Madeleine: After a busy week and seeing the first case depart for Kenya (Maria – how did you manage to carry it on your bike?) , Andrew and I both had a full on day in London. Lucas went to the grandparents to keep them entertained and active for the day… and night!
Early that evening, a day of work with the Real Bread Campaign complete, a quick change and a brush of my showered hair with my fingers in the lift mirror before meeting Andrew and heading to the Royal College of Surgeons. We entered a reception room full of preserved bits and a giant Irish skeleton. Andrew was one of ten short-listed candidates for the Max Perutz science writing prize. It was introduced by the MRC Chief Executive as the highlight of the summer (including Euro 2012 and the Olympics), then they announced the runners up and eventually the winner… It was Andrew, he got gold…I feel so proud of him! This meant the article was printed in the Metro! …they had yummy canapés too which I think Andrew was equally excited about!
Following Andrew’s MRC award (http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Sciencesociety/Awards/2012/index.htm), I thought we needed to celebrate, it being the Great British Bake-off time of year (addicted!) I attempted a technical challenge and baked something I’ve never done before…. jam doughnuts!
Now, two weeks later we are sat in a pile of boxes. One side of the room has all the eye equipment an eye geek could dream of and the other side of the room all the guff for storage! Even though we have moved all the furniture out it is hard to believe we are leaving and wont be able to sit and contemplate life surrounded by these walls for much longer. We will miss the reassuring sound of cars driving by on the main road (plus the occasional boy racer) and the tempting smell of curry from across the road.
It has come to the time of farewells, I think I will make a caramelised onion tart, then I can blame the watery eyes on that! I don’t like this part but “a farewell is necessary before you can meet again and meeting again after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends” by Richard Bach. This is what I keep telling myself, I think I should take a leaf from Lucas’ book, today I took him swimming and he was being taught doggy paddle, he lay tummy down on the water with the odd kick when he could be bothered and one hand doing the doggy paddle… the other too busy propping his toothy smiled chin up. The swimming teacher amused at his antics said ‘Lucas is too cool for school today!
Recipe (Technical Challenge from Great British Bake-off 2012)
500g strong white organic flour
50g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter, softened
14g Doves farm fast action yeast
2 large eggs (from our beautiful chucks), beaten
150ml lukewarm milk, I used semi-skimmed
130ml lukewarm water
vegetable oil for frying
castor sugar to cover
strawberry jam, or raspberry or whatever you fancy!
1. Put the flour, sugar, butter, yeast, salt, eggs, milk and 3/4 of the water into a mixing bowl and mix to a firm dough then gradually bring in the remaining water and massage the dough in the bowl for 5 minutes until soft but not sticky.
2. Turn dough out onto lightly floured worktop and knead for 10 mins.
3. Roll into a “round” and place back into the mixing bowl, leave covered with cling film to prove until doubled in size.
4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured worktop and ‘knock back’ to knock excess air out of the dough. Divide into 10 portions and roll into balls (to try and improve the smoothness of the dough balls, I rolled them between my palms then put my thumb into the middle of the ball to encourage a smooth ball dome shape on the other side. I then rolled it again and placed each one on the tray with the best side up).
5. Put the balls onto a floured tray with room to double in size.
6.Towards the end of the proving time, heat the vegetable oil to 180°C (Use a jam thermometer or equivalent), I found it was hard to keep at an exact temperature so if it got too hot either turn the heat down or remove from the heat and monitor. Drop as many dough balls as you can comfortably fit into the pan so they are not touching one another and cook for 5 minutes on each side, if they look like they are colouring too much turn over and or remove and re-check your oil temperature, if they cook too quickly at a very high temp the middle will not cook properly. Remove from the oil and immediately roll in castor sugar then put on a wire rack to cool.
7.When completely cool, make a deep cut into each doughnut with a thin, sharp knife. This enables a piping bag filled with jam to be squeezed into the centre. I used strawberry jam with nice whole bits of strawberry in, which although very tasty causes the jam to get stuck in the piping bag.
8. Sit back with a hot coffee and enjoy a yummy sweet treat…not especially healthy but this was a celebration and that’s when naughty food is best enjoyed! A healthier alternative would be to use spelt flour and fill the doughnut with apple purée. Also soak off any excess oil from the doughnut using kitchen roll! Enjoy…