My jaw dropped.  Then my hands flew to my mouth in surprise.  I was stunned.  Almost immediately I broke out into a childish grin, clapping my hands in glee.  I quickly turned around to search out my mother.  She was there with me.  I quickly located her.  Now, almost jumping up and down like a five year old, I thrust out my arm, pointed proudly and declared, “I won a place….I came third….my little fruit buns came third!”

I could not believe it.  One of my entries into the Queensland Royal Show cooking competition won a place!

Ekka AnimalsImages from Animal Boulevard @ The Ekka 2009

It all began a few months back when I entered into five categories.

:: Date Loaf
:: Chocolate Loaf
:: Scones
:: Small Cakes
:: Fruit Buns

Immediately, I started collating recipes to commence my trial runs straight away.  Admittedly, I was not sure what the judges were looking for (as the instructions were extremely limited), but nonetheless, I figured I would just give it my best shot.  As this was my first ever baking competition, however, I was actually a little nervous.

Fortuitously, I started my practise early.  Very fortunate indeed because all of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, the time had come to bake and submit my entries! 

Ekka CookingImages from the Cooking Display @ The Ekka 2009 :: Top left image: Julia’s Entry

On entry day, I carefully took my baked treats to the RNA showgrounds.  There were some serious contenders dropping off tray upon tray of entries.  I handed over my five little items, and headed to work.   Judging was happening that day.  I did not expect to hear anything.

The following week I went to The Ekka with my mother.  We had not been in about 15 years, but decided this year was a good time to go.  Go explore the exhibition and displays – and, of course, the cooking entries!

I had resigned myself to the fact that it was a long shot to win a place in the Queensland Royal Show cooking competition.  For me, just entering my very first baking competition, and the whole experience, was rewarding enough.  But I wanted to see all the winning entries, not expecting mine to be among them.

I was slowly wandering around all the winning entries on display.  My eyes naturally darting to the categories I had entered.  I was calmly taking notes in my head, observing some uncanny similarities between the winning entries.  Detail that was not at all included in the original instruction.  And it was then, in the display, when I noticed I had won. 

Ekka DogsImages from the Royal Championship Dog Show @ The Ekka 2009

After the excitement had died down (I was pretty excited!), I noticed how irregular my fruit buns were compared with the other winning entries.  Soon after, I was speaking with one of the stewards.  I pointed out my ‘non-standard’ fruit buns.  Based on appearance, she seemed surprised they won a place, but offered “the judges must have been very impressed with the texture and taste”.  With a coy smile, she then said, “next year, make sure you change the size and you could be looking at 1st place”.

We will see.

So until (perhaps!??) next year, I leave you with a sprinkling of photographs from the Queensland Royal Show 2009.

Ekka CraftsImages from the Craft and Quilting Displays @ The Ekka 2009