A week of reflection this week – Guy Fawkes Night, Remembrance Sunday, evenings getting longer, days getting colder…
Burning the candle at both ends for a while has caught up with me and I’ve been a bit under the weather so a quieter blog this week – I’ll have much more to update on next week, I promise! But while I’ve been taking it easy, some of my Bake Off friends have been busier than ever. Claire’s been doing delicious and brilliantly written recipes for Standard Issue magazine. Enwezor (the man machine) has been training for an 80 mile ride for Children In Need. Chetna was at an awards ceremony with the Prime Minister this week and voted one of Britain’s most influential Asians. Martha was on BLUE PETER! All such awesome stuff. We stay in touch via a Whatsapp group so we’re in contact every day and it’s really great to hear what everyone’s up to. Luis and Nancy have done Children In Need recipes for BBC Good Food magazine, which are downloadable for £2 each with all money going to Children In Need. I think my Pudsey Bear Swiss Roll recipe (pictured) is going up there tomorrow so I’ll update the blog when it does. *UPDATE* my recipe is now available to download here.
Bonfire Night has changed a bit for us over the past few years because my dog is absolutely terrified of fireworks. I’m so soppy when it comes to her but I’ve had to be a bit strict as someone sent me this really useful advice from the RSPCA this week on the best way to calm her down and I shouldn’t fuss over her when she’s stressing out. So rather than take the kids to a firework display and leave poor Leia alone, we took advantage of living on a hill and watched all our neighbours’ fireworks from upstairs. I made the chilli con carne pasties again from the recipe I wrote for The Sun a few weeks ago (pictured above). The photographer who took the shots of my bakes for those recipes, Bill Kingston, sent me through some of the photos of what I made. Between him and the food stylist he worked with, Lucy-Ruth Hathaway, they made my bakes look ace. I was fascinated by how they worked together – they turned my living room into a photo studio – it certainly beats Instagramming my stuff (which as an aside I need to get in the habit of doing more often but my camera phone usually has plaster dust all over the lens – follow me at @rburr01)! It also made me really keen to do more recipes so watch this space…!
Sarah took our eldest daughter to see the Poppies at the Tower yesterday and it seems like everyone in London has been talking about them this week. They really are spectacular and so moving. I love all the aerial pictures I’ve seen of them especially, as the red really stands out against a grey November. We got married opposite the Tower of London and it’s one of our favourite places so I’m gutted I wasn’t well enough to see them yesterday too. I have some meetings in Central London this week so I’ll hopefully try and see them before they start dismantling the installation.
I’ve been thinking about food in relation to Remembrance Sunday – cooking with rosemary as it’s traditional for remembrance and poppyseed for obvious reasons too. As we had friends over for lunch today I made rosemary focaccia (above), which was delicious, and red grapefruit & poppyseed cupcakes (pictured at the top of this post). Both my grandfathers fought in the Second World War and my great grandfathers in the First World War so it puts the cold I’ve caught this week into perspective, I feel a bit of a wuss! I was very close to my Grandad Burr and talked to him often about his experiences during the war until his death five years ago. He was a Sergeant Major in the Royal West Kents. He was at D-Day, he spent time in Burma and in North Africa. A lot of our relationship revolved around food as I’d take him food shopping every Saturday morning and to the builders’ cafe we go to every week on Fridays. Our family have been going to the same cafe in Finchley for over 80 years now. I’m not sure what Grandad would have thought about seeing me on Bake Off! I was contacted on Twitter this week by one of the trustees of Age UK in Barnet as they run cookery classes for older men across the borough, which I think is an amazing idea. I think my Grandad would have really benefited from them.
On the subject of history and food, I’ve been invited by Jonathan Foyle as a special guest at a talk on Food & Architecture for the World Monuments Fund in a few weeks for an “evening of musings on the relationship between buildings and gastronomy”. We’re really looking forward to it as it brings my building and baking backgrounds together and Sarah studied aspects of food history at uni so it should be a really interesting event for both of us. The speakers include Loyd Grossman; the food historian from Hampton Court Palace, Marc Meltonville; and the architect Julie Humphryes. Tickets for the evening are available here.
Anyway, I could do with an early night but I’ve got last night’s Doctor Who to catch up on first. See you next week!