Showing posts from December, 2007

Queen Ann Christmas Cake

A couple of years back I had the pleasure to work with a lady named Anne, who was as passionate about baking and kitchen craft as I am. But that wasn't the first thing that stood out about Anne - it was her incredible sense of style.

Anne had grown up in a family that worked in the "rag trade". At the same time, she also had acquired a love of the fashions from the 1950s Hollywood golden years. Flattering bodices, A-line skirts - the kind of glamour personified by the like of Grace Kelly, Ginger Rogers and Audrey Hepburn. In much the same way that I spent my lunch times scouring stores for kitchen equipment, Anne spent hers scouring boutique fabric stores for unique prints and imported pieces of cloth.
Anne would take these treasures to her dress maker, along with a video or dvd of a movie she'd seen something in, and ask the dressmaker to replicate it for her. Keep in mind, Anne did not have the figure of any of these screen goddesses - and that was irrelevant. Where …

Christmas Cupcakes

What is it about Christmas time that makes everybody so thingy? Or so kooky? Or just plain positional? Firstly, I think it's the fact that Christmas only comes around once a year (and we should all thank the Maker for that!). Because Christmas only comes once a year, we tend to put a whole lot of energy into making it a wonderful, over the top, sensory experience. And when we have an experience like that, we want it to happen over and over again.

And that, I think, is how Christmas traditions are born. We do something once, decide it's really good, and we keep doing it because we like to feel good again and again.

When I was a little kid I loved the excitement of Christmas. My mother did a great job of establishing a set of Christmas traditions that we repeated every year with great joy: setting the tree up exactly one week before Christmas, wrapping up little bundles of edible goodies in coloured celophane and tying them to the tree... and of course, the Christmas lunch, which …