Strangely the Cradock Cookery Programme begins with a guide to making a perfect Featherweight Swiss Roll... Even stranger still, there is no recipe as such, instead Fanny treats us to a step-by-step photo guide showing us how to make a Swiss Roll which does NOT crack... Perhaps if she was still around it would be a blog-post or You Tube tutorial. The strangest thing is that although I have been cooking and baking for years, I have never, ever made a Swiss Roll. However, not wishing to be 'lost' I dive in and get myself prepared!
It all seems suddenly alien to me, I am reading about techniques I would never have thought would work and measurements to convert and get my head around - how much is 2 1/2 ounces of self raising flour? Fanny asks me, or rather tells me very sternly, to remember that without self raising flour I will not have enough raising agent to 'lift a single hair on poor old pussy's tail'... I'm not sure who pussy is, but I am not arguing.
Fanny tells me to scald my caster sugar in a very hot oven for 6 minutes and then beat it into my eggs. I fear scrambling instead of a featherweight Swiss Roll, but resisting every bit of knowledge, experience and gut feeling I have gained over the years, I do as I am told. Wow, it looks lovely and voluminous after a few minutes. Maybe Fanny knows a thing or two after all? Finally I add the flour, combine, and spread my mixture in my well prepared tin (of course), making sure to push it into the corners - Fanny warns me that I will have trouble rolling it if I don't. She's been right so far.
After a nerve wracking 8 whole minutes in the oven, I remove my PERFECT, pliable sponge just as Fanny said. Fanny recommends it should look like a golden feather bed and nearly as wrinkly as her husband Johnny. It seems to! The rolling was where I was sure to mess things up, right? So, I spread my jam, take a very, very deep breath and very carefully follow my picture instructions... And Voila!
With Fanny's help I seem to have mastered a basic skill, and one which I have been without for many, many years. With this Golden Thread under my belt, Fanny assures me that I will have confidence to tackle anything that is to come in the subsequent part-works. This all began strangely, felt strange to do, but strangely I believe her!