Yesterday, I spent two hours making the chocolate tart in the photograph below. I share this earth-shattering news, not to brag (mind, it was 10 out of 10 delicious) but because it led me to wonder, if I only had six months to live, would I spend two hours of it baking? I suspect I wouldn’t, for – and this is quite a thing for the editor of a food magazine to admit – I have decided that life is too short for beating, creaming, whisking and whipping (in the kitchen at least, ahem!).
I’ll whip up a Victoria sponge or apple crumble because they take only a few minutes, and I always make a Christmas cake because it’s an excuse to swig the cooking brandy, but elaborate confections drive me to distraction. I mean, the tart was nice, but was it two hours and five separate culinary processes on a sunny day nice? No, frankly, particularly when I could have nipped up the road to the patisserie at Vallum, bought something fabulous and passed it off as my own. Which brings me, in a roundabout way, to the many pheasants with no road sense who have ended up on the appetite table recently, the latest making the ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of my dinner when I was on the Military Road, heading to Vallum for lemon meringue pie (and there, dear reader, is your tenuous link). What is wrong with these witless creatures? There are bits of them all over the roads round our way, 99% of them male, which proves either that lady pheasants are much brighter than their senseless spouses, or the male pheasant population is in the grip of a suicide epidemic.
Hence, we are now mostly dining on roadkill and shop-bought profiteroles, a) because life’s too short for labouring over choux pastry and posh puddings and, b) because baking is
for the birds.
If you agree,