05 September 2010

cakes and bicycles

certain things are inevitable. i always knew my competitive streak would seep over into to my clumsy baking. just thought it would happen in another 30 years or so. i've also had an inkling that a dabble in triathlon might come my way. what i didn't expect was for both things to happen in the same slightly surreal weekend.

saturday- the gedling borough show.
following the strict rules of the committee members i took my 'classic victoria sponge' to the site before 12noon. the marquee was full of giant marrows, home made jams, gleaming onions and perfectly arranged potatoes. there was a hushed air of anticipation, gardeners made their final adjustments to displays. leeks were being covered with damp cloths and raspberry's delicately placed in rows. i was ushered to 'class 81' and given a plastic bag to cover my cake. eying up the competition i realised that i'd already made two crucial mistakes. firstly i'd used blackcurrant jam (homemade by my grandma) and secondly, had allowed it to ooze.

james (jane's dad) was also 'showing' (i think that's the correct term). due to a very successful haul on the allotment he'd entered numerous categories. he proudly showed me round and explained the complex eccentricities of such a typically british past time.

the mysteries of what constitutes the perfect dressed onion or the perfectly risen loaf remain just that. the judging takes place behind closed doors. after a nervous two hours we return. baking doesn't get more exciting than this!

sadly my cake didn't place. but i think i know where i went wrong. next time, yes, there will be a next time, i'll take more care in the folding of flour. james had a very successful show, winning best marmalade, second place in the loaf category. he also has prize winning beans, courgettes, garlic, potatoes, onions and raspberry's.

it was an absolutely lovely way to spend a saturday afternoon.

sunday- cotswold sprint triathlon.
ok, i have to admit i took part in a relay team, stepping in for a friend of my dad's at the last minuet. i only had 20km to ride but it was flat and fast. importantly we beat someone i've not met before sister and it was also over by 10am. got me thinking though...

19 comments:

Rocketdog said...

and where is my slice of the "unplaced" cake?

where in the cotswolds was the race?

ultra collie said...

i must get myself a competitive steak next time im at the butchers ;-)

kate said...

rocketdog- unfortunately cake had to remain at the show for the weekend. only got to have a slice on sunday evening, most long awaited cake!!! the race was at cotwold park, do you ride round there?

uc- sorry sir, corrected ;)

Hayfella said...

How gloriously, quintessentially English! Your sponge looks fab. Would plum or damson (a speciality around our way) jam, made with a stronger set, be less likely to ooze? It could be your secret weapon next year. My god, it is competitive isn't it!

Julbags said...

Have you been watching the Great British Bake Off? I'm impressed with your cake, especially as the sponge is nice and flat. I did tisk at the "ooze" though....as if I could do any better, lol. Who knew there was so much involved in folding flour in...I have a Kenwood Chef to do all my mixing as I am lazy, might stop setting it to "coat the kitchen in flour speed though".

Hayfella said...

Sorry kate, got over-excited by the sponge cake drama. Meant to say do go for a tri. You'll love it. How's your swimming? It's usually the tricky bit for most runners/cyclists, but you've got all winter to train for it...

kate said...

hayfella- i chose the black current purely as it was made by my grandma. unfortunately i think damson might be too adventurous for this show!! the jam was so thick i heated it slightly, obviously too much.

as for tri, i can swim but not very competently. do like the idea of it though. on both counts you sound like you're speaking from experience. maybe baking should be the fourth discipline ;)

julbags- have i?!! of course. i think this cake might even be their fault. i can't apologise enough for my jam faux pas but at least i fold by hand ;)

jumbly said...

Radio 4 reliably informed me the other day that a truly classic Victoria sponge, is raspberry jam, and jam only, no cream. Sounds a bit boring, some cream and a bit of blackcurrant ooze sounds infinitely better to me.

I've got a few friends who tri and they all love it. I'm always put off by the swimming bit.

Pedalling Polarcherry said...

loving your cake work and i reckon its cool that you entered the show! retro chic.

as for the triathlon you should totally go for it! Iron woman Kate?

kate said...

jumbly- thank you! i agree about the filling. however, the rules stated, 'one jam' and 'butter cream filling'. personally i think fresh fruit and cream, though indulgent, is the best.

...it's not so much the swimming that i find daunting, it's the wearing of a wet suit in public!!!

swiss said...

lady of certain age in bake off shock!

a friend of mine moved south a while back and i doing so has fully embraced her horticultural show/baking at the weekend dark side. she's at a loss to explain it.

the wetsuit thing? i got t out the other day, first in a kayak, then for a swim(ish). despite a crippling fear of water she adores it, and her wetsuit, completely. i did ask her about the self consciousness and she said - from whom, those people wandering abut on the beach?

kate said...

swiss- i know! i'm surprised at how much enjoyment i got from viewing over sized veg and reading the judges 'constructive' comments in the baking section. t sounds very sensible and obviously doesn't have those weird voices in her head too! sounds like a lovely way to spend the day though.

sbrt said...

Quadrathlon.
Run, swim, bike and bake.

Hayfella said...

Quintathlon.
Swim, bake, bike, run, eat results of baking

kate said...

sbrt- you might be on to something...

hayfella- and you have clearly been giving this some thought, brilliant!!

Groover said...

Ooze is good. Unless we talk body fluids, of course.

kate said...

groover- thanks and yeeeew!

Adman said...

Hmm, is this the same person baking cakes who once upon a time simply bought the shit reduced stuff from Safeway? The world just shifted bizarrely on it's axis....

Barefoot Viscount Adam said...

By the way, my URL is www.theworldaccordingtogarten.blogspot.com. The bloodsport of the previous comment is the iPad I'm writing on being far too optimistic about my masculinity.