The Glad Game

Many moons ago, I made a list of places to go, recipes to try, hikes to fill my weekends with and the like. ‘Cairngorms.’ ‘Seven Sisters hike.’ ‘Run a half marathon.’ ‘Bake a vegetable-based cake.’ ‘See Les Misérables.’

I didn’t want 2020 to slip through my fingers.

But 2020 had other ideas.

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My Bookshelf #14 | June 2020

Blink and you’ll miss it. That’s 2020 for me – and for you, too, I imagine. (I can’t be the only one looking at a sea of blank squares on the calendar and wondering how it’s the end of June already.) Although I’ve not motored through quite as many books as usual, I’m not short of gems to recommend. Dip in – there’s something for everyone on this shelf – and share your recommendations in the comments.

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Courgette and Lemon Loaf | Gâteau Courgette-Citron

[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] Vegetables in cakes, I hear you cry. Hear me out.

Vegetable-based cakes are, in my experience, the Marmite of the baking world: some love them; others hate them. (In case you were wondering – and you probably weren’t – I love Marmite. I also, obviously, love vegetable-based cakes.) I’ve been munching carrot cake since my little legs could carry me to the top of the road where I grew up. I’ve used up leftover pumpkin innards in cakes (waste not, want not). I’ve eaten cakes with beetroots and sweet potatoes in them. Trust me: nine times out of ten you wouldn’t even know a vegetable had gone anywhere near the cake, let alone in it.

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Ready, Steady, Ride: Recent Bike Rides in East Anglia

When I first moved to Cambridge, I hadn’t ridden a bike in years. I wobbled. I panicked. I fell off (more than once). I got back on again.

Fast-forward: it’s March 2020, and exercise is one of only four ‘reasonable excuses’ for leaving the house. Cambridge emptied: first of students, then of cars. Laurence and I couldn’t resist taking to the clear roads on our bikes. We’ve found new routes (some of which have become go-to rides), discovered picturesque villages and spotted adorable baby animals, clocking up 982km in the process.

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French Raspberry Tart | Tarte aux Framboises

[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] Which of a pâtisserie’s many treats takes your fancy? A tangy tarte au citron? A chocolate éclair, erupting with creamy crème pâtissière? Me? Almost every time, I’ll plump for a raspberry tart: a delectable combination of crumbly, sweet pastry, smooth crème pâtissière and juicy raspberries, topped with a dusting of icing sugar or a jelly glaze.

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Chocolate Coconut Slice | Carré Coco-Chocolat

[veuillez défiler vers le bas pour la version française] Coconut slice is a recipe I’ve turned to a few times in recent weeks, partly because it’s very tasty (one slice quickly becomes two in this house) and partly because it doesn’t involve flour (which is proving rather elusive right now). It’s my Gran’s recipe, but if it weren’t for my Dad craving a batch of coconut slice and asking my auntie for the recipe, this delicious treat would never have come onto my radar. Years later, it’s still a firm favourite. Enjoy!

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Alphabet Adventures: An A-Z of Adventures at Home

Life as we know it has changed, almost beyond recognition, in the space of a few short weeks. Staying at home – day in, day out – and only venturing out for food supplies or exercise is strange. Seeing Cambridge sans tourists on said outings is stranger still. Like you, I have good days (which mostly involve baked goods, calls with family and friends and sunshine) and bad days (which tend to feature stress-inducing supermarket trips and runners who don’t seem to know what two metres looks like).

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My Bookshelf #13 | March 2020

What a month it’s been. Exactly a month ago, I was admiring King Tut’s treasures at the Saatchi Gallery. Today, I’ve read a few chapters of Unnatural Causes, been on a rather brisk walk across Grantchester Meadows for my daily dose of exercise and eaten half a packet of Tangfastics. Pre-lockdown, I found some gems in Cambridge’s charity shops: Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild; The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion; Celeste Ng’s début Everything I Never Told You; The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling); and Peter Crouch’s autobiography How to Be a Footballer. I also stocked up on books from Cambridge Central Library, and bought a copy of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd from Heffers (ahead of what turned out to be our first virtual book club). Wherever you are, I hope you’re keeping well. If you’re after some book recommendations to get you through the next few weeks, you’ve come to the right place.

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Cambridge Chronicles #5 | March 2020

Some months flew by; others crawled. (And now? The UK is virtually grinding to a halt and we’re down to our last six loo rolls. Not words I ever thought I’d type, it must be said.) I’ve spent some lovely evenings with work friends, including a delicious (and very reasonably priced) meal at Cookhouse Joe. I followed that particular meal up with a detour to Carnaby Street: their Christmas lights installation, a collaboration with Project Zero, was something else. Closer to home, Laurence and I (finally) went for food at The Blue Ball in Grantchester, saw the Fitzwilliam Museum’s Feast and Fast exhibition, and returned to the ADC Theatre for Footlights Spring Revue 2020: Crossed Wires.

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