Yesterday I baked cupcakes. Somehow Thursday has become my Baking Day, and seeing how my baking lot gets divided up between so many (dare I say eager?) mouths, it’s fun and encouraging to set forth with my apron and utensils.
I needed soured cream for one lot of these cupcakes. And as it turns out, soured cream is not that easy to find on The Rock. Same as buttermilk, passion fruit, pretzel bread, individually-packed chicken breast (although I have found a patient butcher who does this for me), raspberries, the sweet-sounding conference pears and jazz apples, and the wide variety of readily-cut and sliced stir-fry vegetables. I miss the weekly recipe cards Waitrose had available and which nearly-filled my recipe book. I miss the 3 for 2 offers, the slashed prices at the deli counter at the end of the day and the gazillion of choices in everything.
Three supermarkets later I found my soured cream, and needing two tubs of it, I figured paying six Euro for that alone was a tad too much. So I did what I am now often doing – I googled substitutes. Turns out natural yoghurt with some baking soda works just as well as soured cream. And buttermilk’s substitute? Milk with some lemon juice or white vinegar.
It’s amazing how much you learn when things aren’t presented to you ready and finished.
I’m still discovering the supermarkets here. I only really knew one that well before I left for England. But having to bulk-buy, I have started dividing up my shopping – I go to A for deli, B for household cleaning goods, Mr. C sells me fresh vegetables and fruit and D has a great deal on C’s nappies. So I often find myself wandering aimlessly up and down an aisle trying to locate something, only to realize I’m in the wrong aisle. The supermarket set-up of some does not help – supermarket B has its dried fruits and nut packets scattered round three areas, so trying to compare like goods is a tough one. Supermarket D has an explosive jumble of things going on, whilst A changed its layout a couple of months ago but of course I’m only just learning the new position of everything just now.
I am a supermarket junkie. I loved the English ones, I would visit them everyday and spend hours (and lots of money) there. The variety of items, the vastness of the shops and the service of the employees always made it an enjoyable experience. So it makes perfect sense to me that whilst I’m getting lost in a supermarket somewhere on The Rock, deep deep down I’m silently crying out for my Waitrose and M&S. I could walk down the aisles there blindfold and still find every single thing I was looking for.
Yes, I’m still missing England.