Tuesday, 31 December 2013

“Heaven, I’m in heaven ....”

Ivy made our fabulous wedding cake
Christmas always has a tinge of sadness when there’s a well loved family member no longer around to celebrate the festive season. And so it was this year for us, when Grandma Abson’s niece, Ivy, passed away in early December 2013, aged 88.


Ivy followed in our great family tradition of expertise in home cooking. At this time every year, she would bake countless Christmas Cakes for family, friends and neighbours, all liberally laced with brandy. She adopted the family method of ‘letting her hand slip’. But her prowess extended well beyond producing tasty cakes, puddings, pastries and pies, into the realms of Cordon Bleu cookery. She loved to entertain, conjuring up succulent, mouth-watering dishes for our delectation. Ivy never did things by halves either. She followed various courses assiduously to develop her skills and became very proficient in sugar craft cake decorating and design, producing numerous wedding cakes over the years, including ours, with great artistry.
Ivy and Ron’s wedding 1950 
But as well as her culinary expertise, I’ll always remember Ivy for her great sense of fun in everything she did.  She loved dancing and was an ardent  'Strictly' fan, having spent her younger days travelling from her home in Manchester to enjoy the dancing spectacle at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool. Her later years would be spent joining in the entertainments at every opportunity in her sheltered housing complex in Greater Manchester. It hit just the right note when we heard Frank Sinatra singing Dancing Cheek to Cheek'  as we remembered her with much affection at her funeral. So, I’m dedicating this post to Ivy and raising a toast of celebration (a glass of your favourite Chablis) and thanks for her long life. We’ll miss you! I bet you’re baking cakes up there in cake heaven ....
Ivy celebrates Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 2012
And, just a final note to the end of the year, in the grand tradition of home baking, I’m delighted to say that Ivy has passed her skills down the generations onto granddaughter, Rachel, who now also excels in cake making and decorating. Long live home baking! 
Rachel’s cake for Kieran’s 21st birthday 


Happy New Year everyone! Let the baking continue!

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