Saturday, 15 March 2014


Most people have somewhere to call home, whatever their concept of it is. It can be constantly changing or never changing. It can be two places or three or just one favourite Home Sweet Home.
For me, I have a dilemma! Born in UK and living many years in Australia I get confused. When I head to UK I say I am going 'home' and when I am in the UK I head 'home' to Australia. See my problem?
Right now I am really home sick! I have no idea why but I long to walk in long grass without fear of treading on a snake! I want to see a beech forest in spring with a carpet of bluebells, I want to drink warm beer in a local pub. I want to hear the blackbirds singing, listen to the hundreds of English accents from around the country and watch the TV weather forecast showing the British Isles and the North Sea, instead of the Australia continent. I am desperate to hear Dogger Bank, Fair Isle, Gascon and all the other places in the shipping forecast.

In June I am heading back to the UK for a visit, but it seems such a long time to wait. I am impatient, I am so itching to smell England, itching to get a sense of identity, where I really belong. There is a side to UK that many first time visitors miss. It isn't the Castles, Cathedrals, Palaces and Shakespeare, it's the everyday things you take for granted. So I am going to share a few of my favourite places with you, throw in a few recipes that remind me of home and add in a little bit of nostalgia. I hope it will feel like you are having a holiday too.

  • French was the official language spoken in England for 300 years from 1066 to 1362
  • Oxford University used to have a rule that fore bade students from bringing bows and arrows into class.
  • Windsor Castle is the oldest Royal residence in the world that is still in use. It was built in 1070.
  •  There is nowhere in Britain that is more than 74.5 miles from the sea.
  • Shoelaces were invented in Britain in 1790.
  • Worcestershire Sauce, HP Sauce and the humble sandwich were all invented in England.
That's enough to fry your brains, lets eat!

Victoria Sandwich or Victoria Sponge

This cake was named in honour of Queen Victoria as it was one of her favourite 'teatime' cakes. It is usually spread with jam and cream, but I like mine with strawberries too and I made it just in time for afternoon tea! Nothing can be more English than this - yet another cake! So it must be my last! (For a while anyway)
225g self raising flour
225g unsalted butter
170g caster sugar
4 free range eggs
200g thick cream for whipping
2 tsps vanilla essence
A few tablespoons of milk
Strawberries, hulled and sliced
Icing sugar for decorating

  • Grease and line two cake tins about 20 cms each.
  • Beat sugar and butter really well until light and creamy(should be almost white when you have finished) and add the eggs, a little at a time. 
  • Fold in the flour, keep it as light as possible and add the vanilla. If the mixture seems a little stiff, add a tablespoon or two of milk until you reach a dropping consistency.
  • Fill the prepared cake tins, levelling the tops with a spatula.
  • Cook in a preheated oven 170c degrees for 20 - 25 minutes until brown on the top.
  • Cool in the tins for 5 minutes and then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Spread the base of one with jam, strawberries and whipped cream. Then add the second sponge.
  • Place a couple of strawberries on the top and a dusting of icing sugar, before serving.

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