Keep calm and make custard!

Saturday was Sigoth’s birthday; characteristically the sun shone for most of the time, the weather warmed up and there were bluebirds fluttering around his head like a halo of happiness. OK, I might have made the last bit up, but it was his day and he deserved bluebirds, or at least happiness.

We had an abortive shopping trip last week to get a present, but we shall prevail in the end. Today I did manage to present him with a card so all was not entirely lost. He also got coffee in bed and the delights of taking me into town to get my hair cut and collect mother’s pantechnicon of medication. What treats!

Upon reflection I thought perhaps it wasn’t as much of a treat as it might have been, even though we stopped in our local coffee shop for coffee and Danish pastries. Although we are a small market town we are blessed with a real life barista of global excellence, and the coffee is marvellous.

I resolved to make a cake.

Sigoth opted for a chocolate sponge sandwich when invited for an opinion. I knew he would choose it, but it’s good to let him feel part of the process. Anyway, easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I can rustle up one of those without too many traumas.

Then I discovered we were out of self-raising flour and I couldn’t remember how much baking powder to add. Plus we only had abut 30g of caster sugar so I had to use granulated. Well, my dears. Whatever I did (I did much of it with my eyes closed, so I’m not sure) it was wrong. The sponge halves came out looking more like soup plates than fluffy pillows of chocolatey goodness. Indeed, they resembled sludgey coloured soup plates that then fell apart when I removed the greaseproof paper.In the end they looked like abandoned leftovers. It was hopeless, tea was ruined. I let my family down,  I let myself down, but most of all I let Sigoth down.

This week’s Prompts for The Promptless asks us to consider the topic of a silver lining:

“Silver Lining” is a prospect of hope or comfort in a gloomy situation.  [1870-75; from the proverb “Every cloud has a silver lining”] *

That cake was certainly a gloomy situation. I needed hope and / or comfort. So I did what every rational person would do in these circumstances.

I made chocolate custard.

Now we are anticipating a bowl of chocolate sponge and custard while we watch Dr Who. Sigoth is enjoying a lovely birthday, practically perfect, and the fruits of a disaster which have had unexpected benefits.

chocolate cake and custard

This personal silver lining of the dark brown dairy-based variety works in numerous situations. There are few occasions not improved by chocolate custard, and so I commend it to you with all my heart.


Hob-nobbing for peace

Well, my dears, I have had chocolate on the mind. It is a not unpleasant experience. Having actual chocolate would be better, but as luck would have it we have some of that too, sitting in the Salon de Paix in EBL Towers. I shall indulge as soon as I have typed and published; it’s a motivator.

I lay the blame for this quite understandable preoccupation with Kozo at

Kozo says:

January 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I read that chocolate stimulates the same endorphins as love, so I’m with you, chocolate for peace.

“Chocolate for peace”…well, who wouldn’t subscribe to that life-style choice? Never mind stuffing roses down gun barrels; give ‘em Smarties, to make ‘em smart about peace; or Bounty to take ‘em to a Peaceful Paradise; or even a Wispa, to speak in peace instead of shouting.

I hesitate to rattle on about Quakers again, but they were there from the start. Rowntree’s, Cadbury’s, Fry’s were all Quaker firms. Indeed, George Orwell, who was not a fond supporter of pacifism, tried to blacken the name of George Bernard Shaw by saying that

he ought to have been a Quaker (cocoa and commercial dishonesty)

Poor old George, I bet what he really needed to soothe his ruffles was a bit of chocolate. And possibly a nice cup of tea, because one interesting thing about Orwell (one of many interesting things, as it turns out) was that as well as taking a pop at Quakers, GBS and peaceniks, and producing the occasional book, he also wrote an excellent and important essay on how to make a cup of tea. The man was a genius.

I suspect his previous snarkiness regarding pacifism would have been significantly tempered had he been chums with the chocolate hob-nob. No one could possibly be snarky about anything if they had a chocolate hob-nob to dunk in their cuppa. While George was opposed to sugar in tea – and for jolly good reasons! – he was silent on the virtues of a well-dunked biscuit. Chocolate hob-nobs had yet to be invented when he wrote his essay, so he will have been in ignorance of the full range of possibilities.

For those unfamiliar with this aforementioned divine partnership, allow me to direct you to the last word on the topic and one of favourite websites: A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. This excellent on-line resource contains all you need to know about dunking and tea drinking, with additional cake factoids and a handy graphic for biscuit taxonomy.

What does a cup of tea with a biscuit to dunk not solve? And if it is enrobed in chocolate, what could be better? Can you imagine anyone fighting after a decent brew? As Asterix the Gaul discovered on his trip to Britain, everything stops for tea, or at least hot water, including the battles.

Anything else would be anarchy!

History does not lead us astray, my dears. This kind of evidence cannot be ignored. I beg you, fill your pots, brew your leaves and dunk your biscuits in the cause of peace!

Other bloggers to invite to participate in a Peace Tea Ceremony might include: