A top and bottom 5 list of smells.
There’s so many smells out there and we can’t like everything, so what makes my top and bottom list of aromas:
5. Ash/Open Fires – I love the smell of open fires and the scent of the ash afterwards (note I like the smell, not the taste (I’ve eaten some stuff that actually made me think I was eating a fire grate!) I don’t know what it is about the smell of a roaring fire, but there’s something warm and inviting. But heck, maybe that’s just the old romantic in me!
4. Bread – who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread. It’s one of those smells that you are encouraged to get your house to smell like, when you are selling it, before you have a viewing. The smell of freshly baked bread just gets your tastebuds tingling. And of course, you can’t eat fresh bread without butter – the proper stuff mind you.
3. Vanilla – just mmm, dreamy smell. It’s probably got something to do with the sweetness, it reminds me of ice cream and cakes.
2. Flowers – of course this had to be here. I love the smell of flowers and my favourite are deep red, velvety roses. A friend of mine used to have an orange blossom in their garden and that scent was just amazing it reminded me of orange groves. I have been known to walk along the road and stop to sniff blossoms. It just takes a moment out of my day to remind me how wonderful the world is. You should try it sometimes (but you may get a few odd looks!)
1. Sea – my top smell. There’s nothing like the smell of salt water on a sea breeze. I definitely think I need to live near water. There’s something about it that just makes me relax and chill immediately. It’s one of those smells I wish I could bottle so I could take a whiff whenever I was feeling blue.
So, those are my top 5 smells, but what about the ones I can’t stomach….
5. Parmesan – now I love cheese, seriously love cheese. (Cheese on toast total comfort food). BUT parmesan just smells like vomit. So if you put it anywhere near my food, I’m not going to eat it. Now I know fresh parmesan apparently doesn’t, but I think the smell is so ingrained in my brain the smell neurons are not going to change their minds.
4. Lavender – much as I love herbs and flowers I cannot stomach the smell of lavender. I know it’s supposed to relax you, but bleurgh!!! Have you tried those lavender things you put in the microwave to pop on achy parts of your body? Is it just me or does lavender, when heated, just smell of cat wee? Sorry lavender, but you just don’t do it for me!
3. Strong perfume – of the ladies variety. Maybe it is just my nose? Years ago I used to sell natural, organic perfume which worked a different set of smell buds, so to speak. Now when my mum pops on her perfume – OMG! It just smells like a tart’s boudoir. I think because my nose got used to natural, all it can smell is the chemicals. Sorry.
2. School canteens – I don’t know what it is they cook in them, but there’s something that reminds me of my primary school dinners. I think it’s some kind of battered yuckiness. My primary school dinners were completely revolting – seriously there was no health & safety. We used to find all manner of stuff on our plates, and as for the grease that used to ooze out of everything when a fork went in…it’s a wonder we made it out alive!
1. Curry House – I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about the smell of a curry house that makes me feel nauseous. I’ve never eaten curry, but there’s something about the smell of the restaurant. It could be the spices, the oil, anything, but there’s something that my smell neurons just don’t like. Such a shame as I’ve always wanted to go to India!
When I need my stress levels reduced…I bake.
When I feel stressed, worried, anxious, a bit low, or any combination of these and others I find it helps to bake a cake.
Or in the case of today 3!
I have a lot on my mind at the moment!
Anyway – I more than replenished the cake supply, so hopefully there should be no grumblings in this house for a while!
But I digress.
I made a simple fruit cake – called a “Cut and Come Again” cake.
I had had this years ago at a friend’s house and she gave me the recipe which I long since lost, but today I thought I would try something different to cupcakes and managed to find a recipe posted onto Saint Delia Smith’s website by someone – it is not a Delia recipe.
It was seriously easy to make, smells amazing and tastes fab 😉
So, here you go recipe for “Cut and Come Again” cake:
- 12oz (340g) Self-Raising Flour
- 1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
- 6oz (170g) Soft Margarine
- 6oz (170g) Caster Sugar
- 3 eggs
- 6oz (170g) Sultanas
- 4oz (113g) Currants (or chopped nuts if you prefer)
- 4oz (113g) Raisins
- 3 tablespoons Milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / 160°C (Fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F
- Grease and line a 20cm/8inch round cake tin
- Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl, or food mixer
- Beat well until thoroughly mixed
- Pour mixture into tin and level the top
- Bake for about 1-1¼ hours (until skewer comes out clean)
- Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes then turn out, peel off paper and cool on a wire rack.
- Make a cup of tea and enjoy!
My Findings on Making the Cake
- This was a seriously easy cake to make – anyone can do it – from measuring out the ingredients to pouring into the cake tin literally took less than 10 minutes!
- I never use Caster Sugar in baking I always use soft brown sugar – only because I believe it is less refined and therefore slightly healthier – big emphasis on the slightly, after all it is still sugar! (I have tried fruit sugar alternative when I made cupcakes, total disaster, but that might work better with this recipe as well)
- I mixed all the ingredients, EXCEPT the fruit, first with my electric whisk for about 3/4 minutes, and then I added the fruit and mixed for a further minute – for me this seemed more logical, as you can see that everything has been mixed easier than if you have small dried fruit bits floating about!
- I put the cake in for 1 hour initially, then checked with the skewer, then I cooked for a further 5 minutes and the skewer came out clean. Everyone’s ovens are different and I would advise 1 hour first and then 5 minute intervals. For those that don’t know about the skewer test, it is purely to see if the cake is cooked – put a clean skewer into the middle of the cake, down to the bottom – if the skewer comes out with cake mixture on you can see that the mixture is still not quite cooked, if it comes out clean your cake is ready.
- This cake tastes extremely good when you are sat down with your feet up and a large mug of tea 😉
Since the last entry “Cupcake Disaster” I have reverted to using the Primrose Bakery Vanilla Cupcake recipe.
I think I have mastered the art of not over-beating the mixture, although I do still tend to hover around the oven whilst they are cooking to see if they are rising. When I see they are, I do heave a huge sigh of relief.
Anyway, a couple of batches after the disaster SC tries a cake and says “Mummy, these are delicious! What did you do to make them so scrummy?”
To which I replied, “I made them with love and happiness!”
He loved that explanation, so we have renamed them happy cakes, and every time he tries one from a new batch he always says they are good happy cakes 😉
Happy cakes it would seem go down well in this house – by George, I may have cracked the basic cupcake recipe.
Maybe it’s time to take the cupcake making to the next level?