Once there was a cat called Shelf.
He led a good life. He had a place to sleep, a roof over his head and on Tuesdays, an empty tuna can for him to dip his paw into. But poor Shelf, bless his little cat heart, he just longed to be stroked.
It didn’t get off to a good start for Shelf you see. He was a black cat with one white dot on the tip of his tale and a single mottled yellow square on his back. This patch resembled a frozen potato waffle. His owners had purchased a Tortoiseshell cat on gum tree 6 years ago. The advert, and the cat breeders who made the advert, were convinced that more than one single frozen potato waffle mark would grow on the cat’s back. It did not. The new owners of the cat were disappointed. They thought, ‘we wanted a Tortoiseshell cat. Our cat just has a frozen potato waffle mark on his back.’. They thought, ‘we will give him a shit name’. With these thoughts, they dubbed their new cat ‘Shelf’.
Shelf lived in a nice house. Tall like a pencil. With a yellow front door and a golden mail flap. Not that Shelf ever looked at the golden mail flap on the yellow front door. Shelf was too busy looking at where the mail landed.
‘Oh, what a life it must be to live as a doormat’, Shelf thought. It is true, as household objects go, a doormat gets a lot of human contact in a day. And this doormat certainly recived more attention than Shelf. How nice it must feel to be touched by firm feet, by dropped keys, by mail that would flutter over the doormat’s ruffled corners – ‘Delightful!’, thought Shelf.
Shelf so desperately wanted to be a doormat. He would regularly watch the door, revelling in the attention the mat received. Maybe, if he thought very hard, it could be him getting walked all over. What a thought! He would stare so intently at his owners as they walked in and out of the door. Each time. Over the doormat. His whiskers would twitch and tickle his wide eyes, his little cat mouth pursing at the wonder of the firm touch of a foot, sometimes even a hand as his owners would sweep up the letters lying about the mat.
Shelf had tried everything to become a doormat. He would charge repeatedly at the front door in the hopes that such a force would compact his cat shape into a more doormat shape. The sight of Shelf charging at the front door with a determined ‘Meow! – I will be a doormat!’ – concerned his owners mildly. Once, Shelf had stared so intently at his bowl of milk, which he thought to resemble something of an oracle, to find the solution to his doormat transformation, that the high frequency of his small cat brainwaves reduced the contents of his bowl into condensed milk.
‘Nothing for it’, Shelf thought, ‘I will just have to live as a doormat as best I can.’ His owners had just left for work and Shelf jumped at the opportunity. Every inch of his little cat body was touching the doormat: his front legs, paws, tiny chin, belly, back legs, tail. On the hour, every hour, Shelf would turn his head so one ear could be touching the doormat at all times. It took quite some positioning.
Nine and a half hours had passed and Shelf’s ceiling-facing ear pricked with the sound of keys fitting into the front door keyhole. ‘What now!? What to do now!? I’m a cat, not a doormat! Feet will hurt my soft fluffy cat body!’, Shelf simply had no time to act. He froze in his doormat position as his owner’s foot came advancing through the front door. ‘MEEEEEOOOOOWWWWW’. Shelf had never meowed so loudly in his whole cat life. And his owners, ‘OH GOOD GOD!’ and ‘What have I done!’ and ‘Shelf, I’m so sorry!’. It was then that quite miraculously, for the second time in Shelf’s whole life, from head to tip-of-the-tail, one firm, smooth, comforting, tingle giving stroke was planted on Shelf’s little body. Bliss.
From that day on, Shelf lived as a doormat. He lay, confident in the knowledge that this scheme to get stroked only worked because he was in fact a cat. Shelf was a fluffy, squashy, soft cat in the place of a doormat. And triumphantly he went on, spending his days laying on the doormat, waiting for his owners to come through the front door, plant their foot down, and guiltily stroke Shelf until he was purring all over.
Cake Note – If you’ve never made a cake from this blog before, please may it be this one. Not the most exciting looking, but just trust me. It is a beautifully simple cake but uniquely textured, almost doughnut like with a sugared crust and fluffy dough interior. Don’t be put off by the dried rosemary, it couples with the cardamom to give an addictive spicy yet floral quality. On that, it works well with other comfort spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 50g caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs, cold from the fridge
- 370g (1 can) condensed milk
- 225g self raising flour
- 55g ground almonds
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 dried rosemary
- Sugar to top the cake, optional
Pre heat the oven to 180 / 160 fan. Grease and line an 8 inch round cake tin.
Cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture has fluffed up around the sides of the bowl. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until combined between each addition, the cold temperature of the eggs helps the mixture not curdle.
Now add the condensed milk and beat until just combined. Fold through the flour, ground almonds, salt and spices. Pour the batter into the prepeared tin and bake for 55-60 minuets or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Scatter the warm cake with some sugar. Leave for about 10 minuets before removing the cake from the tin.
(lol, I just signed off my name as ‘Cake x’. I was destracted, watching tiger sat next to me laugh at whatever she has on netflix) Speak later, Cake x