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Hello all

I’m in my element when I’m in the kitchen baking dear friends! Throw in a very cold Brisbane morning and standing next to the warm oven becomes an absolute delight. It was two degrees early this morning!

I was baking a Caramel Mud Cake for Geoff’s 72nd birthday tomorrow whilst listening to opera on classical radio. As Maria Callas’ voice soared on the high notes, my spirit too was soaring. I’m not one to sit and listen endlessly to classical music, but I find good music uplifts me at certain times such as when I am dusting my house, doing computer work or baking as I did today.

0000034706_350 - CopyTherefore, as butter and white chocolate was melting, I was in seventh heaven in my kitchen. In actual fact, I had baked a sultana cake just yesterday at Geoff’s request – without the music accompaniment – but today it seemed too heavy and uninspiring to be worthy of being a celebratory cake. Perhaps the lack of music had more affect on my baking skills than my mind can comprehend?

However, in the light of day, I knew a far more fancy cake was required for the occasion. I will cut up the sultana cake and put it out tomorrow when the family comes.

My love of baking – and cooking generally for that matter – comes out of childhood days spent watching or helping my mother in our large kitchen as she taught us girls to cook. She was brought up in Australia with Lebanese parents and cooking was at the heart of their home. It was always about the food! Mum brought this art into her marriage to my English father. Every Saturday or Sunday – or sometimes both – us girls were required to bake for the week ahead.

I don’t ever recall us grumbling about it either. Amazing really, as I remember grumbling about doing housework! No. It was sheer pleasure to cook. And now, when my eldest granddaughter visits, there is always discussion about what we can bake. Sometimes Alice knows ahead of time and arrives with recipes or a needed ingredient. The tradition continues.

So as my Caramel Mud Cake cooked in the oven, I was sitting out in the sun, thinking about it all. It is a lovely to be outside, it gave me a moment to catch my breath after a busy morning. We are having a simple family gathering for Geoff tomorrow and there will be plenty of things to do before then so I’ll rest while I can. At least, there won’t be a shortage of cakes to put out.

Offers have come in from the family: one will bring a dip, another a chocolate slice. So nice to have support! Then Geoff tells me he thinks a sausage served on bread with tomato sauce is a tad boring and a request has been put in for speciality ancient grain bread rolls! And then this one:

“Oh and that means we’ll need barbecued onions doesn’t it?” says Geoff.

Okay, so it’s not going to be a simple menu after all, I can handle that. When I stop and think about things, I do understand that Geoff doesn’t often expect huge accolades for all the things he does. He is one of those people who just keeps on going, doing what is necessary without expecting praise. However, it is nice for him to be shown appreciation by the family for everything he does and has done in the past.

I can only agree … I will step aside and let Geoff take centre stage for once in his life. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Geoff … and thank you for the music, for you were the one who introduced me to the beautiful voice of Maria Callas in the first place. What a mixed bag of a character you are! You never cease to amaze me …

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