Let’s talk about Easter traditions. I’ve explained some of our family traditions in previous posts (welly wanging features heavily – not as rude as it sounds!), but I wanted to share another really special one: the Easter tree.
Sometimes cake ideas come to me fully formed, sometimes they come from needing to use up leftovers, and sometimes I get a fun new toy I can’t wait to play with. A few weekends ago on a trip to TK Maxx to buy some pretty pots for some of my plant jungle (is 27 plants in the living room too many? If it is I don’t care!), I spied some Halloween cookie cutters. My cookie cutter collection didn’t have anything spooky in it at all, so I decided to buy them as a little treat.
This summer I have completely embraced gardening. Moving out of London means more affordable housing and a halved commute, with the added bonus of our own patch of of green space. The second we moved in I started reading gardening books and planning, set on growing as many edible plants in pots as possible (it’s a rented house so I can’t dig up the lawn and plant potatoes, sadly).
You might have already read my blog post about making a wedding ceremony cake for my mum and her partner’s wedding. If not, go and read it now! Not only did I make a cake for the ceremony, I also made cakes for the party. Three two-tiered cakes to be exact. I wanted to share how it all went, and hopefully show that homemade wedding cakes are definitely possible.
As you may know if you follow me on Instagram, my mum and her lovely partner Mark, recently got married. The ceremony and party were over separate weekends, but both were filled with family, friends and all the things they both love. There was great music, emotional speeches, a beautiful homemade vibe and a lot of cake.
It seems like the joys of spring have finally descended, and the blossoming trees, gamboling lambs and rolling green fields in Derbyshire are making me feel very lucky to be living in such a beautiful place. Even more excitingly, the hodge podge vegetable garden I’ve assembled in a variety of pots has already started to produce exciting treats. So far that’s just a bunch of radishes and a few handfuls of chard and spinach, but across the summer I’m looking forward to my own peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, herbs, chillis and cucamelons, which supposed taste like cucumbers with a hint of lime, but are the size of a grape.
Sometimes baking can really lift your mood in ways you don’t expect. I made this Floral Carrot Cake with Orange Buttercream on a very rainy day. With lots of baking on the day’s list, and still wearing my PJs, I was in a massive grump. One of those grumbly for no reason moods. And I couldn’t work out how to shake it. My favourite Easter biscuits were delicious but seemed unphotographable. I missed a chilling step in a batch of Lemon bars and they ended up unpleasing greasy. The kitchen was a mess and I felt lazy and useless.
Easter is a big deal in my family. Ever since I can remember it’s been marked with celebrations, normally with my cousins, family friends and more. When we were little these celebrations involved rolling eggs we’d painted down hills, welly wanging (not as rude as it sounds!), and culminated in the inevitable chocolate egg hunt. Although I haven’t thrown my welly across a field in over a decade, the Easter Egg Hunt is still a huge feature of every spring.
Sometimes food stays with you for a really long time. Years ago, my sister and I took our mum to an incredible ‘High Chai’ afternoon tea at Cinnamon Soho in London. The dishes were all spins on English afternoon tea staples: finger sandwiches full of tandori chicken and punchy chutney; scones with a tangy spiced relish; cups of masala chai. But the thing that really stood out for me was an unassuming slice of cake spiced with garam masala. Spicy, sweet and moreish, it was everything I wanted from a cake, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Gluten-free baking can seem like the biggest faff in the world, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve spent years trying out gluten-free recipes to make sure my family and friends who are intolerant to gluten can eat them. When I started out years ago the flours available produced very inconsistent results and recipes were limited. Now there are so many recipes about using a huge range of exciting ingredients, and readily available flour blends give great results.