What started as a time-limited project to get all her recipes posted on-line for family and friends has turned into a noteworthy blog full of wonderfully interesting stories, stunning photographs and recipes full of international flare. In her post marking her 1st blogaversary Ruby made mention of the first time one of her her food photographs made it into Foodbuzz’s Top 9 and how that was a pivotal moment for her and her blog, Tomayto Tomaaahto. Since that first photograph, there have been over 10 occasions where Ruby’s work has been featured in Today’s Top 9. Additionally, her photographs have been featured on Homebuzz and Daily Buzz Moms. The food Ruby prepares for her readers week in and week out are as palate worthy as they are camera worthy. Ruby writes delightful stories as she shares her recipes from around her home in the United Kingdom and from the many places around the globe she has traveled. Her excellent writing skills are also in demand at Honest Cooking where she writes a column titled *A Bite of Britain*. She is also a contributing writer to Vale Life Magazine. Ruby was born in the United States but now resides in Buckinghamshire, UK. Her culinary skills were learned from her Dad and while working at her parent’s Mediterranean Deli when she was attending University in Seattle. Ruby has a young son and daughter and has created a post or two just for them and anyone else who may just be a kid at heart. I’m delighted that Ruby is here today sharing her story and recipe with us. You can follow her on Twitter @rubymoukli
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I found Frosting for the Cause via my blogger friend Lora the Mad Hausfrau, who is a repeat-contributor. Having lost my mother to cancer, I absolutely wanted to be a part of this.
My mom was 47 when she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. My parents sheltered us ‘kids’ from the truth of the diagnosis – they let us believe that she had a chance of survival – but we were later told that the doctor had been brutally honest with her from day one. He told her, point blank, that she ‘would not live to see her next birthday.’ He may have been a bastard to be so blunt, but he was right. She died on March 26th, 1993, just two weeks before she would have turned 48.
After she died I often wondered why she had put herself through the hell of chemo when she knew it wouldn’t save her. And I promised myself that if I ever got such a diagnosis, I would just try to live my remaining days as best I could. But I was young then, and very naïve. And I wasn’t yet a mom.
Fast forward 18 years and now I’m a 41 year-old mother of two. Every year that goes by, as I inch closer to the age my mom was when she died, I grow increasingly afraid. I understand even better the hell my mom must have endured, knowing she was going to leave us, and why she would grab at any chance they gave her to live just a little longer. And I am ever more aware of how very young 47 really is.
I could write a book about my mom –an English ‘rose’ who married an Arab ‘prince’ and ran away with him to live in the desert for 10 years. About how brave and beautiful and funny and loving and generous and strong she was. About the emotional black hole she left behind her, that has repeatedly threatened to pull our family apart. About the day I ran out of a bridal shop in tears because all the other brides-to-be had their moms with them and I was alone. And about the most gut-wrenching pain of all, that literally brought me to my knees: when I had to take my babies to her grave to ‘introduce’ them to her.
One day I will. But not today. Because, sadly, I now need to talk about someone else.
Since signing up to do Frosting for the Cause, I learned that my Aunt Caroline has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Caroline is my ‘young’ aunt – I was a flower girl at her wedding in 1971, having only just learned to walk. She used to dance ballet and is graceful, beautiful and vivacious. She’s a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother, and a whirlwind of activity – always doing things for everyone else, even now.
She started chemo last month and, last week, after her hair starting falling, buzzed her head. She now sports the warrior’s ‘do’ and is ready for a fight. Luckily, although she has an aggressive form of breast cancer, her prognosis is optimistic. She’s got a tough road ahead but we have every hope that she’ll be fine, and we’re all walking it with her, even from ‘across the pond’.
Cake Pops for the Cause
I wanted to bake something special for this post, something that would be new for me. I also wanted it to be something fun, and would put smiles on the faces of the people who receive it. I settled on cake pops because, well just look at them. They’re almost annoyingly happy and peppy – the dessert equivalent of cheerleaders. Perfect.
Little did I know how much work they are. There’s a very good reason most cake pop recipes (including the ‘original’ post from Bakerella, which I followed) suggest you use boxed cake mixes and store-bought frosting: baking the cake is nothing compared to what comes next.
I did bake a cake from scratch, using my BFF Claudia’s recipe for Brazilian ‘Nega Maluka’ chocolate cake. It worked brilliantly, because it’s not overly sweet, is on the dry side (good crumbs) and the recipe makes a double-sized cake. I needed that much because I had 80 cake pops to make. Time to call in reinforcements, for both manual labour and quality control.
It took us two days, from start to finish, and I will most likely never make these again. But the results were fabulously cheerful and I was happy to donate them to the folks at the Florence Nightingale Hospice at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury. I purposefully made enough for the staff as well as the patients, because the work they do is incredible and, although rewarding in many ways, undoubtedly very, very hard. I gave my £25 donation to Cancer Research UK, in the hopes that their work will help fewer people need hospice in future. If you live in the UK, please consider supporting them too. Thank you.
In closing, I’d like to leave you with a dual image, one that represents two faces of cancer. A daisy, my mom’s favourite flower, for remembrance and the famous pink ribbon for awareness and hope.