Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Hygge - with a lavender twist

Last year, during chemotherapy, I lost of the habit of baking, which was a shame and a source of sadness. But when anything baked has the consistency of a mouthful of sawdust and a lack of saliva makes one struggle to chew it, then the pleasure simply is not there, is it?

No excuses now, spring has arrived, the pond on the green is filled with frantically fornicating frogs, rooks fly overhead with beaks crammed with twigs and pieces of straw, buds are bursting and my daily walks are punctuated by frequent pauses as I admire the carpet of cowslips and bluebell...

Back to baking, I decided.  

Lavender shortbread is ridiculously easy to make, especially using the recipe from a cookbook that I received when I purchased my first new-fangled, shiny-as-silver, fan oven some, goodness, twenty-five years ago. It's the one cookbook amongst dozens, probably over a hundred, that I possess to which I return when I wish to be reminded how to cook simple basics like rice pudding and pancakes and shortbread.

And it's nice to have a recipe that involves a rolling pin and a papered chopping board because I'm always reminded of my mother's Sunday baking sessions when she would fill tins with a fruit cake for my father, a Victoria sponge, jam-filled and coated with icing sugar for her and jam tarts, fairy cakes and something that never was named and whose flavour varied but that was always delicious. Sometimes she would experiment with her version of fancy French milles feuilles and flapjacks, but mostly she made the regulars and always with the warning, "When they're gone, they're gone" which philosophy was never lost on me.  

And the cutting out. Sometimes too thin so that the resulting shortbread is too crispy.
Sometimes too fat so that the baking biscuits spread alarmingly in the oven and merge to form a large mass that is still delicious but not what was planned, which may be how baking should be, unexpected, unusual, at the mercy of unseen forces, to remind us that we are not always in control and that things do not always go according to plan...

But that most often they do...

The result ...

A cup of herbal tea in a bone china mug that really should be a cup and saucer decorated with lavender flowers....

And lavender shortbread biscuits

Hygge for a sunny spring afternoon when the baker is dreaming of the lavender fields of France.


  1. makes tea and biscuits an occasion xx

    1. Indeed, I am in favour of making even the most mundane thing an occasion :)

  2. What a pretty thing to do. I never quite could get used to lavender as a food flavouring, though I've come across recipes using it with lamb. Glad you're regaining your zest for life and baking though!

    1. Lavender with lamb sounds good! I will check that out.
      Yes, feels indulgent but this year I am focusing on myself :)

  3. I should try baking with lavender, it sounds so romantic! Glad you have the energy to bake and visit frineds, especially recently in France. So happy to have access to your blog again! Be well, Julia!

    1. It is lovely Marja-Leena, makes me think of French fields and healing massages and bubble baths as I bake :)
      I am on sick leave, spending my days living simply and appreciating each moment, and healing in mind and, hopefully, body
      and thank you for your kind comment, you made me smile xxx

  4. Yes, do focus on yourself and treat yourself as well as possible! It is healing and gives hygge to life. Be well!
    I have found, near me, a lovely place called Stewart's Caring Center which offers free things to cancer patients. I get a massage and a Reike treatment every month and two "gentle strength" exercise classes every week. But best of all are the people I have met there who understand because we have shared experiences.

    Ah, French lavender fields! I have never been in one, alas, but was at Norfolk lavender once the day after the bees arrived.


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