Tag Archives: Teenage Cancer Trust

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!!

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! 😉 ).

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 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!!

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.

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.

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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.

Teenage Cancer Trust Dinner: Before the big day

First of all I wanted to say how pleased I am that Great British Menu is back! Our family have always been big fans of the programme as we find some of the dishes that are made are just incredible and inspiring. One of my favourite Chef’s is Daniel Clifford and he is putting the scores on the doors this week. The only thing is I wish he was cooking this year, some of the dishes he has previously made seem to be so inspired and intriguing that I wish I had taste-o-vivion and I could eat it all up. He has previously cooked with some of the students at our college and watching him and his team work was just great!

Anyway,on to the Teenage Cancer Trust Night!

On Friday 25th May (9 days away!) My college is holding a charity fundraising dinner. Organised by my tutors (special shout out to Chef Oliver), all of the proceeds that will be raised will go to Teenage Cancer Trust. A charity that have really helped me since I was diagnosed. There are around 80-90 guests coming for the 7 course meal. The tickets all practically sold within a week, thanks to the Chef’s fantastic menu and spreading the word. I literally can’t wait for the night.. However I have been asked to make a speech which could be interesting.. But I won’t give too many spoilers away just yet! I’ll make you wait until my next post to let you know how it all went, and I’m sure I will go into way too much detail!

One thing I’ll let you in on is the menu (sorry I can’t resist!):

Student food Canapés: Chorizo sausage rolls, mini jacket potatoes and mini burgers.

Tomato Tastes: Tomatoes, charred pepper and basil terrine, cured ham crisp, Goat’s curd, black olives and tomato jam.

Huss, lentils and smoked bacon: Pan fried huss with home smoked bacon and puy lentils.

Granita: Kentish Cider.

Pork and pork: Slow roasted belly, milk poached loin, crackling, pommes Anna, greens, carrot puree.

Rhubarb, apple and custard: Rhubarb brùle tart and spiced apple cake.

Coffee and Petit fours: My chocolate orange brownies, salted caramel macaroons and chocolates.

All in all I think you’ll agree a pretty good looking menu!! So my next post will be the outcome of the night, let’s hope it’s a success!

Today’s recipe is a coffee and hazelnut cake that I made recently for my Dad’s birthday as he is a coffee addict!
It’s a real flavoursome and moist cake that would go down well at a posh party or a slow Sunday evening.

Coffee and hazelnut cake:

Ingredients:
Cake:
– 225g butter
– 60g chopped hazelnuts
– 225g self raising flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 225g muscovado sugar (I used dark muscovado because I think it gives a richer flavour but light muscovado sugar could give a lighter sponge. It’s up to you – maybe half and half?)
– 4 eggs
– 2 tbls milk
– 25g strong coffee
Icing:
– 500g Icing sugar
– 250g butter
– 25g strong coffee

Method:
1) Set the oven to 180c. Line and grease two cake sandwich tins.
2) Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl and leave to the side. Cream together the butter and sugar in a different bowl for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
3) Slowly add the eggs and then the flour and baking powder. Then add the coffee, milk and hazelnuts.
4) Divide the mixture between the two tins and cook for 20-25 minutes or until you can put a skewer through the cake and it comes out clean. Leave to cool.
5) Whilst the cake is cooling make the butter cream. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the coffee (As much or as little as you want, depending if you want a strong coffee flavour or not. If you add more coffee, add more sugar so the mixture doesn’t get too runny) and keep beating. Put in the fridge until the cake is cooled and then spread between the sponges and on top.
6) Decorate with some chocolate coffee beans or hazelnuts. I dipped hazelnuts in caramel and let them set,then I arranged them in a circle on top.
Enjoy!