Food, glorious food. Food has been such an important part of my journey through grief. Obviously I am using this blog as motivation to learn new recipes and that is giving me structure and purpose and new skills. That’s all very helpful. But there is something much more innately healing about food.
When my mum had cancer we all recognised it as such a shame that the chemo stopped her taste buds from working. She didn’t have any energy and felt pretty rubbish most of the time, so there wasn’t much joy to be had from the world around her. It seemed so cruel that the enjoyment of food should also be removed from her life.
Food is such a simple pleasure, ordinarily accessible to all of us. And when life plunges you into the darkest of places it’s the simple pleasures that slowly offer back a little light – pin pricks of joy shining through a vast sheet of darkness.
Giving yourself good food is the ultimate act of self-love. It says to yourself that you are a person who is worth being taken care of; you are deserving of pleasure and joy; you are important. You will not simply exist; you will live, and you will live well.
The Cooking – Jaffa Cakes
For the last few years I’ve been an avid viewer of The Great British Bake Off. It’s such cosy viewing: kindly people bake their way through a variety of tasks, worrying over the rise of their cakes and the crunch of their biscuits. And there’s tea, grand manor houses, gentle humour – it can’t get any more British. In honour of the programme’s long awaited return I’ve attempted my own Jaffa cakes, inspired by the first episode of this series. I used a Mary Berry recipe off the bbc food website.
The only ingredients required you wouldn’t necessarily have in the house are an orange, orange jelly, and dark chocolate. I suspect this recipe is a little easier than the technique required by the bakers – I’m not sure the bakers were given shop bought orange jelly, for example! Making all the separate components of a Jaffa cake was pretty straightforward, but combining them all was where the trouble lay.
My jelly fell apart completely when I attempted to turn it out of the tin, crumbling into a million pieces in my hands. Each sponge base was haphazardly topped with these jelly crumbs, which were painstakingly arranged into a vaguely circular shape. Melted chocolate was then smoothed over the surface – and it’s done! In these Jaffa Cakes the jelly was more intensely orangey than your shop bought variety due to added orange zest, and the chocolate layer was also thicker and heavier. The result was ‘absolutely fantastic’ (taster quote). If you’ve got a bit of time on your hands, your patience can endure fiddly tasks, and you enjoy a good Jaffa cake, this recipe might be worth a try!