A loooong year

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember that we put our house up for sale a year ago.  Just over a year ago, actually.  I looked up the date.

This really has been a long year, from the point of view of trying to sell the house.  On average, we’ve had one-and-a-quarter viewing a month (is that good?), although we went through a painful patch of months over the summer without the estate agent calling once.

In my opinion, the weather makes a huge difference in viewings. It seems that when it begins to brighten up in spring, people emerge from their winter cocoons, looking for new places to live (or at least, that’s what happened last year).  Having experienced all four seasons now, I’m just waiting for that stage again, in the hopes that knocking loads of money off the original asking price will tempt someone this time.

It is depressing, the lack of control. We’ve changed estate agents again (third time lucky!) in the pretence that we actually have any kind of say over what happens in this process.  We’ve been told that there’s nothing we can actually change with the house itself, and the only thing we have control over is the price.

So… we’ll keep on waiting, and hoping.  However, we’ll be having another baby in the summer and will have to make Scarlett’s school application by the end of the year (gulp!), so we have everything crossed that it will happen soon.

The Bake Off Final

IMG_2152We’ve had the Bake Off challenge final… I came… drumroll please… third.  Of five.  A distinctly average performance among my peers, but I definitely had some highlights.

One of them was my final bake (did you notice that “bake” becomes a noun in these competitions?). The brief was a cake that was a British classic – we only had to produce one tier rather than the three featured on the show though (we’re not made of money, and by God, we definitely had enough cake to go around!).

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Double chocolate and raspberry tart

Chocolate & raspberry tartI’ve been hanging round third place on our GBBO leaderboard, and it’s sadly too late to change that now. But, I’m determined to go out fighting!

Here’s my double chocolate and raspberry tart. I got lucky with these raspberries – look at them, they’re neon! – as they’re almost out of season, but these were really tasty.

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Apple and caramel cream horns

IMG_1660Hands up if you’ve ever made a cream horn. I’m guessing nobody, other than the five of us taking part in this challenge (and the Bake Off participants themselves, of course). And with good reason.

They’re a pain in the arse. They require a lot of different processes and techniques, and on a personal note, a week later, I still haven’t got feeling back in one of my fingertips after touching a hot toffee-coated spoon.

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Ultimate Vanilla Crème Brûlée

Creme brulee 3This might be the best pudding I’ve ever made. And it still came second to my friend Charlie’s cinder toffee version in our GBBO challenge!

I used this BBC recipe, but I’ve got fancy pants vanilla essence which contains vanilla seeds, which I used in place of the vanilla pod because I’m not made of money, it gives a lovely flavour and you still get the flecks of vanilla. I also used this almond puff pastry sticks recipe to serve with them, but I found them a bit too dry.

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