Martin's family descended today for a Good Friday lunch, and I made an easy one-pan sage, onion, chicken and sausage bake, which is a lovely Nigella Lawson recipe available on the internet. To go with it I did hassleback potatoes and potato dauphinoise. It was very simple to throw together and serve, and everyone liked it. You can't go wrong with chicken and sausages.
Most of last night, however, was taken up getting the house straight and making trifle. Everyone I know seems to love trifle. I'm not a huge fan myself, and being gluten free there usually isn't a suitable alternative to trifle sponges. However, this time I decided I wanted to have some so the hunt was on for a gluten free base for it. Despite looking in three shops I couldn't find a single alternative to trifle sponges, not even a slab of plain sponge cake. So for the first time ever I had to make a gluten free sponge, which I based on another Nigella recipe for Madeira cake. Talk about trial by fire. Amazingly though, it worked, although I pretty much held my breath all of the way through until it was cooled and cut. I just switched the normal flour for Dove's Farm self-raising flour and added a little bit more butter and milk. It was a little crumbly, so next time I might stop it from rising so much and try switching a third of the flour to plain.
Just when I thought the hard part was over I had a dreadful time making the custard for the topping. Never normally have an issue at all. We don't often have custard so I buy the odd sachet when we need it, however, the Sainsbury's instant custard was rubbish! It didn't thicken so I had to add some extra cornflour, and it looked terrible - streaky and thin-ish. So I hunted around in the cupboard hoping to find the ingredients I needed to make it from scratch and found another two packets of instant custard, Tesco this time, stuffed in at the back. This time it worked very well and I made it very thick, then added the thin stuff to it. That was just about ok and usable. No idea what went wrong with the Sainsbury's stuff. Make up instructions were the same as for the Tesco stuff.
To go with the trifle I also did a rhubarb, apple and blackberry crumble, using our garden rhubarb and some of my stored jars of apples from the paddock and blackberries from the 2015 harvest at the old house. It was lovely to have that to hand. Made me all enthusiastic about preserving again. I miss having good blackberry bushes so I might look at cultivating some bushes around the edges of the paddock, but I know from the old property that I absolutely must keep a tight control on their spread and keep them in check. Out of control brambles are no fun to tackle.