Right now, Buttered Crumbs is huddled in the corner of the living room, surrounded by piles of books, furniture and decorating equipment, while our lovely plasterers are trying to make the new house fit to live in.
About five months ago we said goodbye to Crumb Towers (actually a dodgy post war prefab) and moved into Crumb Villa (actually a dodgy late Victorian terrace). ‘Crumbling Villa’ might well be a more acurate apellation. The plaster is coming off everywhere. The guys have just discovered rotting beams above the bay window. The cellar floods, there’s been two leaks in the bathroom, the guttering had to be replaced, there are mysterious cracks in the walls, woodworm, and various sundry repairs to carry out. Worst of all (for me) is the disintegrating kitchen, which also smells funny. I haven’t been able to unpack the majority of my cook books or equipment which is a total pain.
Anyway; today I decided to do a bit of baking – for the first time since we moved in – blueberry oatmeal muffins, to be precise. Where are the muffin tins? Absoloutely no idea – probably floating round the cellar somewhere. Looking for alternative options led me to realise what a handy piece of kit a deep baking tray is. Joint of meat? Check. Chips? Check. Cakes, pasta bakes, foccacia, the list goes on. If you are setting up home for the first time, or going off to Uni in September (as I hope to do next year), you really can’t go wrong to invest in a good quality tin.
Go for anodised aluminium or similar, 30 x 20 cm, and at least 3cm deep. I personally don’t like my tins to have a non-stick coating, it’s too easy to damage, and after a while can start flaking off and sticking to the bottom of your food. Just makes sure you grease the pan properly or use baking parchment. A ‘Mermaid’ brand tin like mine (all the rage a few years back), will set you back around £25. Cheaper ones are available and will perform just fine, they will just not last as long. And don’t forget to buy a tin opener.