Bert spent many happy hours sanding down the ‘Neatette’ and now we’re so bloody posh we even got a professional decorator in (Banjo Man) to paint and Fablon it. Banjo Man was that particular he took three hours to decorate it. Mind you he was drinking Jameson’s at the time Previously I’d hunted the length and breadth of Portglenone for just the right retro-style Fablon. Truthfully I found it in the first hardware shop I went into. For those of you who don’t know Portglenone be advised that everything sold there is retro-style.
When I got all Bert’s Stuff out of my kitchen cupboards and into the ‘Neatette’ kitchen press I was able to put all my baking paraphernalia into the cupboards he’s been clogging up with manly things like yard lamps and Swiss army knives and balls of string.
Then I went out and bought lots of flower and butter and Demerara sugar so that I could start baking.
The Apple Tart
The first thing I baked was an apple tart and it was very good. I have inherited Matty’s way with pastry. Making pastry is like dancing. You either can or you can’t and I can’t dance. So I was absolutely full of myself and reckoned I was the cat’s pyjamas. But one apple tart does not a Domestic Goddess make as I discovered when I made the scones.
The scones were mostly coconut and pineapple but I made a few traditional currant ones for Pearlie and Lizzie. They tasted nice enough and I should know for I ate plenty of them but they did not rise as well as they should have. It was that oul Morton’s flour. Matty says Morton's makes ‘heavy bread’. She recommends Neill’s flour so I’ve stocked up on that for another go.
But nevertheless when Pearlie called round on Saturday morning I proudly presented her with a plate of currant scones. She took them then peered at the contents as if I’d handed her a plate of cat shite.
Fruit scones. For you and Lizzie.
She handed them back to me.
Oh I wouldnae eat them. I dinnae like them.
I’m crestfallen but I persevere.
But maybe Lizzie would like them?
No. She disnae like them either.
It would be true to say that I was raging at her but I held my tongue. Later after Lizzie arrived I told her all jolly like that I’d gone and made her scones but hadn’t realised she hated them. Ha ha! How daft am I?
Scones? I niver heared tell of any scones. Pearl niver said.
Meanwhile Pearlie is hanging back looking really shifty. She had the demeanour of a twelve-year old caught smoking behind the bike sheds.
Did she not? Do you not like scones?
Oh aye. I like scones all right.
So the scones were proffered again and, according to Bert, Lizzie liked them well enough but Pearlie never lipped them.
The Pumpkin Pie
Zoë makes a delicious pumpkin pie and I hear her pumpkin cakes are to die for. Katy goes one better because she grows her own pumpkins then makes pie and soup. So it cannot be that hard. I got a recipe of the Internet. I ground my own spices. The recipe said canned pumpkin but I had two fine specimens scored from Fred the Organic Gardener. I cooked the pumpkin and mashed it up and put the whole sugary, eggy, spicy, pumpkiny mixture in a delicious home made pastry piecrust. And I baked it and I baked it and I baked it. I suppose it tasted OK. It was really a bit too sweet for my liking. But it looked horrendous. All lumpy and scary looking. Zoë’s was all smooth and gorgeous and looked like she’d bought it in Marks & Spencers. Hang on a minute… maybe she did. But mine looked like something the dog threw up.
Did I give any to Pearlie? Most certainly not. I can just imagine her on the phone to Lizzie.
Did Nelly make you any more scones?
No. But she sent over this oul tart. It would have scundered ye. And she must have run oot of apples for she made it oot of turnips. I couldnae eat it and the wee dog wouldnae lip it nor the cat nor the banties. I threw it oot in the yard anyway and maybe the crows’ll ate it.