The perfect Saturday afternoon: tea, cake, & politics

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Today has been one of those days. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions were yesterday; today, it just didn’t happen. I had loads of plans (reading! note-taking! shopping! tidying!), but in reality I’ve managed to accomplish just one. And that was to make The Ultimate Banana Bread. So it’s not so bad, really.

I have a slight confession here: this is not my recipe. I mean, I’ve tweaked it a little from the original, but in essence it is not mine. However, I don’t feel so bad about using someone else’s recipe, because it is THE BEST. You heard me. It never fails. It makes a beautiful crust, but stays moist and is so moreish. I baked it for some friends I’m seeing tomorrow, but it’s going to be a challenge to keep it that long…

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The original recipe can be found here. Usually I substitute half of the caster sugar with soft brown sugar instead (today I used dark brown, because that was all I had), and I cut the quantity of sugar down to 200g instead of 225g. I also add spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger – because every cake is improved by spices. (Maybe not Victoria sponge… though perhaps that’s a challenge I should tackle!)

So my Saturday afternoon consisted of baking cake, listening to Any Questions on Radio 4 (and shouting at the radio – turns out mixing batter is a great way of venting your anger), drinking Earl Grey, eating cake, and making lists for the week ahead. How was yours?

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Dear summer

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When you came, you seemed so full of promise. I welcomed you with open arms and a joyful spirit. I really didn’t see it coming.

You’ve been a difficult one. You’ve left me reeling. But I’m picking myself up. I can’t wait for autumn. I’m sorry, but I think she’s replaced you in my affections. She’s offering me new beginnings and creature comforts, crunching leaves and soft woollen blankets and intoxicating aromas. There’s something regenerative in her embrace, something full of hope, that life will return after winter’s barrenness.

I can just see you still, your gossamer dress billowing behind you as you disappear round the corner. The sight is bittersweet; I’m sad for all that’s gone, for losing you, but I’m already turning away, turning to greet the new season. I won’t forget you. I couldn’t if I tried. I promise you’ll be in my thoughts until next year. But I’m letting you go now. Who knows what will happen before you come round again.