Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Speculaas Induced Memories

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

I am currently sitting at my kitchen table working on my laptop and being easily distracted by Facebook and photographs from last night’s Yelp event. I have just made myself a cup of coffee and am eating a speculaas biscuit that was hand couriered from The Netherlands by Sir Pubert Gladstone when he last visited his Dad.

Speculaas biscuits

Speculaas biscuits – Photo from

Despite the uniquely spiced flavours of this Dutch speciality, all I can think about when I eat speculaas are summer holidays in Perth when I was a kid. Every day mum would take my brother, his friend, Alan, and me to North Cottesloe beach for a swim. After an hour or so of catching waves on our boogie boards or floating on our backs in the flat water, we would run back to our towels and Mum would give us speculaas biscuits. It would taste of sun-warmed spice, sea salt and sand. After scoffing one or two we would race back for more wave action, squealing a little as our bodies readjusted to the water temperature.

North Cottesloe beach

North Cottesloe beach – photo by Al Black on Flickr

Midday would approach and we would brush the sand from our feet and sit on the hot car seats, the seat belts scolding our bare skin. On the way home, mum would stop at the bakery in Claremont for poppyseed rolls and jam doughnuts. As we waited in the car, Ben, Alan and I would compare who had the most sand in their bathers and think about what video we wanted to watch that afternoon.

It is amazing what a flavour can spark in your memory bank. This week I was fortunate enough to be given a piece of homemade Princess Cake. The making of the cake was inspired by The Great British Bakeoff but for me, Princess Cake means family gatherings at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Out of date juice boxes, teal coloured floral plates, cake forks and the celebration of one of my grandparents’ birthdays. Green marzipan domes will always remind me of this, and while Princess Cake was never my favourite (I’m not a huge fan of soggy sponge and cream), spending time with my family has always been something I have enjoyed. So while they may all be living on the other side of the world, as I ate the green marzipan I felt like my grandma and grandpa and the Miss Maud’s bakery were just next door.


Princess Cake

Mary Berry’s Princess Cake

Crete, Glorious Crete

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

I’m feeling a bit ‘bler’ at the moment, largely due to the fact that my three-week holiday is about to come to an end. Sure, I’m going to be flying back to Paris which is hardly the end of the world, but it was nice to escape the craziness of that city for a little while. We’ve spent three weeks travelling between three quiet, calm and generally relaxing places – a fishing village in Holland, a city full of old people in Germany, and a beachside/mountainside/resort town in Crete.

Crete is always a highlight – no where in the world wows me with its landscapes as much as this island. From powerful, impressive gorges and cliffs to oceans the colour that you only thought appeared in high-definition movies. In between you come across scraggy rocks with tufts of spiky grey-green plants and then lush forests with waterfalls and bright flowers. Considering they had snow here in winter, Crete seems to be where all possible landscapes and weather conditions join.

We have to catch a plane first thing tomorrow morning so we are spending the night in Heraklion, the capital city of Crete. We’re avoiding spending too much time there as it is hectic, hot and full of tourists. I think we’re leaving at a good time though – the European tourists are starting to arrive in full swing, ready to drink cocktails and get their summer tan. Time to head back to Paris where everyone is leaving for their holidays at the beach. Plus I have a job interview on Tuesday morning so I have to get back and face reality. Let’s just say the idea of talking about how good a writer I am in French is somewhat daunting. I figure if everyone reading this crosses all of their fingers and toes then that should be enough crossed digits to get me through. Thanks.


Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Greetings friends! I have returned from my adventures to the southern lands of Western Australia and the ye olde wood-milling town of Pemberton. A great weekend was had. For those of you interested, you can see my photos on my flickr site. You can even watch me catch the world’s largest trout. For those of you less interested, stay tuned because I’m sure to write about Sparky on this blog very soon.

Time For a Holiday

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

While it feels like Christmas was just yesterday, Easter is upon us already. Today is the day when poor Jesus was hung on a cross and as a result we get to eat hot cross buns and fish. Yum! Saturday is the waiting day where we all feel bad for Jesus and then Sunday is when the Easter Bunny found Jesus in a cave and helped him escape. Here in Western Australia we love our public holidays and so we make up a religious holiday called “Easter Monday” – clearly the day that Jesus settled in to life with his Dad. That’s something to celebrate. The day that I was uncertain of but keep seeing advertised on a sign outside Christ Church in Claremont is Maundy Thursday. Some googling was required to find out the meaning of this and it is the day that Jesus and his apostles sat down and had a big meal. Now if there is any day to celebrate, it is that one. The rule could be that you have to sit and eat food ALL DAY. No one will have time to work because we’ll be too busy eating. The supermarkets and food suppliers would LOVE IT. Imagine the range of Maundy foods they could produce! Fairy floss to represent Jesus’s beard. Giant chicken legs that you have to eat with your hands. The last supper scene cast in chocolate. The options are endless. Plus who wouldn’t want to celebrate Maundy Thursday when it has such a great name!

I conducted a dictionary search for the word “Maundy” and came up with nothing apart from its connection to the great day. However, “maunder” is a verb meaning “to talk in a rambling manner”. This does make me wonder about the conversation that was had at that table back in Jesus’s time and clearly the food was good, the wine was even better.

I would like to apologise if I have offended anyone with my somewhat blasphemous talk about Jesus. I may not be a religious person but I do think Jesus was a good bloke and the source of some very good jokes. And this song: