We are now in the 13th week of lockdown (or thereabouts) and although there has been some loosening of restrictions in Scotland, we still have a long way to go to get back to whatever the new normal will be. I’ve been particularly drawn to reading about nature and the outside world, maybe because we haven’t been able to go very far from the house. These are three of my favourites……
I have had a copy of Underland, by Robert Macfarlane for some time and finally settled down to read it. It’s a beautifully written book that takes us on a journey into the underworld, weaving together myth, legend, history, exploration, life and death….. highly recommended.
I then moved on to a new book, Wanderland by Jini Reddy, in which the author describes her search for ‘the magical in the landscape’. Jini is a London journalist with multicultural roots who has always been an outsider. She describes her quest to ‘explore what it might be like to feel a spiritual bond with the land’ by visiting what she anticipates will be special places in the landscape. Needless to say it doesn’t always turn out as she hopes. It’s a really engaging, gentle read and made me laugh out loud – as well as making me think.
Finally – Max Porter’s wonderful book Lanny. I can’t really describe this any better than a Guardian review ‘a fable, a collage, a dramatic chorus, a joyously stirred cauldron of words’.
Although I do have a kindle, all of these books are best experienced in ‘reality’. Especially Lanny, which you should not attempt to read on a kindle. You’ll understand why when you read it…..
Both Mr McGregor and I were delighted with this ‘Jaffa Cake’ cake which I adapted from a recipe on the National Trust website (they have some great recipes, they call this one a marmalade cake, but it is clearly just a giant Jaffa Cake).
Jaffa Cake cake
200g SR flour
50g caster sugar
150g softened unsalted butter
2 large eggs
150g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
- Preheat oven to 170/160 fan. Grease and line a square 19cm baking tin
- Mix flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Spoon into tin and bake for 20 minutes
- Allow cake to cool completely in the tin
- Whisk the marmalade until broken down and smooth. Spoon over the top of the cake and pop into the fridge to cool
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of warm water. Pour over the top of the cake and allow to set.
- Try not to eat it all at once