I can’t remember whose idea it was to have an Irish-themed meetup, but whoever it was deserves an extra piece of cake.
Thank you so much to Christine for hosting us. Poor Hobbs the cat was a little shocked at the onslaught of cake ladies descending on his domain.
What a grand selection! We had traditional Irish recipes like Irish Soda Bread, Irish Tea Cake, Bread and Butter Pudding, Currant Squares, a Curd Tart, and “Fadge,” a potato bread that Jan made into scone-like biscuits (#nomnom). Then there were fun recipes that included hints of Irishness (or in the case of Jennifer’s Baileys Trifle, a pool of Irishness). Adorable Heritage Cupcakes, Chocolate Guinness Cake, Irish Cream Bundt Cake, Cheesecake and even mint macarons.
Each meetup seems to include at least one hilarious tale of disaster or near disaster, and this time it was Jean who narrowly avoided the complete breakdown of her macaron experiment.
Everything was set. The meringues had been piped onto the circles that Jean had carefully traced onto the baking paper. “I banged the tray to get the air out, just like I was supposed to. Then I went to check the oven. Nothing. Dead oven.”
Jean would not be defeated. Living outside of town with limited neighbours on whom to call, she managed to find just the right neighbour to help her. “Thank goodness that women never leaves her kitchen. Her oven is always on.” Summerland averages just 13 inches of rain a year, but of course some of it was falling at the moment Jean needed to wrangle her macarons to her car and over to her neighbour’s.
Despite these great efforts, the first batch was not a success. Still determined to carry on, and armed with her neighbour’s advice on meringue consistency, Jean returned home in time to wave to the departing oven repair man. She marched into her kitchen and tried the macarons again, and after everything, won the day. They were delicious.
We ate too much cake, shared Irish jokes and sayings, visited and laughed and drank cups of tea. This time we even sipped our Rooibos tea (alas I hadn’t thought to track down some Irish Breakfast Tea) from Christine’s exquisite china collection brought from Russia by her parents. I noticed I wasn’t the only one taking great care whenever I went for a refill.
Following many of our past cake meetups I have suffered some serious sugar hangovers, so this time I put a new strategy into practice. When I got home I immediately went out and walked for an hour. It worked! The next morning did not bring the usual feeling of having been run over by a tractor.
I will post the recipes next time. I really think this was one of our best selections and there are several recipes I’m already hankering to try out.
Plans are under-way for the next meetup on April 24th at True Grain Bread! The theme is “Baking with Ancient Grains,” so get to thinking about what you’ll be making with spelt, emmer, quiona, kamut, millet, etc.
Thank you, Summerland Bakers, for your willingness to embrace the silliness.
Peace, love and buttercream,