Daily rituals change, and the pace of life slows down by a good few notches, when dear old grandma comes for her annual week-long visit.
Earlier this week, I was disappointed to have logged into Facebook to find that I had just missed my friend Anneka Manning's BakeClub Kitchen live session. Her current Make Me a Baker group was in the middle of a 'Rise to the Occasion' hands-on class, and I would have loved to see the goodies that they were baking. I managed to catch the tail end of the session, and it sounded like great fun.
As I tasted the blood orange icing I had prepared for my little cupcakes yesterday, I swear that the flavour was so good and so reminiscent of sherbet, I was transported right back to my childhood in the 1960s.
It's almost the weekend, when many cooks who work full time during the week turn their thoughts to baking. Even though I have retired, I can still remember when Saturdays and Sundays were reserved for special 'me-time' in the kitchen. Is it like that at your place too?
Would you believe me if I told you that I have been fantasising about Angel Food cake since first tasting it in the 1990s? This, my friends, is a light and airy cake that makes me gaga, in a wobbly-at-the-knees kind of way. And I don't mind admitting to you that I am completely and utterly in love with it. Peter, my chief taster, concurs.
'I've baked a strawberry tart. Would you like to come over and try it?' came the message from dear friend, C, who, fortuitously, lives less than a kilometre from my home, and has also recently retired. Okay, I realise I shouldn't be using a cliché here, but my response to her was: 'Is the Pope a Catholic? That'd be lovely, I'll be right over!'
When you are young, it's hard to imagine that someday you will be old. Before I hit 55, I used to wonder what it would feel like to be "middle-aged". Would I grow old gracefully, or would I become one of those curmudgeonly old birds like Jenny Eclair and Germaine Greer, stars of the hilarious TV series, Grumpy Old Women?
Cooking up a storm is a good thing – but I really don't like seeing stacks of dishes lined up for washing afterwards!
Architecture, culture, history and landscapes – together with food – are at the top of my list of things to experience whenever I am visiting a new place. Being a person who wears her heart on her sleeve, sometimes these can bring tears to my eyes, leave me in awe, and take my breath away. The ancient ruins of Tintern Abbey, in the former County of Gwent in south-east Wales, did all of that.
Friandises are high on the list of fashionable foods at present. Foodies and cooks en masse are drooling over friand recipes - reading about the delicious little treats in gourmet mags, ordering them in cafes, and baking them at home.
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.