Like the time I went on my first real business trip abroad to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. (Bear with me – it is relevant) I will never forget the cringeworthy experience I had sitting in a lovely restaurant in the main square. A lowly trainee solicitor, I was in the presence of (1) a senior civil servant (2) an EMINENT QC (3) my affable but deeply misogynistic training supervisor.
Picture me there, all fresh faced and eager, perusing a menu of much loveliness. I saw it – garlic langoustine. “That’s for me”, I thought. The senior civil servant – also female, bird-like, chose a lasagne, the men chose steak. How can they be so boring? I thought.
Then my meal arrived. My colleagues clearly knew what I had just realised: never, never choose anything that might be remotely challenging to eat when (1) you are a junior-nobody, (2) on a business trip (3) accompanying senior civil servants and eminent QCs in expensive restaurants. (I would stress that for those of you worried about tax payers money, it was a very important point of law that we were debating, and we didn’t go into the most expensive restaurant in Luxembourg.)
The horror of that moment when I realised that the langoustine, though truly delicious, were dripping in garlic butter and requiring deshelling etc by hand.
“Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound” thought I, and as carefully and as unobtrusively as I could, I got on with the business of consuming. They were delicious. I got stuck in (carefully and unobtrusively, you understand).
Bird-woman picked at her lasagne. “Traitor!” I cursed under my breath. “You could have warned me!”
I thought I had got away with it, but imagine the scene. The restaurant is quite quiet and our waiter resembles Manuel. He notices, as do I, that I have splashed a small – I mean really small – I did so well – spot of garlic oil on the right breast of my shirt. Could he let it lie? He could not. He throws up his hands in horror, dashes off to the kitchen to reappear with a cloth and some kind of detergent in a spray bottle. It’s not as if he could have let me do it on my own either. The next thing I know he has liberally sprayed me with the contents of the bottle and starts scrubbing away.
Somehow, I managed to stay upright and not shrivel up in a miserable heap of embarrassment on the floor, but I am not sure how.
I know you are wondering how all that might relate to nipple cakes, but please bear with me.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. The Husband’s company announced it was putting on a Jubilee tea yesterday for all staff but the Husband and his boss were going to be in Paris for a meeting. “Could you make us some cakes?” he asked. He was planning to hold his own tea on the Eurostar, impress the boss and all that. “Oh yes, I can do that” I said, and then forgot.
This week has been manic, and Wednesday arrived. “D’you think you’ll be able to make those cakes?”. My heart sinks. “If you don’t think you’ll have time, I can buy some”. I rally. On NO account will he be taking bought cakes. BOUGHT CAKES??? (I am my own worst enemy – I do know this).
Fortunately I had been flicking through the June 2012 issue of Good Food – it was nearly June, after all, and come across these little beauties: raspberry and coconut cupcakes. Just the thing. Plus, I have the world’s largest reserves of dessicated coconut in my cupboard from when I was in a panic that I just might not have enough. For what I don’t entirely know. Clearly these cupcakes.
Anyway – you don’t need me to go through the recipe – it does exactly what it says and they are brilliant. Which is a good thing because due to work and other things, I didn’t get round to putting my baking hat on until tea time. It was baking hot, and because of end-of- the-month-itis (i.e. no food in the house, let’s make the best of what we’ve got in the freezer) we were having sausage casserole. The upside was that the butter softened easily. The downside was making raspberry coulis to go in the icing and trying to sieve out the seeds, and serve up tea at the same time. It tasted great (the coulis – home made always does), but on Wednesday, life might actually have been too short.
|Atleast the rasps were side on and not 'upright'...|
We had to dash out to attend the scout group AGM and campfire, from which I extracted the kids just after 8 and made it home to try and get the icing done before the scout leaders returned back to ours for some
drinking camp planning. Butter icing is not best made when it’s sweltering
hot, but I persisted and iced the cakes. For decoration, Good Food suggested a
sprinkle of dessicated coconut, but I had some raspberries left over. In a move
of overwhelming generosity (rather than scoffing them myself), I adorned the
cakes. “Beautiful”, I thought. The fact that they might have looked like tits
completely passed me by.
So, travelling at 100 m.p.h., the Husband acquires tea from the Eurostar and breaks out the cakes, 2, placed side by side in a handy Tupperware and plucked from the fridge at 5.30 yesterday morning. Heat notwithstanding, they still looked rather perky.
At least it wasn’t me serving them up...