Christmas Cookies

MerryChristina here, relaxing with a cookie and a glass of milk after all the seasonal festivities. The day after Boxing Day always feels like a chilling kind of day, when you can just sit down and take it easy. And what better way than with a cookie and some milk/tea/coffee (whatever is your preference)?

AsaI’m sure that many of you bake special treats for Christmas and in our house that’s gingerbread. Or more specifically, Swedish pepparkakor, which are less spicy than their UK counterparts. Every family has their own recipe handed down through the generations, and in my case it’s very special because my great-grandfather owned a bakery. So the cookies I make each year are the same ones he would have sold from 1901 onwards – I love that I’m carrying on that tradition!

Read more

Time for Cake!

CakeChristina here. A friend of mine has her birthday today – happy birthday! – so naturally my thoughts turned to cake! Well, the two usually go together, don’t they? Birthdays are a great excuse for baking (and eating) cake and it wouldn’t be a special day without such a culinary treat, at least not to me. Cake can also cheer us up in these uncertain times, so why not indulge ourselves a litte? It made me wonder though – who first hit on the idea of making cake? Time to dive down a research rabbit hole …



I don’t think anyone really knows where cake baking originated, but the first ones were probably more like bread sweetened with honey. Rather than putting the honey on top of the bread, someone decided to put it inside before baking and liked the result. I’m all for that as I confess I don’t like the taste of honey on its own. Nuts and fruit could have been added to make it sweeter (sugar came much later) as that was all they had. We know the Egyptians made special cakes for various feasts, religious ceremonies or for people to take with them to the afterlife. And then the Romans started adding eggs and butter to their bread dough, as well as honey, which gave them a cake like result. They must have brought these recipes to England when they were in control here, but then they left and the Dark Ages came … well, without cake they must have been dark indeed!

Read more