Saturday, 29 November 2008

James Bond Returns - Quantum of Caramel



Firstly, I'm sorry I had to miss last month's Pizza Toss but October was just to busy for me.

Secondly, This post is extra special because not only am I a November Baby, but TODAY is my actual Birthday. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Me!!

Now on to the Bond Story.....but not without the required warning:



PG
The following story is Rated PG - Parental Guidance is Suggested.
Some material may not be suitable for Children, Prudes or Fuddy-Duddies.
[With Apologies to Ian Fleming - once again!]




“This just came in M.” The handsome young man, (playing a bit part that required no name) handed a document over to the head of MI6.

M took a look at the document and frowned. Pressing a button on the red telephone she barked into the phone. “Moneypenny, get me Bond. Yes! Double O Seven - On the double.” She smiled to herself at her little play on words. Its no wonder she was the head of MI6.




Bond quickly grabbed his beeping wrist watch as he glanced quickly at the lovely woman lying naked beside him. Good, she was still asleep. He pressed a few buttons on his watch to decode his secret message.

007 summoned by M - OTD

Bond sighed and started to get dressed. OTD meant On The Double which meant that he couldn’t have his way with the woman again. At least he was thankful that in all his years with MI6, he had never had to leave a naked woman in bed that was still awake. Dead maybe, but never awake. Quietly he snuck out the door, regretting for a brief moment his dedication to the job. Not to mention to Queen and country.

** *** **

“About bloody time Bond!” M said as she gave Bond a cursory glance. “We’ve been issued a challenge. The other agencies seem to want to pit their best against ours. Sad to say that You… seem to be our best.”

“But of course M, however, I’m not quite sure I follow you.”

“It’s quite simple really Bond. The Mossad and KGB have issued a challenge that the CIA have taken up. Matter of fact, the Americans have thrown in their FBI and Secret Service into the fray as well. More chances of them winning you see.” M explained.

“Yes, I see. Everyone wants to win. I saw a movie recently where there was this song, something from Abba – The winner takes it all – I think it was.”

“Mamma Mia, Bond.” M replied

“What’s wrong with your mother M?”

“The name of the movie Bond! Mamma Mia! That’s the name of the movie, but stop digressing. You seem to have an awful habit of doing that off late!” M rolled her eyes upward.

“Ah yes. Sorry. So please. Tell me more about this challenge.”

“It’s all here in this dossier Bond. Read it well. Suffice to say that it involves baking a cake. You just need to make the cake and ice it successfully. It seems to be a rather complicated recipe and one that is prone to failure. Apparently the KGB, the Mossad and all those American agencies have got some very talented, not to mention gorgeous, women to do the baking and you are up against them. The pride of Britain and of HRH the Queen is at stake here.” M said.

“Hmmm.” Bond exhaled deeply while rubbing his chin. “Baking eh? Competing with gorgeous women eh? This just might be fun.”

“Well just make sure you don’t fail. And keep your fingers to yourself Bond, as well as your other appendages. We all know your reputation. Now go and get this done. Dismissed.”

Bond left the office and boarded the subway. With the economy the way it was, his Aston Martin had been taken back. He read and re-read the recipe on his way home. It seemed fairly straightforward although the notes said that this was quite a difficult cake to make. There was something in the notes that said getting this cake to bake is about balancing fat with acid and protein JUST RIGHT.

Well, Bond had a degree in Engineering so he Should know something about incorporating his technical knowledge into baking a cake. Bond decided that he would jump straight into it. Well, tomorrow morning anyway.

** **** **

Since Bond decided he worked best in the early hours of the morning, he woke early and checked his recipe once again. He decided he would start on the caramel first simply because the caramel needed to be cooled and also due to the fact that there were no eggs in the house…

Bond heated the sugar and water carefully, cooking it till it became a lovely dark amber. He smiled to himself as he thought of Amber, the lovely Australian girl. He then poured in the cup of water, quickly stepping back as he gleefully watched it sputter and spatter while making loud gurgling noises. The spluttering and splattering reminded him of the Russian Submarine he had blown up during the days of the Cold War while the gurgling reminded him of that lovely Russian scientist … ah, such fond memories.


James Bond whisked the mixture over medium heat till it thickened slightly. As he left it to cool, the Lovely Woman he had spent the night with came down the stairs. Bond gave her a quick once over. She looked so much better in lingerie but he had to admit she still looked stunning in just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

“I need some eggs.” Bond said matter of factly as he eyed her bosom under the tight t-shirt.
“Well, why don’t you come to the market with me?” she said with a slight pout of her lips. “After all, we do need some groceries and I am staying over for a few days.”

Bond followed the lithesome woman out the door, appreciating the swell of her buttocks and the sensual sway of her hips. He winced at how times had changed though. He much preferred the days of old where women would do the marketing and the cleaning and well, just everything. Now there was even a Female head of MI6 and he – James Bond, Agent 007, the finest Britain had to offer – was forced to take part in a challenge. A Baking Challenge at that. To add insult to injury, he had to go to the market as well. How Shocking!

In hindsight though, it was a good thing that Bond went along to the market too. He had forgotten that he was out of Vanilla Extract as well. On their return from the market, James was ready to begin making the cake. He decided that since getting the proper amount of air into the batter seemed to be critical, he would use his trusted Hand Mixer instead of the hi-tech Kenwood mixer. There was somehow so much more control with a hand mixer. The batter whipped up beautifully and Bond used his spatula to give the batter a few folds. He poured it into the prepared tin and left it to bake – noting that he would need to turn the pan after a while. The cake rose very well and Bond felt a surge of pride as he took the cake out of the oven to allow it to cool.



“There’s a reason I’m the best of Britain.” He thought to himself rather smugly as he did his oft repeated trick of posing with his pretend gun formed out of his thumb and forefinger.

While wating for the cake to cool. Bond made the icing or, as he noted, ‘frosting’ as the Americans called it. First thing to do was to ‘brown the butter’. That sounded rather racist to Bond. Even his travels to far and exotic places and his many encounters with women of - how should he put it - various degrees of tan, he had never seen brown butter. He smiled and almost laughed aloud as he suddenly remembered this one lovely woman he had met at an embassy function. She was an operative from Kenya with the Codename ‘Butter’. Now that would give Brown Butter a whole new meaning…

“Concentrate Bond.” He reminded himself as he watched the butter bubbling in the pan. He quickly took it off the fire and strained it into a bowl to stop the cooking process. Indeed, the butter had turned a lovely brown and had a wonderful nutty fragrance. The fragrance surprisingly reminded him of Butter – the lovely operative from Kenya.

While waiting for the butter to cool, Bond sifted out the icing sugar, noting once again that the American’s called it Confectionary Sugar. “Why oh why did Britain ever give up America”, he thought to himself rather sadly. “The whole world would be so much simpler. Everyone would use Icing sugar to make Icing rather than some parts of the world using Confectionary Sugar to make Frosting.”

Bond suddenly realised that M was right. He did have a habit of digressing. Must be his old age. Getting back to the icing, he poured the butter into a mixing bowl and then added the icing sugar a little at a time till the mixture was really chunky. Then he added some caramel, more sugar and then more caramel together with a dash of cream till all the sugar was used up.

He tasted the icing and although it was delicious, is was rather sweet. A tad too sweet for Bond’s liking. “Perhaps it will taste better once it’s combined with the cake,” he thought to himself.

Bond proceeded to ice the cake and for a brief moment he considered decorating it. Actually he had planned to use sliced canned pears to decorate the cake but since he found the icing too sweet, he decided against it. He was tempted to taste the cake but decided it would be prudent to take it back to M and let her have first pickings.




** **** **

“Remarkable cake Bond. You;’ve done well.” Said M. “It would have been better if you had decorated it somewhat but never mind. Lets see how it looks inside. We’ll let our official tasters cut the cake and taste it. We’ll try it too.”



The Officials cut the cake and proceeded to test it. M took a slice too as did Moneypenny and Q.



“Its rather sweet Bond.” M remarked

“I”d have to agree M. In my defence, I followed the recipe, just as I was supposed to.” Bond replied, stuffing his face with cake

“Let me have a look Bond. There, you see? There’s a variable for how much caramel you need to put into the icing. Pay attention Bond, after all, its simply a matter of the Quantum of Caramel…..”




I hope you enjoyed my little Bond story - the second time Bond has appeared in the Daring Bakers. This month, the challenge was hosted by my good friend Dolores from Culinary Curiosity ably assisted by her co-hosts
Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo ) and
Jenny of Foray into Food
As usual, for alternative baking help, Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go provided support.

The recipe is an original from Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater with her signature caramel cake.




Like Bond and M, we all found the cake a tad too sweet. I took some in to work as well and my colleagues also said that although delicious, it was certainly on the sweet side. Nonetheless, it was an amazing cake as the texture was just lovely. I think if I make it again, I will not ice it or maybe try an icing that is less sweet.



32 comments:

Di said...

As usual, great post, Dharm! Your cake looks lovely. And happy birthday!

Rachel said...

Looks great!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Happy birthday! It's so nice to see a cake made for you, as you are always making the cakes for everyone else's birthdays.

Bellini Valli said...

Bond rises to the challenge again. Can't what to see what Bond comes up with next month for his assignment..."if he chooses to accept it".

Bellini Valli said...

Woops...Happy Birthday as well Dharm (aka Bond 007)!!!!!

Ruth E said...

Mission accomplished Bond!!! It looks fabulous. I loved this challenge, I'm so making it again and soon!!!!

Happy Birthday!!!!!

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Great looking cake Dharm! Glad you got to it this month and Happy Birthday!!!

Passionate About Baking said...

Happy Birthday you good Dharm Bond...from one November baby to another!! Thanks for the early words of wisdom on the cake...I'm just about putting the post together! Your cake is wonderful...& hope your day is more so & sweeter still! Cheers Deeba

Aparna said...

A very Happy Birthday, Dharm. May it be a sweet as your birthday cake.
Guess what, The DBs now have their very own Baking Bond!
And with official testers as enthusiastic and cute as those two, you don't have to worry about M.:)

Dolores said...

Happy birthday Dharm! What a great story you've told. Sorry this one was a bit sweet for you, but I'm glad you enjoyed the creative process.

glamah16 said...

First. Happy Birthday to you! Second entartaining post. I was chuckling throughout the post.You have a gift not only in cakes but in story telling. I was sweet, but I hear it mellows out the next day.

Gretchen Noelle said...

First, Happy Birthday! Secondly, what a creative, fun post! Great job on this!

Chris said...

This was a great read!!! Thanks! Great job on the cake..looks delish... and Happy Birthday!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Happy Birthday! That cake looks delightful! Well done!

Cheers,

Rosa

Ma Baker said...

Lol another sucessful mission.
:o)

arundati said...

wonderful bond narrative...great cake as always!! and have a wonderful birthday!!

Sara said...

hee hee! very cute post. happy birthday!!!

giz said...

Well done Bond!!! That sputtering and spattering was fun - as long as one didn't get in the way. So far unscathed and in agreement that the cake is more of a sugar high than I prefer, the techniques involved were terrific.

Katie said...

Bond does it again! :) It looks fantastic and I much enjoyed reading your (bond's) antics

BC said...

Great post! Bond certainly has a lot of talent.

I passed on the stand mixer too and used the hand mixer.

fatboybakes said...

ooh, happy birthday dharm.
aiyo, i havent even gotten around to baking this!

Elle said...

Great story Dharm! Ian would be envious.
The cake looks spectacular...it's iced so well that no decoration is needed! Too sweet, but very pretty!

Argus Lou said...

Hahaha - quantum of caramel is just about right for your title. ^_^
Happy belated birthday - good health, good cheer!
How did you get the frosting to look so smooth?

~nm said...

I can see that someone had a wonderful time on the birthday! Mine was just the day after yours..on 29th!

Tartelette said...

Happy belated birthday dear Dharm! As always your post cracked me up!! The cake looks perfect!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Hoho and a late but very Happy Birthday to you. I used this for my birthday cake too!
Loved it.

Claire said...

Wonderful story! Hope you had a great birthday. I think my family just likes sweet...my only complaint from them was it was short! No problem with the sweetness! :-)

Sheltie Girl said...

Great story and a great cake!

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

creampuff said...

Oh, James! (I mean Dharm!) Great post! For a second there I thought your kids weren't in the post but they're there ... so sweet!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

You're a great storyteller lah. Can't wait for more Bond stories (definitely got more, rite?). And happy birthday once again!

MeetaK said...

the day i see bond with a whisk in his hand is the day i will stop baking! oh the images in my head of Daniel Craig, whisk and me --- oops! sorry! fantasies you know?

Dharm - the winner does take it all and you and this cake are the winners. happy belated birthday!

Jenny said...

Seems to be the consensus all the way around - too sweet!
Belated happy birthday, btw.

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin