Posts Tagged ‘cake’

Welcome to your new home

April 23, 2015

We moved to our current home in 1976 – 39 years ago. I think some people thought we were mad to take on a very run down, albeit post World War 2 house and about 4 acres of land with a neighbour who had recently been involved in blocking access. But we had by-passed him and had no worries on that score, the house was basically sound and we approached the acres with enthusiasm.

Friends Brian and Sheila were certainly supportive and they baked and decorated a cake for us.


We planned to live the god life of self-sufficiency and some of our plans featured on the cake. We certainly planned to keep poultry, and very soon we had our first little flock. Whether we had reckoned on keeping sheep, I can’t remember, but we certainly did keep them and there are still sheep on our field, but these days they belong to a friend. We also planned to grow Christmas trees as a cash crop and that never did work out well for the livestock had too much of a taste for the succulent, tender, new shoots of the conifer trees. Having said that, we have the one that got away and now stands thirty or more feet tall and we haven’t given up on the idea of doing Christmas trees again.

The good life had been in operation before we moved and continued. There was a time when we made all our own bread and certainly the loaves by the cake are homemade ones.

The make do life continues. I note the table cloth which, if memory serves me right was sold as a bed spread. Thirty nine years on we still have and use it. There’s a teapot stand in the frame as well. Yes, we still have that although it isn’t much used. Teapot makers seem to have lost the art of making non-drip spouts so we tend to use a tray which catches the drips these days.

The table, under the cloth is definitely the one we still use. We have only had the one table throughout our 44 years of married life. The chairs, though, have changed. The originals we had, basic 1970 style seats, did not survive the rough and tumble of normal life. We replaced them with much sturdier examples.

Fashions may come and go, but we’ll continue to use what we have and like.

Oh yes. We still have the friends to but it gets harder to see them for we are all involved with children and grandchildren these days.

A bit of French Fancy

December 28, 2013

Not long before Christmas my sister in law and husband celebrated their Ruby Wedding anniversary with a trip to Paris. They came back with a French post-Christmas delicacy.


A well-known chain of shops was selling Galette des rois which translates roughly as cake of the kings. Apparently they should be eaten for the feats of epiphany, the day the three ‘kings’ arrived in Bethlehem. They are then, in season until Shrove Tuesday. We helped eat this one early, actually on Boxing Day.

The box spoke of 14 models to collect. We didn’t know what to expect.


They appeared to be figures that might appear in a Christmas nativity scene – but we found nothing.

But, like sixpences of old in UK Christmas Puddings, they are actually baked in the galette. I was the lucky winner who had the little model in my bit of cake. When I found this hard item in my mouth, I thought a huge molar tooth must have broken off entirely. Reason, perhaps, suggested otherwise. I had won the model – and here it is – about the size of a large molar tooth.


It’s a sheep. Finding I had this made me king for the day – a role which gave me some rights. The one I took up was the right to wear the gold (cardboard) crown that was in the pack with the cake.

But it also seems I have responsibilities for it is my job, now, to provide the galette des rois for the next feast. Maybe it can become a family Christmas tradition. I’m sure my wife will be happy when I tell her we have to go to France at the start of December!

There must be differences between health and safety laws in our two countries – or maybe in eating habits. I don’t think we’d have commercial edible products with non-edible items in the UK because of the risk such items might represent. Or maybe the French eat such items politely, with a pastry fork so a little model would be found before it went in the mouth.

It was certainly an added bit of fun for us.

Produce Show

August 31, 2013

Today it is the local flower and produce show. I shall be involved all day from 9 in the morning until it is packed away.

Of course, I have been involved already, for some time, getting my own exhibits ready.

I’m going to show you my cooking today/

I have made three items. My wife has made many more.


On the left we have my Victoria Sponge. This is made according to a given recipe so it will be up against near identical items. Last year my sponge cake won a prize. It won’t this year for despite only giving it the minimum time the recipe said, it has come out a bit dark. The judge won’t be fooled by my liberal sprinkling of caster sugar.

On the right is my fudge. It’s peanut butter fudge and it got first prize last year. I’m not sure this time. It seems to have come out a bit less firm than last year – but by heck it tastes good.

I have most hope for my cheese scones. They look good and they taste good.

Really, I only enter these things to show that village cooking doesn’t just involve the female gender – and I always hope to get some bragging rights over wife and daughter in law. Oh, and the other reason is because it is fun. It’s a shame more people don’t have a go.

Of course, the show isn’t all about cooking. There are vegetables, fruit and flowers, photography and other crafts all making up the exhibits. And it is all very friendly. Yes, we compete hoping to win, but we also compete so that if ever a spectator suggests, ‘well my apples are better than those’; we can say, ‘but you didn’t enter them. Why don’t you next year?