Getting my mojo back, the Chelsea Flower Show and banana cupcakes

This Wednesday was the first proper day my husband started feeling like himself again, so we took ourselves to the Chelsea Flower Show to get a bit of sun and perspective back.

It is what it is

Arrrrrrrrrrggghh!

All my best intentions flew out the window after my last post almost 3 weeks ago… I’ve always said April/May has never been kind to me and but this year has really been taking the mick…

My husband has been really ill, and during that time, I’ve lost a bit of my own mojo – it’s difficult finding anything positive to write about when you’re worried about someone you love.

Food, whether that’s cooking or eating, simply hasn’t been a priority. I have been cooking out of necessity more than anything else, and keeping our food simple and nutritious and palatable for the poorly one.

At the moment, I feel like my life has been put in a tumble dryer. I’m going through all the usual motions – going to work, cleaning, washing, cooking, paying bills, balancing accounts, juggling diaries, planning stuff, more washing, more chores etc etc etc – and I know my life is no different from others but I think I’m probably not handling it as well as others possibly are. I am keeping on top of things but only just!

I didn’t realise until I started editing my photos that I seem to have gravitated mainly towards exhibits and displays featuring food…

I feel constantly on the back foot, being tumbled from one activity to the next with very little control over anything that’s happening. Having one’s life partner unwell has really messed with my mind. It has been a turbulent, depressing, tiring and difficult time for us both.

But I finally feel a silver lining returning… my husband is slowly on the mend though his illness may mean many, many more months/years of treatment before he is truly fighting fit again; no matter though, all that counts is that right now he is better.

It helps too that the sun has finally made its appearance after almost two months of dreary grey sky and constant drizzle.

Up until 8am this morning, I still hadn’t decided if I was ready to return my attentions to thebigfatnoodle, but I decided it was time and once I did, it felt ok, it felt really nice.

After these last few weeks, indeed months, of upheaval, it does feel good to put (figuratively) pen to paper again.

This was my favourite exhibit in the pavilion – it was sponsored by Waitrose (my local supermarket) and featured lots of fruit and veg in all of my favourite colours.

And I kid you not, the moment I decided to start writing today’s post, two things happened:

1)     At 11am, I got an email from a new Wiki group project called mycitycuisine.org, who asked if I would let them link my recipe for chicken galantine to their Wiki galantine page,

2)     Then at 1.30pm, I found out that I might be asked to judge the Godalming Food Festival’s baking competition too. I hope I do get invited – that would be awesome!

Whether it’s divine provenance or not, it’s given me a much needed boost of encouragement!

While my husband was ill, I hadn’t been able to progress my original plans to try and set up a stall at this year’s festival so I am over the moon if I can still participate in some shape or form.

That said, I’m also not giving up on my own plans yet. While thebigfatnoodle has been silent, I have also been testing some of my products with our local butcher, fishmonger and greengrocer, and they have loved what I have made (at least that’s what they’ve said); in fact, one of them has already said he’d be happy to make room in his shop so I can start selling some of my sauces there!

So, I am now turning my attention to branding and production. I am working with a friend to design a label and I am still researching the best way to produce my sauces in bigger quantities. I am relying a lot on friends to help and as we all hold busy day jobs, and coupled with my husband’s recent illness, it’s going to take me longer than I thought to get this off the ground.

However, baby steps and all that jazz, right?

There were SO many sculptures on sale (which sadly made Chelsea feel like one big garden centre sale shop) but this one of these fishes frolicking in the grass was one I really liked.

Another display I really loved – strawberries stacked and grown into a strawberry tree

Meantime, here’s the banana cupcake post I promised three weeks ago. I was originally trying to make a banoffee custard frosting to go on them (a Hummingbird Bakery special) but my custard came out lumpy, and the cupcakes actually tasted so lovely on their own that we ate the entire batch without any frosting at all.

In an odd way, choosing this recipe to post now vaguely reflects where my mind is at at the moment…my husband and I will take each day as it comes, and enjoy it for what it is, very much like the unfrosted cupcakes we ate. Anything else we achieve will be an added bonus but shouldn’t detract from simply enjoying what we already have, stresses and all.

Till next time…

Lots of love

Thebigfatnoodle

Simple banana cupcakes – really easy and uncomplicated to make.

Frosting-free banana cupcakes

Makes a generous batch 12-16 cupcakes

100 grams unsalted and softened butter

300 grams castor sugar

250 grams plain flour

1½ tablespoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

250 ml full fat milk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

2 eggs (preferably large)

4 small ripe bananas, peeled and choped

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius.

Fill a muffin tray with large muffin cases.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add your flour, baking powder and salt until well mixed – the texture will be like that of fine breadcrumbs.

In a jug or bowl, whisk your eggs, milk and vanilla essence and add this to your cake mixture until the batter is smooth. Fold in your chopped bananas.

Fill each muffin case two-thirds full and bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes.

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Comments
13 Responses to “Getting my mojo back, the Chelsea Flower Show and banana cupcakes”
  1. I’ve been watching a little of it on television- some seriously pretty gardens this year! So glad he’s starting to feel better – I hope it means you can blog more because we’ve certainly missed you! Really glad you didn’t ice this cupcake – they seriously don’t need it.

  2. Welcome Back Noodle – Glad to hear you other half is feeling better! Have a Beautiful Weekend:)

  3. Michelle says:

    You’ve been missed. Hang in there. And I adore the fishes frolicking in the grass.

  4. ceciliag says:

    Well i must say, noodle, when the chips are down you rise up to meet them. Miserable that hubby is poorly and that the weather was grim the whole time. Excellent that slowly it is all working out. And look at you -your natural enthusiasm for life just keeps bubbling up.. i am sure that this has been an important part in your special mans recovery. Stay on it honey. soon the tumble dryer will pause.. get ready to open the door! c

  5. It sounds like you have a big muddle of stress and excitement, possibilities and responsibilities. I hope your husband’s health improves soon. Good luck in your new ventures.

  6. I send you loads of warm hugs and wish you and your husband everything of the best. may the way forward be filled with positive outcomes for both of you.
    Kind thoughts
    Kate

  7. It’s good to see you back Noodle, it’s sounds like you have a lot on your plate at the moment (th epun wasn’t meant but what the heck it can stay in). Onwards and upwards to you both.

  8. Wow. Your banana cupcakes look golden and delicious!

  9. billpeeler says:

    All the Diamond Jubilee celebrations seem so fun to me over on the other side of the pond. And the Chelsea Flower Show looks very cool! Glad to see you back and glad things are shaping up for you – hope your husband continues to feel better!

  10. Wonderful post. Sometimes it seems we just cannot get to our “blogs” as life gets in the way. I know how you feel and am happy everything is working out for you and hope your husband is doing better. I am jealous of your “Chelsea Flower Show”. I have read about it for years and would love to se it one day. Happy Summer.

  11. Best wishes for Mr Noodle’s continued recovery. And hope that you get that chance to judge the baking competition – think of all the free cake 🙂

  12. Tandy says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your husband! Concentrate on the things that matter 🙂

  13. lulu says:

    Taking each day as it comes is the best you can do as we really have very little control over what happens in our life. Just get up each morning and be grateful for what you do have and expect good from the day. I will be so excited to hear when you get your product line going. Do keep right on moving in that direction.
    Noodle, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your recent comment. Thank you!
    Take good care and you and your hubby will be in my thoughts.

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