I don’t suppose I am the only non-religious person who gives things up for Lent, nor do I suppose that I am alone in having already failed miserably to abstain from what I have chosen to give up: chocolate. I find having failed particularly irritating though because I successfully give up chocolate for Lent every year, in fact I have even given up chocolate and coke in previous years and still managed to not fail (that is a big deal if you’re me).
Admittedly my Lenten abstention has nothing to do with Jesus spending forty days and nights fasting and praying in the wilderness and being tempted by Satan (see, I was a good girl at school, I know the story); rather a way for me to keep my waistline in check (well, a bit anyway), hence it being at least one of my two sugar-coated vices that has to go away for a bit each year.
As usual I have been doing really well, not a single time have I considered quitting, until this Thursday just gone …
Thursday was the culmination of many factors that have had a hand in me failing my Lenten challenge (because resistance is futile, it is obviously not that I am completely incapable of resistance in the first place):
1. Haribo had chickenpox (which was exhausting for all of us)
2. Ben and I had colds and felt fairly rubbish to say the least
3. Abel & Cole sent me a lot of beetroot in my veg box, and the fact I had a cold meant I didn’t want to eat any of the nice healthy dishes I came up with to use it up (sorry Abel & Cole, I do love you)
4. Nanna and Gramps are here for the weekend and it is always nice to have cake when you have visitors
Last but not least, this weekend is Sport Relief 2014, and my has-possibly-never-made-a-cake-before husband, Ben, spent his Friday munching his way through an incredible number of baked goodies for a charity bake-off at work, including the Chocolate Beetroot Cake that I lovingly baked for him.
I know, no-one stipulated I had to make chocolate cake. I could have made a Victoria Sponge or my Italian Lemon Grove Meets English Tea Party Cake, indeed these are two of his favourites; but I had the beetroot, and King of Cakes, Nigel Slater, has a recipe for an extremely moist chocolate beetroot cake in his book Tender (Volume 1, A Cook and his Vegetable Patch), which looks so utterly delicious I have been waiting for an opportunity to bake it for far too long. It is just so typical that the perfect opportunity has presented itself at such an inopportune time!
I’m stupid. I thought it would be ok. I had good intentions. I thought I could bake the cakes (one for Ben and one for Nanna and Gramps) and save myself a slice for tomorrow*. I ended up accidentally getting chocolate on my finger (and I promise this really was an accident), so I absentmindedly licked it off and then immediately remembered Lent and felt bad. Not bad enough to remember when it happened a second time though, at which point self-awareness kicked in and said who am I kidding, you’re never going to get these cakes baked and leave a slice waiting for you on Sunday without eating any (a good chef will always test their food; never trust a skinny chef as my former chef of a Step-dad once said). I was sort-of good, I didn’t just dive in, I still haven’t had a slice, I just licked the spoon and sliced myself off the tiniest of tiny slices from the bottom to make sure it tasted ok before giving it to Ben to take to work.
*someone once told me that Sundays don’t count in terms of Lenten abstention, so, I asked the men from a church (not sure what sort) when they randomly knocked on my door once. They said this is true because you shouldn’t abstain on a day of celebration, and that Sundays are a day to celebrate Christ. No-one else was with me though and all my friends and family think I’m making this up so I can eat more chocolate. Has anyone else heard this? Does it say it in the Bible somewhere? I have one you see, and if it is printed in black and white then they’ll all have to believe me!
So, this is the story of why I failed Lent this year; sorry God, for not being religious, for doing Lent for all the wrong reasons and for failing at it anyway. It was for charity, and to do something nice for my husband and for Nanna and Gramps; and it was so I wasn’t wasteful by throwing away the beetroot. I do feel a bit bad about it too and I will start over (albeit on Monday so the cake doesn’t go stale) 🙂
You can leave it whole and serve it with mascarpone, or …
… slice it in half and fill it with chocolate cream.