Monday, 21 February 2011

A delicious disaster.............

I find myself agreeing to host a family lunch for 15. What I was thinking of I don't know - I don't have 15 unchipped plates, never mind 15 chairs and the space to arrange them in. Never mind, it'll be lovely to all be together and I'll enjoy feeding everyone, goes my thinking. On Sunday morning I'm up at 6 to start cooking. I bake a ham in Coca-Cola and cover it with a sweet, mustardy glaze. I make a caramelised onion, goats' cheese and thyme tart. There's roasted pepper salad, cheeses, nuts, fruit and crusty bread. Different salads, olives and those posh vegetable crisps. A batch of the gungy brownies that went down so well at school. And for the piece de resistance I decide on a lemon meringue cake - a gorgeous concoction of lemon sponge, crisp yet chewy meringue, lemon curd and whipped cream, covered with another layer of the same. Perfect, I decide, looks impressively beautiful, tastes amazing and is fail-safely easy. Then.... disaster strikes. Halfway through whipping egg whites, my whisk breaks. It is 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I try and produce the glossy, stiff peaks by hand but as I pour the meringue onto the sponge I know it's not going to work. I was right. It doesn't. The thing collapses in the oven, then utterly falls apart when I try and remove it from it's tin. It looks like a car crash of a cake. I cover the entire thing with a mound of whipped cream to try and disguise it's ugliness. That doesn't work either. I offer it to the family anyway and my glorious disaster of a cake becomes the source of much hilarity. After much teasing I offer it around. Everyone tries it. Every plate is licked clean and the cake pronounced delicious.

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