I made another batch of ginger gems on Saturday – Perrine and Aaron were to visit late in the afternoon and I was keen to try out the recipe again, now that I was fully equipped with TWO gem irons. Somehow I managed to put together all the ingredients in the correct order, heat and grease the irons in the correct fashion, remove the gems from the oven before they burned, and clean and dry the gem irons, all while Rata played on the kitchen floor with her pieces of toast.
Making gems is the ultimate in timing and cleaning. I love that the recipe in Ladies, A Plate has detailed instructions on cleaning the gem irons immediately after use: plunging them in hot, but not soapy, water; gently scrubbing off any dirt, then returning them to the oven to dry off. That, combined with the sheer fun of dropping little bits of butter into each hollow and watching it sizzle before dropping in the batter, is the perfect ritualistic form of baking. The single-use kitchen implement is the star of the show.
And, might I add, the Ladies A Plate mailing list has come to the party with a recipe for mini Lamingtons made in the gem iron – genius! Thank you, Alexa.
I ate a gem, just to make sure they tasted as good as they looked (Louis snuck two, the cheeky devil) before putting them in the tin for the Aaron and Perrine afternoon tea date. But then things in the household turned a little pear-shaped. Emma, flatmate number four who does not participate in this blog solely for the fact that she cannot cook, turned out to be harbouring yet another backpacker in her bedroom – the reason we asked her to move out obviously not enough to deter her from hosting these couchsurfers in the interim (you know, the courteous thing to do in such situations where conflicting ideas on how to live occur; stop doing what your flatmates don’t like, resume it in your new house).
Anyway, I forgot all about the joy of making ginger gems. Reader, I will admit that I lost my cool and did a few things that I probably should be ashamed of: I removed all of Emma’s belongings from the communal areas to assist her speedy departure and threw them outside her door. I stamped my feet a lot, and probably swore more than a mother should. Needing some new experiences outside of this at times suffocating valley, Louis, Rata and I cancelled our afternoon tea date and set out in the car. I took the baking with me, just in case we stopped in for a visit to some unsuspecting acquaintance. We ended up in Miramar, where I purchased another Arnott’s biscuit tin and a nice basket which reminds me of the one my mum kept her knitting in when I was a nipper.
I got back to the car, hungry. Where were the gems? I remembered putting them on the roof of the car when I put Rata in the back seat. That old cliche. The gems were not in the car. That was the final straw. On our way home, as we turned into Holloway Road I saw the gems littered across the footpath on Aro Street. The tin was nowhere in sight, but this being Aro Valley, I don’t doubt that some hipster 19 year old, probably with black leggings and a ponytail, picked it up. It had polka dots. There’s a kitchen somewhere in Norway Street with a nice new cake tin.
But I like to think that this opportunist tried one of the gems, that not all of them were strewn across the footpath as the car swung into Aro Street and the tin rolled off the roof. This morning Rata and I walked down to have a look. There are no gems on the footpath now, just a few smudges of a cake-like substance ground into the asphalt. Never mind, I hear the gem irons calling.