About Me

My name is Claire and thank you for visiting my blog.
‘War and a Fancy Piece’ may seem like a strange name for a largely food related blog, but here in sunny Aberdeen and across the north east of Scotland, a “Fancy Piece” is simply a cake, homebake, scone and jam.... basically any lovely sweet, cakey treat you can think of.    The war portion of the title reflects my day job for a (very reputable) private security company and my personal conflict between my love for my often very exciting and intense job, and my wonderful and growing family.
I have always loved food and cooking, and I am a keen home cook.   I first had the idea for this blog back in the summer of 2006, for reasons which will soon become apparent.  As I am about to start my maternity leave for my third child (due 12 July 2011), I thought it was about time that I actually got on with it and record the often comic events of the two extremes of my life.
I am an Aberdonian; and despite stints in London and Florence I am back living in Aberdeen with my husband and two daughters.   Increasingly since the stress of that summer I have been living in conflict of my professional life and my desire to be a good wife and mother.  Since having my children this has only intensified, a struggle, I know many working mums share.
During the summer of 2006,  the original inspiration for this blog, my role within the company I work for was Senior Intelligence Analyst for the Middle East and North Africa.  I was dealing with simultaneous wars in both Iraq and Lebanon.  I was also extremely broody and looking forward to a move back to Aberdeen and change in role within the company, opening and running the Aberdeen office, looking after clients within the oil and gas industries working in places like West Africa and the Middle East.
I had been very stressed with work and had decided to take more time to focus on something completely different from my day job – I chose cooking, baking in particular.  I found myself one July Saturday morning that summer awake at 0600 to debrief my colleagues on the ground in Lebanon in support of our clients, largely the international media at that time.  This was prior to writing and submitting that day’s report to our clients by 0800.   That same day I was determined to win the picnic competition at our friends cross country croquet competition in Bushy Park (London). As a lucky colleague proofed my report, I was in this kitchen making pastry for a strawberry tart - the proofing process giving just enough time for the pastry to rest in the fridge, before I submitted the report and got on with the tart.
In the end I didn’t win the competition. However, my love of baking, and cooking in general, has only increased; roughly in parallel to the strains, complexities, and enjoyment of working and being a mum.  In fact, the final incident that I needed to nudge me into getting on with this blog was fielding a call from a contact in Libya during the unrest or “Arab Spring” earlier this year.  The call was from a client requesting an evacuation for him and his 32 colleagues from an oilfield in the southern Libyan Desert. The men had little food or water, no security and were in fear of marauding militiamen from neighbouring Chad.  I took this call while feeding my two noisy toddlers who were screaming for spaghetti – thankfully he was (and still is) a very understanding client – aghh - the two extremes of my world!

I have a real love of food, both cooking and eating it.  I  adore vintage cook books and collecting recipes both old and new. I hope you will enjoy the recipes and stories I post and look forward to this long over due journey.

I would love to hear from you at warandafancypiece@hotmail.co.uk

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