Elyse writes at Life Without Lemons, a fresh faced blog with the subtitle: "A life without lemons is like swimming in the nude- you can do it but it just feels wrong!". Iknowright? I just love it. On a tangent, I wish that I skinny dipped more often. Elyse is charming, and her family is beautiful. Plus, wait till you read about what her secret talent is. My readers are such bad-asses. Welcome Elyse!
Name: Elyse Chatterton
Occupation: Full Time Domestic Goddess, Mother and Lego Picker Upper
Dream occupation: I am a Master Butcher and once my little monsters have flown the coup I will return to
my true calling once again, but perhaps my dream occupation would be to teach children to cook in schools, it’s where they should be taught the basics and we so often fail them before they even get started in the big wide world.
Age: Is it bad that I had to count it out based on the year? Anyway I am 31 and blame not knowing on the gin.
What was your earliest memory about baking? My Mum used to sell homemade cakes on a market stall and she would bake them at home. She would make chocolate éclairs and the chocolate would drip off the sides and stick to the work surface. After the éclairs were packed up I would climb onto my high chair and use a knife to hack off the remaining chocolate and happily devour it, whilst getting most of it on my face of course!
Howd’ja get started baking? The ladies in my Mum’s side of the family are all Domestic Goddesses who will always have a tin of something baked and delicious at all times, just in case 20 unexpected visitors arrive. I have baked alongside my Mum for as long as I can remember and we have some pretty wicked family recipes too.
When you picture “a baker” what do you see? I see my Nan stood in front of the Aga mixed with a touch of Nigella Lawson. That combo of killer curves and your finger swiping the leftover chocolate mix from the bottom of the baking bowl.
What qualities or skills does it take to be a baker? I hate to be cliché but patience and the ability to reign in your wild tendencies in the kitchen. Experimentation may be ok in the bedroom but not in a bakers kitchen! Just like science experiments if you don’t add the right amount of what is needed your cake with be crap- end of! If you must experiment get some coloured icing and some glitter to bling up the finished product.
What was the biggest baking FAIL you ever had? When we moved from the UK to Canada in 2011 I was a little lost sheep in a big bad world of strange ingredients. For starters butter melted differently and I had to adapt many a trusted recipe but my biggest fail would be with my oven. I cranked it up to 180 as you do in the UK and an hour later the cake still looked raw and was only slightly warm??? The lesson here is read the bloody instructions! Farenheight and Celsius people! 180 in the UK is 360 here- Oh, I get it now!
How do you feel about Martha Stewart? Never met her but from my limited exposure to the lady I can only assume she is trying to take over the World- is there anything she does not do?
Tell me something random that most people don't already know:
I can ride a Wonky Bike! Bet you have no idea what one of those is? It’s a bike that when you turn the handle bars one way the wheel turns the other way. Fairgrounds usually have them and they challenge you to ride them in return for money if you can get them from point A to point B. I always win as I can ride one just as well as a normal bike. I spent a whole summer injuring myself learning to ride one we made. By the end of the summer I had cracked it. I returned home and on the first morning of school I set off on my normal bike only to ride it into the wall. I then spent the next few weeks re-learning to ride a normal bike- luckily now I can do both.
If you had to be an ingredient in a recipe, what would you be?
I would love to say some exotic, luxurious delight but I am going to say an egg. I don’t like to be the star of the show but I am always there holding it all together.
Will you share your all time favorite recipe with us? Granny Makinson’s Sugar Cakes are the crown jewels of my family’s recipe collection. Granny Makinson was my Great Grandmother and this recipe has been passed along the generations. They are simple to make and simply delicious!
1lb (450g) plain flour
12oz (335g) butter
4oz (115g) sugar
1 tsp caraway seeds
1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and rub the mixture until it all comes together
2. Roll out until its about 1 cm thick. Cut into rounds.
3. Bake in a slow oven - approximately 140 C/280 F for approximately 40-50 minutes. The secret to a good sugar cake is keeping the biscuit as pale as possible.
4 Sprinkle with caster sugar and cool on a wire rack.
5. Store in an airtight tin and should you be able to resist they will keep for weeks!
Elyse, will you come visit me so we can drink gin and tonics and lick the icing off eclairs?