As soon as it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic was here to stay, staple items vanished from supermarket shelves. Wherever you went, there were long shelves empty of toilet paper and sanitisers and bacterial hand-washes. The two back-to-back produce stands in the local Tesco were empty except for one watermelon. I bought in in desperation, but it lasted forever. I don’t think I ever want to eat watermelon again.
On eBay, someone was selling a £10 pack of 24 rolls of toilet paper for £49.99 + postage and you could buy a £3 sanitiser for £30.
When the vulnerable were finally allowed to meet one other person outside, we met with our elder son in our courtyard. He had asked for my recipe for Rock Cakes previously but had unfortunately used bicarbonate of soda instead of baking powder. They tasted so awful he had to put them on the compost heap.
I thought I would make him some Fruit Scones using the same recipe I’d been using for years. It calls for soaking the raisins in orange juice for at least 30 minutes beforehand and I used some juice from some rather sour oranges delivered by the supermarket a few days before. I left one of the scones out for my husband Josh to have with his coffee and caught him spitting it out.
‘It’s vile,’ he said. ‘Tastes of bicarbonate of soda.’
I tasted one. He was right. It was awful but I thought it was the sour orange juice the raisins had been soaked in. I binned the scones and made another batch. They were just as bad. Then I realised that when I reprinted the recipe, I doubled the amount of baking powder to be added to the self-raising flour.
I wasn’t going to risk another batch, so I made some Rock Cakes instead. Josh likes them because they don’t contain sugar, just have a little demerara sugar sprinkled on top.
By now, of course, I had run out of self-raising flour and neither of the supermarkets we can get slots for had any. I looked on eBay. A 1kg bag of self-raising flour costing £1.50 in supermarkets was listed at £11.99 + postage!! Finally, Tesco listed it but every time I put in on my order, when our grocery arrived it was UNAVAILABLE.
I still have some baking powder left but I thought it possible it had ‘gone off’ and put it on my order. Needless to say, when our order was delivered it was UNAVAILABLE.
I so wish we weren’t elderly and vulnerable, and could go shopping for ourselves. I know we should be grateful we can get supermarket delivery slots but like everyone else, I wish it was all over!!
Roll on the Covid-19 vaccine!!
Recipe for Rock Cakes
Bake at 200°C 15-20 minsGrease 24 muffin pans
675 gm self-raising flour
1 teasp baking powder
345 gm marg/ butter
3 large lightly beaten eggs
100 ml milk
345 gm mixed dried fruit
2 teaspoon orange zest
Demerara sugar to sprinkle
Rub the margarine/ butter into the flour
Add the egg and milk
Stir in the dried fruit and orange zest
Place a heaped tablespoon in each pan
To make a crunchy surface sprinkle with demerara sugar
Bake at 200°C 15-20 mins