September 21st, 2006


birthdays and BiFest

September appears to be the month of birthdays. Happy birthday to mjl, polyfrog, bethdeth, chrismoose, jhaelan and serenejournal belatedly, and happy birthday in advance to jenett, emperor, wispfox, lindsical and 36 for your forthcoming birthdays, for my track record suggests I won't get round to posting anything about it on the actual day unless someone else reminds me. Happy birthday to anyone else who has a September birthday but doesn't list it on livejournal, and I suppose I should probably say happy birthday to all the October people as well, because that sort of organisation's not my strong point.

Birthdays are important to me, but they tend to be more important for people that I share physical proximity with. If I don't know you well enough to send you a birthday present, then I probably don't know when your birthday is. There are people that I'm not geographically close to who I send presents to, but they tend to be "I saw this and thought of you"-type presents rather than "for specific occasion" presents. Hmmm.

In other news, I am physically exhausted right now due to ringing about 15 potential students. It's the fact that when I call them, I have to put on a fake happy telephone voice, and sell myself with my qualifications. I used to do telephone market research interviewing, so I can handle business calls perfectly well when I have a "script" to follow, but it's still tiring to have to sound upbeat and organised and someone you want to give money to. Of my 15 potentials, I've obtained 3 definites, so it was worth doing, but still...

Tomorrow I'm getting up at the crack of dawn (10am) to get the train up to Manchester with artremis. We're staying overnight in a hotel just round the corner from the BiFest venue, where we shall be on Saturday along with a whole load of other people. And cake. I am making chocolate crunch cakes with Montezuma's wonderful organic Fairtrade vegan chocolate, golden syrup & cornflakes. Hopefully there will be lots of other vegan cakes there, yes? And possibly even some low-fat vegan cakes. I might manage to do my gingerbread, if I have a bit more energy later. And, uh, I just went to link to the gingerbread recipe and found I haven't typed it in yet, so I'll do that shortly.

About cake and BiFest.

Here is a plea. If you're taking homemade cakes to BiFest, please mark them so that those of us with food allergies, intolerances or preferences know whether the cakes are safe for us to eat.

Things you may want to mention include, but are not limited to:

  • the type of flour used - wheat flour or gluten-free? If gluten-free, what cereal/s is it?
  • presence of dairy products - check the allergy boxes on the back of chocolate and margarine to find out whether there's hidden milk content.
  • eggs - mention their existence and also if they're free-range, perhaps?
  • gelatine or marshmallows - instantly make the cake not suitable for vegetarians, unless you used Vege-Gel or vegan marshmallows.
  • nuts - along with type. Many people are allergic to peanuts and cashew nuts but ok with hazelnuts, walnuts and pecan nuts, and vice versa.
  • soya or soy protein - a fair number of people have issues with soy. Most of them are ok with soya lecithin.
  • fruit - don't even get me started on the list of various fruits that people I know are allergic to. Some of them have the full anaphylaxic type reactions with lips swelling up and throat closing even to trace ingredients of cooked fruits. According to a list I have in a book for minimising allergic reactions, any fruit except pears can cause problems - except I'm sure one of my friends is allergic to pear! So, um, list your fruits and jams.
  • non-obvious flavourings or ingredients - chilli? wasabi? peppermint? really large amounts of nutmeg?

If you really can't be bothered to write a full list of ingredients, please state who the cake was made by so anyone with food sensitivities can find you and ask questions. This is also a good idea if you wish to receive compliments on your excellent baking abilities!

In case you're interested, this is what I'm going to put on my cakes: Collapse )