I made apple crumble yesterday. Nothing out of the ordinary there. But this time, instead of carefully measuring out the flour, butter and sugar as always, I decided to just wing it. How hard could it be? After all, I'd made crumble a hundred times before, I was surely above all that weighing palaver, right? (Besides, getting the scales out would add another whole minute to the baking exercise and I was already pressed for time.)
And so I poured everything haphazardly into the bowl, supremely confident that all would be well. It was much more fun to do it like that too - I almost felt like Nigella for a few precious seconds, flinging ingredients about sexily, not a care in the world.
I knew the minute I took it out of the oven that I had made a huge mistake. The crumble was doughy and anemic looking. Frankly, it looked almost inedible.
But it was too late - everyone was already waiting for dessert. So, instead of starting from scratch, I simply covered the whole mess in as much custard as I could and served it anyway, pretending that nothing was amiss.
No one said anything as such, but the compliments were few and far between. And - tellingly- no-one went back for seconds (unheard of in these parts).
And so I've learned two hard and painful lessons:
1) The use of weighing scales is crucial to baking success
2) I am not Nigella and I never will be.