Come what May..
Today, our village celebrated May Day. Except it isnt really May Day is it? I mean May Day is the 1st of May, I know that the bank holiday is today but I really prefer to celebrate occasions on the date they are supposed to be... not the nearest convenient day. Well, in my house when I was a child we used to go out very early in the morning on May Day and wash our faces in the dew, this would ensure that we grew up beautiful. And obviously it worked!
In Oxford on 1st May the Magdalen College Choir sing in the summer at the top of Magdalen Tower at daybreak... there are always crowds of very drunk students who have stayed out all night waiting for the moment that the choir finish singing when they throw themselves off Magdalen Bridge into the river. Due to injuries over the last few years the police now try to stop them.
About mid day today I heard the thump thump thump of the drum which signified that our Morris team were out and about (ladies click on the link with caution... very macho, loads of testosterone! It takes a minute or two to load but is worth the wait!) They dance outside the pub and then have a quick drink before jingling off to the next pub to repeat the performance. I had planned on chasing after them with my camera in order to take photographs for my blog, but it was so cold and miserable and threatening rain too, so I decided to stay home and celebrate the coming of summer in another way.
I baked a cake and before I could get my camera out to take a photo... it had disappeared (sorry just really hungry ... went down a treat with a cup of tea!) But here is the recipe anyway...
Ingredients: 175g Butter, 175g castor sugar, 3 eggs separated, 150g Self Raising Flour, 25g Cornflour, 1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary, plus a few sprigs to decorate, some whipping cream, Icing Sugar for dusting.
Method: Cream the butter and 110g sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk in the egg yolk. Sift together the flour an dcornflour and then fold into the mixture (dont worry that it will be quite stiff at this stage). Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and then whisk in the rest of the sugar. Gently fold half this meringue into the cake mixture until incorporated, then fold in the other half with the rosemary. Spoon into a cake tin - the recipe said a 20cm cake tin, but I found this a bit big the amount of mixture that I had. If you put it into a smaller cake tin, you should be able to split the cake in two to make a sandwich cake, when it is cooked. Bake for about 1 hour at 170C (325 F) gas 3. Here you will have to know your own oven well since mine is a fan oven and only needed 50 minutes at 160C. Anyway, if you can insert a knife or skewer into the cake and it comes out clean then it is cooked. Cool in the tin for a bit and then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
Either split the cake into two and sandwich with whipped cream, or spread some whipped cream onto the top of the cake. Dust with icing sugar and pop a sprig of rosemary on the top, if you make it at this time of year the rosemary is in flower too and looks great on the top.