Cake seventh heaven
And then she saw that there was a light ahead of her; not a few inches away where the back of the wardrobe ought to have been, but a long way off. Something cold and soft was falling on her.
That sentence was the beginning of my journey into Narnia and, as a seven-year old, I was totally spellbound. I revisited many, many times over the years via the Chronicles of Narnia, seeing it through my own eyes then again with my children. Planet Narnia, a book and documentary linking the books to the imagery of the seven heavens gave me a different viewpoint with jovial Jupiter, its cheerful, festive, tranquil and magnanimous astrological attributes embodied by The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (and giving context to the Jupiter movement from Gustav Holst’s The Planet Suite which I adore).
A new chapter
On July 26th 2010 someone visited My Custard Pie and left this comment:
My fingers flew over the keyboard as I dashed off an enthusiastic reply. The same sort of thoughts had been going through my own mind for a while. I returned to Dubai and suggested we meet at BakefestDXB, a ‘tweet-up’ at Wild Peeta (a tweet-up is where people who have only previous communicated via Twitter meet up in reality). Nerves overtook me and I sat outside in the car for about 10 minutes before plucking up the courage before going in to face a room of complete strangers (psychopaths? weirdos? teenagers?!).
I opened the door and went inside. This was my Narnia moment, like entering the wardrobe and discovering another world. For fawns, dwarves, eagles, lions and a lot of snow substitute an eclectic group of generous people energised by Miss I Live in a Frying Pan (previously known as Foodonymph!) and lots of icing. I haven’t looked back since.
To celebrate the anniversary of that fateful comment we plumped for a date after Ramadan and the summer hols to meet up at Tea Junction in Bur Dubai. In just over a year, two food bloggers (eating cake) has grown to a group of almost 70 food bloggers, all based in the United Arab Emirates.
Over that time we’ve set up a private Facebook group called Famished in Arabia and used this to coordinate a series of events. These have ranged from dinner over cheap and not-so-cheap eats, cookery classes, gingerbread decorating, restaurant openings, a food blogger safari, informal photography workshop sessions, visits to the fish market, a baklava factory and a chocolatier, Bakefest DXB 2, cake decorating classes, a chocolate-fest, Come Dine With Me Dubai contests, recipe development competitions and a picnic to name a few.
Our blogs are as varied as the dishes at an international restaurant and we hail from all over the world with India, Sri Lanka, Germany, Australia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Spain, Philippines, Holland, Tanzania, Yemen, United Kingdom, South Africa, USA, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates all represented (and more). Some of us contribute to a collaborative site called TableTalk and we’ve been featured in various publications including The National. And it’s not limited to food only, members have changed career, had babies, been on television, run marathons and have received the moral support of the group. (There’s a list of UAE food bloggers here).
And me? I now think nothing of going to a gathering of complete strangers as long as there is food in common. I wore a shield of confidence at Food Blogger Connect this summer which would rival Peter’s present from Father Christmas. I’ve been inspired, learned so much and been given generous support that I’m exceptionally grateful for. Could it be the magnanimous influence of Jupiter? There’s always cheerfulness and festivity when this group get together and everyone is welcome at our table as long as they blog about food and respect each member.
So for this momentous anniversary, there was only one way to celebrate. No, not with Turkish Delight…with cake of course. Lots of it. I made sticky gingerbread (recipe link on my last post where I ate it for breakfast). The others ranged from shop-bought beauties to gorgeous purple yam cake (and everything in between).
Who knows what we’ll be looking back on and who’ll be sitting round our table this time next year. One things for sure – it’ll be a lot of fun. Thank heaven.