I wanted to tell you a bit about our family. We are a family team - Stephen, Becca and our two young sons, Jamie and Oscar.
Presently, we live in the Kootenays in British Columbia, Canada. It's a beautiful part of the world.
Prior to this, we lived in Yorkshire in the north of England where our families come from. We lived in Ilkley, a small town on edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Being a tourist destination, it was full of lovely little tea shops.
Light and feathery scones, pretty little tea sandwiches and lovely squidgy cakes were easy to come by!
Also, we had a rather fancy tea shop, famed throughout England, right on our doorstep. A trip to Bettys in Ilkley was a family treat. We loved their selection of tasty Yorkshire treats, such as fat rascals and parkin. And we also loved their other sweets, inspired by the owners' Swiss roots.
The counter was full of little fruit tarts and gorgeous petit fours all beautifully decorated. The children in particular missed these treats. Of course, there are lots of tasty cakes here in Canada, but they children yearned the familiar.
And so we began to try to copy some of these delicious things, developing them and working on each recipe until it met or more than met our expectations.
We have so much fun doing this! Long may our baking days continue! Here's cheers to great food and fun company.....
We love afternoon tea! We treasure the space it makes in our day to be together with family and friends and to have fun.
Mostly, we are very informal with our teas. It's tea, cake and family time with a book or a chat - perhaps making plans. Sometimes we pull out the china and have a formal afternoon tea. That's really great fun. We go to town and usually invite friends.
We try weekly to have a poetry tea, as suggested by The Brave Writer author, Julie Bogart. It's a really lovely idea. We set out the best china and then read poetry to each other out loud. Often I will end up reading a book out loud to the children while we drink our tea. It's very relaxed and special.
The main thing about our family is that we all love baking, and it's wonderful to be able to share our interests together.
Here's a bit about us:
Stephen loves cake. Always has, probably always will. To begin with, his passion was at the eating end. Not just cakes - biscuits (cookies), chocolate - anything sweet, really.
Once we married, Stephen was always the one to decide what sweet we would have when people came round to dinner. We found he had a real flair and a knack with desert cooking. Stephen understands why they work, and more importantly, why they don't.
It's always Stephen who rescues dishes that have gone wrong!!
When Stephen and I first met, I was more of a savoury dish girl. Chocolate? Take it or leave it. Strange, I know. I was always the one cooking the main course.
I developed a love of pastry making and this naturally moved into sweet things - lemon tart is an all time favourite.
Now we share. I love that. We've grown together.
When our children were very young, I often used to fall back on baking for something to do if it was raining, or we didn't feel like going out. And we still do.
Jamie (aged 15) loves to bake bread. He also enjoys baking Victoria Sponge cake which he likes to decorate with fondant icing. He has a light touch and makes beautiful scones. He has started to experiment, adding different spices, candied peel and cherries to scones.
His current favourite recipe to bake is chocolate eclairs.
Oscar (aged 11) loves chocolate. He and Jamie often make cupcakes, and they divide the mixture into vanilla for Jamie and always chocolate for Oscar. Oscar can make cupcakes on his own and is very creative with decorating. Oscar also loves to bake bread and to eat any kind of sweet pastry!