Flora Shedden »

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Today I turn twenty. 20. The big 2-0. Twenty! I remember turning ten and being so overwhelmed by double digits I cried. Then I went to secondary school the following year and was the worst teenager known to man. I don’t think I fulfilled a single stereotype – except maybe the pale blue eye shadow and terrible navy eye liner flicks I tried for a week aged 13 1/2. Honestly it was like I woke up and overnight had become a fully fledged adult. I have been asked for ID twice in my life – once during my 18th birthday party when I was wearing a massive “legal” badge, and then once in tesco where I was so taken a back I showed them a Waterstones gift voucher. I didn’t party like I was supposed to, instead I brought a cake and tried to make sure everyone had eaten something before drinking; I wrote lists obsessively (mainly for food shopping); had a diary or filofax on me at all times; I carried children around on my hip from the age of eight, firstly my sister Willow, then the various weenies I looked after, cooking for them, playing with them, and putting them to bed, all of which I adored. Role reversal happened to an ever further extent when my mum went travelling around the world last month while I stayed at home working. I went through precisely zero experimental style phases (I was never a goth, emo, hipster, skater girl, and never wore timberlands boots which were painfully trendy circa 2007). I was just completely pants at being cool, casual and “with it”. Essentially my teenage years have been a massive car crash by standard expectation. I happily got on with it, however, and cheerily cooked my way through the last decade listening to radio 4 and 6music (really). And now we are at twenty. Twenty where this sort of stuff is acceptable. Twenty where I will no longer be known as a bit of crap teenager. I am quite excited. So I carry forward my I-make-my-own-birthday-cake tradition to the next decade with this hazelnut, almond and marscepone creation. Even better I get to continue to potter about the kitchen quite delighted that I made it to the other side, and still very much in a state of gleeful shock that food is now my job. Thank you all, and birthday cakes on me!


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  • Eric - Happy Birthday Flora. Thank you for your blog. I am a fan, now living in Australia.ReplyCancel

    • Flora - Thank you! Any exciting Australian recipe you’ve discovered? Its somewhere I would love to go – particularly for the famous coffee scene! Thanks again.ReplyCancel

  • Luke - Hi Flora, hope you had a great Birthday :)

    It’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one who wasn’t a ‘conventional’ teenager, having recently turned 20 myself.

    I love baking and cooking, though I don’t get much of a chance living at University with 5 lads! I love making lemon cake, though I was wondering if you had any suggestions for what I could do with it, as one flavour can sometimes feel like not enough?

    Also, I just wanted to congratulate you on this lovely site, the design is brilliant and I love reading your writing, and seeing the ideas you have for your different recipes. So well done and thank you! :)ReplyCancel

    • Flora - Wow thank you for your lovely words! Lemon Cake is fabby when used in a mock trifle – cut any left over cake into rough cubes, top with fresh fruit like peaches or raspberries and finish with softly whipped vanilla cream and some toasted almond flakes. Its makes for a great pudding when your in a hurry. You could also try following your favourite recipe but used lime or grapefruit juice and zest. Blood oranges would be great too. AND you can add to the batter be it nuts, chocolate, and fresh or frozen fruits (blueberries are lovely with lemon) and bake as standard. Basic sponges really do have endless possibilities! Good Luck!ReplyCancel

  • Abby - Happy birthday! I saw you on the bake-off and you were brilliant! :)ReplyCancel

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