LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
The last twelve months has stretched even the hardiest of us but suddenly, through the gloom there is a small beam of light, encouraging some to peek above the fence and plan dates to look forward to.
In a rush to quell our low mood three dates are looming on the horizon which traditionally involve love, family, friendship and my favourite – chocolate!
The first, Valentine’s Day, is a date that people either love or loathe.
Reactions always intrigued me, but this year when the date of love has arisen, I have been surprised by a few answers. The usual curmudgeonly sorts have been cajoled into a lighter take on things and one friend in particular, who is known for his ‘dislike’ of all things, naff (his words, not mine) has confided in me that he plans to not only cook a meal for his other half, but also to light a candle or two.
Obviously, he has ordered one of my heart shaped brownies too.
So, how did it all begin?
Well, the first Valentine’s day was in 496 and although there are lots of theories and stories, the most popular appears to be that the day gets its name from a famous Saint who lived in Terni, Rome in the third century AD.
In short, the Emperor at the time, Claudius 11, banned marriage because he believed married soldiers made bad soldiers. Valentine thought that this was not only outrageous, but also deeply unfair and so he started to arrange weddings in secret.
As is usually the case, he was found out, sent to prison and condemned to die.
While in prison, Valentine met and fell in love with the jailor’s daughter – Just before his execution he sent the daughter a love letter, which he signed, ‘from your Valentine.’
The date was February the 14th.
While that explains the date and name choice, I got to wondering about the man behind the name. Well, the Catholic Church has commemorated no fewer than eleven St Valentines, two of which just happened to live around the same time as our Roman one above. Sadly, in the 1960’s, the Catholic Church took the decision, owing to St Valentine of Terni’s ambiguous background, to remove him from the Roman Calendar.
It’s makes for a nice, albeit sad story, if nothing else.
Next dates are Mother’s Day and then Easter
Following the month of love we dive headfirst into March and with it the first real sounds and smells of Springtime. Despite the cold, so many of us have been wrapping up warm and getting outside. Walking is often when I come up with new ideas for designs and flavours and ‘green therapy’ really does help clear my mind. I love this time of year as nature starts to wake up and the days get brighter for longer.
Daffodils are a real favourite in this house, and I am going to use the vibrant yellow as inspiration for my cakes
Mother’s Day is the 14th of March and I will be offering three flavours of cake to choose from – Lemon drizzle, Vanilla with a raspberry and mascarpone filling and finally, coffee and walnut.
Easter follows hot on its heels, with an early date of the 4th of April. It’s the last of the three dates and a good excuse to gather the family around the table and enjoy a nice big slice of cake. Even if that still involves a zoom call – although, I seriously hope not.
I have been working on a themed cake, which features a rabbit and a hat. Head to the website for more information on that one and flavour choices.
In other news
While restrictions are still in place, wedding fayre’s have taken to the internet, with suppliers uploading short video’s for visitors to watch. If you’d like to ‘virtually’ visit the fayre the date is the 28th of March – simply search Midlands Online Wedding Fayre’ for more information.
Brownies are still racing out of my kitchen and into their forever homes. Raspberry and chocolate remain the nations favourite, with the Blondies a close second.
‘Eating a brownie is like wrapping a soft, cashmere blanket around your shoulders’
Remember, the only real way to start or finish any weekend is with a brownie and a cup of coffee or better still, a glass of red wine.
Next month: Please God let Lockdown be over