A Day Of Gardening Gurus, Baking Masters & Tablet Queens!


What an honour to be asked to judge this years Badenoch garden show.

I am very ashamed to say I had never heard of this club until I was asked to help them out with the home baking & preserve judging at their annual show in Newtonmore.

This local event was made incredibly special due to the passionate people who organised it & participated, making the day so interesting & fun. Entrants had put so much effort into their displays from scones & cakes to flower displays & vegetables. If it was grow-able or bake-able it was there.


I think many local folks had simply popped in a jar of their homemade jams, jellies or chutneys just for the craic, however some folks seemed to be taking it all very seriously. There was some amusing whispering & pointing at certificates happening, I couldn’t help but stand back with a huge grin, wondering what these ladies were saying. I imagined…. ohhhhh…. Can you believe she won again? …..or I think my jam was better than that!… I know for a fact that was not this seasons jam….. I was very amused anyway.


What a range of people too, from 90 year olds entering jams to 10 year olds entering muffins. Some people took so much pride they even entered onions sat on specially made wooden holders for presentation. This is flipping magic in my eyes, to be that proud of your onions is a joy to behold!

The highlight of my day was speaking to Mrs Downey a 90 year old show legend, she proudly informed me she had been entering for years. This year she had taken out the first prize for her apple & ginger jelly & her tablet. It was superb getting her top tips on making tablet. Her stories were just amazing & she had me in stitches talking about the old days, her hubby, making her homemade alcoholic fruit drinks, bullfinches eating buds off her plum trees & how she still loves to cook. I hope I can be as fun, cheeky & inspiring if I make it anywhere near her age.


Overall I drove home feeling inspired by this group of welcoming ladies that just love where we live, what we can grow, cook & eat. The humbleness that came from these ladies who in my eyes are gardening & cooking heroes was a delight. I can’t wait for next year, I might even enter some home grown fruit on a special holder, who knows!


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