Saturday, 28 May 2011

Exchange and bake

Chocolate Cake
I’ve been having saxophone lessons from my music teacher friend Maria for about 6 years now. It’s always fun and my repertoire is much extended now to include latin, soul and jazz. My best pieces are Dos Gardenias para ti, Blueberry Hill, Summer time and Unchained MelodyMaria is a very sympathetic teacher and always writes words of encouragement and praise in my lesson book, even when I give her a million excuses why I haven’t practised my scales and arpeggios. She writes ‘lovely playing’, ‘smooth musical performance’, ‘very expressive’.  The highlight of my year is when I get to play with her school band at the Christmas concert at Doncaster Minster.

And I've been passing on some of Grandma’s tips in exchange for lessons when Maria said she hadn’t much baking experience. We’ve had one to one cookery lessons and made a whole range of tasty dishes including Vegetable Soup, Shortcrust Pastry and Grandma's Chocolate Cake. 

Chocolate Cake
6 oz/175g margarine or butter
6 oz/175g sugar
6 oz/175g self-raising flour
2 tbsps cocoa
A pinch of salt
3 eggs
2 tbsps black treacle (warmed)
½ tsp vanilla essence
½ cup milk

“Cream the margarine (or butter) and sugar. Mix the cocoa and flour together with a pinch of salt. Beat the eggs. Add alternately to the mixture with the flour. Add the treacle and vanilla to taste. Add a little milk to give a soft consistency. Bake in a moderate oven for ¾ hour.”  (350F, Mark 4, 180 C)

I’ve devised a memo for Maria to jot things down to remember as she goes along. Maria says ‘I didn’t think baking would be so easy and so much fun. Meryl is a great teacher and has given me so much confidence in the kitchen.’ I am delighted she has got into baking. Now back to the saxophone practice – where were we with those scales?
Here is a picture of Maria and dance partner Steve and the rest of the participants strutting their stuff at the fabulous Not so Strictly Come Dancing event last weekend at Sheffield City Hall to support the work of the Safe at last charity with young runaways in the Yorkshire region.

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