OK, this isn’t mine.
It’s Nigella’s. 

So, volunteering to make the school’s monthly birthday cake was a good idea at the time. But last night as I took the 5-egg cake out of the oven approaching midnight? Not so much. And this morning, as I iced the cake before school, Eldest Boy suggested that I might need to make it look more exciting. Why? I said. “Because it looks a bit lame”, he said. What? I screamed hysterically said, scraping the remains of the Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Icing onto the cake before chucking on the remaining Smarties. Apparently, the bar is a little higher nowadays. I blame GBBO. Still, my friend told me her children took matters into their own hands and simply didn’t hand in her form offering to make one. Crumbs.

Current white in the fridge: Villa Maria Arneis 2013, £11.99, Tesco (selected stores + online)
‘Little rascal’ is the grape growers’ nickname for this little-known, awkward-to-grow grape, originally from Piedmont in Italy. Here’s New Zealand’s take on it, under the guidance of one of my favourite NZ winemakers, Alastair Maling. A challenging but charming grape variety to work with, he says. And I’m really hoping we see more of the little rascal because it is gorgeous. All honeysuckle aromas and grapefruit flavours, it’s refreshingly different. OK, so more expensive than a bottle of your average Pinot Grigio, but so much nicer to drink. Went beautifully with my fishcakes (I know, more cakes). 

Current sweetie in the rack: Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference 12yo Pedro Ximenez, £7.99, Sainsbury’s
Sent to me by Sainsbury’s, I decided to open it for Stir It Up Sunday and use a splash in the Christmas Pudding mix (I made Nigella’s Ultimate in the end). I then sipped a small glass fireside that night. We’re talking sweet sherry, but this is So Not Nana. Made from the Pedro Ximenez grape, it’s thick like treacle and almost as sweet. I featured it on The Alan Titchmarsh Show and Anna Friel described it as ‘prune juice with a kick’ (then promptly finished it). Honestly, it is divine. And for such a great quality wine, this is an absolute bargain. Goes with really sweet puddings, including Christmas Pudding or cake (still on cakes). 

Cheers, dears x

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  1. That GBBO has a great deal to answer for! X

  2. I gave up this year and sent my daughter in with a shop-bought grey looking tray bake covered in haribo. The GBBO has certainly raised the bar. Maybe we could just limbo under it? Drinking wine. xx

  3. GBBO, pah. My 4yo is torturing me with youtube clips of My Little Pony rainbow cakes and 'how to bake a pink princess castle that's bigger than your lounge'. Damn you, youtube!

  4. What on earth is the monthly birthday cake?

    ps i know nothing about wine but I make an utterly mean cake. They post too. Just saying…

  5. Each month, one of the parents makes a cake to be shared by all the children with a birthday in that month. Apparently someone made a CORGI. My head nearly exploded when I heard that.

    And now that I know you post to order….

  6. Not wrong about Pedro Ximenez. Awesome.
    Quick Dinner Party Pudding. Pedro poured over Vanilla Ice Cream. Mmmmm!

  7. Tried the PX a while ago after finding out it had won a Decanter Gold medal I think – it is absolutely gorgeous!!

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