Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ginger Loaf (Without the Ginger)

I may have mentioned a thousand times or so that I'm not a cook. I was banished from the kitchen by my mother after my experimental cinnamon buns set the oven alight, and I never really learned how to bake properly. Since then, I've come a long way, mostly through more experimenting and pure trial and error. Every now and again, I actually feel the urge to bake something, and today the urge struck.

After putting up the Christmas tree yesterday, I was in the mood for something holiday-ish. I settled on ginger loaf, found an easy recipe online with some yummy cream cheese frosting, and of to Tesco's at Notting Hill I went! We are not a cooking couple, so the trip necessitated some staples like flour, applesauce, vanilla essence, cinnamon and the all-important ginger.

My first confusion came when I surveyed the arrayed of flour in front of me. Plain flour, self-raising flower, organic flour.... what the?! True, I didn't bake that much back in Canada, but I only recall there being one kind of flour - the generic white stuff! Taking a shot in the dark, I chose the self-raising but then I had to debate whether I still needed to buy the baking powder or not. Tesco Notting Hill on a Sunday is not a place for deliberation. I was hit in the knee on at least three separate occasions by annoying posh children on their equally, if not more so, annoying scooters (shouldn't that craze be over by now, anyway?).

Forgoing the baking powder, I scoured the spices for ground ginger. Nope - not there. Surely there must be some, I told myself. Notting Hill Tesco is not your run-of-the-mill grocery store. They have everything from star anise to Indian saffron, but there was no ginger to be found. After so much trouble, there was no way I was giving up now. I grabbed some mixed spices, nutmeg and cinnamon and high-tailed it out of there.

Back at the flat, more trouble ensured. The first step in the recipe said to preheat the oven to 375 F. Well, ovens in the UK are in Celsius and I had no idea what 375 F converted so. Our Internet was down at the time, so I had to ask The Man. Engaged in his film editing, he was not happy at being interrupted for such a trifle and had no idea how to convert the temperature. No loaf for him, then. I took another shot in the dark and turned the oven to 175 Celsius.

OK. Now for the ingredients. Again, more issues. In the UK, the measure everything by weight. So, while our recipes might call for a cup of sugar, theirs would require 100 grams (or whatever). To this end, people usually have a set of kitchen scales they use when cooking. The recipe in front of me used North American measurements. And do you think we have measuring cups in our cupboard? Again, I had to resort to trial and error as I mixed the ingredients.

Here is what the baked loaf looks like. (The top is a bit mangled after all my testing to see if it was actually cooked... it took 55 minutes at 175C).

And here's the loaf with the cream cheese frosting!

Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks! If all else fails, I'll just eat the frosting.


KimB said...

Guess you're about as good a cook as I am!

So how did it taste?

Marsha said...

Hey Kim,

It was delicious! Esp the frosting. I will definitely make it again sometime. And for you, if you ever come visit! :)