Due to extreme sleep deprivation, a plummeting bank balance and occasional (Full disclosure? Frequent) boredom, this baby machine is now closed for business.
Subsequently, I have given away my maternity wear, pillows, baby books, to anyone who looks remotely pregnant- even if they are just fat.
Except for my underwear. The hideous ones with the high waist, cut low on the legs, I’ve still got those.
Uncomfortable underwear, shoes and mascara (that stuff hurts more than you can imagine when sharp bits flake off and drop into your soft eye) make me question the existence of feminism. Forget the glass ceiling or pay disparity and consider the string. Then there is the less obvious culprit of mascara. There was a young woman serving at the shoe counter in Selfridges. She looked like she was wearing Groucho Marx’s eyebrows on her eyelids. If you’ve been to the newly refurbished shoe galleries on the second floor in Selfridges you will know it’s quite dark, perhaps to confuse you into thinking these £995 Nicholas Kirkwood mother of pearl platforms (check out the ‘availability’ status, it says ‘low stock’!) are actually £95 and they might make a fun addition to your fake eyelashes and string underwear. I am fairly certain that the young lady, with her eyeball bangs could see little if anything at all. I am similarly certain that she believed that were you to place a moist finger on her rear end, you would hear a sizzle.
As a mother of 3 girls, too much mascara is all it takes to send me reeling into questions of feminine identity.
From rear ends and exaggerated mascara application to pear cake. What else?
This pear cake is worth the tuition fee of Leiths. It’s one of my favourite cakes but I rarely make it because it is a bit faffy, what with the crumble part, the egg white and peeling fruit. But whenever I do, I berate myself for not making it more often.
Pear and Amaretto Loaf Cake (Adapted from the Leiths Baking Bible)
Makes 1 small cake (I suggest you double the recipe and give one to a friend to justify the time spent making it)
For the Topping
55g plain flour
For the Cake
1 ripe pear
1 Tablespoon Amaretto
85ml butter, melted and cooled
1 room temperature egg, beaten
115g self-raising flour*
30g ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1 egg white
1. Heat the oven to 180ºC. Line a small (450g loaf tin with greaseproof paper and brush lightly with oil)
2. To make the topping, rub the butter with the flour until you have something that looks like breadcrumbs, stir in the sugar and set aside.
3. Peel the pear, remove the stem and core from the pear. Dice. Put in a bowl and sprinkle over the Amaretto.
4. Beat the butter, sugar and egg to combine. Set aside.
5. Sift the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, cinnamon and salt over the butter sugar mix and fold in. Fold in the pear and Amaretto.
6. Whisk the egg white to medium peaks and fold in.
7. Turn into the prepared tin and sprinkle over the topping mixture.
8. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until well risen and light brown. A skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean.
9. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
*To make self raising flour, add 1 level teaspoon baking powder per 55g flour.