Monday, January 20, 2014

Snatching success (and my reputation) from the jaws of failure

2. Make a Swiss Roll from scratch. (Achieved 20 January 2014)

Lee and I try hard to give our kids good experiences. We want them to be able to look back at this time in their lives and say "Yeah, I had a great childhood." Not only did we come from marriages that ended, we both came from broken homes and neither of them were ideal breeding grounds for the adults to come. However, we somehow made it through, a little scarred, but determined to make things better for our children.

And now we're down to two and we want to do the best that we possibly can for them. And now, because I think Lee is the best Dad I've ever seen in my whole life, I'm switching from 'us' to 'me'. 

I'm a good parent. Despite the example led by own parents, I've managed to create an atmosphere of love, discipline, rights, responsibilities, safety, community and individuality for all my children. I always put it down to 'parenting by opposition', in that whatever my parents did, I did the opposite. But that's not totally true. I do have memories of my parents getting together and doing things that made us, at least for a few minutes, a happy family.

Swiss Roll is one of them. A very sharp memory from my childhood is of my parents in the kitchen one Saturday, making a Swiss Roll together. I remember licking the Sunbeam beaters once the egg whites and sugar were whisked. I remember the scent of vanilla as the finished cake came from the oven. I remember my parents struggling to upturn the cake onto baking paper and tea-towel. I remember the aroma of sugar cooking as they rolled the still-hot cake and tied the ends together. I remember the great unroll and the way the ends turned up ever so slightly in preparation for the layering to come. I remember the people I loved working as one, a sign that things really could be good in a marriage when two were united in a common goal.

Finally they would smooth on the jam and the cream, and voila! Swiss Roll (or at least in the French part of Switzerland).

Hence my goal for the year. I wanted to recreate the experience for my children. Lee's sick so he didn't join in (although he did help as we struggled to turn out the sponge) but it was still a co-operative experience for Erin and Connor. Together we surfed the net and found several sites dedicated to the Roll. We chose what seemed to be the easiest recipe then looked at various Youtube videos on how to tackle the rolling process. Opinions varied in some aspects, such as whether to separate eggs or not (the recipe we used said not), whether to roll hot or cold (we went hot), and the temperature of the cooking cake (ours called for 200 deg C).

It's cooked and looks exactly the same as the one in the Youtube video.

The rolling worked! Now to warm the jam and then unroll...
Uh oh!

Despite the assurances of the BBC site, the cake cracked horrendously as it unrolled. 
I could cry, but I'm a seasoned cook. I know how to rescue a project.

I went ahead and spread the jam anyway, then once more began to roll.

It's official. I can now say I've made a Swiss Roll from scratch.
Don't judge me. You're not my supervisor.

However, first a taste test, and yes, it tastes exactly like my childhood.
But that is not to be the end of it. I'm made of better stuff than this. 

My Erin also has a goal: Learn 6 new recipes for the year. To date Erin has cooked 3 new recipes.
At this point, my goal turns into her goal as Erin turns my Swiss Roll into Trifle.

Cooled Pineapple Jelly has been poured over Swiss Roll and peaches and is now in the fridge for an hour to set. Meanwhile, we have Raspberry Jelly cooling in preparation for when the first layer is set.

Several hours later, we've added the second layer of jelly, a layer of custard and dollops of Vanilla Bean Fruche. This is Erin in "Oh, yeah!" mode. Also, in the oven to her right is a Kedgeree, recipe #5 for my girl.

Okay, to the casual observer, it may seem that my goal failed, but not in my family's eyes. We worked together to recreate an experience from my childhood but in the end made it totally unique to us. My beautiful girl is now as pleased with herself as I am for trying something new. Win, lose or draw? Nah, total win, my lovelies.

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