Nostalgia, Chocolate and Cakes



I am writing a daily blog (Monday to Friday)  on preparing spiritually and physically

to lead a Pilgrimage of 100 miles in September.

for details of the Pilgrimage, click on the dropdown Cotwold Pilgrimage bar at the top of this page 


I have to bake a rich dark fudgy chocolate cake.

Not for me, you understand.  For our annual college reunion.

When we first began to do this each June, it was a black tie affair, usually at a London restaurant.  People had left Cambridge and were working their way up various corporate ladders or into Chambers.

My husband and I were in the church, even then. Some years we just couldn’t afford to go.

Now, we are all retiring, or about to; becoming grandparents; on second or in some cases third marriages.  Life changes. Two took early retirement and were ordained into the Church of England as unpaid assistants.


So much for those heady days as Cambridge students who were going to change the world.

Tomorrow we are gathering once again.

In wellies and waterproofs.

On someone’s organic (naturally) farm. They’ve dropped out  - to make cider and live off the proceeds of former success.

And we are having a bring and share early supper. 5.30pm. Perhaps we all prefer to retire early these days, not drive too late.

Or for several of us, to be bright eyed and bushytailed at the 8am service on Sunday morning.


I have been assigned the chocolate cake. My problem is, which recipe to follow.

Nigella’s “serves 12 or 1 with a broken heart.”   I made that for the youngest daughter years ago after a particular heartbreaking end to a romance. Holidays from Durham University.

Delia’s chocolate truffle torte.  As a family, we enjoyed it for dessert on Christmas Day for years and years – remembering the first year when the shops all sold out of liquid glucose. Christmas in Stamford, Lincolnshire, for twelve years.

Mary Berry’s American Chocolate Wedding Cake.  Three layers of decadence.  I made that for the elder daughter’s wedding, cooking it in my mother-in-law’s kitchen, seven years ago near Bath, for we were living in the States.

Good Housekeeping’s White Chocolate Cake Sensation.  My son’s twenty first birthday at Lumley Castle near Durham. I learnt to temper the chocolate and carve it to make decorations.

And then further back: the Stork Chocolate Cake recipe of my teens – does any one ever use Stork margerine these days? The recipe is copied into my old recipe book, tatty and smeared with  - marg, probably.

I pick up recipe books, flick through ideas – and another recipe drops out.

Vegetable Diet, it says.  Looses 4lbs in two days.

Sublime to the ridiculous. But I remember that diet, too; sometimes it was even just grapes and water for 2 or 3 whole days.

No wonder I was so slim in those far-off days – a stone (14 lbs to the Americans!) lighter than now.  My doctor recently told me off for being so thin in my 30’s and 40’s and suggested that it was a contributing factor to the osteoporosis.

IS that an excuse to indulge?

Back to choosing a chocolate cake recipe.  Time for a change?

A NEW RECIPE.  Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake, made with Maya Gold Chocolate. “If chilled overnight it will be dense, fudgy and wicked.”

Sounds perfect.


The Lord promises,

The former things have passed away.

I make all things new   (Rev 21)

Our God is in the business of new things, of change in order to bring completion and perfection. And that includes you and me.

 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”  And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.  (Rev.21:3-7)