I suppose it eventually had to happen, after 14 years of avoidance; this Sunday I served my first cricket tea. Ring out all ye bells! Although, to be fair to myself, there are very good logistical reasons for this, one of them being our midget kitchen. This photo was taken standing in the back door. Note the two ring table top cooker (no heat control on the plates) with bungee hook to hold the knackered door closed. It can only be used with the inside door shut. Cooking in a cell would be more fun. I daresay our landlord could find a space crunching solution and get a normal sized oven in, but he hasn't bothered so far...nor to provide a fire extinguisher. (Mind you, where would he put one?)
As you can see, there isn't a lot of space and most of it is taken up by cupboards/sink/fridge & washing machine crammed into an area the size of a large broom cupboard. Things get placed randomly wherever there is a gap, hence the washing powder in the pile of mixing bowls. Anyhow, I managed to get four cakes baked on Friday. By hand of course, as there is no room for a mixer. The other problems are that we live 15 miles away from the home ground and only have a motorbike to transport everything over. Tea for a minimum of 24 people is a lot of tucker.
However, Andy took the cakes over to the clubhouse on Saturday, as he was playing that day too. I stayed at home, made two trays of flapjacks, began the quiches and then caught two buses over to the village, to deliver the bread. After a frantic rush on Sunday morning to make egg mayonnaise, cook chicken, make buttercream icing and another quiche, we strapped a chiller bag to the bike, got the rest into a rucksack and the topbox and set off. The club kitchen is a luxurious palace compared to ours - look at all that space!
I had about 3 hours to prep, so I put my little radio on and set to work with some nice classical music in the background. Four loaves worth of sandwiches to be made up, four cakes to cut & one to decorate and various crisps, pies, nibbles etc to be plated up. Should have been fine.
As it happened, we had a bit of a batting collapse and a panicking Captain Andy ran in, to see how it was all doing. A frenzy of cutting & plating commenced, and I barely had time to take photos of my beloved cakes - flapjacks, lemon drizzle, fruit cake, cherry & almond loaf & an iced mocha - before they were whisked out to the tables.
Overall it went very well, though the quiches were superfluous. The chicken stuffing sandwiches were a hit, but I was disappointed that my cakes were barely touched. The oppo team was half made up of (literally) children, and it seems that 21st century kids eschew home baked goods in favour of more nibbly, snacky things. The older chaps dug in well though.
It was all over after 25 minutes and the big clear up began. As I was putting the last mugs away, feeling somewhat frazzled and a bit glum, my lovely friend Debs (she who lent me her house for my book launch) arrived, to give me a chilled bottle of cider she'd brought down especially. True friendship. And she ate cake - with relish. As the afternoon drew on, the tea remains were dug into by supporters who did appreciate an old-fashioned cake or two (one heroic old chap had 6 platefuls). And I don't know if word had got out about my disappointment at non-cake-eating youth, but some of them came and ate cake after the match and thanked me for tea. Which was nice.
After the match, we repaired, as normal, to the marvellous Queen's Head for customary after match chips and mayonnaise. And a beer. Duty done - for the moment. And a boxful of cake leftovers to keep Andy happy.