Mx Faker you make goooooood Cookies!

Anyone else not inherit any recipes? Grow up with a culinary and historical void where other people had comfort food and family histories?

I remember growing up and seeing family recipes everywhere; all my friends families had them! From polish cabbage rolls and Acadian met pies to Tartatin and Tea Biscuits! Recipes passed down from generation to generation.

They’re all over pop culture. Every sitcom or romcom had them so why didn’t my family have any?

I always felt really ripped off and disconnected from the womxn who came before me. My mom baked occasionally, but working full time and having 6 kids didn’t leave much leisure time. On top of being time poor her mother had died when she was very young and therefor she never had a chance to be handed down family knowledge.The memories I have of baking with my mom mostly involve reading recipes of ta bag of chocolate chips, porridge oats, or jar of peanut butter.

My auntie, my dads sister, baked almost constantly! She was amazing at it, but being a plus sized womxn in a family of fat-shamers there was always a tinge of sadness when we’d bake together. I think having been raised by a feeder incapable of showing genuine affection(my paternal grandmother is mean af) really took it’s tole. Complicated emotions and family trauma aside(lol not really you can’t escape them)… the vast majority of her recipes came from cookbooks… many of which with titles like ‘Eat, Drink, and be Skinny’. Family are wild like that, inheritiing generation trauma and having it layered like a fudge cake between new traumas! It’s no wonder I have a warped relationship with food, my body, and self image.

I remember being told about how great a baker my great Grandmother was, but where those recipes ended up I never knew.

The only source of anything resembling ‘family recipes’ in my life is a now greatly contested cookbook from the 1920’s. I say greatly contested because after my parents divorce the both claimed it belonged to them. My father claims it belonged to the aforementioned great grandmother, and my mother claims it belonged to her mother. I don’t believe either of them to be honest and I don’t really care who it belonged to as long as I can be sure I’ll be the one to inherit it… fingers crossed.

Last year I had my brother photograph a few of the recipes and email them to me. Molasses cookies and gingerbread to be specific. I think I’m the only one in the family ever to have used the book. It lives on a back shelf and gathers dust and that breaks my heart a little. I’ve made maybe a dozen recipes I’ve found in it’s 500+ pages which is barely scratching the surface. Having been written in the 1920’s much of them need updating or substitutions as they can be a bit dated and heavy on the LARD.

Contested Cookbooks aside I never really felt like I had inherited recipes. There’s no box of tattered slips of paper, with flowery hand writing from matriarchs past, stained with butter and egg, that I can finger through in times of need. I ‘d say I’m pinning for a romantic ideal… but I’ve seen them! They exist! In the kitchen cupboards of friends and chosen family, guarded and cared for and catalogued meticulously for generations to come.

It’s is just another way in which I feel unconnected to my past. I’ve always felt as if no one before me existed, not really, they were all just made up, there’s no proof they existed… even in my childhood these existential thoughts plagued me. Would I be forgotten or erased because of lack of care? Would no one guard my memory or care for what I left behind? I was a melancholy child for sure. We all live in a simulation anyway so whatever. Long live the matrix.

I don’t plan to have children, not biological ones anyway, but regardless I want to leave a collection of recipes behind. Foods I’ve poured love and time into to taste test and to master. I don’t want my tomb stone to read; Made Great Cookies… but I want it to be known that I did, in fact, make great cookies. So having picked up a pack of Nestle* chocolate chips from the isle of ‘American Specialty Food'(having thrown my better judgment and moral convictions aside for a taste of nostalgia) I got to baking.

I decided to try out a recipe from TASTY that did not disappoint. The recipe will need a few small tweeks, a bit more salt I think, and it might just go into the recipe log I’ve started to keep for future generations…

cookiesingrediants

What’s your ideal chocolate chip cookie? Is it chewy and gooey or crispy and crunchy? Milk or dark chocolate chip?

Where did you get the recipe? Family? Friends? A cookbook? The internet? Did you make it up?

Best served with milk or coffee?

cookiesplated

Since I’ve been trying to cut out as much dairy as possible from my diet I enjoyed my cookies with coconut milk and I’ve got to say it was a perfect pairing!

*Nestle is a thoroughly evil company from stealing water to forced labour and much much more. I go out of my way to ensure I’m not giving them money or supporting them, but this time I caved, just once, because we can’t all be perfect all the time.

69382537

 

I love waffles. I hadn’t ever had a waffle(that wasn’t an Eggo) until I was in my late teens.

I have always wanted a waffle iron… but have never owned one. Recently a friend lend me theirs… I’m obsessed. I’ve been trying a few different recipes but got the best results from this one… even if baking using cup measures instead of weights is LUNACY I managed a pretty good result.

waffles

large_20pom_20pom_20earrings_2001_400w

Just before I found out I was allergic to metals I decided I wanted to start wearing earrings again… now I just have this wishlist of cute earrings I can’t wear. It’s so sad that I can’t wear any of these so instead I’m just gonna share them with y’all and hope you can enjoy them instead.

Trying to stick to my ‘Bake once a Week’ resolution. I missed last week, had too much on my plate and bad brain* got took up all my down time.

This week I wanted fruit to be the star of the show(since last bake was chocolate chip cookies). I also wanted to use an ingredient that was in season. Had to go with rhubarb.

Rhubarb is super nostalgic for me, my maternal grandfather grew a large patch in his back garden. His partner Beverly would make jams and pies and crisps and crumbles to feed the grandchildren and the neighbours.

I’ve been homesick lately. Summer in the city always gets me down. I’m an island girl and I miss the sea and the wilds most this time of year. I’ve also been reflecting on mortality, family relations, and legacy. So this bake was reflective of that.

I had never had a CRUMBLE until I moved to the UK. It was one of the first desserts I remember being served by my inlaws. I grew up on CRISPS which are essentially the same but with an crispy oat topping instead rather than the crumbly crumble topping.

crimble1

Recipe:

COMPOTE/FRUIT FILLING

  • 85g golden caster sugar
  • 1 heaped tbsp cornflour
  • 450g strawberries
  • 450g rhubarb
  1. Preheat oven to 75F / 190C / Gas Mark 5
  2. Cut your fruit into chunks, I like mine big and rustic, and place in a bowl.
  3. Remember the fruit will soften and disintegrate when you cook it so bigger pieces make for better mouthfeel and be more substantial.
  4. Add lemon juice, sugar, black pepper, and cornflower to fruit and toss gently.
  5. Place fruit into a saucepan and heat on medium-low until fruit softens and sauce thickens.
  6. Pour compote into baking tray.

crumble2

CRUMBLE:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter or margarine at room temperature, cut into pieces
  1. Throw everything into a bowl and using a fork mash it all together until you get that lovely crumble.
  2. Scoop crumb topping onto the compote.
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crumble is golden brown.

CRUMBLE3

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool. Serve with vanilla ice cream or custard.

 

 

 

granolabarstall

So since I found out about my laundry list of allergies I’ve had to give up a few foods. Nuts are the big offender and they’re in everything! I’ve really had to relearn how to eat, remember to look at ingredients, to ASK when I’m eating out, and I’m still learning. Baby steps.

Snacks are really where I’ve struggled and god damnit I love snacks! I am queen of snacking! I love chocolate  and biscuits and granola bars and so many of them have nuts, or are just super likely to be contaminated with nuts. There’s a danger component, there’s a risk now when I want a snack and it sucks. No one wants to treat themselves and have it make them super sick.

I’ve spent the past three months trying to find safe nut free pre-packaged snacks but tbh that’s been pretty much a flop. I knew granola bars were easy, I remember my mom making them when I was little so I finally got around to making my own! I like my snacks fully loaded so I found some pretty basic recipes online and just personalised them. I’ve swapped out nuts for seeds, added a little extra salt because I love salt with my sweet and in 15 minutes I had a weeks worth of delicious nut free snacks!

My bars were loaded up with chia, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds, desiccated coconut, some diced figs and dates, and of course chocolate chips!

Until I met my husband I was pretty cynical about love, so Valentines Day was more of an annual annoyance than special occasion.

I can’t lie and say I’m not a die hard romantic… because I am. I FUCKING AM! I LOVE ALL THE ROMANTIC CHEESE!! I just like to pretend I’m not, shh please don’t tell anyone.

 

We made plans for Valentines just to go out for a nice dinner, no gifts, I just wanted to be surprised! My husband is literally THE BEST. I’ve been pretty depressed for the past several months(thanks hormonal birth control!) and worrying my moodiness would ruin another special occasion I tried to keep it low key.

Last night at half seven a car picked me up to take me to my mystery destination; L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. It was sweet because it was the first ‘fancy’ place we ever went for dinner after we got married, I appreciated the nostalgia.

Despite having said no gifts, he got me a present;

tiffanypearls

Pearls from Tiffany&Co. he even had the clasp replaced, silver instead of gold because of my allergies. I had mentioned a few months earlier that I needed to get the vintage pearl necklace I owned fixed. It’d been sat in a drawer for several years broken, and tbh I don’t even know if they’re real pearls. He’s so thoughtful and such a good listener.

It wasn’t a TOTAL surprise because I had, completely by accident, discovered the receipt from Tiffany&Co. while cleaning a few days before. It didn’t say WHAT had been bought, so exactly what I was getting was still a mystery!

The day before Valentines I had rushed into the West End to find SOMETHING so as not to arrive empty handed. It wouldn’t quiet measure up to ANYTHING from Tiffany’s but I wanted to get him something! I had already cheated slightly and ordered PERFECT MATCH chocolate matches from Choc on Choc after I had seen them online, we have MATCHING MATCHSTICK tattoos and my inner romantic cheese fiend couldn’t resist…

perfectmatch

…but I wanted something else. He had mentioned needing another pair of sweatpants so I braved the Nike store and picked up a pair of Jordan sweatpants. Not satisfied with either of those I played my trump card; home made gifts! I made him a Valentine. I hadn’t made him one since BEFORE we were dating. Back in 2011 when we were only just starting a friendship I made him a card where I illustrated a anthropomorphised tree holding a bouquet of flowers and a heart shaped card that read ‘Single on Valentines? It could be worse! Be glad you’re not an ENT!’ …because the Ent-wives… you know? I told you I was a nerd. You were WARNED! I was going to follow that Valentine up with an ‘adult ENT-ertainment’ joke but drying a stripper Ent-wife pole dancing was way too complicated. After several failed attempts I went back to the drawing board and came up with this;

vdaycardfrontvdaycardinside

… on theme.

Dinner was lovely, I drank too much wine and woke up with a hangover.

I hope you all had a lovely Valentines, Palentines, or Galentines. However you celebrate, or even if you don’t I hope you felt loved yesterday. Just incase you didn’t here’s a kiss from me from last night;

 

 

XOXO Gwendolyn