Saturday, September 29, 2012

Last Thursday night...

Our Thursday nights are a bit like this:  Dinner. A bit of TV. And sure if you're having one I'll have a glass too. It is Thursday afterall.

So last Thursday I made a dessert. Pistacho Bread and Butter Pudding and custard. And a man tasted it. Mr. Moustache you might be thinking if you've read my blog before. Ah, this, dear reader, was an award winning Irish chef, Gary O'Hanlon. He tasted it. He loved it.


Thanks for reviving me Gary.

And then I won the Age Action Big Bake 2012 Competition in Cook's Academy, Dublin. Well he was hardly just hanging out in my kitchen. Check me out in my apron with himself:

Gary O'Hanlon and me with dazed smile

Whoops I'd better go back a bit. Age Action is an Irish charity dedicated to promoting positive ageing. Their mission is to make Ireland the best place in the world to grow old in. Now who could argue with that?

Each year they run the Big Bake competition, kindly sponsored by homecare specialists, Bluebird Care. The task? Let your Granny's secret recipe out of the bag. Cue secret weapons - Granny Cuisine Genie's recipe and some pistachios. I sharpened my palette knife.

Can I let you in on a secret? It was terrifying. You know the way you smirk watching contestants on Great British Bake Off and think ohh they're freaking  out, I'd be grand. Em. I wouldn't. I couldn't find my flour at one stage and in my head I'm screaming for the love of God where is that flour gone while Gary's chatting to me about the dish. And I'm thinking Gary go away I'm looking for the flipping flour.

Let me tell you there was some heat in the Cooks Academy with the 8 finalists' ovens on the go. Combined with an intoxicating scent of sweet baking. That's my excuse for why I didn't get it when Gary was telling me I'd won and I'm staring at him goofily. Thinking did he just say he liked my dish...?

Here's me in my goofy state of happiness. Would you look at the size of that hamper? A massive thank you to Hegarty's Home Interiors.

Rhona O'Connor, Age Action and me with my let-me-tear-this-open smile

Baking Princess Laura McFadden, first runner up
And her I-could-keep-eating-this-all-day Chocolate Fudge Cake
With the lovely Joanne Sweeney-Burke of Media Box

A special thank you to Rhona O'Connor from Age Action, Eddie O'Toole of Bluebird Care and Joanne Sweeney-Burke from Media Box. And of course, Gary: I'm still pinching myself thinking about what you said. Ouch.

What. A. Night. And I'm going to be on the telly. The telly!

If you're looking for something fun on Wednesday 10 October you could do worse than tune into TV3's Ireland AM. Baking Queen Catherine Leyden and I will be making my dish. Yikes. I'd run away but my mum's told her friends and I can't make a show of her now can I?

So if you tune on Wednesday 10 October (or watch on TV3 player after), I'll give you a goofy wave. But the biggest one is going to my 87 year old Granny who's still got the baking soda factor. And to my aunt for telling me to go for this one.

So a deep breath and time to finally say it out. My name's Laoise and I used to be a HR Manager. I've always had a dream I've been too scared to follow. Last year my dad became critically ill and after the most terrifying rollercoaster survived. The cliché that life's too short suddenly rang sharply true. I could have stayed where I was, keep being sucessful at it and ignore that niggling voice telling me this isn't what it's meant to be about. That little voice started shouting. Now I'm here in my own scary-exciting adventure not knowing where it's going to end up.

Following your dream is a beautiful thing. But it can also be like slowly peeling off a plaster as you wince with the pain of rejection. It makes you want to curl up into a little ball. Cover your face. Hide. Then slap yourself back into reality and tell yourself forget it. But then sometimes something happens that makes you go on. Like last Thursday night. So I'll keep going.

See you on the telly!

Update - want to see how I did....? Click here please! 


  1. That is so freaking cool!!! You go girl :D

  2. Thanks Edith! I'm delighted :-) Cross your fingers for me on Wednesday!

  3. Delighted for you! Sounds like an amazing experience and it's nice to know more about you ;-)I hope Mr Moustache is fier de toi ;-)

  4. Merci Ms.FFID! The best bit was having Gary taste my amazing! Mr.M is very very proud :-)

  5. I'm so excited for you this week. Can't wait to meet you in person in 2 weeks time.
    Follow your dreams, you're dead right. Life has a funny way of changing in an instant. Mine is so different to what it used to be 4 years ago but I wouldn't change it for the world.
    Keep writing from the heart missus, I love it. x

  6. Thanks for such a lovely lovely comment Caitriona! Can't wait for a proper natter in The Merrion! I was scared about putting up the post so to get this comment helps me to be a bit braver. It's reading blogs like yours that keeps me going on this mad journey X

  7. Catching up on the exciting news after Louise said something to me at Google Campus about you being in Ireland and winning and cake and television -- it was a bit of a blur, but I think my immediate response was, well, of course. Of course, the world is discovering how amazing Laoise is. Well done, you! Loving your blog -- great, natural writing style, and the recipes sound delicious. Good for you for being brave and putting yourself and your dreams out there!

  8. Hi Charlene, thanks for your lovely comment! You made my day when I saw it! Yes, it was a bit of a whirlwind for me too. I dint know whether to publish this post or not at glad that I did. We can watch my 10 seconds of fame at Google Campus together :-)