When I was a child, I would often spend the afternoon in the kitchen with my mum and sisters baking. Mum would make currant buns, heavy rich fruit cakes, pasties and fragrant lemon cakes speckle with poppy seeds. In fact my mother was a superb all rounder, she made ginger beer, lemonade and frizzy strawberry cordial and then to top it all she made all our clothes and still worked a full time job. She basically did it all. At the time I didn't think about the mountain of chores my mother went through every day, I just enjoyed being in the cosy, steamy kitchen with my sisters, stirring the cake mixture or kneading dough.
Now I find myself in much the same place as my mum, but without the blessing of a brace of young daughters to stir cake mixtures, roll out pastry and chatter like blackbirds with me in my kitchen. But even alone, I enjoy spending the day in the kitchen baking. In this modern age with all the demands on women to compete in the job market and be all things from mum to journalist to gardener to business woman, there is a simple pleasure from tying on an apron, getting out a mixing bowl and weighting scales, gathering ingredients and baking. The air in the kitchen becomes heavy with the aromas of vanilla pods, lemon rind, cinnamon, ginger, the toffee smell of dark brown refined sugar and you can almost taste the chocolate lingering like a brief memory of a kiss.