Monday 21 February 2011

A slight baking hiatus

It's week 5 in the Cambridge University term, and we all have something commonly known as 'week 5 blues', where you have work crisis after work crisis (and for me, a dance show to rehearse for), thus stranger than normal university sleep patterns. Therefore no time to bake :-( Like my friend at My Final Year, who is graphing his sleep/work/free time, I could do the same, except mine would look something like:

Okay okay, a slight exaggeration, as the total number of hours don't actually add up to 24, and you can't have negative sleep. But it might as well be.

Yes seriously, the only thing I have baked this week is a 5 minute chocolate mug cake (see below), though I promise to do something big and yummy and extravagant soon and take lots of photos and write some kind of poem on it very very soon!

Despite the lack of cooking on my behalf, I guess I can report on the dining at Cambridge (my 'halfway hall formal', a meal to commemorate my halfway point in my degree), much like a restaurant review... except this meal was free :-) 

So, the atmosphere was very Harry Potter-esque, with candles and a high table and we wear our gowns and say grace (excuse the fuzzy photos coming up, we weren't allowed to use flash, and flash didn't really work anyway):

After a year and a half of eating in this hall every single day here, I am still disappointed by the lack of sock wearing/sockless house elves.

All of the cutlery is branded with our college crest, and among many students its the aim to college china from every college they have been to formal at, amongst other traditions. 

But tradition smadition. I come to eat. I want food.

Starters was smoked salmon with onion and rocket salad. Not much to say about it really, except that I would have really liked some lemon with it. But beggars can't be choosers.

Mains was 'grilled sirloin steak with a mushroom and brandy sauce, herby diced potatoes and French beans '. You'd think that they'd be more creative with the name: 'steak au povire with wild mushroom and brandy flambe drizzle, served with a side of herb crusted potatoes and...french beans...' 

I can't make french beans sound sexy. Sorry.

But either way, to me at this point of my work stress, they are both variations of 'beef with a load of yummy stuff bunged on top'.

Dessert was caramelised lemon tart with crème fraîche:

This was really nice. Anndd... I have no more adjectives to use. BUT I can tell you that my Green & Black's cookbook has a chocolate crusted lemon tart recipe that I have yet to bake. Although I am not sure if this combination will work, I do know that there will be some time when it is late, I am procrastinating from writing my third essay of the week, and I will be hungry.

And I won't care whether it's lemon or chocolate. I might not even care if it's a microwaved lemon inside my microwaved chocolate cake.

But I digress. I digress because I have run out of things to say. It was a great meal, it was lovely to be able to catch up with everyone in my year group over drinks and food (even better because all of this was all free!), and hopefully I shall re-emerge into the world of baking in a few weeks!

Lesson learned today: french beans are not sexy.


Week 5 blues: When the beginning-of-term partying dies down a little bit and work piles up to the level that sometimes makes you despair. Many Cambridge students find Week 5 (or Week 4 or 6, depending on the person and subject) a tough week with mounting work pressure, and naturally the Union and societies organise parties and relaxing sessions to "cure" those Week 5 blues. (This came from a google search, not from me. Just wanted to throw that out there.)

5 minute chocolate mug cake

No time to bake, it's really late, but for my sake, I still need cake...

You will need:

- To be extremely hungry
- It to be late at night and Sainsbury's to be too far away and/or shut.
- To have lost all of your baking dignity.

- 3 tablespoons self raising flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons butter
- A mug (you could use a bowl, but we are not going for class here)

Mix everything in the mug. Chopsticks are good. 

Microwave for 1.5-2 minutes, depending on how squidgy you like your cake.


Feel ashamed.

Feel extremely happy.

Come down from sugar rush and feel slightly sick (not necessarily in this order).


  1. 'baking dignity'?!
    no one has that but you.

  2. Caramelised lemon tart with crème fraîche?

    Ps. I like your chocolate mug cake idea

  3. I tried a recipe like this once and it dried out very quickly. Maybe I didn't use enough butter. I'll have to try yours next! I LOVE chocolate cake. Any who doesn't have 5 minutes?

  4. That's such a sweet post.... Could agree more with the reasons for making the chocolate mug cake... :)

    Thanks for dropping by..
    The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
    Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

  5. Oh wow, that mug cake is pure evil genius. I'm very much tempted to try this, although I worry about my long term health if I get it to work...


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