Superwoman by E J Catering – How the Rhino got his Skin

My children Molly, Jake and I spent our summer holiday in my grandmother’s house in the heart of the Lake District.    Everyday we made pasties filled with the leftover supper from the night before, we packed drinks, a book and headed out for a walk around a lake, along a river, or up a small fell in search of a water fall.  The weather just held to a typical British summer and the kids threw stones, leaves and twigs, scrambled, climbed, moaned, ran, jumped and paddled.  We were constantly on hunt alert for slugs, mushrooms, frogs and Penguin biscuit rocks – amazing rocks found only on certain special mountains that conceal Penguin biscuits for little people with tired legs.

My Granny Anne’s house is full of old leather books with titles such as Ancient Foods of England, Collection of the Giant Moths of the British Isles, Birds of New Zealand, five volumes of  lectures by Winston Churchill, Games for Children, something for anybody and everybody.  I found a small red leather book printed in 1942, Rudyard Kipling’s Just so Stories. I packed it safely in our lunch sack and under a large oak tree read How the rhino got his skin.  At the beginning of time the rhino had a very smart, tight coat with three large buttons under his belly.  One day he came across a cake baked by a local warrior which he stole and ate.  The warrior was cross with the rhino and so the next time the sun shone and the rhino took off his coat to bathe the warrior rubbed sticky cake crumbs into the inside of the coat.  After bathing the happy Rhino put back on his coat and started to itch and itch, he rubbed against trees, posts and rocks to relieve the itching, his buttons broke off , his skin stretched and sagged and the rhino got his grumpy face because ever since he’s suffered itching under the skin!

Sticky plum cake

225g soft butter

450g  ripe plums

1 lemon zest and half its juice

225g caster sugar

3 eggs  225g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

25g ground almonds

1 tbsp demerara sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a deep cake tin.  Stone the plums and slice into eight crescent moons.  Cream together the butter, caster sugar, lemon zest and juice in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, sift the flour and the baking powder into the bowl and fold in with the ground almonds. Add the fresh plums to the mixture.  Spoon into the cake tin, lightly level the top and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake in the oven for 45-55 mins or until well-risen, brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If the cake starts to look a little too brown, cover with a sheet of baking paper  Leave to cool slightly and remove the cake from the tin.  Serve with lightly whipped cream and a spoonful of honey.  And never steal anyone’s cake – you have been warned!

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