Sunday, 13 December 2009

A Fete worse than death.

For most people, the school Christmas Fayre is something to look forward to; A glass of mulled wine, a few festive carols and an opportunity to mingle pleasantly with your fellow parents. Not me. My competitive baking anxiety starts as soon as I open Eli's bookbag to discover the tell-tale raffle tickets, and a flyer announcing the event.

This year it was compounded by a hideous lack of time, and a couple of other very pressing baking challenges - clementine and oat muffins for a family get-together, and a real, bonafide commission from Omari at work, who loved his slice of apple and olive oil cake so much that he paid me 20 quid for a whole one! And this time, I decided to take Ottolenghi's advice and bake the cake a couple of days in advance, so that the complex flavours would really kick in, icing it at the last minute. (A word about this - much as I love the idea of making cakes for profit, I can't bear not being able to try them! Poor Omari was subjected to an interrogation the following day; Was it moist? Did it cut OK? Was it properly cooked all the way through? I can't imagine Nigella Lawson haranguing all the recipients of her offerings in such a desperate fashion.)

So for the fete, I once again rolled out the rye brownies. A bit of a cop-out, but if it ain't broke...

I was working on the tombola on the day, and am genuinely ashamed to admit that I sent Eli over to the cake stall to COUNT how many brownies were left - not that many as it turned out, but as soon as I had handed out the last prize I was over to the stall myself where I (and again - shame) brought a couple - 50p each!

Towards the end of the day, the raffle prizes were announced, and Eli and I dutifully waited to find out if we'd won a Nintendo Wii - highly unlikely as I'm notoriously unlucky with such things, and had only brought a couple of tickets, flogging the rest at the office. So blow me down, when the name of one of my work colleagues was announced as a winner - OK, not me personally but close enough. I hurried to the stage excitedly to claim the gift on her behalf- a bit like the Oscars when the star doesn't turn up and the schmuck who presented the award has to slope off with it.

And the prize? A voucher for a bespoke cake courtesy of my baking nemesis, Bonnie. The horror, the horror...

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