Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day - Nice Matters

Well, I'd like to start by wishing everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day. This is big of me, I think, as I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day. This is because I am single, you see. I feel like the whole day is designed to torture us singletons who have to journey home on the tube sandwiched between lucky ladies smugly holding their oversized bouquets of flowers. Not that I'm bitter, you understand (!!) Of course, on the occasions that I have been in a relationship on the 14th February, I have thought totally differently and throughly enjoyed the journey home with my bunch of flowers (although I still maintain that spontaneous romance is much more... romantic). To show you that I don't really bear a grudge, I've even made a heart-shaped chocolate mousse to mark the occasion. I'll be posting about the chocolate mousse at a later date so watch this space.

So far Valentine's Day has gone according to the usual plan - the post has arrived and I have received my usual three cards. One from my Mother who has cunningly tried to disguise her hand writing. The Isle of Wight postmark slightly gives it away though. The next is from a dear friend whose name I won't mention, but whose dog has featured on the pages of this blog. Again there is the cunningly disguised writing (that is all too easy to spot) and the card is homemade. It is so sweet and lovely and homemade that it could only be from her. Finally, another elaborate disguise with swirly writing from another friend that could have been a mystery had she not posted the card at the same moment as a thank you letter - same post mark, same time. Still, I feel touched and lucky to have such sweet and caring friends and family. You know who you are and I thank you! Who need men, huh?! I have no doubt that my own elaborate attempts and handwriting disguising will also have failed miserably!

Anyway, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, I wanted to tell you how thrilled I was to be awarded the 'Nice Matters' blog award by one of my very favourite bloggers - Rosie from 'Rosie bakes a 'peace' of cake'. Rosie spends her days baking the most mouthwatering creations - if you haven't visited her blog yet, you are definately missing out. You really are in for a freshly-baked treat. Thank you Rosie for this award - I feel very honoured to receive it.

I get to pass this award onto a few fellow bloggers. There are so many I could nominate for different reasons and Rosie has already passed it on to many of my favourites. I've managed to narrow it down though and have chosen bloggers who really take the time and effort to engage and interact with their readers...

Wendy of A Wee Bit of Cooking. Her posts always make me laugh and she cooks food that I really want to eat. She also has a very gorgeous-looking dog featured in her latest post which is almost as droolworthy as her food.

Julia from A Slice of Cherry Pie because she has set up and maintains a great food forum on her blog and also the UK Food Bloggers Association . Two great initiatives uniting the UK food blogging community.

David Hall from Book the Cook. I'm guessing that the floral logo may not quite be his thing, but I am full of admiration of his dedication to British produce and teaching children about eating well.

Fred and Ginger of Dinner Diary. Great pictures and delicious-looking food that I actually want to cook.

To thank Rosie for bestowing this award, I thought I should bake something to 'share' with her. I chose some simple plain biscuits that can be whizzed up at a moment's notice with ingredients you probably already have in the cupboard. You can either eat them warm, straight from the oven when they are soft a slighly squidgy, or keep them in an airtight container for a few days. They will harden up but are just perfect for dunking in a cup of tea for 'elevenses' because homemade cookies are better every time.

Storecupboard cookies

Makes approx 24

Ingredients -

Basic dough mixture...

5oz butter

4oz caster sugar (I used golden caster sugar)

8oz self-raising flour

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla essence


chopped up dark, milk or white chocolate

raisins or sultanas


crystillised ginger

Anything else you can think of, really...!

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C and grease a baking sheet. Cream butter and sugar together until light in colour. Mix in the egg.

2. Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder and fold into the mixture (you can do all of this in a food processor).

3. Add vanilla essence and your chosen flavourings (I added chopped up chocolate to one half and raisins to the other half)

4. Take heaped teaspoons of mixture, roll into balls and flatten on baking sheet, leaving space for cookies to expand.

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.


Wendy said...

Aw, thank you Antonia. I'm touched. :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

As long as we have our friends and family on Valentine's Day we are truly loved :D

Joanna said...

Congratulations ... and with friends like yours, one day the right man is bound to come along, when you're least expecting him ... so maybe not today ;)


Rosie said...

I am thrilled you have passed the award on to well deserving bloggers! Again Antonia congratulations on your award too!!

Thank you also for your very kind words, I am SO very touched by them! :D

Wishing you a very Happy Valentines Day!

I would like to present you on this Valentines Day a Red Rose

Rosie x

Anonymous said...

Happy Valentines Day, Antonia! Love your cookies and you have some really nice friends. Don't you love homemade cards? Congrats on your Nice award as well :)

LisaRene said...

Hello Antonia,

I was looking around your blog a bit more and am impressed with your donation to Menu for Hope. What a phenomenal prize!

How wonderful that you have a career in something you are passionate about.

I have "Tagged" you. If you wish to participate, please go to my blog for the rules.

Abitofafoodie said...

Wendy - you are very welcome! It is well deserved - I always enjoy reading your blog.

Val - you are absolutely right. Family and friends are so important! I am very lucky.

Joanna - Thank you. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Rosie - thank you and you are welcome. Happy Valentine's Day to you too and thank you for the red rose!

Maryann - I love anything homemade! My favourite cards are always ones made by my little nephews and nieces, all sticky from wayward glue.

Lisarene - thank you - I shall jump right over to take a look. I am indeed fortunate to have a job I enjoy - it makes getting up in the morning so much easier!

David Hall said...

Aaaah, Antonia, thak you so much! I'm genuinely touched. And hey, just cos I'm a big tough Geordie doesn't mean I don't like flowers! Thanks again

David x

Pixie said...

Congrats on a well deserved award! Valentine's can be a vicious day- i've been there!

Nic said...

I enjoyed reading this post, really made me laugh!
Your cookies have all of my favourite flavours, delicious!

Julia said...

Antonia thank you so much! Like everyone else, I really am touched - this means so much to me and I'm so pleased you like my blog and the association. x