OK. Tomorrow is the Hardwick Gardening Club Annual Village Show. It wasn’t on last ear due to building work at the school. The year before that I became the first bloke to win the baking cup. So this year I have to try and defend it.
This year the Women’s Institute cup isn’t on offer, and since my two main competitors battle it out for points towards that cup I thought I’d be OK. But no, talking to Karen (she collects the entry forms) the baking categories are looking stronger. For example, I’m putting in blackberry jam in the “1 jar of Jam – soft fruit” class. I’m not good at jam making (I over cook it – I need more practice) but last time there were only two other entries. The cup works like this: first gets three points, second two, and third one. Then the points from your highest rank in each baking class are added together. The cook with the most points gets the cup. You can enter two items per class, though I’m not doing that this year. I know of at least three other jams in the “1 jar of Jam – soft fruit” class, so I’m staring down the barrel of nil points 😦
Anyway, I’ve taken today off work to get down to baking. Here’s the plan.
E1: Home made dessert – own choice (include recipe with entry)
I’m aiming for laser etched crème brûlée. I’ve three to hone my technique on today, then I’ll use the last two to get it right tomorrow morning. How long do they last once caramelised?
E2: 1 jar of Jam – soft fruit
E5: 1 jar of Lemon Curd – cellophane covers only
Do this afternoon
E6: 1 jar of Mincemeat
Done. Delia’s recipe is wonderful. I always get favourable comments about it at Christmas.
E7: Fruit Tart (pastry top and bottom, undecorated) on a china/glass plate
Apple pie. I’ll make the pastry this morning and the pie this evening.
E10: 5 Biscuits
Oh dear. I’m awful at this but I will keep trying. I’ll probably make this this morning.
E11: Victoria Sandwich Cake with raspberry jam filling, caster sugar topping (recipe at back of schedule)
Yeah. The formula one of the show. First year I was nagged by the judges for not having a doily! Last time I won this class. Fingers crossed!
E12: Orange & Carrot Cake (recipe at back of schedule)
It’s a good recipe, but the middle can be soggy. I’ll do this sometime today.
E13: 5 Cheese scones
I’ve brought in buttermilk. I’m hopeful these will be good.
E15: Rich Fruit Cake (recipe at back of schedule)
Done – but only this week. I should have done this a month ago so it could mature. It cracked a bit on top too.
E16: Home-made Bread – white or brown (not machine made) displayed on board
Me and another guy battle for first place each year – he does white and I do brown. I won last year, though his looked amazing. I’ll kneed this over and over and over again through the afternoon and evening and then leave it to rise in the fridge overnight.
E18: 5 Jam tarts
I’ll use some sweetened pastry for this. Baking this evening.
E20: Lincolnshire fruit loaf (recipe at back of schedule)
I made this yesterday which doesn’t give it much time to mature. But It has no fat in, so I don’t think it needs ages. Sadly its base cracked as I took it out of the tin so I’ll need careful presentation.
I’m missing the other classes – you have to stop somewhere! There’s a class that only gentlemen can enter (I guess to encourage blokes to have a go), but since my main competition are women I think it would be bad form to enter that.