Luckily: we had! We were asked to make some relatively small changes, but on the whole they were pleased with what we’d done, and we can now start advertising and recruiting. What a relief.
I hadn’t wanted to jump the gun on what the outcome would be, but I did make a cake (I know, any excuse) as a sort of good luck motif. I chose a honey cake called a Lekach from my book of Jewish cooking as it was traditionally made for children on their first day at school to make their learning sweet. What better way to send our new course off into the world? Besides, in the year before he died,
The cake was very easy, but make sure you stock up on honey before you start – a cup is really quite a lot! It was nicely moist and gingery, especially in the middle, and everyone who ate it really liked it. I should really have offered it to the panel to make them sweet, but hadn’t liked to risk being accused of bribery before we knew their feelings on the course!
Lekach (honey cake), from Jewish Traditions Cookbook, by Marlena Spieler
Serves about 8 (I cut it into about 16 quite chunky squares)
175g/ 1 ½ cups plain flour
75g/ 1/3 cup caster sugar
½ tsp ground ginger
½ - 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g/ 1 cup clear honey
60ml/ 4 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
Grated rind of 1 orange
75ml/5 tbsps orange juice
2 tsp chopped fresh root ginger, or to taste [I used stem ginger in syrup from a jar]
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a rectangular baking tin measuring 25 x 20 x 5 cm with baking parchment [I used a square brownie pan which was a bit less than this. It cooked in about the same time]. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the clear honey, oil, orange rind and eggs. Using a wooden spoon or electric whisk, beat until smooth, then add the orange juice. Stir in the chopped ginger.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, then bake for about 50 mins or until firm to the touch [I covered it for the last 15 mins or so so it wouldn’t get too dark on top] or until firm to the touch
Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then turn out and wrap tightly in foil. Store at room temperature for 2-3 days before serving to allow the flavours of the cake to mature.