Piece of cake

Posted On December 5, 2011

Filed under Baking, cakes, home, Life, Uncategorized
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So in my wee Bio bit, I said I like to cook and bake. I should have said that I love to cook and bake. I have been cooking for as long as I can remember. I have always been intrigued by baking. I took every opportunity I could to bake. In Primary school, an afternoon club scheme was introduced. All classes were cancelled on Wednesday afternoons and all students would attend a club for the afternoon. Each student had to pick three clubs to do throughout the year, obviously the first club I picked was the cookery club, and I loved it. I remember making fruit salad, top-hats, rice crispie buns and 15s. Looking back, all of these were easy, but for students aged 7-11 (as each group had students from all the diff year groups) they were appropriate. I loved helping my folks cooking, and remember that my mum, dad and granny all cooked things in different ways. This made me aware that there was not only one way of cooking the same thing. It was my dad that got me into baking. He loved to bake and I always helped him. The first baking book I owned (which I still have) was Fast Cakes by Mary Berry. This book is a must for anyone who wants to start baking, although there are no pics, but the recipes are so easy. The first cake that baked solo was a pineapple upside-down cake, and I remember the simple mistake I made, I forgot to sprinkle the bottom of the cake tin with brown sugar, the pineapples weren’t caramelised. I didn’t make that mistake again. From there I moved onto Madeira cakes and different types of chocolate cakes. The Madeira cake was always popular at home, and I was soon getting requests for it from family members. By the time I hit exam time at secondary school (GCSEs and A-Levels) the baking was put on hold for several reasons which I may or may not go into in later posts. When I got to Uni, I had some more time and rediscovered my love of baking, but it was to take a twist. I was asked to make a Madeira cake by a friend for her daughter’s birthday. I had picked up a book (No Time Party Cakes) and decided to give making a novelty cake a go. The cake was of a Princess and was a success (for a first attempt). I enjoyed baking the cakes, and I enjoyed decorating them. I decided to make and decorate more. I was giving them as gifts to friends who either had kids themselves or younger brothers or sisters. I was making cakes and giving them as birthday presents to friends (being a poor student, saving money was a bonus). I had a placement year which was pretty eventful for numerous reasons, but I still enjoyed baking. I was working alongside people who greatly appreciated my baking experiments. One of the girls ‘J’, with whom I became close friends, was celebrating her birthday towards the end of the placement. I decided to bake her a cake. I remember it well, it was a mocha cake (she was a chocolate and coffee fan; I thought it was appropriate for her. She loved it, it actually brought a tear to her eye, she was so happy that someone would take time to bake her something. She later told me that it was the first ever birthday cake she had and he was overwhelmed with it. At that point I realised how something (which I was taking for granted, being able to bake) could make someone else feel so happy. I found a new reason to enjoy baking for others. In the final year of Uni, my nephew was born, my class mates started calling me uncle B, and one of the tutors heard about my cakes and wanted to make me a website, “Uncle Bernard’s Cakes”. I was flattered and a bit embarrassed as it was a hobby. The cakes then took a backseat as I was concentrating on exams again and then possible careers. A few years passed and I found myself moving to the Isle of Man to pursue my chosen career. I didn’t have any friends for my first year there, it was tough, so I found comfort in cake decorating, I was doing more cakes, and experimenting more. It was still just a hobby; I was ok at it, never thought of it as anything serious. I was being asked by work colleagues to do cakes for big events, I was asked to do a cupcake tower for a quadruple christening. And was honoured when a very close friend asked me to decorate her wedding cake. I remember the stress, it was the first time I was to work with royal icing, total nightmare, but I got through it, and it turned out well. After 3 years on the IOM I moved back home (not with my mum, I’d like to point out). I was still baking and making cakes. I was meeting up with old friends, they had seen my cakes on my bebo, and I was getting more requests.

As most of my friends still lived here, and were having families of their own, I had more and more cakes to do, I was loving it, I was getting to do more cakes, for all occasions and all different types, novelty sculpted cakes, plain cakes, christening cakes, and even wedding cakes. One of the ladies I worked with heard about my cakes and asked me to make her daughter’s wedding cake, again, stress, but I rarely back down from a challenge. The challenge this time was sugar flowers, something which I knew I was going to have to do at some point, and why not then. The feedback was amazing, the guests thought that the flowers were real; they all said the cake was amazing, and from it I got more and more requests for wedding cakes. I’m now back here going on five years, and I have had a constant stream of cakes to do for family, friends and work colleagues. There have been disasters; I will do a post about those separately. I never get too comfortable doing cakes, there is always an element of stress, but I think that’s part of the buzz.

Christmas buildup? Christmas let down!!

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Pure and utter disappointment. That’s what Christmas brings. I don’t care what all you do-gooders and Tiny Tims out there say. The countdown to Christmas is one disappointing day after another. And before you call me scrooge or say bah humbug, read on. This is the second year in a row that I’ve been let down by the build up to Christmas, why? You prob think I’m a grumpy old man, or a miser, if u think that, you are partially right, but that’s nor why I dislike this time of year. Why do I dislike it? Why do I dislike each day in the buildup to Christmas? Well, let me tell you. Firstly I think that anyone who starts celebrating Christmas before December is nuts, but that’s not the reason. On the last day of November I bought an advent calendar, yesterday I forgot to open the first wee door, when.I remembered in the evening (about 8pm) my heart skipped a beat, I was gonna open the first door, ‘Woohoo’ I thought. I found the door, and opened it. What was I greeted with? Disappointment, that’s what. Why? In my Maltesers calendar, behind each door is a chocolate, not a malteser as I had hoped. If I wanted chocolate I would have gotten a dairy milk advent calendar. Screw you Maltesers, you ruined my Christmas. Now I have 23 days of disappointment ahead of me.

Hello world!

Posted On December 2, 2011

Filed under Uncategorized

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Hello world indeed. Well, hello to anyone who manages to stumble across this blog, if anyone. If you have, thank you and you are most welcome.

Who am I? And why am I doing this?

My name is Bernard but known as B. I’m Belfast born and bred, but I have lived outside of Belfast for a few years, but I’ll come to that at a later stage.

My reasons for doing this, well, I’m not entirely sure. Partially because a mate has started a blog and I enjoy reading his and I thought I’d give it a go myself. That and I had a rant of Facebook about my Christmas disappointment (another post on here) and thought it might be blog worthy.

I will say my English/writing skills are a bit crap, and am trusting the phone to pick up my bad spellings, as for the grammar, ach well. If my grammar offends you, ach well, I type how I speak for most of the time and don’t get offended by people pointing out my inappropriate use of punctuation etc.

This blog will not be a daily blog/diary type thing. It will be a bit sporadic, depending on what’s going on in my life and in my head. It will be a collection of my experiences (past and present) my thoughts and dreams. Yes, DREAMS. Not dreams like, “oh I dream for a lotto win”. My actual night time dreams. Some friends have said I should keep a dream blog, and who knows, I may decide to have 2 blogs going, but for now, they shall be all together. I will discuss my dreams at a later date.

Anyways, bye for now. Cheers for reading, if you even did.