Tag Archives: Cooking

A f*ck it attitude, a feast and a fantatsic fundraiser

I’m so sorry that it’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything! It’s been a very busy few weeks/ months! So where to start…

Ok maybe I should just get the worst over and done with… so the last I think I told you about treatment was that I had finished radiotherapy for my head and I was going to have a head MRI just to see that everything had gone to plan. I’m pleased to report that (touch wood) that all came back ok and it seems the radiotherapy is working it’s little magic ion/radon (I really have no idea what particle it is) backside off! So that’s a bit of a relief! However… and I know you were probably waiting for that bit because I am me after all… I also had a routine chest X-ray.

I’d kind of been struggling at college since the beginning of April, I was just feeling quite tired, coughing a lot and I was really quite breathless! Just getting to and from the train station was tiring me out (I did suggest to my parents that I should get a Segway but you can imagine how that went down!). Sorry, getting off topic. So after an X-ray up in London I always have my oncologist appointment with Dr Strauss and she is fantastic. She’s always been straight with my family and myself about treatment, cancer, side effects, etc. and that’s what we’ve always wanted. She’s been my oncologist from the very start and I couldn’t have hoped for a better Doctor!

So the X-ray, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I’d had a few problems but to be honest I thought it was probably just a chest infection! However, that wasn’t the case. We sat down in Dr Strauss’ room and she immediately asked me how my chest was feeling. I explained to her what was going on and she didn’t look surprised at all. She then listened to my chest and I sat back down in the chair. She said there’s not really an easy way to tell you all of this but the bottom of your left lung has collapsed (the lower left lung is where the tumour is, in which I had to have the chemo for and radio for). She then went on to say that there was sign of tumour growth on the left side and also on the right side. And that the lower left side was blocked from a tumour. Well that explained a lot… and all this time I thought I had a cough not a collapsed lung!

Ok, think you’ll agree, not great news. Dad and I were both a little stunned. Dr Strauss said radiotherapy was out of the question however there was one chemo left that we can use but to be honest ‘it’s no miracle worker’ and she said she would be more worried to give it to me in the thought that it might make me weaker and give me more chance of infection then actually do anything for the tumours.

So I think we pretty much decided then and there between the three of us that chemo wasn’t worth it. Dr Strauss gave me all of the necessary paperwork to look over in case I changed my mind and she said come back next week, we’ll do some CT scans and discuss any other possibilities.

So that’s what we did, over the week, as a family we discussed the option of chemo and we put a lot of thought into it! Although at the end of the day, it was my decision. But you know what, I didn’t feel qualified! I know it’s my lungs and my life but I really was pretty 50% / 50% for a while! How do you make a decision like this at 19?!

So we went back the next week and the CT scans confirmed everything that Dr Strauss had said. We decided on no chemo and I was supplied with a double bag of medication – yes double bagged because there was that much! They even asked me for ID and to sign some statement!! But it’s ok, I didn’t have to pay 10p for my bags (sorry, thought I’d try to lighten the mood with that one!). So yeaaaahhh… I have loads of medications and I still have appointments up in London with Dr Strauss every 3 weeks or so, just to check in but other than that I’m not on any treatment for my lungs.

I know it’s not a nice subject but I’ve always been honest with you guys! I haven’t been given a time or anything – Dr Strauss literally said ‘how long is a piece of string’, which completely makes sense, No-one knows what can happen! We are in contact with the local Hospice and we’ve had a few conversations as a family up there which I’m sure you can kind of imagine the stuff we’ve spoken about.

And, you know what, I’m ok with discussing it all, I’m not going to curl into a ball and pretend it’s not happening, what’s the point in that? To be honest the thought of having to go through chemo for a third time was a little terrifying. And yes, I am happy with this decision, I know there’s going to be good days and bad days but I have so many good friends and family surrounding me that I feel pretty ready to take this on. I’ve been to college a few times and I’ve started just doing things I want to do, which quite honestly is eating loads of food, have fun days out with friends and family and just enjoying my life! How many people get the opportunity to just do whatever they want?! Whether I’m ill or not I’m gonna grab onto that firmly with both hands!

Anyway… I always was a strong believer of getting the worst bit over and done with first! Kind of like eating all of your peas before you eat the nice stuff on your plate for dinner. Sorry to any pea lovers out there!

Right, I WENT TO THE FAT DUCK! And it was bloody amazing! I went with my friend Kirstie, her Dad and his Girlfriend and I think we all had an incredible time. The restaurant it’s self was actually pretty hard to find. It’s in Bray, in Berkshire and it didn’t really have a sign or anything, just a woman standing outside what looked like a pub in a Victorian dress! We followed her in and stood in a mirrored room for a minute or so and then we were taken through to the dining room.

We started our meal with a small liquid nitrogen meringue, flavoured to a cocktail – I had Pina Colada. It was just like cold, pina colada air in your mouth, crazy! We then went onto a beetroot macaroon with a horseradish filling, which again was so light but the flavour came bursting through!

 

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The Macaroon

 

Next was a dish of a smoked salmon royale with a pea consommé and an artichoke sorbet. That was followed by a soup, this one was a real eye opener to me! It was a rabbit and mushroom soup that was served in a little clear teacup. The left half of the soup was cold and the right half hot, however, they both had the exact same consistency and flavour! Not going to lie, I was pretty mind blown!

Next on the list was a box of cereal… so I always remember my Nan and Grandad buying these little variety boxes of like 8 different cereals and you’d always eat coco pops first and cornflakes were always left last! So this was a similar idea but with completely new ‘cereals’. The cereals were flavoured as tomato, bacon, black pudding and the milk poured on top almost solidified to enhance that kind of salty, greasy fry up kind of texture – ok, I’ve made that sound disgusting but it was actually really good!

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Our cereals with our toy to build!

Our next adventure was sound of the sea! The waitresses brought out a huge sea shell for each of us with headphones in it playing ocean noises. And then a postcard was brought out to me, now beforehand Kirstie had been sent some questions through from the Fat Duck and one of them was what is your favourite childhood memory. I lived in Cyprus with my Mum, Dad and Brother from the age of 5 -9 and I said that’s where all my best childhood memories are. So on this postcard it had a picture of Cyprus and on the back it was addressed to me and said ‘Childhood in Cyprus’. So I was pretty in awe of that!

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Anyway, the dishes…the first dish had a sea foam with pickled herring, pickled octopus and samphire, and it was definitely fishy! The next were three little ice creams! The first a celery and watermelon rocket lolly, the second a smoked salmon, avocado and horseradish twister lolly and the third, a crab ’99’! Next on our seafood stop was a jellied crab sitting in a rock pool like plate. The waitresses poured over a crab consommé to melt the jellied crab and reveal some caviar and flaked crab!

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These are the ice lollies.

We then moved onto a forest theme, the first dish was a mushroom and truffle dish with lots of different textures but predominantly these flavours – now not being a mushroom lover this didn’t really hit the spot for me but the presentation and work that had gone into it was incredible! We then had the ‘Mock turtle soup’. This came in a clear teapot in which we had to dunk golden tea bags into a clear beef consommé which we then poured over what looked like a quail’s egg (actually an artichoke jelly) with some pickled vegetables and some smoked ham pieces. This was a fantastic dish and the beef consommé had such a rich flavour! Then a tiny toasted egg sandwich was served.

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Next we were given our ‘menus’. The starter was a cuttlefish cannelloni with textures off peas, the main was venison, which was so succulent it was almost melt in the mouth! The dessert was a selection of textures of dessert wines and grapes, I really enjoyed this! The textures of cold sorbet and a biscuit crumb with a caramel shard was perfect! Next we were served 5 little whisky jellies which varied from strength, well I ate them all so I think I might be a new whisky convert!

The light above us then changed to a night-light colour, to show we were reaching the end of our meal. We were given fluffy spoons that smelt like talcum powder and the dessert was served after we all had a malted milk meringue. The dessert was a malted milk crumb with meringues, a caramel filled marshmallow and a goat’s cheese sorbet and it was delightful!!

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Here is our dessert.

The last course was called ‘Kid in a sweet shop’ which was fantastic, a tiny little Doll’s House/ sweet shop was wheeled out and opened up to reveal lots of little drawers. So like I said before we had been asked a few questions and one of them was what is your favourite fruity flavour: Strawberry, Raspberry, Apricot or Blackberry. I said strawberry and was served 4 little strawberry sweets, some you could even eat the wrappers from! They were all lovely!!

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We had such a fantastic evening and even got to look in the kitchens at the end! We didn’t get home until about 1.30 am but I think it was worth it!

On Friday 22nd April we had our annual Teenage Cancer Trust Dinner! It’s always such a great night with friends and family and this year we determined to go bigger and better!! We managed to get the most amount of guests we ever had and this year we had some really generous donations of raffle prizes and auction prizes. I think we were all willing to really push it this year!!

I was in the pastry kitchen this year but I did sneak off for some peeps of what was going on in the main kitchen and the restaurant a few times – I’d decided I wanted to be a bit of a photographer, well that was my excuse and I was sticking to it!! We were really highly supported this year and with some new ideas like the ‘photo booth’ and Teenage Cancer Trust coloured pick ‘n’ mix sweets on the table, I think our guests were suitably wowed by the evening! With many saying it was the best menu and dinner that we had held!!

I think I enjoyed it most this year with many of my friends and my Boyfriend, Will’s friends being there too, it really was a fun night! I did a video this year instead of a speech which I think really took the pressure off! Also I was worried if I did a speech I would just cough all the way through!!

We managed to raise just under £5500 which is the most we’ve ever managed! This means over the past 3 years we’ve managed £15000!! I couldn’t be more thankful to all of the Chef’s, students and other fantastic people who helped out, and of course everyone who came to support us! The meal tends to sell out really quickly so this year I had some friends ask if there was a way they could donate to Teenage Cancer Trust so I have set up a Just Giving Page… feel free to take a look! Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated!

https://www.justgiving.com/Emstoasttoteenagecancertrust?utm_medium=email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20160506_70371

Here are some photos from the evening:

So that is me for know, I’m sure you’ve had enough of me prattling on! I’ve already started the Bucket List but I think I’ll save that for my next post, hopefully I’ll have done some more by then too!

Over and out! For now!!

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The Dirty Dozen

On Sunday 27th September I was invited up to an event by Mark from Dingley Dell. I’ve spoken about Mark from Dingley Dell before, just over a year ago my family, a few friends and I were invited up to his pig farm to have a look around. We had an absolutely fantastic day and in the evening he introduced us to his family and cooked a lovely meal for us.

Anyway I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the day, I knew that it was a BBQ event, all the dishes would be using Dingley Dell pork and that some of the money raised would be for Teenage Cancer Trust so of course I was going! After speaking to Chef Allsworth and Eden (a lovely girl who also does catering at college) we were raring to go. It was a bit of an early morning, well getting up at 7am on a Sunday in our family is pretty much un heard of (needless to say we’re not church go-ers) but we were all in high spirits! We arrived at the kitchen in London at about 10 am. There were lots of students from lots of other colleges around and after getting changed we got straight to work on veg. prep. with Murray, a chef who had put a lot of effort into the event and was great fun to work with!

We then packed up and moved all of our prep to the venue where the event was being held, which was about 10 minutes away. It was in the garden of this fabulous pub called the leather bottle and the atmosphere was already great.

We set up alongside some lovely girls from a college in Cambridge, Jenny and Gemma. Jenny’s blog post about the event is HERE.

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We had a great day watching some top chef’s such as Mark Poynton, Matt Gillan and Steve Smith. We helped out on Murray’s dish which was a haggis filled naan bread, with a raw salad, pepper and tomato sauce, a green apple sauce and BBQ’d pork loin. I tried the naan and I’ve got to say it was fantastic – not that I was bias or anything!! It was also a lot of fun chatting to everyone who came down to try the pork that had been prepared and raising awareness of Teenage Cancer Trust. I think I fulfilled my ambassador role pretty well if I do say so myself hehe!

At the end of the event Eden and I went to taste some of the dishes that had been cooked throughout the day (I know, very lucky indeed!) and everything I tried was really tasty. All of the Chef’s had done completely different things with the pork and really made the pork shine. It showed me the various ways of cooking pork and using different cuts of a pig which I wouldn’t necessarily go for! It was a very valuable experience and really cool to meet some of the Chefs again!

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Unfortunately I thought I’d leave the worst news to last. I’ve been having a few chest pains recently and after a trip up to London this week it looks like my lung tumour is growing again. At the moment that’s all I can really tell you but it looks like it will be back to treatment again over the next few months. I’ve got another appointment next week so hopefully I’ll know some more then but for know I’m going to have to leave it at that.

Although on the upside I’ve found out I can now get free Costa hot chocolates from the hospital so if that’s not an incentive to go up to the hospital then I don’t know what is! Don’t all rush to come with me to appointments at once now!!

My Mum and Dad are half a century old…

Ok , again I’ve been a lazy blog writer so I apologise! I am still here I promise!!

So I’ll pick up where I left off, probably the most important part of the past 6 weeks: I had my results through from my CT chest scan and my MRI of my pelvis and they were pretty good thankfully! The MRI showed that my pelvic tumour is still stable (touch wood) and the CT showed that my lung tumour had calcified over and it had shrunk a little bit too so I was pretty pleased with that! For now I’ve been signed off and no more appointments until the end of September!

My big project recently has to be complete the decorating of my room! Not happy with ‘princess pink’ painted walls anymore (that’s actually what the paint was called!) I decided that I wanted to get all creative and redecorate. I’ve (Dad has) moved everything around to improve my feng shui because I don’t seem to have the best of luck with things… only joking! But we thought it would be nice to move the room around a bit and try and make it look a bit bigger! I went for a light green/blue on the walls and bought half of Ikea to try to bring it up to speed and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. This is one of my walls which I have turned into a massive collage of basically my life!

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My Collage.

I’ve been working hard at the sweet shop (If you can work hard in a sweet shop?) and I’ve been discovering lots of new sweets that I’d never tried before. Toffee crumble has become the new family favourite with Dad scoffing a large majority of it! I even  managed to do a 30 hour week last week which considering my energy levels I was pretty pleased that I could push myself that much and for it to pay off.

Mum and Dad had a massive party at the beginning of August to celebrate their 50th Birthdays. We had about 80 people come and celebrate with us and it was a really cool time. Dad cooked a huge amount of food – which he still didn’t think was enough even though we had loads left. And I stupidly agreed to do ice cream for the dessert – so after a week full of ice cream and cupcake making I was left with 32 litres of ice cream and 80 cupcakes which I believe all went down very well!

Mum and Dad asked that instead of presents – if people wanted to give anything then they donated money to the Teenage Cancer Trust, we ended up raising over £800!! I was really pleased with that and a huge thank you to everyone who donated and helped made they day really special!

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Dad with his 3 litre bottle of vodka!

We went to Ireland this week with some family friends – Ann and Andy. We went out on Monday 10th and came back on Monday 17th and it was definitely a fun, food filled trip! Throughout the week we drove around northern Ireland taking in all of the sights and it was beautiful and the weather was actually beautiful as well! With one of the attractions being closed due to high temperatures – I’m not sure if 22C counts as high temperatures but hey, it’s Ireland I suppose! We visited a prison on Wednesday called The Crumlin Road Gaol which was really interesting. Our guide explained the history of the prison and some of the stories of the prison such as the executions and break-outs. We were also shown the execution room which was pretty intense and probably not for the faint hearted! I’ve heard that you can have paranormal trips around the prison in the middle of the night which I’d love to try, however I’m not sure if I’d be too much of a wimp or not? I’ll let you decide that one!

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Above is the Prison and some of the sights of Northern Ireland.

We went to lots of pubs and a few restaurants as well. One of my favourites: Cosmo, which has probably most foods you can think of and everything I tried was really good! I don’t remember the last time I ate that much! We also had a lovely meal on the Sunday before we left at a local restaurant to Dad called ‘The Parson’s nose’. I had roast beef and it was fantastic, the meat had a great colour and great marbling of fat throughout it – it was a lovely way to finish our trip!

The flight on the way out was really quick and easy, however the flight on the way back was quite hectic – that might have been my fault… Now I always set the alarms off when I’m scanned on the way through the airport because of my bionic leg and on explaining what was wrong with me the person checking me didn’t seem to believe me. It didn’t help that my bag also set off the alarms. Apparently I had a large metal item in my bag which they had to search. I’d forgotten I’d taken my bag to college a few times last term so I actually had a dessert spoon in my bag. Trying to explain that to the security guard really wasn’t too fun and joking ‘don’t you carry a spoon everywhere?’ didn’t help… Never mind – we eventually got through and got home in one piece! All in all the food, company and scenery where all spot on. Another great trip in Ireland!

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I think that brings you up to date for now and I will try to make sure my next update isn’t in 6 weeks time!

Teenage Cancer Trust Dinner #2

So I completed chemo number 3 on Saturday 18th April, and I am now half way through!! Wooohoooo! It seemed a bit better this time and I’ve had a few scans which I’ll find out the results of shortly so we can see what’s going on inside!

Anyway, other than that it’s been very quiet up until Friday night when we had the Teenage Cancer Trust Dinner #2. And that certainly wasn’t quiet!

We had been doing little bits of prep throughout the week for Friday, however the college was holding the Entente Cordiale cookery competition which comes from an agreement made by Britain and France in 1904 and started the countries’ alliance against Germany during the First World War. Four teams will work to produce a two course meal. The teams consist of a British catering student and a catering student from France. The competition was a great success (Even if our team came second!) and I think everyone who participated enjoyed it.

On Friday we were full steam ahead with the prep for the evening with my class in pastry helping for the dessert course. After lunch we cracked on with sorting out the menues, raffle and auction and then started with the food prep. I was mostly on the main and because a lot of the prep had been done throughout the week, we weren’t in much of a rush – which I’ve got to say I was pretty glad about!

The evening kicked off at about 6.30pm with guests slowly arriving.

We started with canapés: chorizo sausage rolls, prawn croquettes, seared tuna with a wasabi mayonnaise, mini smoked salmon bilinis and ‘crab cones’. The sausage rolls were a huge hit from last year, so we made sure to do those again!

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The starter was a coronation chicken dish, one of Chef Mather’s dishes that the guests thoroughly enjoyed. It consisted of a chicken ballontine, mango chutney, curried mayonnaise, marinated saltanas and little poppadum strips.

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Next we had a Kentish cider Granita, made by the pastry students, it looked yummy. In a small glass with a apple crisp.

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The main course was Pork and Prawn. Slow roasted pork belly, with a tiger prawn fried in garlic butter (one that my dad wouldn’t stop talking about and I have a feeling will become a regular in our house soon!), pommes puree, greens and a roast carrot. I believe the main went really well and it was nice to be able to plate up and get that buzz again. We had lots of compliments on the pork which was nice to hear!

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The Dessert (I was lucky enough to sit down and enjoy this myself too!) was a vanilla panna cotta on an orange biscuit with fruit, a raspberry coulis, champagne jelly cubes and a very colourful shard of chocolate. It was a gorgeous plate of food.

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Next up was my speech – and just like last year, I was terrified! I’d tried not to think about it during the day and for service and after a little bit of Dutch courage I did it! I was a bit shaky but it went well and I got a few tears and a few laughs, what else could I ask for?!

After that we finished off with Petit Fours (Vanilla fudge, truffles and my brownies) and coffee.

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We finished the night with the raffle and auction.

So far I think we’ve raised £3500 which is a fantastic amount and I’m really proud of it, especially because this year I was in the kitchen helping out! It was really good to be able to be in the kitchen with all of the Chefs and to be able to help with all of the prep during the day. It’s really meant a lot to me that this time I’ve been able to keep going to college to learn the skills and keep up with my friends. I’m so thankful for the support I’ve received from the college throughout my treatment – I couldn’t have asked for more!

I won’t do a recipe this week just as I feel a little cooked out at the moment and I think I’m still recovering from a particularly late night (or early morning as I should say!) and hopefully this will be enough cooking for you too!

Chocolate, Chocolate and more Chocolate

So we’re now in Easter and it would be a bit of an understatement for me to say I received some chocolate, there is so much here that I could feed a small family for a week with just my chocolate. However I know that I will have demolished it by my next post unless I develop a chocolate intolerance (and even with my luck, I don’t think that’s likely to happen!) – so maybe I’ll get back to you on that one!

On Tuesday 24th March the Teenage Cancer Trust held a Comedy Event at the Royal Albert Hall. Some of the comedians included Frankie Boyle, Noel Fielding and Jon Richardson with Kevin Bridges hosting the night. I went up to see it with my boyfriend, and it was a really good night! It was also really well supported which was great to see. I would’ve taken some photos but my camera ran out of battery (I know, well done Emily!). The Teenage Cancer Trust had hosted different events at the Royal Albert Hall through out the week and as far as I’m aware they all did really well which is great to hear!

Anyway cycle 2 has been a bit more eventful than I would’ve liked. It all started off quite well with our new tradition ‘Pre-chemo Chinese’ and some Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (sometimes I think it’s sad that I think about food this much as well) the night before. On Thursday 26th I went up to UCLH for Cycle 2. Again it ran over three days and I was back home by Saturday night, but this one just seemed a bit more wearing than the last one, but maybe that’s a good thing – maybe that means it’s working! I was pretty knocked out all of last week.

And then on Thursday morning I woke up with quite a painful tight left arm (the one the Picc line is in). At first I didn’t think much of it, I thought I must have slept on it awkwardly or something but then it got worse and turned a bit purple! We ended up going to the local hospital. After a bit of waiting around they said that they wanted to scan my arm, but they had no one around who could scan arms, only people who could scan legs (What do you even say to that?), so then Mum and I drove up to UCLH and I got it scanned up there. It turned out I had a clot in the Picc Line up near my shoulder and the line needed to be taken out.

Taking the Picc Line out was a lot better than last time! It also helped that afterwards I bought a piece of chocolate and salted caramel cake because I felt I deserved it and it did make everything better! I was sent home with 6 weeks worth of blood thinning injections that I’m injecting twice a day, but hey, it could’ve been worse!

It’s been quite relaxed over the Easter weekend, which I think it needed to be after the past few weeks! I did however manage to make a cake (with some help) on Friday which I really liked, another chocolate orange invention I’m afraid – so if you don’t like orange and chocolate together then I’m sorry, I promise I’ll do something different soon!

Orange and dark chocolate cake with a raspberry icing

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 300g raspberries
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 250g margarine

Method:

  1. Set the oven to 180C. Grease and line 2 cake tins. Zest the oranges and chop the chocolate into little pieces.
  2. Beat the butter and caster sugar together. Add the eggs and mix some more. Sift in the flour and add the chopped chocolate and orange zest. Fold the mix together.
  3. Spread the mix evenly between the two tins and bake for 30 minutes, until golden, cooked all the way through and springy to touch. Take the cakes out of the oven and leave to cool.
  4. Start making the icing by mixing the icing sugar and margarine together, add 100g of the raspberries and continue to slowly mix, just so the raspberries are combined into the mix.
  5. Once the cakes are cool spread the icing over both tops, place one cake on top of the other and arrange the rest of the raspberries on top of the cake. Dust with icing sugar.

1 Cycle down, 5 to go!

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A lot has happened over the last 4 weeks! I think when I last posted I was about 4 hours away from getting on a plane to Australia – really strange to think that was just a month ago!

So Australia… wow! I arrived incredibly dazed from a lovely (as you can imagine) 24 hours of flying and aimlessly wandering through airports. Well, to be honest for such a long couple of flights it wasn’t that bad! The planes were always quite full but it wasn’t too cramped, the films were pretty good and the food really wasn’t that bad! On my trip out I had 3 full meals which were all pretty nice and on the flights back I had four meals (two were breakfast which I don’t really understand because they were about 6 hours apart and one was afternoon tea – I don’t know either but it was all good, and I’m never one to turn down cake!).

When I arrived in Perth the heat and humidity hit me straight away, it was 2.30 am and the temperature was about 22C – not to make anyone jealous or anything hehe! My Uncle picked me up, we got to the house and I went to bed and didn’t get up until about 1pm the next day (I know, typical teenager!). The first few days I spent trying to work out why it was light outside but I thought it was midnight, but I figured it out eventually! My Aunt showed me around for the first week and we had a great time exploring Perth and trying out all of the cake and coffee shops we could find! One day we went to a wildlife park and we got to walk through Kangaroo and wallaby enclosures and at the end I got to hold a Koala!

The second weekend my Uncle showed me around, on one of the afternoons we went to a restaurant which was about 30 floors up and revolved really slowly which was incredible! Ok, at first I felt a bit sea sick but when the food came out (which was so good!) my appetite mysteriously returned. I visited Perth city a few times on my own and it was really different from anywhere I’d been. It was like London with all of the tall buildings and shops but like Canterbury because it was quite small.

It was an incredible trip and really amazing to see My Aunt and Uncle and their family again. I had such an amazing time and I’m so glad I got to do it before starting treatment again.

So when I got back (after being met at the airport by my Mum and Dad and a massive balloon!) it was back to business. I got back to college on the Monday (2nd March) and after a day of scans and appointments on the Wednesday I started the chemo on the Thursday. It’s a different chemo from last time because obviously it’s trying to affect a different area and tumour. I need to have 6 cycles, each 3 weeks long and I am going to loose my hair again (so far not yet, but watch this space!).

So I started at 11 am on Thursday and after 1 hour of one chemo and three hours of another quite honestly I felt fine. In fact I felt high! I didn’t think it was too obvious until one of the Doctor’s came over to me and asked who I was and where I was. Apparently that didn’t happen often and my pupils were like pin pricks! Once I was released – which took a while because I wasn’t particularly with it,  we went back to the hospital hotel and I fell asleep. We had to repeat this for two days (although after the first day they decided to slow the chemo down a little because they said as fun as high Emily was, they didn’t really want that again!). I got to go home on Saturday night.

Over the past week I’ve tried to keep up with normal life, I’ve been to college as much as I can and I’m planning to keep doing that. So far (touch wood) this chemo has been better than the last – so I’m just hoping it stays like that for as long as it can! At the moment I feel pretty normal (or as dad would say – as normal as Emily can be!).

I’ve been cooking lots of shortbread recently at college and at home and as you know I love a bit of orange flavoured chocolate so this is one of the latest recipes that I really like!

Chocolate orange shortbread

Ingredients:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 125g softened butter
  • 3 bars (small ones) Terry’s chocolate orange

Method:

  1. Line a small rectangular tin with greaseproof paper and set the oven to 170C.
  2. Chop the Terry’s chocolate orange bars into rough chunks.
  3. Mix the sugar and flour together. Add the butter and the chocolate and mix by hand until the mixture becomes like breadcrumbs that you can mould together.
  4. Put the mix in the tin and using your hands spread it out into the tine. Mould it and pat it down into the corners.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the biscuit is golden. leave to cool for 5 minutes, cut into fingers. Then leave to cool completely.

It’s Christmaaaaasss!

Actually I’m three days late with saying that but anyway…

I hope you’ve all had a fantastic Christmas and you’re looking forward to the New Year.

I started off the day by opening my stocking presents which consisted of maybe the world’s largest amount of chocolate, but I’m not complaining! We then headed off to our local church. It’s a really small church and in previous years our family have been about 50% of the people to actually go to this church on Christmas, so it’s always an interesting visit!

Now this year I’ve been left in charge of the cooking and I was determined to make it special, so I made a 5 course menu (possibly a bit much?) and canapés! It was a load of work but I think it was worth it, I was definitely stuffed after it, and in our family that’s normally a sign of a good Christmas dinner! Here’s the menu:

Canapés:

  • Curried Butternut Squash soup
  • Prawn and chorizo skewers
  • Mini thai fish cakes
  • Pepper risotto
  • Ham and Cheese croquettes (they looked awful but probably one of the tastiest things I’ve ever made!)

We  then opened our presents and that was the best part of the day (as ever!). I think we were all very happy with our gifts. But the funniest ones this year has to have been the calendars. I had bought Dad a calendar this year and I didn’t know that Mum had also bought him a calendar. Then I realised I had bought Mum a calendar too… and so had Dad. Let’s just say if anyone wants a calendar then let me know!

I then got back to cooking and to keep the adults (big kids) entertained I gave them a few gingerbread houses to construct and decorate. Mum had hours of fun, Dad gave up, Nan just laughed and Grandad ate the gingerbread and the decorations. Typical Christmas really.

We then started dinner, the first three courses went well.

  • A ravioli of Mediterranean vegetables with a tomato sauce.
  • Smoked salmon terrine
  • Champagne sorbet

Then  it got a bit more complicated. I knew the main course was a lot to take on but I really wanted to do it! It was:

  • A beef wellington with roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, sprouts with caramelised onions and bacon, creamed leeks, garlic and chive mash and red cabbage with apple and walnuts.

The oven turned it’s self off halfway through cooking the roast potatoes and it took me a long time to realise! After my third time of looking at the oven (yes third!) I found the timer had gone off and the oven wasn’t on anymore. The main course probably came together about an hour late – but we’d already eaten a lot so I think I was doing everyone a favour really by giving them a bit of time before the next course – or that’s what I told them he he!! I thought it still tasted good and the beef still had some pink in it which I was pleased with.

After a walk (and a few Biscotti Bailey’s!) I got the dessert out:

  • A passion fruit curd and red berry meringue roulade with lemon curd ice cream.

All in all I was very impressed with the meal apart from the time delay! It all tasted good and that’s what really mattered. I think half of my family were too drunk to notice the delay anyway!!

This week’s recipe is the roulade that I made for Christmas day, I thought it was going to be hard, but it really wasn’t too bad and it looked pretty good (if I do say so myself!).

Red berry meringue Roulade:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 250g (9oz) caster sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
  • 1tsp cornflour
  • 1tsp white wine vinegar

Filling:

  • 300ml (½pt) double cream
  • 4tbsp lemon curd
  • 150g (5oz) raspberries
  • 225g (8oz) strawberries

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 190°C. Line a swiss roll tin or roasting tin with some greaseproof paper.
  2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks. Gradually whisk in the sugar a little at a time then continue to whisk for a minute or two until thick. Mix the cornflour and vinegar together then fold into the meringue.
  3. Spoon the meringue into the paper lined tin, smooth out with a spatula to make an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes until well risen and just beginning to colour then turn the oven to 160°C and cook for 5 minutes or until just firm and beginning to crack.
  4. Lay out another piece of greaseproof on the work surface and turn the meringue onto that. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Peel off the greaseproof. Whip the cream and gently spread over the meringue, then spread the curd (we used passion fruit but you could use lemon) over that. Cut up some strawberries and raspberries and sprinkle over the curd. Start rolling the meringue up, do it slowly and use the greaseproof paper to help you. Then either cut into slices or present the whole roulade.

Teens Unite

It’s been another very busy couple of weeks on the run up to Christmas, so busy that I haven’t even had time to watch Elf yet!

Two weekends ago I went and got some tattoos! I went to a great little place in Dover to get them done. One in between my shoulder blades which is a deer and two little flags on my right arm. Now I know what you’re thinking, that sounds pretty different and a bit weird but as some of you know I’m a bit obsessive with the band Mumford and Sons. These images are part of their logos, but as one of the flags is the Scottish flag, Dad often says that next I’ll be going around campaigning for Scottish Independence! I didn’t think I would want another one because, to be honest, it did hurt! But I saw a man on Masterchef who had the words ‘Just say Yes Chef’ tattooed on his arm, and I did quite like that, so watch this space haha!

Flags tattoo Dear tattoo

Last weekend on Saturday Mum and I met up with Rose and Susie from Peter’s Place. I know I’ve mentioned them and the charity before and they are still doing some great fundraising events for Young adults in the South East with serious illnesses. It was lovely to see them again.

On Sunday I went to a Christmas party held by the charity Teens Unite. Teens Unite is another fantastic charity who have helped me throughout treatment and after treatment. They hold lots of events for Teens and Young adults who are battling/ have battled cancer to meet each other. It gives us an opportunity to meet people in similar situations and do some really fun things. I got to see some friends who I met at Find Your Sense Of Tumour again and it’s great to keep in contact with them and see how well everyone is getting on.

College has been really busy recently due to the Christmas rush, with lunch time services with as many as 80-90 covers! But I’m still loving it and enjoying being back. We have also been making hampers which Viking Bay (The college’s cooking business) sell over the Christmas period. Let’s just say I have made (and eaten!) too many mince pies to count but it keeps everyone in the festive mood!

This weeks recipe is something that we’ve been making at college a lot over the festive period for the restaurant customers. It’s potted shrimp. Personally I’m not a huge fan but the customers seem to love it! If you like butter then you won’t be disappointed!

Ingredients:

  • 450g Shrimp (Shrimp 1)
  • 125g butter (Butter 1) (You may end up using a bit more of this)
  • Juice of 1 and a half lemons
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 2 tspns Worcestershire sauce
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of maize
  • 50g shrimp (Shrimp 2)
  • 225g butter (Butter 2)
  • handful of parsley
  • 60g butter (Butter 3)
  1. Cut up Butter 3 and leave it in a warm place, so it can warm up, but not melt.
  2. Put all of the spices, the lemon juice, the Worcestershire sauce and Shrimp 2 in a saucepan together, cook until the butter melts and all in combined. Then blend.
  3. Pour the mix into a bowl.
  4.  Blend Butter 3 to make it smooth. Combine with Shrimp 1 and the mix in the bowl. Put into ramekins/ a cling filmed tray. Spread out evenly and chill.
  5. Melt Butter 1 and clarify it (remove all of the white liquid that settles on top of the melted butter. You can do this with a spoon.).
  6. Put the melted Butter 1 in the blender with the bunch of parsley and blend. Pour through a sieve to get rid of any leftover bits of parsley.
  7. Remove the tray/ ramekins from the fridge and pour the Parsley butter over the top. Pour it evenly and so it just covers the shrimp mixture. Return to the fridge.
  8. Once set, serve.

This time one year ago…

I know I say this in practically every post but I am sorry it’s been so long. I have actually been busy this time, I promise!!

I was in an online magazine if you want to take a look (proof I was busy haha!):

http://feweek.co.uk/2014/11/04/teen-who-blogs-about-cancer-battle-returns-to-catering-course/

So two weekends ago Mum, Dad and I went to France for the 100 years memorial of WW1. We went over on Saturday 8th on the Euro tunnel and we discovered that if we use my disabled badge (I’m surprised I get one too!) then we get to go at the front of the queue which is pretty good! We started our visit with a trip to the huge French Supermarket, Carrefour. After buying ‘picnic bits’ (basically loads and loads of food to eat on the journey) we made our way to Menin Gate in Belgium. One of my Great, Great Uncles (Fred) has a memorial there and I find family history so fascinating that for the past year I’ve been saying that I wanted to go and visit the graves for the 100 years memorial. It was incredible seeing the huge amounts of people there to remember those who fought for us and they had laid out paper poppies everywhere. Ok, it wasn’t as good as the poppies that were at the Tower Of London but they still had a huge amount of significance and they looked very special.

We stayed over night in a little French Town called Arras and the next day we set off for Berles-Au-Bois. It’s a really rural town with a few War cemeteries and that is where my other Great, Great Uncle (Jack) is buried. The cemetery where he is must have only 100 graves there so it was pretty personal for us to be there. The whole experience was incredible and I was really glad that we made the effort to do it! We then travelled back to the tunnel where Mum and Dad bought a huge amount of alcohol (now you know where I get it from!) and we headed home.

P1010061  P1010064

P1010073

Excuse the little mark on the screen, I’m not really sure what that is! Above is Fred’s name (Second Lieut. Yeo JFJ) and a picture of Menin Gate with the poppies. Below that, is Jack’s Grave stone.

This weekend I went to my first Find Your Sense Of Tumour conference. It’s held by the Teenage Cancer Trust every year, this year it was at the Center Parks in Nottingham and I was lucky enough to go! It was from Friday 14th until Monday 17th and it was such an amazing experience! We arrived on Friday after a 4 hour coach journey from UCLH and we were all practically asleep before we’d even started! We soon livened up after seeing the chalets we were going to be staying in and then after getting ready we headed to ‘The Venue’ where all of the conferences and dinners were held. After dinner we had a drink, and then another, and then another and we stayed out until the early hours and then head back to our chalets. Stupidly I didn’t think that I had to be up for a conference at 9 in the morning, needless to say we were about 30 minutes late – I blamed it on the leg!

After a full day of hangover and conferences, I had a massage offered by some of the Teenage Cancer Trust nurses we then got ready for another night of partying, which was the best night (and the most drunken night). I thought I felt bad on Saturday morning, well Sunday morning felt like I was back on chemo! I could barely eat half a piece of toast. How I managed to get through another day of conferences is beyond me! After saying all day that I was not going to touch a drop that night, you guessed it, I did! The last night was great, everyone was together and we all had a brilliant time. In the morning we had a cooked breakfast by our UCLH coordinators/nurses (who were absolutely brilliant through-out the trip)and we headed back to London. The whole experience was fantastic, I made some great friends and I want to go back next year (If they’ll let me back in!). Some of it was really deep, but I met some really inspiring people and I wouldn’t have changed any of it!

On Tuesday 18th November it was a year since my diagnosis. To be honest I thought it would be a bigger deal than it was. In fact I didn’t realise until I was writing out a label for some chocolate tart filling at college! But it really made me think how far I’ve come in a year and how much I’ve changed! This time a year ago I was going to college and working, really not doing that much, and now I’ve just been on a (Free!) trip to Center Parks with some incredible people and I’ve had the time of my life. I would have never expected that! I’ve met some incredible chefs, I’ve been given some crazy experiences, some fantastic and maybe some that weren’t so but I think this ‘Cancer experience’ on the whole has made me more confident as a person and made us stronger as a family.

This week’s recipe (as winter is well and truly here!) is a Curried butternut squash soup I made recently. It’s so easy and uses curry powder (a sin in our house) but the flavour, I think, is pretty good!

Curried Butternut squash soup:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Butternut squash
  • 1 litre chicken/veg. stock
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 100ml cream
  • butter for cooking with
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Take the skin off the butternut squash and scoop the seeds out. Chop into small even pieces.
  2. Chop the onion and crush the garlic.
  3. Sweat off the butternut squash, onion and garlic. Add the curry powder and turmeric (For the bright colour) and stir.
  4. Add the stock slowly until it’s all gone, then blitz. Add more stock/water if you’d like it thinner.
  5. Once the soup is blitzed return to the heat in a clean pan and add the cream. Stir well until all mixed in. Try and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Our Tropical Ireland – See what I did there?!

I’ve been on half term over the past few weeks which has been pretty packed full!

Admittedly the first week was pretty boring as I did all of my book work for college (I’m surprised too!) but we’ve been in Ireland over last week, which is a bit more fun! We got the flight out to Belfast on Monday and after unpacking we enjoyed a serious meal out at a nice little Irish pub called ‘The Pheasant’. One thing I’ve noticed is they really like their butter out there. I had a big slab of melting butter on my onion mash – but hey I’m not complaining!

On Tuesday we really did the whole tourist thing. After a trip to the local town for a clothes shop (because I don’t enough clothes!) and fish market we headed off to the Bushmills Whisky Distillery. We had a tour around the factory which was surprisingly interesting and then we got to try some whisky. I went for the honey whisky and I can say without hesitation that Whisky is disgusting and it tastes like nail varnish remover – not that I’ve tried nail varnish remover but I’m pretty sure that’s what it tastes like. Funnily enough Dad was happy to finish mine! We then visited the Giant’s Causeway which was pretty spectacular but as it was a cold and windy day we didn’t stick around for long!

Next we came across the fantastic trees, I know that sounds pretty stupid but they really look like something out of a fairy tale. Whilst we were there we noticed there was a mini bus carrying some people on the ‘Game Of Thrones Tour’. So apparently that forest is pretty famous!

Ireland

Our last stop that day was at a great restaurant in Victoria Square, Belfast called Cosmo. Cosmo is a huge eat as much as you can buffet with all types of cuisine cooked fantastically. And trust me, we took good advantage of the eat as much as you can bit!

On Wednesday we travelled cross-country and saw all of the fantastic views that Ireland has to offer. We then came across a little harbour which had lots of little seals bobbing up and down in it which was pretty fantastic!

Thursday was our last day in Ireland. In the morning we visited ‘The Titanic experience’ which was incredible. If you’re visiting Ireland I’d say it’s well worth a visit. It runs through all of the shipping Yard’s history and covers the Titanic sinking very well. I won’t spoil it for you in case you do go but It’s really got some crazy life like experiences and adventures inside.

We then went to the ‘Dirty Duck’ in Belfast for lunch – where the food is great and the portion sizes, even greater! We got the plane back to England that night.

The next day I was up in London for a health and Wellbeing day in Euston. It was a really useful and informative day and I’m pretty glad I went. In the evening we went out with some friends in Rochester to a lovely little Thai restaurant. It was a fun evening with great company!

Recently I’ve really gotten into courgettes and a recipe I learnt in my first year at college was courgette provencal. When I’m at home I do it a bit more rustically though (because I’m lazy) but it still tastes pretty good. It goes great with a roast or just as a quick side with some pork chops or chicken thighs. It’s really pretty easy!

Courgette Provencal:

Ingredients:

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • some olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

  1. Thinly slice the courgette. Chop the onion and grind the garlic. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half.
  2. Sweat the onion and garlic in olive oil until mostly soft.
  3. Add the slices of courgette and cook for a few minutes or until the courgettes are soft but still have a slight crunch.
  4. Add the cherry tomatoes until they start to soften and some of the juices are released.
  5. Season to taste and serve.