Monday, October 18

Guest blog for Amelie's House...First Anniversary!

I'm excited and nervous! I'm going to post a blog for Amelie's House and I know it's got to be good!
As it's a foodie blog that she does, I thought that it might be quite interesting to look at our family history of ,
  "The Importance of being Earnest about Celebration"!

Let's start at the very beginning. This is my mother presiding over tea in the garden in Belfast with the Scottish silver teapot.

This is Aunt Helen sipping tea from china cups in the garden in Belfast!

These two woman taught me all that I know about baking...well apart from the first year domestic science lessons where I learnt how to wash lettuce and stir porridge [as if I hadn't done that a lot at home!]

Of course all of this started way before she of the "Amelie's House" fame was born.
Nana Mary and Great Aunt Helen were the forerunners in the family celebration lark. Having Scottish blood, they were the creme de la creme of shortbread bakers and victoria sponges. In fact it is true that as far back as the 11thC. there was a  baker mentioned in the maternal geneology. Honestly!
When I was six or seven, Mary held a prayer meeting in the drawing room at home. I was there each month without fail. What a godly child I hear you cry.....noooo........ the supper she prepared was to die for. Was I going to miss that? I think not! So I waited through it all until at the end, out came little sandwiches, meltingly good scones with Ulster butter and home made jam, fruit cake,almond slices, melting moments, gipsy creams, german biscuits, coconut haystacks, meringues and victoria sponge. I knew that ,without a doubt, all the prayers came for the same reason. The supper. It was obvious even to my young mind. I did my duty and passed the plates around the waiting women. I hope that the prayers realised what I was up to and prayed a little prayer for me!
So you see I learnt from an early age the joys of yumminess and a godly life!
The thing about food is that it's really not much fun to be on your own, so people came to our table to share in it's abundance. Maiden aunts and elderly neighbours as well as my teenage friends.
It wasn't only Mary's side of the family who were the foodie people. No, Aunt Cis dad's sister, produced bottled fruits and exotic chutneys and offered them in exquisite sandwiches placed on silver trays with Irish lace clothes. To be invited into the pantry to view the cupboard with the regimented rows of jars with such succulent produce, was like an invitation to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party.
I've had such fun looking through all of the old family photos to find those days of celebrations. Birthdays, weddings, Easter, Christmas, picnics, barbeques and the mad parties we had just for an excuse to feast. Not that we needed much of an excuse! We had Murder Mystery Parties and when my neighbour came to one of them she couldn't believe how much we were in to the whole thing, food and dressing up.We had Star Trek parties and the daughter invented wonderful Trekkie food to go with our crazy outfits. One of the best was a Cajan party with mad hats and delicious southern states food.

But I thought that you might like to see the early Amelie's House baker in action. Yes? Well here she is beating up a storm with a wooden spoon.

Now food should be lovingly prepared and cooked, but that is not the end of the equation, not by a long chalk! Like any art it then must be presented in all it's glory. On china plates, in secret boxes,on  tables groaning under the weight of food surrounded by multicoloured cushions to rest on and enhance the whole theatrical celebration.

Table laden with christmas fare.

Baskets overflowing with picnic goodies.

So winter to summer and back again
In savoury and sweet
We will entertain.
With glass raised up high
A toast we will make.
To shortbread and scone
But especially to


  1. Mouth-wateringly wonderful!!! Really enjoyed reading that!x

  2. Lovely post - lovely photographs, nice reminiscing (spelling?), however, as I have to lose weight for my health's sake CAKE as a word, let alone as an entity, is strictly forbidden in our house. Shall now go and wash my mouth out after saying it!!

  3. I know how you feel ....i just admire it nowadays from afar ...hers are so pretty to look at , so that's o.k.

  4. Enjoyed the photographs and the atmosphere conjured by the blog.

  5. my daughter has really taken on the mantle of the Scottish bakers, and is making quite a name for herself as she combines her design and illustration skills with cake!!

  6. What a gorgeous collection of photos! :)

  7. thankyou Val for your encouragement and for visiting the post. We have had foodie fun over the years and there's more to come I'm sure.

  8. It's hard to find knowledgeable people on this
    topic, however, you sound like you know what you're talking
    about! Thanks

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