After the craziness of last week, this week was about getting back to work, and finding an even keel. An objective I totally failed to reach, as this week’s been AWESOME!!!!
My former university, Birkbeck, University of London, got in touch recently to interview me for their annual alumni magazine. Back in January, when I was first contacted by Love Productions about being on the Bake Off, I’d been thinking about applying for an MSc at Birkbeck, either in Climate Change Management or GIS. I’d completed a BSc in Biodiversity & Conservation at Birkbeck back in 2012 so I had wanted to study there again for some time. The MSc is on the back burner for now with everything that’s been going on, but its definitely still on the list!
It was brilliant to be interviewed by Birkbeck as it’s no exaggeration to say that being there changed my life. I would have never had the guts to go on the show if I hadn’t taken the plunge at Birkbeck first. In my job, I don’t really need to use a computer much and I definitely don’t need to stand up and present to people, but I had to get the hang of this and much more during my degree. What I love about Birkbeck is that it gives people from all walks of life the chance to go to, and afford, university as you go to lectures and study in the evenings after work. It was good practice for Bake Off as I got used to working in the evenings on things totally different to my day job.
On Friday night, London Zoo (ZSL) invited me and Sarah to their Roar With Laughter stand-up comedy night at the Hammersmith Apollo. It was to raise money for their Lions400 campaign, as there are only 400 Asiatic Lions left in the world, so ZSL conservationists are working out in India to protect them, in collaboration with Indian and international conservation agencies.
The show raised over £90k for the Lions400 campaign and featured some of my favourite comedians, including Sean Lock, David O’Doherty, Ed Byrne, Sean Walsh and Stewart Lee. I also met Damon Gough (aka Badly Drawn Boy) in the bar afterwards and found out that he and his girlfriend Leanne were huge Bake Off fans! I spent most of the evening talking to ZSL’s staff about their work and how they became Zoo Keepers – an amazing bunch of people, and a right laugh too!
I will hopefully be doing more to help ZSL as London Zoo is my favourite place in London and somewhere I try to visit as often as possible. To donate £5 to the Lions400 campaign, text ZSL to 70700
The Sun got in touch with me this week and asked me to do some Autumnal recipes for their Saturday editions – this week and next week. The thing I’ve enjoyed most about the past few months is when people contact me on Twitter with pictures of their versions of my bakes so this was a chance to share some of my favourite recipes and develop some new ones. I was a bit surprised to be on the front cover but I’m looking forward to seeing if anyone makes them.
This week’s recipes were tarts and cakes, including my favourite – Plum & Frangipane Tart – and Sarah’s favourite – Pumpkin Cheesecake. Next week’s supplement will be sweet and savoury batch bakes.
I’ve been baking every day since the show finished which is ace, as I now have a much bigger repertoire. Autumn and winter are my favourite times of the year to bake and I’m getting so much fruit from the garden at the moment so I’m enjoying using it up. I have a fruit and vegetable plot at the end of my garden but neglected it a bit this year so I’m also starting to think about what I want to plant next year. Over the next week I’m going to be figuring out what to make with the kids for Halloween and getting started on my Christmas Cake. Also, I’m patiently waiting for the frost to come so I can go sloe berry picking when I walk Leia. I make sloe gin every year, and the mega sloe crop out there is going to be keeping me busy over the next few weeks. There’s quite a lot going on next week so I’ll try and update this blog again next Sunday but in the meantime, follow what I’m up to on Twitter at @RichardPBurr