There’s nothing funny here, Roger, I thought. Waking up on Saturday morning in a strange bed to the sound of unfamiliar breathing made me realise that I was the victim of my own unbelievable stupidity. Thinking back, I should have seen it coming. They had been so affectionate, or should I say too affectionate. I had been flattered by their attention and had made the fatal mistake of giving them dinner and spending a long evening with them fooling about on the couch. It needn’t have ended like this – if only I had been stronger. Now here I was, a fool to myself, in bed with two dogs. On the upside, Trigger and Gypsy have been very good about it, and don’t seem to think any the less of me. I gave them breakfast and then they were gone. I had fulfilled my role as guardian of the hounds on our evening of babysitting with the grandchildren save for a few mud and rain filled hours at a nearby stable watching tiny horses going round in circles with even tinier people on their backs. And there we might still have been, transfixed by the monotony of this Lilliputian spectacle, had our daughter not arrived, fresh from a night in the flesh pots of Nantes, to reclaim the baton of responsibility for her girls.
Back at home my mind was filled with thoughts of cake. I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth, in fact as time goes by I appear to have less and less teeth to be sweet, but I do find great pleasure in the making of cakes, when it is going well. I tend to make cakes on the spur of the moment so the recipes have to coincide with the ingredients that are present in the kitchen cupboards at that particular moment. The Moro cook book is amongst my favourites but, as the recipes often demand quite obscure Moroccan or Spanish ingredients, I have to adapt. In this case the recipe demanded a tart apricot paste which could be replaced by a confection created from the dried apricots that I was sure that I had but didn’t. The cake, a chocolate and apricot tart, worked out wonderfully by replacing the apricot past with a sharp apricot conserve. The picture is remarkable in that it was the only one that I took. The tart is incredibly soft and moist when it is removed from the oven and I had created the still life set up beforehand so that I could shoot a picture quickly. In fact the cake fell off the spatula immediately after this shot, ending any thought of a second chance. Here’s the recipe: