Ever since I was a little girl the words that were drummed into me from a very young age were; ‘Flavour is the key’. It doesn’t matter if the cupcake looks divine; cupcakes are superfluous if they do not have flavour. Flavour is the key to success. Flavour is the reason why I became addicted to making cupcakes, cakes and biscuits. As a child, I used to work with my Grandma baking nearly every weekend and even over the school holidays. The variations of biscuits and fairy cakes that we managed to churned out of Grandmas extremely tiny kitchen were endless and it was always the highlight of my holiday. Some kids go on extreme adventure holidays, which I did do, but it was the baking that I truly could not wait for. I used to stay at my Grandparents house, night after night baking rigorously every single day. We would put a note on the kitchen door as a warning to my Grandpa ‘Stay out – bakers at work’ and he knew that when the sign was on the door, he was not to enter unless it was an emergency.
In my grandparents kitchen there was a small window which you could peek into from the outside, so occasionally we would notice a shadow and my grandpas face would appear, just to check when the next batch of cupcakes were ready for his consumption. We used to have so much fun, so I guess you could say that it was my Grandma and Grandpa who instilled in me that baking is my calling in life and that I should be doing it for the rest of my life!
I guess the reason for this blog article is that a few weeks ago, my grandfather passed away and in this time of sadness and great distress, so many memories have come flooding back to me which not only include him, but also show where my love for baking began. Grandma or Grammy Grams (which she is affectionately known) was not only known for her ridiculously good food, she was also known for her ‘Grandma’s Biscuits’ and ‘Grandma’s rolldiover biscuits’ which no matter how hard I try to recreate, they never seem to be as good. If you look at the each individual ingredients then it may seem very plain and boring however, there is nothing better than sitting down with a cup of tea and good dunking biscuit. I have spent so many years trying to follow her recipe but it never works out, there is always something missing and looking back on all of the childhood memories there is one thing that she has whilst making these drops of heaven, the missing ingredient is ‘love’. Every piece of dough, every currant is mixed into these biscuits with love, care and attention. My Grandma and Grandfather have given me so many memories that I will cherish forever. I remember, during Gram and my bakathons we would create ‘testers’ as my grandpa would call them, which were little broken off bits and smaller versions of biscuits or cakes which were set aside for my Grandpa to ‘taste’ to make sure that they were up to his standard (which I might add that they were always up to his standard, even if I had mixed salt into the mixture rather than sugar) he would always enjoy them with a smile on his face. There was always a minutes silence after each taste, where my grandpa was thinking, ‘licking his lips’ from side to side, which was then proceeded with a big ‘thumbs up’! The ‘thumbs up’ was all I needed from him, to know that I had done a good job, and to go back to the kitchen and make some more. After the tasting, he would ALWAYS follow me into the kitchen (which he was not allowed to be in), open the fridge and pull out a big bar of chocolate which was cold, so cold in fact that it could chip a tooth! With difficulty, he would break me off a square and I knew that if I deserved a square of his ice cold – tooth breaking chocolate, I knew I had done a good job. Following my square of chocolate I would have to spell out the words ‘T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U’ and he would give me a kiss, leave the kitchen and sit in his chair next to the door of the living room and wait for his next batch of testers.
He was the most wonderful Grandpa, Daddy, Husband, Great Grandpa and Friend. Each and every member of the family has been blessed to be a part of his truly wonderful life and I dedicate my site and business to my wonderful ‘Zaida’.