Baking: A super easy parkin recipe!

I’ve been a bit remiss in my baking lately, but to be honest, summer just isn’t the right time for me to get on with it. Now that the GBBO is back on and the nights are drawing in, I’ve got my baking mojo back. On Friday,  in honour of my grandma and sister coming to visit, I decided to bake a very Yorkshire cake: parkin. Now, if you’ve been following the blog or my Twitter since last year, you might be aware of my obsession with this sticky ginger cake when I was pregnant. I didn’t have a nesting stage in which I cleaned; I had a nesting stage in which I baked loaves and loaves of parkin. I was in labour and asking my mum to take a loaf home with her (!).

To many northerners, parkin is a classic autumn cake, particularly eaten on Bonfire Night. I also found out that it originated in the Leeds area (i.e. my home town.) and was essentially a poor person’s food- it gets better after a few days, so the cake would be made on a Sunday and eaten throughout the week.

I use a non-traditional recipe, as it doesn’t have oats. The Hairy Bikers recipe is super quick and easy- and satisfying. It’s practically fool-proof (I mucked up the melting of butter and golden syrup bit and it still worked brilliantly.)

The life cycle of a loaf of parkin...

The life cycle of a loaf of parkin…

What I remembered from last year is that I couldn’t leave the loaf in for the whole hour without risking burnt bits, so I whipped it out at the 50 minute mark. I daren’t open the oven before then, as I remembered Mary Berry saying that you can check on biscuits but not cake. Although I’m not sure parkin qualifies as ‘cake’, it’s kind of halfway between bread and cake as it’s so dense. I also added more ginger than called for in the recipe, I like my ginger cakes to have a kick to them. I toyed with adding a bit of cinnamon, but figured that would be sacrilegious.

I love making this, it is so easy and the house smells wonderfully autumnal with all the ginger in the air. I just won’t be baking six loaves in one week this time.

New Year’s Resolutions

I know, I know, TOTAL cliché  but 2012 has been an interesting year and I think that some resolutions will stand me in good stead. However, I’m not a complete fool; I’m only going to set resolutions that I can actually keep… so, y’know, giving up chocolate is a bit of a stupid one to set myself.

I hate New Year’s Eve, so I’m hoping that we have a fairly quiet one, baby permitting! I do like looking forward a little bit though and wondering what next year might bring. Who would’ve thought last year that I would have a baby a year later? It still seems a bit surreal, really, especially when I consider that I’M SOMEONE’S MUM. Last New Year’s, all I was bothered about was the fact that I wasn’t as fit as I was normally and dreading going back to work. Now, I’m all like “Oh, I hope that this colic goes/I’d really like some sleep.” I’ve changed, maaaaaaaaaaan.

Funny New Year's Ecard: This year I resolve to be less sarcastic. Yeah right.

Learn to bake– Brilliantly, you can join me on this epic journey, which I’ve written about here.

Use stuff up- I am a hoarder, although I will never admit it when Benn says it. My worst area seems to be toiletries and skincare- lip balms, body lotion and facial moisturisers. Maybe 2013 will see the start of me doing ’empties’ posts. I’m not allowed to buy any more products in these categories until I have used some of them up! I’ve been giving stuff away that I don’t think I’ll use and I feel lighter already. I just have to walk on by exciting offers in Boots. IcandoitIcandoit.

Do some fun exercise- Last year, I started jive and yoga classes (before I found out I was pregnant!) and I would like to do something along these lines now that D is here. At the moment, I’m thinking lindyhop classes and yoga at home on DVD…

Not need any more dental work- My teeth are rubbish; they always have been.  I needed a tooth out just before Christmas. I am never, ever doing that again. I need another filling next week (joy- most of my mouth will be metal) and I’ve bought a whizzy toothbrush. Cutting down on fizzy drinks (I was terrible, especially in pregnancy when I used them as alcohol substitutes.) I’ll do everything I can on this one!

Take the baby to some mum and baby things- I’m not sure which ones though, but I do need to be brave with this sort of thing so that he socialises with other children. I can’t imagine having a shy child, really. Might as well start him young.

Drink more water– I just need to do this!

What are your new year’s resolutions?