Skip to main content

The ABC Award

Sometime ago, Gem at Cupcake Crazy Gem honoured me by passing me an ABC award. I know it's really bad, but I've only now really had the time to get around to posting in response (Sorry Gem!). I love Gem's blog. Her zest for baking, and life in general, is so infectious I love reading about what she gets up to. She is also, like me, completely addicted to American baking, and hosts the monthly United Bakes of America challenge.

My recent blogging indolence is mainly due to my return to work after maternity leave - and the fact that now there are never enough hours in the day to do all I need to (including sleep!). However, much time has been spent scratching my head about what to write. You see, I lead a probably really boring life, which is very much centred on my family. I'm not sure that that will have sufficient entertainment value for you. Anyway. I decided to bite the bullet and compile an ABC of me, which hopefully will let you know a bit more about me, my likes and dislikes, while not sending you to sleep. Here goes ...

A - Amazon - which I love for its ease of use. Unfortunately it's too easy and this is what happened to my cookbook collection as a result.

B - this has to be Ben, my 13 and a half year old middle son, who is the one most likely to join me in the kitchen for a baking session (I still have plenty of time to train Sam). He loves to cook, loves chocolate, and when the two are combined, he is in heaven.

C - Cardiff City FC. Yes I know. Football, again. But it gets you (well, me) in the veins. It's a bit of a family tradition, as my grandparents and parents were CCFC fans. Nan and Grandad were at Wembley in 1927 when Cardiff took the FA cup out of England for the one and only time.Growing up, I heard regularly what a great day that was. Luckily, I managed to experience a similar atmosphere on my 40th birthday, even though it was tipping down, when Cardiff made it to the 2008 FA cup final. Sadly we lost to Portsmouth 1-0, but getting through to the final was so unexpected we all felt like winners just being there. We've been back to Wembley a few times since then ... Championship Playoff Final, Carling Cup Final. And the results haven't really worked for us. But this year will be our season ... maybe.

D - Doctor Who, as that has now become mandatory family viewing as laid down by Josh and Ben. And after all, it's made in Cardiff don'tcha know? Along with Torchwood. Quite often you can find filming taking place in and around Cardiff. Nothing like stumbling upon an alien blowfish from Torchwood when your teetering back from the pub at 11.00 at night with your mates ...

E - Ecumenical, as in 'That would be an ecumenical matter'. Last year's holiday viewing when we introduced the boys to Father Ted. Great viewing for a couple of teens. It was actually quite difficult coming up with an 'E' - no doubt as soon as I hit 'publish' some other much better one will spring to mind.

El Cotillo Beach, Fuerteventura
F - Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands, was where Mike and I spent our honeymoon. When the boys were little we began holidaying there regularly, as we know the island well, and it has such a lovely, laid back atmosphere with some of the best beaches around. The weather is pretty good, too! Now the boys are older, we don't tend to go as much as we want to try new places (enter another F - Florida - for example). But it will always hold a special place in my heart. It was also where Sam was very nearly born last year (but that's another story).

G - Gower. The Gower peninsula in South Wales is one of the most beautiful places. My parents had a holiday home there which we used to go to frequently during my childhood. Those were the days of long, hot summers spent at the beach. A bucket and spade were essential kit, and we would then stop at the ice cream parlour for a '99. I can still taste the creaminess of that ice cream, golden yellow against the chocolate, and dribbling down the cone.

H - Home - definitely where my heart is.

I - Indian Cookery - a few years back I did an evening class at our local high school. Spread over 30 weeks I learnt loads of great recipes and had loads of fun. It's a great way of learning and making friends at the same time - my local adult education centre also does cake decorating, Thai and Chinese cookery, Mediterranean cookery etc, and I would love to work my way through them.

J - Definitely Josh. My oldest son, who at 15 seems to have grown up really too quickly for my liking.

K - Stands for my Kindle, which I absolutely love as I'm such a fast reader I can load it up for holidays and take enough reading material to last me for three weeks in a box that's smaller than a paperback.   

L - London, where I spent three years doing my degree, during which I met Mike, and then we stayed on for a total of 10 years. I don't really miss it, and I'm glad we moved back to Cardiff before having the boys. But it has been a large part of my life.

M - Definitely Mike. The only 'M' I need.

N - My nana, who taught me to cook. No longer with me but always in my heart.

O - Can't be anything else at the moment than Olympics, can it? Feel very proud that they are in Britain, and I have been lucky to see football at the Millennium Stadium. Looking forward to seeing the Olympic Stadium during the Paralympics. Go Team GB ...

P - Pasta. My all time favourite food and one I love to make from scratch but don't often get time to do so now. I do a fine ricotta and parmesan ravioli with amatriciana sauce, and a gorgeous black pepper tagliatelle with four cheese sauce. Yum. Now there's an idea for dinner tonight ...

Q - Quidditch. Yes really struggled with that one, but I'm a big Harry Potter fan.

R - Red. Something I will not be wearing this season. (Non-devotees of Cardiff City FC will be excused not knowing what I'm talking about here). Of course, I reserve my position on this in the event we do get into the Premier League.

S - Slovenia as one of my first jobs after my degree was at the then Department of Trade and Industry. I worked on the country desk for the former Yugoslav states just at the time that they had first gained independence, and my favourite was Slovenia. I was lucky to go there on a trade mission. It's a beautiful country with lovely people. One of my all time favourite experiences. It could also be Squirrel as that's just hands down my all time favourite word. There's just something about it. Squirrel. Squirrel. Squirrel. But, last but no means least, there is also my baby Sam, who is my pride and joy and I just feel so privileged and lucky to be mummy to.

T - Tapas. Although late to discovering tapas they have become one of my favourite meals, not least because (much to our surprise) the boys love them too. The first time I tried them was in Fuerteventura at a little restaurant overlooking Corralejo harbour. the sun was shining, we had just spent the most amazing morning snorkeling for the first time and it was perfect. Tortilla, Gambas, Chorizo and Queso de Cabras were some of our choices that day, and they were all incredible.

U - well, I guess this must represent US baking. I am completely addicted to reading and experimenting with my US cookbooks (and if you've read my Random Recipes #19 Cookbooks post you may glean that I have a few). I blame this in part on cable tv opening Britain up to programmes such as Barefoot Contessa, Dessert First and Cupcake Wars. Mind you Barefoot Contessa could be another 'B' as I am pretty addicted to the programme.

V - Vanilla. There can be few things as comforting as the aroma and taste of vanilla. I love vanilla ice cream, and it's instantly reminiscent of cones devoured on childhood holidays way back when the sun used to shine pretty regularly in Britain during the summer. Yes, that long ago ... 

W - Has to be Wales, doesn't it? You can take the girl out of Wales, but you'll never take Wales out of the girl. That said, (a very far) second would be the West Wing - my all time favourite tv programme. One of the best presents I've ever been given is my treasured 'Santos and McGarry : For A Brighter America' campaign t-shirt. If only ...

X - X-men. Symbolic of my love of comic action films - especially Avengers Assemble, Iron Man, Batman etc etc. With the definite exception of 'The Green Hornet' which must be my candidate for the worst film of all time (Seth Rogen you are sooo busted with that one!).

Y - Yes. Because I try and be a positive person. (Mike is shaking his head in incredulity at that one ... not sure why).

Z - ZZZZ's. Hopefully you're not actually asleep at this point. But this represents what every parent of a new baby needs but cannot have. Well, not when you really need it. I had forgotten the cumulative effect of sleep deprivation. It doesn't last forever though. Repeat after me ...

I just need to pass this on to five fellow bloggers, so without further ado, I've chosen five whose blogs I really enjoy, and would love to get to know a little better.

1. Jo at What do You Make of My Cake
2. Laura at Laura Loves Cakes
3. Rachel at Dollybakes
4. Ryan at Baked with Kindness
5. Kim at Cakes From Kim

Normal Service will be resumed as soon as possible! :)



  1. You do not lead a boring life! how could life be boring with that gorgeous little baby around! Sam is adorable! and I would love to have your bookcase packed with all those recipe books! hehe, it was great getting to know you better - especially the football fan part! One of my sisters is big into her football and she gets a bit exasperated when she talks to me and I don't know who half the players are!! Thanks for doing this!

    1. Awww, thanks Gem. We all certainly think he's a cutie but then we're biased. Thanks for nominating me - it was fun to do even though I was scratching my head over some of the letters! :)

  2. It's so nice to learn more about you! Sam is absolutely adorable - how do you get anything done with him around? :) I am still awed by your cookbook collection! Am pleased we share a few interests, namely harry potter (I'm going to harry potter world in florida soon and I can't wait!!!) and kindle which I've loaded up with lots of books in anticipation of my holiday.

    1. Thanks Ros - he is lovely (and I am very biased!) and most of the time is a very good baby. We've just visited the Harry Potter studio tour at Levesden - it was fab and so if you haven't been, I would definitely recommend it. You get to see the sets, costumes and props used in the films. I can't wait to go to Florida again. We've booked for next year, and I'm counting down the months already! :)

  3. Thanks for the nomination Susie! Sorry I'm late replying. Gem also nominated me for this award months ago and the post is still languishing in the drafts... I will get round to it! Funnily enough I also have Xmen written for my "X". I'm a huge fan of all the comicbook films too, although I avoided Green Hornet as I heard it was just too awful and that's coming from someone who loves awful films. For example, Real Steel. Have you watched it? Hugh Jackman teaches robots boxing. It's genius/garbage.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

Your comments are very much appreciated.

Popular posts from this blog

Dark Indulgent Chocolate and Walnut Brownies for the Weekly Bake Off

It's been a great couple of weeks in the Bake Off , as Amy has chosen some fantastic chocolate recipes from Mary Berry's 100 Cakes and Bakes . Although I made last week's American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake, I didn't enter it. Not because it was a disaster (it was incredibly delicious though very rich - Josh has been able to eek it out all week as he only needs a little piece to get his daily chocolate fix!), but I simply ran out of time. So this week, I decided to get my skates on and make the bake early. Particularly as it's brownies. Yes. Brownies. Those dark, fudgey, chocolatey little bites of heaven. But for me, this week was an experiment. You see, I already have a fantastic brownie recipe . It's been made countless times and been played around with to give an endless variety of treats. (Have I ever mentioned Maya Gold in brownies? Yes? Well I'll have to post about them someday soon because they are amazing - like some sort of out of body exp

Not Viennese, but Swiss Cakes for the Weekly Bake Off

One of my strongest childhood memories is the ritual of our family's Sunday Tea, which always took a certain form. My nan would put the kettle on at just before 4pm, and a pot of steaming hot tea would soon be brewed. There were sandwiches, and always, always some form of cake. Quite often, if nan and mum had had a busy weekend, it would be provided by Mr Kipling. My brother and I looked forward to this with some enthusiasm, as there were quite often French Fancies and Vienniese Whirls, which were our hands-down favourites. We could leave the Battenburg Slices, and the jam tarts were often a bit too dry  for us (definitely not as good as homemade). But the soft sweet inside of an iced French Fancy (my favourite being the lemon yellow ones), and the moistness of the Viennese Whirls were something to savour. Of course, you can still buy these. But they just don't seem to taste the same somehow. So when Amy announced this week's Bake Off challenge as the Apricot Swiss

Farmhouse Orange Victoria Sandwich for the Weekly Bake Off

I was really pleased with Amy's selection for this week's Bake Off - Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book was the first Baking book I bought, back in 1995 (it was first published in 1994 and by the time I bought a copy it was already on its eighth reprint). The very first recipe I did was her small all in one Victoria Sandwich, and consequently the very first cake tins I purchased were Silverwood 7" sandwich tins. They have seen many, many outings over the years, by way of this cake and the Sunday Best Chocolate Fudge Cake, also from the same book. I still have them and used them for this recipe. Interestingly, in flicking through 'Ultimate Cake Book', I caught sight of an Orange Victoria Sandwich, which is practically the same recipe as this one (size aside), with the exception of the filling, where Mary instructed that it should be 'about 4 tablespoons of orange mamalade and a little caster sugar'. Hmm, not sure about that one. I certainly loved the