excellent upside down breakfast cake. And unlike the name of that actor who was in that movie with the other actor, I actually have this recipe committed to memory.
3 oz butter
3 oz low fat crème fraiche
6 oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
A quantity of cut fruit, a few small extra knobs of butter & 3 tbs dark brown sugar
Step One: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition, followed by the crème fraiche and vanilla extract.
Step Two: Sift the flour and baking powder and add the salt. Fold the liquid with the dry ingredients and mix only until the ingredients are moistened and there are no flour lumps left.
Step Three: Prepare two small loaf tins by greasing the sides. (I also line mine with a long strip of parchment, the width of the loaf tin, to help the cake avoid sticking to the sides when turning the loaves out.)
Step Four: If the fruit you are using is a small berry, such as a blueberry, use it whole, but larger fruit, such as apples or pears will need to be cut into small manageable chunks. Place the fruit in the base of both tins, around an inch thick, and then evenly scatter a few small knobs of butter and 1.5 tbs of dark brown sugar on top of that, so it can create its own caramel as its baking. Pour the batter on top of each loaf tin.
Step Five: Bake the loaves, undisturbed, in an oven at 190C for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let sit for no less than 5 but no more than 10 minutes before inverting onto a baking rack or serving plate. Let cool before slicing into thick slices – a perfect accompaniment to a cup of strong black coffee.