Saturday 10th April 2020
We are still on lockdown and the other night I found myself dreaming that I was wandering around a supermarket in a mild panic because I could not find flour, unfortunately when I woke, I experienced that same thing when walking (2 metres apart from my fellow shoppers) around my local shop, the flour ‘shortage’ continues. I might have had better luck if I’d started queuing at 6am but currently that feels like it bit too much for a bag of flour…
It’s a minor thing, given the scale of the global problem we are facing. And when I’m not worrying about the reason that we are actually in lockdown, I think obsessively about food as a distraction from the nightmare. I thought that now would be a good time to take a different approach to baking and cooking. I thought I ought to learn why we use certain ingredients and how. This blog post is not about that, but I do have 5 pages of handwritten notes now on ‘cake science’, which I will be sharing soon. No, this post is about my second foray into the world of three ingredient baking. I had bought ‘Three Ingredient Baking’ by Sarah Rainey but only managed to make one recipe so far. Now that I am not out of the house as much aka Lockdown, I have even more time to bake. I’m working from home now, so on Monday evening, with no commute, I sat down and started flipping through Sarah’s book. I was drawn to the ginger beer recipe, just flour, sugar and ginger beer, what could be simpler? Ginger beer is nothing but the stuff of childhood – “lashing and lashing of Ginger beer!”. Childhood, for me at least, was a safe, secure place of innocence, far removed from 2020 and all it’s troubles, so this recipe was an obvious choice.
So when they came out from the oven they felt heavy, dense, a million miles away from the light and airy creation I was expecting. I found that I could not peel the casing away from the muffin and ended up only eating half the muffin. The muffin itself was nice, sweet and gingery but somehow quite just the wrong side of chewy! I made 18 in total and I’m slowly making my way through them. It feels like perhaps I went wrong somewhere. I have to confess I used muscovado sugar instead of caster sugar, because I did not have any of the latter. Maybe that made a difference…? I’m not really sure. Maybe because I did not use big muffin cases, I made 18 small things slopped into tiny cupcakes, instead of 10 medium sized things, who knows? I also wonder if it misses a trick without egg and butter – but then of course it would not be a three ingredient recipe! Perhaps, none of these things make any sense in the world of cooking science (did not come up in my research so far) and I just have to accept I made a duff batch – after all a good cook never blames her tools! Anyway, I live and I learn!
As the days have gone by, interestingly the muffins have been easier to remove from their cases and I’m now eating them whole.
What has changed as a result of this? I am now fascinated by the thought of adding carbonated drinks to sugar and flour. Yes, I know, not the healthiest food to eat on lockdown but I am sure that the ‘tinternet’ will help me adapt to a less diabetogenic versions, maybe I cut out the sugar. I wonder what it would be like with Supermalt – I mean it does have B-vitamins…!
300 grams self-raising flour
150 grams golden caster sugar
1 x 330 ml can of ginger beer
- Set the oven for 200oC/180OC fan
- Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar
- Slowly pour the ginger beer into the flour and sugar mixture
- Beat to get rid of the lumps, the mixture should be smooth and not too thick
- Fill the muffin case ⅔ rds full
- Bake for 30 minutes
They can be eaten with stewed apples or poached pears as a dessert – or cold as a snack. For an extra gingery kick, sprinkle some ground ginger on top or add a teaspoonful of ginger curd.
Three Ingredient Baking, Sarah Rainey, page 76