Tied in knots

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After more than six months of trading, the shop has signage!

Those of  you who follow my page on Facebook, may already be aware of the changes that have taken place at The Red Cat Food Store over the past month or so.  It certainly has been an eventful period in my life.

On the 20 July I had a stall at a local craft market, Made’n Thornbury Market . It was a very successful day despite the atrocious weather.  There was a sudden heavy downpour and hail in the middle of the day, lucky the market was in doors, but the poor patrons certainly got wet.

I’d worked right through the night before the market to be ready. I was feeling very exhausted that evening so went to bed at 6:30 pm for a well deserved early night. Just as I lay down, my phone rang with the news that the window at the shop had been smashed.  Suffering from sleep deprivation and not thinking clearly, I hastily got dressed and ran out of the house to see what had happened.

As I turned out of our drive way, I lost my footing on the wet concrete footpath and fell flat on my face, using my hands and mouth as a break.  When I got there, a small crowd was gathered outside awaiting the arrival of the police.  I stood shivering in shock and cold, holding a face-washer to my mouth to stem the bleeding.  I had put my teeth into the inside of my bottom lip, not quite going right through.

It seemed that two 16 year olds had been seen running away after the sound of breaking glass was heard by a couple of witnesses.  As the witnesses didn’t actually see which on of the two teenagers broke the window, the police where unable to press charges.  An ambulance was called to check me over and they advised I go to the emergency department of the local hospital.


A shutter where the window used to be…

After waiting for someone to come to put a metal shutter on the broken window and getting a friend to come and sit with our three children, my partner drove me to the hospital.  Luckily it was early on Saturday night and I didn’t have to wait too long to be seen.  I was cleaned up and sent home, feeling very sad and sorry for myself.  Finally crawling into bed at 11 pm.

The team from Dynamic Glass replace the window

The team from Dynamic Glass replace the window

That’s one of the things about life, things can change really quickly.  Whilst nothing serious happened it, the events of that night kind of shook me.  While I was waiting for the window glass to be replaced by my brother-in-law ( I can thoroughly recommend Dynamic Glass for all your glass needs), a friend dropped in to the shop for a coffee.  I was over whelmed when he offered to do the signs on the shop for free. His offer came right of the blue and has been the boost I need to get over the window being broken and literally falling on my face!

You never know what life has in store for you or what is about to change, for me the key is to “roll with the punches, to get to what’s real”.  I can’t believe I’m quoting lyrics from a Van Halen song, but that’s life!

Cake for a Friend


Last week my friend and fellow blogger Lara, who blogs as Thornberry, asked me to make a cake for her book group.

We have a semi-regular play date on a Tuesday morning so our 5 year olds can get play while we drink coffee, eat cake and do some knitting and crochet.  The last time we got together I made an apple tea cake from a recipe of my great-aunty Alma.

It’s a deliciously moist cake topped with slices of apple and dregged with sugar and cinnamon before baking.  It was one my grandmother would make for her friends when they came for afternoon tea.  My brother and I would be lucky enough to get a piece when we visited a few days later.  It was always spread thickly with butter or served with lashings of cream as Granny claimed it was “a bit dry”.  It never was, but no-one complained.

A few weeks ago I had made an orange semolina cake with blood orange syrup for Father’s day.  Lara was lucky enough to get some of the leftovers.  So when her request came, she asked if I could make an orange cake or and apple tea cake.

I still had some blood oranges left from making Marathon Maramalade and had been thinking about making a flourless orange cake with them.  I suggested this to Lara and she was happy with the idea.

I used Stephanie Alexander’s recipe from Cook’s Companion for Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern Orange Cake.  It’s always moist and delicious but notoriously hard to get to cook all the way through without burning the edges.  I followed Stephanie’s advice to use a tin that allows for the batter to be no more than 6 cm deep.  I also lined the sides of the tin with three layers of baking paper to offer some protection to the sides of the cake.

I used 4 small blood oranges in a pot of water and cooked until tender.  The recipe said 2 hours but as my oranges were small and thin skinned so they only took an hour.  I removed them from the pot and cut them into quarters so they’d cool quicker.

When it came out of the oven, the cake was cooked perfectly all the way through and didn’t sink in the middle.  I really wanted to cut a slice and have a taste, but as it was for an order, I couldn’t!  I thought about dusting the cake with icing sugar but as it was to be served later it would have melted. The other option was an orange icing but upon further investigation, the pantry was bare of icing sugar.

I finally decided to make blood orange compote to serve with the cake as a little something extra on the side.  Segmented oranges and orange zest were placed in a bowl.  I made then a light caramel to which orange juice was added then poured over the top of the fruit and allowed to cool.  I’m told it tasted “superb”.  Thanks to Lara for the great photos.

I have a few blood oranges left and it’s my partner’s birthday in a few days.  I think I’ll have to make another Flourless Blood Orange Cake so I can get a piece!