12 years ago, when I was only 18, I lost my mother to cancer.
When my twitter buddy Hilda (@saffronberry) from the gorgeous Saffron and Blueberry told me she was putting the finishing touches to her post for the Taste of Yellow event, I had to google it because I'd never heard of A Taste of Yellow. The minute I found out what it was all about, I knew I had to contribute somehow, especially as it only takes place once a year, and one of my mother's favourite colours was yellow. Run by the amazing Barbara of Winos and Foodies, herself a cancer survivor, it is a testament to the amazing fighting courage of the human spirit.
My mother was first diagnosed with esophageal cancer which then rapidly metastasised to her lungs, liver and bones. Before I knew it, she was gone. So many questions left unanswered. So many possibilities that were never meant to be, all vanished. But so much love still remains.
The memories of my mother fade with each passing day. Sometimes I spot a woman on the bus or the train that looks almost exactly like her from behind, and I imagine what it would be like if by some miracle, it really was her. Would she recognise me? What would I say? There'd be so much to catch up on, good & bad.
It's funny how I seem to be attracted to people that have lost their mothers too, as if in finding each other, the part that we lost feels strangely whole again. Not in the same way, but similar. It's a strange feeling. But I have to admit, those friends are truly the best. There are no boundaries, nothing we can't tell each other, and many an hour has been spent reminiscing, wondering and imagining what life would have been like had our mothers not left us. Would we even be the same people? Would we know any different?
My mother was a classy lady - such a perfectionist! She instilled in me the qualities I treasure most to this day - to be the best I can be, to appreciate the beauty in life, to always see the positive side of things and in people, to be passionate, to love and allow myself to be loved, and to inspire greatness. But most importantly to celebrate life.
My mother never got a chance to see what I've become in life and I hope that she'd be proud of me, knowing that it was her ethics, morals and love of life that made me the person I am today.
I don't know anyone who has not been touched by cancer, by either knowing someone with it, or knowing someone that knows someone with it. As hard as it seems sometimes and as dark as it can get, we must all stay strong, we must fight for a cure, we must remain hopeful and we must never, ever give up. Life is just too precious and beautiful.
I learned most of my cooking and baking skills from my mother, so for this post, I've created these verrines in celebration of her life and dedicate this post to her. Any similarity to the Sydney Opera house is completely intentional, as not only does it symbolise me looking towards the future, as I hope to move there someday, but the verrines are also dedicated to Barbara, who lives in Australia and has made all this possible through her blog. Thank you very much for the opportunity to be part of this great event.
Recipe after the jump!
Makes 4 verrines:
1 pack lemon jelly powder (I used organic vegetarian, sans gelatine)
1 small bottle of champagne
1 pack of small breakfast pancakes (or if you're feeling more adventurous and have the time, why not make them from scratch)
3 big mangoes, cut into small pieces
4 passion fruit, pulp only
150ml whipping cream
Lemons to garnish
1. Make the lemon jelly with half the amount of boiling water recommended, and substitute the other half with champagne. Pour into glasses and allow to set.
2. Once the jelly has cooled, cut the pancake to fit the glass. This is best done by using an empty glass on the pancake, top first, to cut out the exact shape to fit inside the glass. Sprinkle with mango pieces, drizzle some passion fruit pulp over it, and place another pancake piece on top.
3. Whip the whipping cream, then add the remaining mango pieces to it and run through with a hand-held blender. Be careful not to add too much mango as you want to retain a thick & fluffy consistency. Add some vanilla custard to taste. Fill the last layer of the verrines with the mango mousse and decorate with lemon wedges.