It is autumn here in London. That means yellow, purple, brown, crimson and orange leaves come tumbling down around the property I dwell in. Right now, those leaves are still soft and supple, not at all crispy. We have had plenty of rain to prevent the fallen leaves from drying out.
Twice a week, I sweep those leaves. It takes about an hour in total to clear all the leaves. But recently it has become rather therapeutic.
You see…just like those leaves, my thoughts have needed clearing. I am almost in disbelief that I am leaving my job. Half of me is asking why I am leaving, the other half knows exactly why and is thrilled. During the course of this job, I have felt more like a bird in a cage than I have ever known. Being chanined to a desk in an office is not that much different to being a chicken in a battery farm. So now I am escaping.
However, like a bird who has been trapped in a cage, I am timid about my flight. These wings are desperate to beat a hasty departure. Yet I am confused about the direction and the inclement, turbulent climate. Some days I feel a little panicky about it all.
One thing I know….I will win back around ten hours a week (five hundred hours a year) because rather than commuting across London, I will instead just walk eight minutes to work. That is a huge gain. Plus, working for the NHS, I won’t end up doing overtime that is not recognized or appreciated.
I think that in my new job, I will be able to breathe. I don’t feel as if I can breathe in the job I have been in. It is a crushing, draining, demoralizing, joyless existence. It is wonderful to be escaping. It really is. But I am a little disorientated and daunted by a change that I need to acclimatize to.
Jack fills me with confidence that on this occasion – all my ducks are in a row and I am absolutely doing the right, best, and wisest thing. I like hearing his verdict on the tangled thoughts inside my head.
I have to admit, there is rejoicing in my heart when I leave the office on Friday night. Last night, that meant coming home to watch an Episode of Professor T and washing my hair. I have felt just a little on the shattered side all week. So after the wonderful BAKE OFF, I was content with just reading the posts of other WordPressers this week, not writing anything of my own.
Now that I have survived the working week, I am looking forward to a weekend with my Jack (he was out being important last night, but he will be joining me later this morning) working together and relaxing together. Life is good.
I intend to catch up on all the lovely comments left on BAKE OFF posts last weekend. It was impossible to keep up with the BAKE OFF whirlwind before I had to be back at work. So during my coffee breaks this weekend…I will take my time to enjoy them. 🙂
What a weekend!!! I am going to finish editing this post before my laptop melts…it is making very odd noises and it is radiating an unusual heat which makes me think the little parts inside are over-baked after the demands placed upon recently. I need to say a huge THANK YOU to Robert and Annette who allowed me to camp at their home this weekend and use their office computer. My laptop just would not have been able to cope with all the pace of the BAKE OFF.
We have lots of THANK YOUs to share in this post. Our bakers of course are the key feature of the BAKE OFF. This year we asked you to think about BUDGET BAKING and SUSTAINABLE BAKING and we were a little nervous about the response to those themes….but wow – you embraced them and exceeded all our expectations! THANK YOU for your amazing baking photographs and also your enthusiasm on those areas we have been shining a light on.
THANK YOU to our Special Guest Poets! We are so grateful that you accepted our invitation to compose a BAKE OFF poem. Your poetry celebrated the JOY OF BAKING and echoed our feelings about rising costs and the desire to take better care of our beautiful earth.
All three of you have helped us to think about how we can enjoy our food, especially our baking, but to do so in a way that does not put us under further financial strain and also in a thoughtful way reflecting appreciation that our daily choices have an impact.
We also want to say THANK YOU to everyone who took part in our special BAKE OFF writing prompt. It was wonderful to read your work. There was such a variety that touched on all of the questions we raised in our writing prompt so it was fantastic to see your personality in your writing.
We are also thrilled with all of the WordPress users who took part in the BAKE OFF by advertising and promoting it on your own sites. THANK YOU to all of you who supported our bakers and poets, writers and interviewees by reading their posts, commenting and forging new blogging connections. That has brought us so much joy to see!
On a personal note, I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Gary and Jeanne. It is always such a joy to work along with you both!
There is no denying it – these are anxious times. Many of us, most of us, are effected by the rising costs of necessities. We are deeply concerned about the man-made damage to our natural habitats and to our climates. We want to see this earth treasured and cared for. Keep on thinking about the kind of earth you want to live on, reflect your hopes and dreams in your writing, in your poetry, in your baking!!!
We hope that this weekend has filled you with confidence that there are many people who share your concerns and feeling. Many are thinking about the choices they make – little and large – and making changes that reflect how they about our planet. But this can and should be joyful. Sharing our joy with others can have a profound impact. Hope and joy are intrinsically linked.
There is just one more event that we are now looking forward to….
Our Special BAKE OFF Judge Jeanne has been perusing all of the baking photographs we have shared this weekend. Soon, Jeanne will be sharing with us who she has chosen for the 2002 STAR BAKER accolade!!!!
After a very joyful weekend THE 2022 JOY OF BAKING GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF is drawing to a conclusion. But I woke up this morning to see a beautiful baking photograph in my inbox. I am back in my own little nest and my laptop is slower than ever. So it has taken almost two hours before it finally agreed to let me produce a post to feature our next bake.
You may remember the gorgeous Pecan Nut Cake near to the start of this weekend’s BAKE OFF. Well, the same baker Tandy, the creator of LAVENDER AND LIME, has shared with is these excellent Seeded Soda Bread Rolls:
Don’t they look scrummy!! I was intrigued that Tandy said these are quick to make, and when I read through her recipe I noticed that you don’t seem to have to wait for hours for the dough to prove – which is great.
Time saving bread rolls mean of course you can keep on rolling!!!
What a weekend it has been!!! Truly we have been so impressed and delighted with your bakes!!! You have kept us very busy – and I am sorry I have been quiet and slow to respond to your comments…there were photographs coming in all weekend and we were trying to complete a post for each one and keep the scheduling varied.
I am so glad Jack volunteered to take on the role of “Musical Director” – well, that is what he is calling himself. But said to Jack late last night, “something is missing Jack”. He asked me what I meant, and although I was not sure about it at the time, I woke up not long after midnight knowing what was missing – “ABBA!”
Jack asked why I thought the BAKE OFF needed ABBA. I made a cake the weekend he came back from his tour of South East Asia and the South West Pacific and I had intended to use the photograph in the BAKE OFF. Somehow I had forgotten about it all together!
Well…that just won’t do! Sweden would never forgive me if I omitted a dessert that you can find in nearly every cafe in Sweden. This indulgent sticky chocolate treat is called Kladdkaka:
When I made this treat, I remember pondering which ABBA song would be ideal for my BAKE OFF post. That is how I knew ABBA was missing from the BAKE OFF. Well…we need to put that right!!
I think I speak for many an amateur / novice baker when I say that we are often glad just when our baking production comes out of the tin in one piece and is not burnt! Frosting can cover over a multitude of sins! But there are some bakers who seem to have nailed the art of fine baking!
Sheree, the creator of VIEW FROM THE BACK made this ever so classy Upside Down Chocolate Crumble Cake:
Jack said that this is the sexiest bake we have seen. Thank goodness he is not our BKAE OFF Judge – I am sure Jeanne takes a lot more into account that how sexy a cake looks!!! But it does look exceptional.
Sheree – if we were your dinner guests and you brought this showstopper out for dessert, we would be very very happy!!!
I cannot believe we are scheduling baking posts to be published throughout the night for a third night in the row! It is incredible to see the response that came in for THE 2022 JOY OF BAKING GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF.
Our next bake is from the marvellous Annette, creator of LADY LEWIS. Annette regularly bakes shortbread – I particularly like her orange zest shortbread, but she told us that she has recently converted to a new recipe which is proving very popular with her guests. This is Annette’s spicy Ghanaian Shortbread, using a recipe from Zoe Adjonyoh.
GHANAIAN SPICED SHORTBREAD
Ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, freshly ground pepper, and allspice all go into the mix to produce the comforting, warming kick of flavoursome melt-in-tour mouth shortbread.
If you can spice up shortbread, there must be so many other things you can spice up 😉
Over the past few years, we have truly loved the inspiring productions that have been shared with us by super talented Robbie Cheadle, creator of Robbie’s Inspiration and Robert Writes and also Robbie Cheadle. This year Robbie has delighted us with another array of superb themed cakes packed with detail.
Many of Robbies’ cakes are very much about sharing THE JOY OF BAKING with her family. Our next cake from Robbie was made for her parents’ 48th Wedding Anniversary and takes us to the Circus:
Robbie shares in detail what was involved in the construction of the cake itself in her post. I can only imagine the concentration in shaping the roof to the circus tent, but the effect is excellent.
We also love the detail in a of Robbie’s fondant figurines, including the perfect man (a man made of cake!)
Well Robbie – we are amazed at your technical ability and imagination. You are a bundle of creative energy which you express delightfully. Jack says you are a baking superstar…and he picked this song to dedicate to you!
One of the perks of THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE OFF is being able to gain inspiration for new bakes and swap recipes. We are all waiting on Joy to share the recipe for her very posh vegetarian loaf, and I am sure that many of you have been bookmarking recipes that you want to try.
Brian, the creator of BUSHBOYS WORLD produced that perfect loaf of bread we saw yesterday, but we were also pleased to read that he and his daughter get together every now and then to bake (YAY – for family baking!!)
Brian shared that the recipe for these tempting Florentine biscuits came from another blogger “Bizzy Lizzy”:
I mentioned to Brian that Florentines are my sister Mandy’s favourites. I often by a packet of M&S florentines when I am going to visit her. But I think next time I am going to use the recipe Brian shared to make florentines from scratch – much more impressive!
I don’t know if you are aware of the debate over where Florentine biscuits came from. You would have thought they came from Florence, but those who say they are not adamant they are more likely to be French than Italian. Well, we don’t think it is worth arguing over where these delicious biscuits came from. One thing we are sure is that the following track did come from Florence…And The Machine!!!