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The Student of the Year Awards

Back in December (after my first brain operation) I went in to college to say hello to everyone, get up to date with gossip and eat lots of food! I was wandering around talking to the Chefs and my friends when one of my Chefs gave me a certificate and explained whilst I was away on radiotherapy I had been nominated by my College for the national student of the Year award.

I was really honored and a bit speechless! It was lovely to know that my Chefs thought that highly of me! I didn’t win (I’m sure out of all the entries it was a bit of a long shot!) But as it turned out, I had been highly commended at the awards along with 9 other students from up and down the country.

So on Monday 1st February I attended an award ceremony along with my Chef lecturers and my Mum and Dad. And the ceremony was only at THE HOUSE OF COMMONS!! I know! So we headed over there, none of us really knowing what to expect and after an airport security type of entrance (which is always fun when you have a long titanium tube in your leg!), we were in!

The entrance itself was a big hall which wasn’t actually that impressive but once we got past that bit, it was incredible! Elaborate paintings on the walls and rows of statues down the halls. It really was an amazing sight! We were then taken through to another room where we were offered canapes (which became a game after a while of ‘who can eat the most canapes?’) and drinks. After a small speech about the students and the Association of Colleges, lots of photos were taken! We spoke to many people in the room and it was really cool to be in the presence of so many MPs and incredible students.

I think we all had a fantastic time and I really enjoyed myself and ashamedly got a huge amount of selfies!

Emily at Big Ben

My Big Ben selfie!

I am very pleased to report I am back at college now and back in the pastry kitchen, eagerly trying to get on top of all of the work I’ve missed! I’m determined to finish this course! Our latest project has been chocolate work and that’s something I definitely enjoy!

We have our annual Teenage Cancer Trust Meal coming up in a month or so at the college. It’s always a fantastic event so full steam ahead towards that!

Ding Ding… Round 2!

I’d like to start off by saying thank you everyone for the such supportive responses that you gave me to my last post. I know it was a hard hitting one and I was a little bit more matter of fact then I sometimes can be but I think sometimes you’ve just got to be honest when you’ve had a bit of a tough time and it made me feel like a real weight had been lifted! So thank you for embracing it so well!

So I spent a nice peaceful Christmas at home – I don’t think I went to London once for an appointment – I promise I wasn’t boycotting hospitals or anything! I just didn’t get any hospital appointment invitations which I was really quite happy about!!

I even managed to get to some kind of even keel over Christmas! I had the staples pulled from my head which really wasn’t as bad as I expected (and I did keep them, I’ll let you decide for yourself if that’s a bit weird or not. For what it’s worth I think I’ve already lost them, well you can’t blame me, I’d only just had a brain tumour removed, I can’t remember everything! ūüėČ ).

I even managed to get into college a few times, do some Christmas shopping (well no one was going to stop me doing that!), meet up with lots of friends, had regular physio on my arm which was getting noticeably better everyday and even made the desserts for Christmas day!!

It really was a nice Christmas and new year! It was a slightly busier festive period than usual but sometimes it’s nice to do something completely different and it was a lot of fun! I made a chocolate orange tart, red velvet cake and white chocolate log! Considering I only have one and a half working arms I was very impressed with myself! Although because (again apologise but blaming brain surgery because I’ll take any old excuse!) I stupidly forgot to take photos!

So I had a few appointments lined up for the beginning of the new year and the plan was to get back to college. But of course it never runs smoothly does it?!

So on Monday 4th I went up to London for an appointment in London, I felt fine – I’d had a handful of seizures over Christmas but I thought maybe that was all just part of the moving on with brain surgery thing but things just got progressively worse over the week. My arm started getting weak again and my left leg started to feel quite unresponsive too! After the local physios coming around on Thursday they really weren’t happy and an emergency MRI was booked for me on Friday 8th.

Friday to be honest was a bit of a shit day. I woke up and just knew I felt wrong. I was struggling to walk, my left arm was just floppy and I was a bit of an emotional wreck. We went up to London on a train and after falling on the train we decided to get a taxi to the hospital. I had quite a nasty seizure in the taxi and once we got to the hospital I was rushed to A and E. The nurses and doctors were so on the ball that I was up on the Teenage Cancer Trust ward within an hour and I was already feeling a lot calmer knowing I was in the right place.

I’ve got to give so much credit to my Mum there. Normally I cry she cries – which is fine with us, sometimes it’s nice to have a crying partner! But she was so calm and concise through those crucial moments that it made me feel a lot better and weirdly proud of ourselves!

So I got an MRI and a CT scan done within the next few hours and by the evening my Mum had head home and Will was staying over night.

We saw the Doctor in the morning who had a brief look at the scan and said the tumour had come back.

The first thing that ran through my head was that was bloody quick! To be honest I had kind of expected that. I was glad to have an answer to be honest and it definitely didn’t hit me like a tonne of bricks this time!

So I stayed on the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit until Sunday and was taken to the brain surgery hospital on Sunday night ready for surgery with Dr Kitchen again on Tuesday morning.

I was probably just as scared this time for surgery – let’s be honest, its never something you’ll get used to but it was all a very similar procedure I believe.

I came back to the ward on Tuesday afternoon, projectiled everywhere again – this time it was a very impressive amount (sorry if that’s a bit graphic!) And then was in and out of sleep until about 6 in the evening to which Dad thought it would be highly amusing to see how far we can get through the evening standard crossword whilst I’m quite frankly off my face with morphine trying to force feed me carrot and swede (which actually wasn’t that bad!). I’m pretty sure I drifted off at 8pm and don’t remember much until the morning.

I know I didn’t have any hallucinations about giant bean bags or radiators this time unlike last time!

It was another difficult trip in hospital – like I said, its never gonna be easy and its never going to be home but I think we handled it better this time. I only had a few Teenage ‘I want to go home!’ Moments this time and I’m sure the steroids don’t help! Again, thank you Dad for putting up with my 6 o’clock tears and various shenanigans!

I had a drain in my head removed on Wednesday which unfortunately is just as disgusting as it sounds but once that was out I was free to walk around a bit and I soon found out my left leg was pretty much back normal (touch wood!) Which was a huge relief and my arm was slowly getting there too. I went down for an MRI on Wednesday night and soon was told that they couldn’t see anything on the scan. Again (touch wood) some good news!

I stayed in the hospital longer this time just to keep a closer eye on everything and I’m pleased to say (again touch wood!) No seizures for almost 2 weeks now. Fingers crossed it’ll stay that way for a while.

I managed to get home on Saturday night and felt in a better place this time I think. I was so relieved to be home and we celebrated with a massive Chinese takeaway (when I say massive I mean 11 dishes between 4 of us, we went all out!).

I still haven’t got many answers though I’m afraid – we presume that maybe some tumour was left from last time (all it takes is a few cells!) And I just wasn’t lucky enough to get it all removed the first time.

But I do have a plan. The ‘freaking lazer’ is coming back! Yes, I’m starting radio therapy on my brain in a few weeks to hopefully keep this little nasty bugger away!

After the results on my latest chest CT scan they seem quite happy with how I’ve previously responded to radiotherapy so we’re gonna give it a go in a few weeks. So yes, staying in London again for a few weeks but at least we’re doing something (and I’m desperate to go on an Oxford Street binge soon so I’m all up for that!!).

That is me up to date health wise I think! Sorry if it’s another shocker but I do have something very exciting to tell you which has kept me in high spirits recently!

I went into college just before Christmas and I was given quite a surprise! I’ve been given an award from the Association of colleges and there is going to be an award ceremony at the House Of Commons – YES, HOUSE OF COMMONS, On February 1st. So I’m really quite excited for that!

It’s always good to end on a nice note!

The Star Awards, A Sweet Shop and the Sixth Cycle

Again, sorry it’s been such a long time since I’ve written a post but I’m sure after I’ve explained what I’ve been up to you’ll understand!

So… I’VE FINISHED CHEMO (for the second time but let’s not dwell on that!)! The sixth cycle ran pretty smoothly, and I got quite creative this time! As I’m stuck in the hospital for about 7 hours each day for three days the activity coordinator and I raided the activity cupboard and found a ‘make your own dream catcher’ set. I probably shouldn’t be telling everyone about this, but considering I’m such a big kid, I really enjoyed making it! And I was pretty impressed with myself! It also wasted lots of time so I can’t complain.

I got home on Saturday 20th June in the evening (as high as a kite from the chemo) and on Sunday it was my 19th Birthday! It was also Father’s Day but IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY – not that I think my birthday is more important or anything hehe! I received lots of lovely presents and cards – including an Ikea voucher from my Mum and Dad which I’m going to use to decorate my room. I’m actually really excited about this because now I’ve discovered my creative flare (wow, I sound sad!) and I’m going to try to make one of my walls a massive collage of photos and posters and basically things that mean a lot to me. Anyway, although I wasn’t up to much celebrating, it was still a lovely Birthday and I’m sure I can make up for the celebrating over the holidays!

I recently won an award at college. The Campus Principal’s award for 16-18 year olds (ok, so I’d turned 19 two days before receiving the award but shhh!). I went to an awards ceremony on Wednesday 23rd June to receive the award and it was a fantastic evening! I saw some familiar faces from college which was lovely as I was quite nervous. I also met some really inspirational students and it was really cool to hear their stories and see them receive their awards. After the interval I received my award and it all went well until I returned to the wrong seat, hopefully my Mum was the only one who noticed! Then there were some surprise awards, and I then received a second award! The Principal’s award for excellence. I was overwhelmed as I had no idea! The Principal then said that¬†after reading my blog he had decided¬†to run next year’s London Marathon for Teenage Cancer Trust! It was such an amazing night with lovely people and I felt so¬†grateful to have received the awards. And yes, I went back to the right seat after receiving the second award!

I went up to visit my friend, Hannah,¬†at her University in Falmouth, Cornwall last week and we had a great time! I’d never been to Falmouth before and the town was beautiful. It’s surrounded by little shops and really cool independent restaurants. I’m sure I’ll be going back and hopefully for longer next time. In a nut shell I did lots of shopping and had a real Cornish pasty which was yummy!

Falmouth 2 Falmouth 3 Falmouth

I’ve had lots of scans and London trips this week. On Monday I went up to the hospital for a kidney scan which is always the worst! I’m injected with radioactive dye (But not enough to make me a superhero unfortunately) and then over the next four hours I have 3 blood tests. Also the Picc line decided it didn’t want to work so I had to have a cannula. However it was actually a really good day! My friend Abi came up with me and we¬†took as much advantage of our free time as we could! We¬†made numerous visits to Oxford Street for… well more shopping! We also visited the Choccy Woccy Doo Dah shop which was fantastic! They have a TV show in which they make amazing chocolate cakes and sculptures for various occasions. I’d never been to the shop before and for someone who’s trying to lay off the chocolate a bit at the moment – it was a mistake! The sculptures and slabs of chocolate were just insane, like nothing I’d ever seen! So we couldn’t leave empty handed! We each got a praline milkshake and I seriously think it’s the best milkshake I’ve ever had.

After I had the last blood test, I was told I was allowed to have the Picc Line taken out. Now I’ve had troubles with taking the Picc Line out before but this one was so simple (thankfully). And within 15 minutes we were free and off to China Town for an all you can eat buffet!

On Tuesday I had to go up for a CT¬†Scan of my chest. This time my friend, Robyn, accompanied me and again we had a great time. After the scan, which all seemed to run smoothly. We went to Harrods and looked around the chocolate room (there’s a theme here!) and then went to TGI Fridays in Leicester Square. I’d never been to TGI Friday’s but it was really nice! We shared chicken fajita nachos for starters and I had a Jack Daniel’s burger for main which was really juicy and yummy. It was another really fun day, I’m really lucky with the friends I’ve got!

I was recently¬†offered a job down at a local sweet¬†shop (so much for laying off the chocolate!) and considering I’ll be able to sit down and talk to customers quite a lot, it seems pretty perfect. I’ve got an introduction tomorrow so hopefully it will go well. Watch this space!

So I think that brings you up to date for now. For my next appointment at the hospital I should be getting back my results so I will try to give you another update then!

My Superdry Bag

So it’s been another very busy couple of weeks. I’ve completed Cycle 5 which seemed to go quite well (touch wood!) which means I’ve only got one cycle left! Woooooo!!

On Saturday 16th May my Netball club held an event for the Teenage Cancer Trust. It was great to see everyone and their families there. We had a raffle and a cake sale and lots of netball games and we managed to raise £400 which was fantastic! A massive thank you to everyone who organised it and who came!

So recently I’ve taken on a bit of a project. Well something has to keep me busy during treatment! So back when I was diagnosed with the lung tumour I wrote to the company Superdry. When I’m on chemo I have a backpack which I’m sure I’ve talked about before. It’s horrible and massive and blue and has NHS¬†written all over it and it’s just urghhhh (not that I’m complaining or anything!).¬†They put my fluids that I need when I’m on chemo into this backpack and I get to walk around London with it before going back to the hospital hotel. Basically it means I don’t have to stay on the ward whilst having chemo!

Anyway I wrote to Superdry to ask if they’d create me a new bag. Ok, so I played the cancer card a little (but in a classy way!) and they replied! I sent off some photos of the bag and some dimensions and within a couple of months they had designed me a bag and sent it to me! I absolutely love it. The style suits me down to the ground and after trying it out for my last cycle, it works perfectly! The nurses were also really impressed with it. So much so that one of them mentioned it to Teenage Cancer Trust at their monthly meeting.

On Thursday I was lucky enough to be invited up to the Superdry shop in Regent Street to have a ‘VIP shopping experience’. They gave me ¬£100 to shop with in store and I got to use their VIP lounge and had a very lovely shopping assistant help me pick out some clothes I wanted. It was a fantastic experience and I got to show them the bag and exactly how I use it.

After that I had a event at the hospital for the¬†Teenage Cancer Trust (it was a very busy day!)¬†in which I had been asked to do some networking and then do a speech with one of the nurses about her experiences working with young adults and the TCT. It was a great success and because I had the backpack with me, we also got to show it off a little which attracted quite a lot of attention! So watch this space…

I’m so grateful to Superdry for all they’ve done, for even just responding to my email. It’s really helped me out and put a smile on my face. It’s also made me the envy of all of my cancer buddies!

This is completely off subject but I am the first catering student to be signed off this year and to have completed all of my work! I just thought I’d brag about that too..

So one more cycle left.. and then they day after I get home, IT’S MY BIRTHDAAAAAY!!¬†I haven’t¬†planned anything¬†and I¬†probably won’t be¬†up to anything but it’s still my Birthday! It’s also Father’s day and Race for Life…

Anyway, I will let you know how that all goes and hopefully the next couple of weeks will be as exciting as these last few were!

Superdry bag

My first Michelin Starred Menu!

Well after the last post and the incredible night we had raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust I didn’t think much would be able to top that – but the past few weeks have been great!

On Monday 27th April I was asked to go back to my old school and give a speech about the Teenage Cancer Trust and how they’ve helped me. I’m an ambassador for the Teenage Cancer Trust now and it’s all¬†I ever tell anyone about!¬†We’ve even suggested that I get a badge,¬†‘Emily Mackay, Ambassador’ haha! Anyway,¬†I was really nervous (because¬†I just love making¬†speeches!) but it went ok. I spoke to the year 9s, 10s and 11s and after throwing in a few jokes like ‘Do you know the amount of money I spend on shampoo?!’ I think I had their attention! It was¬†lovely to go back and see that even after I’d left the school they wanted to give me so much support which really meant a lot!

I went up for my admin day for chemo on Wednesday 6th May and I had an appointment with one of the oncologists who had results of my latest CT Scan. It looks like the chemo is doing what it’s meant to be doing – I can’t really ask for more! The tumour is calcifying over which is what happens to a tumour when it is treated with chemotherapy and then hopefully a calcium shell will form over it completely and it will just die! Sorry to get all technical!

So Cycle 4 ran pretty smoothly from Thursday 7th to Saturday 9th and I was home by Saturday evening.

Since then I’ve just been relaxing and getting to college as much as I can.

This Friday, Dad and I were lucky enough to go up to London and meet with Angela Hartnett again. I don’t know if you remember but a good family friend wrote to her assistant this time last year and I was able to go and meet Angela along with my Dad and two friends last summer. She always said get back in touch when you’re feeling better we’ll meet up again, so a few months ago I did and we set up a meeting for Friday.

We went to Angela’s Michelin Starred restaurant, Murano, in Mayfair and met her at about 10.30. We had a great chat and she gave me some really valuable advice about what would be best to do in the near future, with balancing treatment and College/work. It really cleared my mind and made me realise what I want to do and hopefully (with a bit of help from her and her¬†contacts) I can do that! After the meeting Angela asked if Dad and I would like to come back to lunch and quite honestly, how could we refuse?

We arrived for lunch at 12 and after some champagne (thank you Angela!) we started with Italian breads and hams, olives and olive oil. It was probably the best bread I’d ever eaten so that¬†gave¬†us an idea of what the meal was going to be like! The Head waiter had asked if we would like to choose from the menu or if we would like him to choose for us, both dad and I said we’d prefer him to choose!

For starter I had Quail with morels, hazelnuts, a cream reduction and pecorino cheese melted on top. dad had a ceviche of scallops with parma ham , peas and orange.

Murano 2 Murano 1

For the next course I had sweetbreads (Which I was a little nervous about but it was actually really nice!) with an apple compote and dad had a crab ravioli in tomato water with broad beans.

Murano 3 Murano 5

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better the main course came. Dad and I had the same. Cote de beouf¬†with a spinach and mushroom b√©chamel, new potatoes and watercress. The beef was cooked perfectly that you probably could’ve used a spoon to cut it, it was so soft and pink! It was also served at the table by one of the waitresses which really added to the theatre of the meal and just made it that bit better.

Murano 4 Murano 7

After that we each had a little tiramisu which was so light and sweet, it was really perfect!

Murano 8

For dessert I had the chocolate brownie with caramel sauce, chocolate crème and chocolate sorbet Рthere was so much chocolate on that plate but it was fantastic! Dad had a panna cotta with poppy seed tuille crumbs and a raspberry sorbet. We were also treated to another dessert, a passion fruit curd creme with a passion fruit foam, vanilla ice cream and caramel popcorn.

Murano 9 Murano 10 Murano 6

All of the desserts were fabulous and a perfect way to end the meal. Dad and I definitely needed a long walk after that!

It was a spectacular day and I’m¬†very thankful to Angela for giving us her time and letting us experience such great food and service!

Now I know what I’ve got to aim for with my food!

The Magnificent Seven

I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last post, but I am a local celebrity now so there’s only so much I can do ūüėČ

On 02/10/14 Mum and I were on a programme called ‘Saints and Scroungers’ on BBC1. I think we were both dreading watching it to be honest, however I don’t think it was that bad! Even if my¬†Dad did say I have a nose like my Grandad! I had¬†to speak about my experiences and the¬†great work that Clic Sargent do, and they showed lots of old photos of me and photos of my Picc line being cleaned and of the nurses taking bloods! Mum was aksed various questions about the charity and what they’ve done for us.¬†We’ve had lots of good feedback from it which is also nice to hear, and I hope we’ve managed to raise more awareness of Clic Sargent and the fantastic work it does.

College has been really good, on Monday I was lucky enough to go on a trip with one of my friends who also does catering and one of our Chef Tutors.¬†We were going to Yorkshire for a Chef’s event raising money for a charity¬†dedicated to helping¬†children fight cancer called ‘Candle lighters’.¬†We left college at 8.30 am¬†and after a long drive we got to The Devonshire Arms¬†Hotel in Skipton, North Yorkshire at 2.00 pm. It was a gorgeous hotel, with a fantastic view and green for miles! We were lucky enough to work with Steve Smith, from Freemasons in Wiswell, Lancashire. He’s been ranked number 1 in the 2015’s Good Food Guide’s Top 50 UK Pubs, so definitely worth a visit!! Him and his team¬†were great Chefs and I found it really encouraging watching them work and the precision they used.

Our dish was third on the menu of seven. It consisted of Heritage potatoes cooked in ham knuckle stock, a crispy hen’s egg, foraged mushrooms, mushroom ketchup and ‘blood soup’. Don’t worry it wasn’t actually blood but it really looked like it! It was a beetroot juice that was served warm and gave a¬†good kick¬†after all of the rich food!

I found the trip¬†really inspiring, seeing the seven great Chef’s work and asking them lots of questions about their dishes. It was really good to see how they think about food and why certain things are presented the way they are! It was also really cool meeting the other students helping the other Chefs. I¬†then got to see Mark again from Dingley Dell Pork Farm, he played a big role along with a great Chef called Murray¬†in raising an amazing ¬£5000 for the charity.¬†Although it was a long way away, it was definitely worth the trip! We stayed at the hotel over night and got back to college on Tuesday at 4pm.

Yorkshire photo 1 Yorkshire photo 2 Yorkshire photo 3

I was at the oncologists in London on Wednesday. I had a chest x-ray and a general check up and I’m glad to say everything looks ok *Touch wood*. My next appointment is in December I believe.

I’ve got quite a lot of exciting stuff coming up in the pipeline, like a trip to Ireland in Half Term and in November a trip to Nottingham.

Every year Teenage Cancer Trust holds a conference called ‘Find your sense of Tumour’ (I know, great title!) and this year I’m lucky enough to go (hopefully)! It’s going to be over four days at Centre Parks in Sherwood Forrest, Nottingham. It’s an event for young adults aged 18-24 to help them meet other people who are going through similar things and to conquer it together. I’m really looking to it, but it will be weird being away from home for four days. I’ll keep you updated on that!

Dad’s recently been trying to impress people by making Oysters Rockefella. I’d never heard of¬†it before but I’ve got to say it’s pretty yum!

Oysters Rockefella:

Ingredients:

  • 12 Oysters
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 can of beer
  • Water
  • 75g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves (1 chopped and¬†1 squashed)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 200g bacon lardons
  • 200g grated cheddar
  • 100g chopped spinach
  • Small pot of single cream
  • Sprinkling of breadcrumbs

Method:

  1. Wash the oysters and put them in a saucepan, add the squashed garlic, peppercorns, can of beer and water to cover the oysters. Bring to the boil, boil for 1 minute then drain and leave to cool.
  2. Gently fry the chopped garlic, onion, and lardons in the butter until soft.
  3. Add the spinach until wilted, then the cheese, then add cream.
  4. Separate oyster shells, get rid of the flat shell and leave the oyster in the curved shell.
  5. Spoon the mixture over the half shells but don’t over fill. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and bake for 10 minutes at 180c.

If you have any mixture left it goes great in stuffed mushrooms!

I’m gonna be on TV!

I’ve spent the last two weeks at college and It’s great to be back. We’re preparing for the Broadstairs Food Festival at the moment as (I think I’ve mentioned this) the college run a small business called Viking Bay. Viking Bay sells different pickles and sauces, along with other food products. The Food Festival is along the promenade at Broadstairs and it runs from October 3rd (Friday) – October 5th (Sunday). On Friday and Saturday it’s open from 10am-6pm and on Sunday it’s open from 10am-5pm. There will be loads of weird and wonderful food and drink stalls so¬†go and have a look¬†– and don’t forget to find the Viking Bay stall! Here’s a link if you want more information:

http://www.broadstairsfoodfestival.org.uk/

On Friday at college¬†we made plated desserts of profiteroles.¬†I did mine¬†with a chocolate pastry cream and chocolate sauce and¬†decorated it with orange segments, tempered chocolate mint leaves and praline. I’m not going to lie, I was a little proud of myself with how it turned out! The college restaurant is opening soon so at the moment there’s not too much pressure, but I presume that’s all going to change soon!

Profiteroles

On Thursday I had an appointment with the surgeon to check up on my metal leg, and I’m pleased to say that everything looks normal *touch wood*¬†– or as normal as it could be! I got to take a picture of the X-Ray which is¬†pretty impressive!

Hip

A couple of moths ago I think I wrote about filming for the TV programme ‘Saints and Scroungers’. Well I’ve found out that it’s going to be on BBC 1 at 11am on Thursday¬†2nd October – if anyone’s interested to see my TV debut!! To be honest I’m pretty much dreading watching it but I know it was for a good reason, to raise awareness of the work that Clic Sargent do. Luckily I’ll be at college at that time so I don’t have to sit there in anticipation waiting for it to come on TV!

Back to the cooking… the recipe I’ll be doing is tabbouleh. It’s a bit like couscous, and it’s quite a nice alternative to salad.

Tabbouleh:

Ingredients:

  • 100g bulgur wheat
  • 200ml boiling¬†water
  • 2 tomatoes
  • large bunch of parsley (chopped)
  • Small bunch of mint (chopped)
  • 1 small red onions (finely diced)
  • 2-3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • a few pinches of salt

Method:

  1. Put the bulgur wheat in a bowl and cover with the water. Leave for 20 minutes or until the bulgur wheat soaks up all of the water.
  2. Chop the tomatoes, parsley, mint and onion, mix together and set aside.
  3. Fluff up the bulgur wheat with a fork and mix in the tomato mix.
  4. Add the lemon juice and oil and season to taste.

Normally a tabbouleh has more herbs than bulgur wheat but we prefer it the other way around.

Here comes the sun

So I’m nearing the end of my treatment now, infact I have two more sessions of chemo to go – so hopefully in a few weeks I will be chemo free and getting back to normal life, ready for the Summer!

My Birthday was fantastic! The party was a great success with about 20/25 guests – don’t worry we definitely cooked enough (we are still living off pasta salads!). We had Burgers, salmon, chicken skewers, veg skewers, pasta salads, normal salad, crisps, dips, crudities, samosas, spring rolls, etc! And that we just for the main, for the dessert we had a chocolate fountain with plenty of fruit and cake to dip, brownies and cupcakes. We were also meant to have sausages for the BBQ but Dad’s friend managed to cremate all 30 off them and almost sent the fence up in flames (never mind!).

I was given permission to have one cider by the nurses – so I made it last!

Image

The next day was my actual birthday – and we had all these plans to go shopping and then go for a meal and to the cinema. Well that didn’t quite happen as I don’t think we left the house until about 1ish! We did go clothes shopping but afterwards came home and just ordered an Indian Takeaway! However it was still a great day, I got loads of lovely cards and presents (including some Les Mis tickets from Mum and Dad!!) and I couldn’t have wished for much more for my 18th!

I was up for chemo as usual this week and it was a pretty standard week – however I did have the first instalment of the clinical trial drug on Wednesday and it did seem to move things a lot quicker! In fact it meant I got to get home early on Friday and prepare for my school prom which I was quite excited about! I haven’t seen many people from school since I left for college and of course since I was diagnosed, but they all welcomed me back with open arms which was lovely, all in all it was a great night – even if I was exhausted!

This is a picture of me in my prom dress.

Image

Today we’ve been out in the sun supporting everyone at Race For Life. It was a great atmosphere and it was lovely to see all of the support for Cancer sufferers and survivors! My netball club were there and Mum’s work crew and they all put in a huge effort and raised loads of money! I couldn’t be much prouder of everyone!

Although I wasn’t running, I did have an important job –¬†we had to have all of the picnic food ready for the guys who took part – to show our appreciation! So today’s recipe is one that we made yesterday and took down today – they seemed to go down very well!

Mini Cheese and Bacon muffins

Ingredients:

  • 250g self raising flour
  • 150g strong cheese, like mature Cheddar
  • 1/2 tspn. salt
  • 1/2 tspn. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tspn. ground turmeric (optional)
  • 1 tspn. mustard powder
  • 3 rashers bacon
  • 100ml natural yoghurt
  • 100ml milk
  • 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
  2. Cook the bacon until slightly crispy, drain off the fat, leave to cool for a few minutes and then roughly chop into small chunks.
  3. Mix all of the dry ingredients together.
  4. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, yoghurt¬†and milk together. Make a well in the bowl of the dry ingredients and slowly add the wet ingredients. Don’t over mix and be quite gentle. The mixture should be quite lumpy and falling off the spatula, if it’s still a bit thick add more milk.
  5. Grease a little muffin/cake tin well and fill the holes with the mixture.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

They are great hot as they are really moist, we found that as they cooled they became a little dense but still had a great flavour! I’m sure if you were cooking for vegetarians you could add courgette or tomato instead of bacon, that could also help keep the muffins moist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becoming an adult

I’ve got to admit, it’s been a pretty boring week! The usual chemo schedule from Tuesday to Saturday is starting to become second nature, but I have this week off!

But I’m pretty sure I won’t be spending it relaxing, as it’s my 18th on Saturday!! I’m finally going to be an ‘adult’, although I doubt I will feel much different! I’ve got a big BBQ party planned with quite a lot of guests which hopefully will all go to plan and be a really enjoyable evening (fingers crossed the weather stays good!). But first I need to get through these next few days – and all of the party planning that comes with it!

I’m one of those annoying people that probably enjoys planning a party and all the food for it, more than the actual party itself – so I am probably going way too crazy with the amount of food and drink that we’ve got – but hey, you only become an adult once! I don’t want to give too much away about the food because I want people to be in awe of my fantastic food prep (hehe!) so I think I’ll wait until next week to tell you what we did and how it went. Hopefully I’ll also have some photos, so you can see for yourselves. On my actual Birthday the plan is just Mum, Dad and I, probably going to see a film and getting Nandos or something, which I’ve got to be honest sounds like a pretty perfect day! And then back for chemo on Monday – hopefully fully recovered!!

I’ve also got some more filming coming up for the show ‘Saints and Scroungers’ in which Mum and I talk about the wonderful work CLIC Sargent do. This time they want to film in Kent, so they are coming to our house and bringing the presenter, Matt Allwright, to interview us. Hopefully that will go to plan as well, and I might get another sympathy KFC out of Mum!

I’ve really got a thing for salted caramel and I know a lot of people are using it at the moment, it’s becoming pretty popular! I’m attempting a salted caramel tart this week, and making the pastry. Pretty sure you could say I’m going all out ūüėČ

Chocolate, Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Tart:

Ingredients:

Pastry:

  • 50g hazelnuts
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 140g cold butter, diced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • flour, for dusting

Salted Caramel:

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 25g butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • large pinch sea salt flakes
  • 50g¬†hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Chocolate filling:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 75g butter
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 yolk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa

Method:

  1. Start with the pastry. Whizz the hazelnuts in a food processor until crushed and then add the flour, icing sugar and butter. Whizz until breadcrumbs are formed and then add the egg yolk and 1/2 tbsp. water. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 30 mins.
  2. Heat the oven to 180C and roll out the pastry. Line the pastry tin with the pastry and prick the base of the pastry with a fork. Line the pastry with some baking parchment and fill with baking beans/rice. Bake for 20 mins and then take out the baking parchment and beans/rice and cook for another 5/10 mins. Leave to cool.
  3. Now start the salted caramel. Tip the sugar into a pan adding 1/2 tbsp. water and let the sugar dissolve. Cook until the caramel is an amber colour and then add the butter, cream and golden syrup. Stir the sauce until thick and add the salt. Allow to cool for a little and then spread on the base of the pastry and scatter with the hazelnuts.
  4. For the chocolate filling, start by melting the chocolate and butter. Leave to cool. In another bowl whisk the egg yolk, eggs and caster sugar for about 5 mins, or until pale and fluffy. Fold in the cocoa powder and chocolate/butter mixture. Then pour into the tart case. Transfer the tart onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and cook for 20/25 mins or until the top of the tart has formed a crust.
  5. Enjoy hot with some salted caramel ice cream – if you can find some, I might have bought and eaten all of it!

 

Friday Filming

Four cycles and surgery down. Two cycles to go!! Is it just me or does it sound like it’s gone really quick? Also just 10 more days of the leg brace *fingers crossed* so all in all I’m pretty happy!

So recently I was contacted by the charity CLIC Sargent who have really been an asset to me over the course of my treatment. My CLIC Sargent social worker¬†has always been there whether it’s just for a chat or if it’s helping me apply for the correct benefits. I really do owe them a lot! So when they asked me to participate in a TV programme promoting the charity I was really excited to be a part of it! The programme is called ‘Saints and Scroungers’, presented by Matt Allwright for the BBC. Basically each episode follows a few different stories of people who have had different experiences with the benefits system. So the ‘Scroungers’ are the people who – from what I’ve been told – try to cheat the system, where as the ‘Saints’ are the people who get the correct benefits and, in my case, were given help from charities like CLIC Sargent.

I was part of the Saint side (obviously, because I’m a saint¬†mwahaha)!

So on Friday I spent most of the day being filmed up in London going to various chemo appointments and having my bloods taken! They interviewed me on everything from what medication I took, to my diagnosis and treatment and of course, what CLIC Sargent do for me and how they help me. They also filmed Mum and spoke to us together¬†about the charity and our experiences of treatment, which I seriously can’t fault! At the end they filmed Mum and I talking about my passion for cooking, the blog and us chopping a variety of vegetables! I’m sure the veg. chopping will make really exciting TV!

It was a long day, we started filming around 11am and didn’t stop until about 7pm, but Mum bought me a massive KFC dinner so it was all worth it! I know I’ve mentioned some of the weird cravings I get whilst on chemo but at the moment it is definitely Chicken and KFC!

I’ll keep you updated for when the programme will be on TV and you can actually see who I am! I’m thinking it will be around August – September, but I’ll keep you posted!

Another one of my cravings is Nachos and cheese – mmmm, I just have to think about it and I’m practically dribbling! However I have realised that although I’m well stocked up on nachos, THERE IS NO SALSA! EVERYONE PANIC!¬†So I’m going to make my own and that will be today’s recipe!

Salsa:

Ingredients:

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 white onion
  • Bunch of coriander
  • 1 red chilli
  • A good squeeze of Lime juice
  • A dash of White wine vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Finely chop all of the ingredients (apart from the lime, vinegar and salt – you might struggle with that!). I prefer the salsa still a bit chunky but feel free to just put it in a food processor so it’s more of a paste if you’d prefer that. Add more chilli to make it hotter if you wish, but I’m a bit of a wimp, so just a little is fine for me!
  2. Add the lime juice and white wine vinegar. Once it’s right to your taste add the salt and again,¬†season to taste.
  3. Serve with piping hot nachos and cheese.