I am fortunate enough to still have a Granny and, until I was 12, I also had a Nana. Nana, my mother’s mother, was sick throughout my childhood so we spent a lot of time at her home in Oldcastletown. Some of my early memories revolve around her Aga-warmed kitchen – the centre of the house – where there were always a selection of queencakes in a tin or fruitcake slices to be buttered for afternoon tea. Saturday was the baking day in that house. I remember being wrapped up in an apron before being shown how to fold in flour to a sponge cake or slicing apples to fill an enormous roasting tin-sized apple tart. That was the house of mushroom gluts and energetic jam making as us grandchildren were sent down the fields to pick mushrooms or into the orchard to gather windfalls and blackcurrants. Even when Nana wasn’t able to do the work herself, she kept an eagle eye over my mother and aunts as they completed the work to her satisfaction. I pored over her old cookbooks – subsequently having to buy Maura Laverty‘s Full and Plenty in homage – learned baking skills at her kitchen table, inherited her interest in hens and now live in a cottage just the other side of the hill from Oldcastletown.