I am in the process of watching an expert in action. Mrs Light is making the Christmas cake. She has been doing this for over sixty years and it is a task she relishes.
First there is the purchase of the ingredients. A list is made, naming items and weight. Then a dedicated visit is made to Tesco. Only items on the cake list are purchased. My tasks are limited to pushing the trolley and finding the one item Penny never spots, black treacle.
Then comes the mixing of the fruit, raisins, currants, apricots and glace cherries are amongst them and I believe flaked almonds play some part, but this is only part of the story. Alcohol is added! Our drinks cupboard is well stocked when this process starts, but now the sherry and brandy stocks are much diminished. It could be that Mrs Light has imbibed during the exacting process, but I doubt it. She is no longer a member of the Keith Floyd School of cookery.
I am allowed to stir these ingredients as they settle for several days and the boozy aroma that is forthcoming is such that I do it last thing at night with no forthcoming driving to do.
The baking tin is greased, lined with grease proof paper and other substances are added, butter, eggs and flour being among them. The oven is set; the tin filled and in it goes.
There are of course more stages to come, marzipan has to be applied, then icing and finally decorations. The work of art will be cut into on the evening of Christmas Fayre when accompanied by more of Mrs Light’s delights. I am indeed fortunate.