Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Baking Mad

The ‘Neatette’ Press

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

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.


mwk said...

Portglenone retro? Surely not? Surely the wee shops haven't moved on since the 50s. (And that is the 1850s.) Though I hear that Costcutters rebuilding is now finished. And the Credit Union is getting a facelift too. What next? Aikens gets escalators? And young ladies in tight, starched white lab coats spraying perfume at you when you walk in?

Nelly said...

Actually the Costcutters is very good. I'm thinking of doing my weekly shop in there. Can you recommend a good Portglenone butcher.

As for young ladies in tight, starched white lab coats spraying perfume - didn't see any. I don't think they'd have wasted scent on us as we were a rough-looking crowd having just tramped around the Forest for more than an hour. They might have sprayed some Jeyes Fluid on us to kill the smell of squirrel dung.

mwk said...

We got our turkey every year from Noel Stewart, and tended to use that butcher. Sometimes we went to Kearneys, and it was equally as good. It depended on which side of the street I could park, basically.

Carrie said...

Pumpkin pie...mmm. I have to bake one probably this weekend as the pumpkin puree I have been hoarding is about due to be cooked. I did one once from scratch but I think that's one of those things you only do once in your life just to say you did it. You can get pumpkin puree at Sawers if you are in town. Most recipes you find on the net will be for a deep pie tin instead of the tart tins.

If you want to make something akin to pumpkin pie that is supposed to be lumpy looking, I have a recipe for Sweet Potato pie which is lovely.

Nelly said...

Yea Marc - thanks for the butchery advice. Of course for me, being so keen on walking, I'd have to go to the shop on the opposite side of the street from where I'd parked.

And Carrie - I'd like your recipe for sweet potato pie as I love sweet potatoes. I take it you don't mean our Irish spuds Tated & Lyled?

Anonymous said...

hey there Nelly,
first of all, whats a neatette? I can see the picture, but I'm nonethe wiser-is it simply before my time? good tricks on the pie and scones-had mel round last night for t and made no fewer than 4 mistakes with one cake. i still liked it at least...
mikey xxxxx

Nelly said...

Neatette is the logo on the press. And yes they are well before your time. They were very popular in the days before fitted kitchens became a standard. They are a sort of a standalone kitchen unit. There are three more in the sheds if anyone is interested but all need some restoration.

Good luck with the baking. Maybe you'll open your own delicatessan?

Anonymous said...

dont tempt me-i would love my own deli, you wouldn't recognise me after a month though-as it stands now, i've not been on a food shop for over a year, just mildly 'grazing' at work. thanks for the introduction, i think neatettes may be the future....
m x