Saturday, October 2, 2010

LiveSTRONG With A Taste of Yellow 2010 - Heart Series - Custard Cream Hearts

LiveSTRONG Day 2010 is Saturday, 2 October 2010. This day coincides with the anniversary of the cyclist Lance Armstrong's cancer diagnosis, and is a day for raising awareness of and funds for the fight against cancer.

Barbara of Winos and Foodies, a cancer survivor herself, hosts LiveSTRONG With A Taste of Yellow each year to coincide with LiveSTRONG Day to raise awareness of the fight against cancer in the foodie community. This year, for LiveSTRONG With a Taste of Yellow, Barbara has asked us to take a photograph featuring yellow food, together with a heart.

I have participated in this event before, but this year, for the first time, it's personal. My wonderful, strong, determined mother, who had once seemed immortal to me, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in April. In some respects, she was lucky, because they found it early as a consequence of routine tests that she was undergoing due to an unrelated health scare about 3 years ago. They operated to remove her tumour, and her surgeon is confident that it has all been removed. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy, which is understandably hard on her, but she is bearing up well. I am very, very proud of her.

When I heard Mum's diagnosis, my mind was paralysed. I was unable to make meaningful decisions for a number of weeks, which was complicated by the fact that I was in the process of altering my working and living arrangements. I am lucky in that I have some very supportive friends who were able to get me through that time. However, I have stopped taking my mother for granted. Sure, we still have our "moments", but I realise that our time together is precious, whether it be 1 year or 50 years, and that I should make the most of it.

Our "puppy" was also diagnosed with cancer in July. He had an aggressive mast cell tumour that is common in dogs of a certain age. Despite criticism from some of her co-workers for "wasting" money on a dog, Mum was determined that he be operated on, and since his tumour was removed, he has gone from strength to strength. He's a gorgeous fellow, full of personality:

Neither of them are out of the woods - once that cold hand has touched your life, you can never be sure that it has gone forever. However, I choose to think positively, and I am delighted with their progress so far.

For Barbara's event, I made Nigella Lawson's Custard Cream Hearts from Feast, pictured at the top of this post. I have wanted to make them forever, but never quite got around to it. However, these biscuits are tailor-made for LiveSTRONG With a Taste of Yellow - Heart series, in that they and their filling are yellow, and they are heart-shaped. If you don't have access to Feast, the recipe is also available here. I substituted the shortening for more butter, but otherwise followed the recipe. The finished biscuits are delicious, but I am not sure that I like them more than store-bought custard creams - each has their own virtues.

My custard cream hearts are dedicated to my mother and Fred the foxie, who are very dear to my heart.

Thanks to Barbara for once again hosting this event, which is so important for raising awareness of the fight against cancer. Barbara will be posting the roundup from LiveSTRONG With a Taste of Yellow - Heart series over the next week or so - be sure to check her blog for the roundup.


natalia said...

Ciao my dear, I'm glad to hear your mom is getting better and wish her all the best as I do to the lucky black and white fellow ! The fight against cancer is a very tough one we really have to be stronger than he is ! Send you my love

Barbara said...

I love custard creams.

Hugs to your Mum and to your little dog.

Thanks so much for giving me your heart today.

Anonymous said...

What lovely heart-shaped cakes! So glad to hear that your mom and Fred are doing well. It's a good reminder to all of us not to take anyone for granted. And, pets are family members too!

Barbara Bakes said...

Yellow hearts are the perfect LiveSTRONG treat. Best wishes for your mom and sweet doggy.

Johanna GGG said...

so sorry to hear about your mum - and am glad she has a chance to spend more time with you - I am sure it will be very precious

The Breakfast Lover said...

Cute cookies!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I hope your mum and dog are feeling better. I'm glad that they're progressing well :)

Nutmeg Nanny said...

I'm sorry to hear about your mom and puppy but happy to hear that they are doing better :)

Conor @ Hold the Beef said...

Lovely photo, and for such a great cause that is touching so many of us.

Wishing your Mum the absolute best, and your little puppy too.

Rookie Qookie said...

Endearing write-up...Best Wishes.

Rookie Qookie