Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Writing to Cook

For a few years now I've dreamed of combining my love of cooking with my love of writing but nothing's happened. This is in spite of the great find - well I think so anyway - of Alison Holst's Marvellous Muffins(NZ's answer to Delia Smith)  at a time in the UK when savoury muffins where almost unheard of, this never happened as a UK market venture (maybe I didn't know the best places to look).

Then I went to a great seminar on cookery writing at the Cheltenham Literature Festival a few years ago. The lady taking the seminar encouraged me and said a had a good writing style for the market. Still nothing.

Then I discovered Bauer Publishing's 'Take a Break: your recipes' and submitted one. In doing so, I discovered that writing down a recipe isn't as easy as you imagine. You may have cooked or baked a dish loads of times yourself and because of that you take so many details of the recipe for granted. However, when writing that same recipe down for others to follow you have to be so specific in your details that I had to rewrite my submission a couple of times. However, it was all worth it in the end. I'm finally a published recipe writer with £25 to show for it. Not a great amount of money but the satisfaction of finally combining my cookery and writing together is the real pleasure + publication by a big publishing company. Thank you God for helping me to realise my dream at last!

You can find their recipes magazines in WH Smith's on the high street for only £1 or go to their website at www.takeabreak.co.uk/my favouriterecipes or follow their facebook page at www.facebook.com/myfavouriterecipes

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Chernobyl Children

I have been very busy recently, not busy writing but doing something equally worthwhile, hosting two young girls from Belaurus. The little red-haired girl at the end of the group - Lenya - and the tall dark-haired girl with the pigtail right in the front of the picture - Yulia.

This seems a very formal photograph taken at the airport but the girls soon became their own little characters. Yulia, most confident and best English speaker from the city of Pinsk and little Lenya, from a village nearby, less confident but collecting every leaf, stone and twig as her treasure like a little squirrel. In the two and a half weeks we had to host the girls we grew fond of them and their little ways even though communication was very difficult - they spoke little English, us little Russian. In addition they were like little Duracell bunnies, constantly on the move, constantly flitting from one activity to another. Combined with the language problems and our rusty experience with children (it's over ten years since ours were the age of ten like these girls) it was a difficult and exhausting time. I felt well outside of my comfort zone and the tricky driving to various activities didn't help. Each day was a challenge but God helped me through by taking each day at a time and giving me a verse which helped me through - Isaiah 41 v 10.

But the experience got me thinking. Should we always stay with the thing we feel comfortable with? or should we dare to launch off into new waters. Hosting these girls may have been challenging but at the end of the day it was extremely rewarding. Knowing that you'd helped to give them a holiday of a lifetime (many come from very poor homes) and helped to detoxify their systems from Chernobyl for just a few weeks is entirely worthwhile and an article is coming out in the local paper tomorrow which I wrote a press release for and got the photographer to come. My writing has helped to promote something worthwhile and at the same time has stretched me as a person taking me beyond my normal comfort zone. We should all go beyond ours I think just once in a while.
www.ccll.org.uk, www.chernobyl-children.org.uk