Sunday, 29 January 2017

Trifle. The Baggs-Davidson version.

Yesterday I set out to make good on two promises.
The first promise being to share my recipe for trifle.
And the second.... telling the story of Ma Baggs, trifle maker extraordinaire.
The two things are very tightly bound together. With multiple strands of significance and meaning.
And there you were thinking it was just a desert and a fictional character. 

But before I share family secrets with you let me rewind to the beginning of the week.


That's where and when I had another little crisis of confidence and wondered for the umpteenth time about what it is that I do ......and why.
All sorted now, thankfully.
 I just shelved the vexing question and got on with doing what I do.
Although I do still feel that the phrase 'eclectic practice' is just a euphemism for  undecided or confused.
But the question got me on the lookout for links between different projects and recurring themes.
And as much as I might be stretching a point I think I found a few.
So,the abstract, intuitive painting was also a colour study for brooch making.

And the dark skies of the early morning dog walk,
and we are talking ridiculous o'clock,
 held the colours that were in my mind for Ma Baggs.
They also reflected my mood and a general mood that is in the air provoked by recent world events.
Not venturing into any debate here, just sharing that my heart is troubled.
 And at times it is as grey and leaden as the Sunday morning sky.

But this life of ours is complex and richly layered  and for now now I am not choosing to examine each layer but just accept it as a whole.
Which brings me nicely back to trifle.
Layers of sponge and fruit, custard and cream.
The recipe that I use is an adaptation of one from Sainsbury's food magazine.
Boozy trifle it's called!!! Not that I know of any other kind.....unboozy trifle is...... not trifle! 

The recipe calls for a homemade , what I call posh, custard. Real custard. But I don't do that. I stick to what my Grandma did in her Diggy vous which is to make a thick Custard using Bird's custard powder and whole milk.
But I am racing ahead. The first layer is sponge or trifle sponge or amaretti biscuits or some combination of the two.
Next time I am going to try some ginger biscuits!!!! 
Next up is the booze. Sainsbury's suggest brandy.... too strong for my taste and just the whiff of it would have had my gran under the table.... so I use sherry. Spooned out in that time honoured, one for the dish three for me, measure  until the sponge has enough to soak up and become moist but not soggy. We all know our baking queen, Mary Berry's decree about soggy bottoms. 
And I think this applies to trifle too.
 Not certain. 
Not willing to take the risk of the fearful penalty that might ensue.
Anyhoo enough sherry to make the trifle moist and taste of alcohol without blowing your head off and to, by now, make the cook a little squiffy.
Which makes the subsequent layers a bit of an adventure.

There has to be fruit. A rule of thumb is to match your top half to your bottom. 
Works with getting dressed too! 
So, I use frozen raspberries and sliced tinned peaches. Two of my grans favourite fruits. .... which, as a combination, never made it into one of her trifles. She wasn't normally one to miss a trick but.... well , we all have our blind side! 

Another break away from family tradition is the last layer of cream. 
Or not cream.... Sainsbury's suggest, God bless them, a lemon juice and brandy sherry syllabub. 
 In my humble opinion it elevates the trifle to squidgy heaven in a bowl. 
The hundreds and thousands on the top are my own genius, retro addition. And a reminder of the boxed trifles of the 1970's which were so bad but so good. 
Remember them!!!!
So that's it friends. 
Serve it to your friends, your family, all those you love. Celebrate the big occasions with it and the small. And maybe, just a Monday. 
Personally, every time I make and eat Trifle I celebrate the best Diggy Vous maker that I ever knew. 

So, I've made good on one promise but still haven't told the story of Ma Baggs........ getting closer though