As 11am rolled around on Saturday morning I sat staring at my TV wondering why I dislike weekends so much. It’s not hard to understand – I’m alone and bored, I crave some social interaction or at least the structure that a weekday offers.
All too often I spend a weekend, or more commonly a Saturday, curled into a ball of sadness and anxiety watching repeated episodes of old TV shows wishing I’d made some sort of plan.
This weekend was no exception.
With a grey sky and lack of company or incentive to venture out of my little flat, I trawled through Netflix and found an interesting set of documentaries on castles in the UK (I used to live in a castle as a part of a previous job). It immediately drew me in and by mid afternoon I was 4 episodes in and struggling to tear myself from the leather-sofa-duvet-cocoon I was submerged in. Things changed after the all-too-common Saturday guilt trip phone call from my mother.
“You’ve stayed in again? You really need to get out of that flat and do something”.
I’ve come to the realisation that I need to stop this cocconing and break the habit. My usual reflex when something has upset/stressed me is to clean. Last Sunday as the weekend drew to a close, I realised I’d cleaned my flat at least 8 times over the two days and decided that cooking was going to be another release. Or at least a way of making a mess to clean and give me something to do.
Last week I was craving curry and the packet of spices and coconut milk in my cupboard were the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately a voice in my head insisted on naan bread and it wouldn’t shut up. After googling “shops open after 4pm on Sundays” and finding nothing I convinced myself they wouldn’t be difficult to make. I was wrong, the kitchen and I were covered in the stickiest substance I’ve ever dealt with, it was like soft white tar, but it gave me something to do and definitely something to clean.
In the end they turned out pretty well and if anyone has a better recipe than the one I worked from, I’d be very grateful to hear it.
This Saturday my brain decided upon cake. For some strange reason I had bought 5 lemons (I didn’t need lemons at all, I have 2 in my fruit bowl and a whole bottle of lemon juice in my cupboard) so clearly it had to be a lemon cake.
But not just any lemon cake…
Lemon Drizzle cake.
Now, I’m pretty lazy and stubborn so I stick with the easiest option.
A quick inspection of my kitchen revealed a small bag of flour, milk, eggs and sugar… and a 25p supermarket packet cake mix.
Decision made. Adding a medium egg and 6 tablespoons of water to pre-mixed ingredients is always the best option.
I made up a recipe based on some random website searches.
Empty the cake mix into a bowl, add an egg and enough water to get a gloopy batter
Zest (and swear after accidentally and painfully zesting knuckles) 2 lemons into the bowl
Add a squirt of lemon juice for good measure
Mix, covering the kitchen with flour becuase you’ve turned the mixer up too high
Pour into a butter lined loaf tin and throw in the oven at 190 degrees (UK oven) for 20 minutes
The drizzle was completely made up since all of the recipes I found included caster sugar (I don’t have any and didn’t check before I started baking).
Juice of the 2 zested lemons went into a measuring jug and into the microwave for 45 seconds to warm up
6 table spoons of sugar stirred into the juice till it dissolved.
I’ve heard that poking holes in the cake helps the drizzle to absorb so I did.
Then after pouring a large amount of drizzle on my hot cake I realised I had made a little too much so as the cake cooled I sat back on the sofa drinking the drizzle. I don’t recommend this if you’re supposed to be controlling your blood sugar levels like I am. I was bouncing off the walls for hours… but it was delicious and so worth it.
The end product was a beautiful cake, a few hours of complete hyper behaviour till the sugar wore off and a feeling of accomplishment.
On Sunday I ended up at a food festival with a friend buying sauces, alcohol and lemonade… I think I’ve got a problem with lemons.