"It's hard to pinpoint when I first fell in love with food."
I grew up with two parents who loved to host dinner parties and have early memories of watching Mum in the kitchen poaching whole salmons and preparing mussels. My brother and I would trundle downstairs the morning after their parties and poke our fingers into the warm wax left pooling in the candles on the dinner table. We'd make little wax thimbles with them, which we would stick to the radiators!
It goes without saying that I too now have a real love of hosting and enjoy nothing more than to hold big gatherings at our house, especially now that we have a family of our own. I take great delight in planning the menu – though always over-ambitiously! I find it impossible to not bake from scratch and take delight in preparing a vast number of desserts and mains for any eventuality or taste! I always marvel at how my mother-in-law manages to make hosting look so effortless, yet still makes such delicious food (her Victoria Sponge is also the best I have ever had).
When I was in my teens I waitressed for a fantastically interesting and eclectic cafe called Quirky's Courtyard in Thame (more on this in a later post - I need to share my Quirky's Courtyard inspired spiced apple traybake!). When I wasn't serving customers, I would practice over and over how to make the perfect, decadent Hot Chocolate or hot foamy Lattes for customers. I was so eager to give them the best experience ever and I think this has transitioned into later life.
"If I could open up a café in my home where people popped by daily to be fed big slices of cake and hot tea and coffee, I would be so happy!"
So when my husband and I bought our first apartment and we had a little kitchen of our own, my love of baking was ignited and I would make batches and batches of the same cake to understand right down to the final minute and even second of baking just how long they needed to bake to be perfect. A trait which comes in very handy when recipe testing!
Then when our gorgeous children arrived, what started off as a simple Coffee and Walnut or Carrot Cake made for catch ups with friends, turned into cakes, brownies, quiches and fresh loaves of bread. I have spent some of the happiest times of my life catching up with my amazing friends over cake, whether we were putting the world to rights, re-fuelling between feeding hungry babies, or snorting with laughter at our fumbles through life! I am very grateful to them for being my guinea pigs and baking partners (Mrs Beel!) to many a kitchen triumph and flop too!
Fast forwarding to now, our children are six and four, we recently relocated to a beautiful part of the Cotswolds, I am more in love with baking than ever and have dreams of opening up my own cafe one day.
Very Vanilla Blog has been borne out of many things; A passion for baking, a love of writing and a lot of love of sharing. Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoy.