Alison Goulding: The cooking dragon

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I have become immersed in the mighty world of Be-Ro cooking.

The little recipe book was a Chrimbo present from my pal after I admired her jam sponge earlier in the year and frankly it has unleashed the cooking dragon at Goulding Towers.

All the recipes are completely idiot proof and delicious which obviously caters very well for my personality.

First up I tried a tea loaf. After carefully gathering together all the ingredients I realised it required all the dried fruit to be soaked overnight. I decided to ignore this and just boiled the raisins in a pan for a moment which shows imagination and flair if you ask me.

Anyway, it all came out so well that I scoffed the lot with minor assistance.

Next up were the rock cakes. These were also splendid but marred slightly by the fact that I cooked them in my ropey old lasagne tray and all the non-stick coating on the tray promptly unstuck itself and attached itself to the bottom of the cakes, giving them a silver, space age affect. I was still happy enough to eat them myself but decided against taking them into work. Poisoning innocent colleagues rarely goes down well.

Anyway, I mentioned my newfound love of cooking and noticed a distinct grumbling in the ranks that I was failing to turn up at the office with cake for anyone but me.

Point taken. So I took it upon myself to try a banana loaf with the hope that it would go very well, give everyone a tasty treat and restore my popularity.

Despite not really having enough bananas and a slight hitch with the butter, assembling it went quite well.

I’m not sure I’ve quite got the hang of following a recipe yet as I tend to ignore the instructions at the first possible opportunity but the mix that went in my cake tin definitely looked cakey.

And then I met my cooking Everest, as the damn thing refused to cook. I’d pre-heated the oven to the right temperature and left it in for long enough but at the end of 75 minutes it still looked pretty much the same as when it went in. I put it back in, turned up the heat, walked off and forgot about it.

Thankfully, the cake did turn a respectable brown colour in the end which was good news as I was about to phone the Vatican and tell them I had a real life miracle going on in my Sunderland kitchen.

“The cake that wouldn’t cook” - I can see the headlines now.

It would have been even better if the fruit had arranged itself into the image of Jesus but there you go, sometimes a banana loaf can only do so much.

So no miracle in the end, just the disappointing news that I have the dreaded ‘cold oven’.

A ‘cold oven’ seems like a contradiction to me but apparently it just means all my culinary efforts are going to take a bit longer to be done.

I guess it’s a good thing really - the longer it takes to cook the bigger the delay in eating it, which over the years will be an asset to my backside.

Ps If you’re Friday paper has blank pages you’ll know the banana loaf was a disaster.