Slipping briefly (I hope) into DG role, I wish to share, gentle readers, the trials of icing the Christmas Cake in this, the Year of Our Lord 2006. The (1) in the title represents a superstitious gesture to the jealous gods who would doubltess heap more trials on my head if I even suggested there would be no more.
What I have to tell you will make most sense if you can remember snow in Glasgow - or some similar city - in the 1950s. ( I know this rules out all but a minority of the bloggership, but bear with me) Snow used to lie. For weeks. Shopkeepers would brush "their" bit of pavement, jannies would spoil good slides in the playground by putting salt on them, but given a decent, pre-global warming cold spell in January, the snow would remain, turning gradually a strange fawn colour and changing texture as it thawed and refroze, so that it resembled demerara sugar in its discoloured graininess.
Why am I telling you this? Because that's what my cake is like. It is no longer possible to buy in Dunoon the unrefined icing sugar which is the preferred taste at The Blethers. So this afternoon, having forgotten to look for the stuff when abroad in Edinburgh, I made my own. Unrefined granulated sugar in the coffee grinder. The kitchen filled with puffs of sugar, the bowl with a pale fawn dust with bits in it. By the time I'd ground a pound of the stuff, I had lost the will to be fussy. And then I added a couple of drops of 33 year old glycerine. I know this because I've had the same bottle since my first cake, when I was expecting infant number one. I think glycerine keeps.....And so it is, best beloved, that we shall have a cake iced with the snow of childhood, crunchy bits and all.
And just a faint aroma of coffee......