It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas tree

A busy week this week so not had much time to blog but I promise I’ll make up for it next week!

This week has flown by and I’ve spent most of it baking in the kitchen. It’s a good job it’s my favourite room in the house! Like a lot of people, we’ve been busy preparing for Christmas – not just what I’ve been making this week but what I need to make over the Christmas holidays.

Christmas cake

There are a few charities that are particularly important to me. An old school mate of mine, Stuart Amey, is doing as much as possible to raise money for the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund as his wife Michelle is fighting skin cancer. The least I could do was to make a Christmas Cake for an auction they’re doing. If you want to bid for the cake, email stuart@melanoma-fund.co.uk with your highest bid. More information is available here. I hope it raises as much as possible. I work outside for much of the year, and builders are particularly susceptible to Melanoma, alongside many other outdoor working professions. I tasted some of the cake’s offcuts as I put it together and if I say so myself, it was pretty lovely so dig deep! It also comes with a free pencil 😉

Macaroons

I’ve been playing with a lot of recipes this week and as many different types of baked goods as possible. For any of you applying for the next series of Bake Off (remember applications are still open and you have nothing to lose by applying), I’d recommend practising as many different types of food as possible – I didn’t have a huge amount of experience with tarts and pastries when I entered. These chocolate coated coconut macaroons flew out of the kitchen this week so were a definite winner. Sorry I’ve not posted many recipes on the blog so far, but I’m trying to write and prepare as many as possible at the moment – I promise I’ll get the opportunity to share some of them soon. I’m figuring out some of the things I’m making over Christmas – I need to make a Christmas pudding, a panettone, mince pies, Paul Hollywood’s amazing Boxing Day Chelsea Buns, I’m doing Beef Wellington for 24 people at my in-laws’ on Christmas Eve and I’ve kind of promised to make a replica of their house in gingerbread too – we’ll see if I get time for all this and I’ll post pictures of the results!

Bumble Bee

I’ve been a very proud Dad this weekend too. Our wonderful eldest daughter achieved her third karate grading on Saturday – she’s now a purple belt with two green tags and has worked so hard, despite me not being around to take her to lessons while I was away filming over the summer. She is taught by the same instructor who taught me karate as a teenager, which I get a bit misty-eyed about. She went straight from her karate grading to her ballet rehearsal – like a mini super hero, one quick change later, with her ballet leotard on underneath her karate gi. She performed in two ballet shows this weekend as the ‘lead bee’ and we went to see her perform on stage this evening with all the family, including both sets of proud grandparents. She was flippin adorable. As a treat for working so hard all weekend we took her and her sister to see Paddington this morning. I’d really recommend it – it was such a nice film (bit scary in places) and made London look amazing. Though all I’ve thought about since is developing a serviceable marmalade recipe!

US flag

Some exciting news this week. On our Bake Off Whatsapp group, Jordan messaged last night to say he’d seen that our series of the Great British Bake Off is going to be shown on PBS in the US from 28 December. They’ll be calling it the Great British Baking Show so don’t be surprised if you see us starting to tweet with the hashtag #GBBS for a few weeks! It’ll be in the slot before Series 5 (or do I need to start saying ‘Season’ now?) of Downton Abbey at 8pm on Sunday nights. I spend a lot of my time mucking about with American recipes so if anyone knows where I can get a tea towel with a list of conversions from cups to grams, give me a shout – that’s a must have item for my kitchen!

Anyway, just a short blog post this week but lots of fun stuff happening in the run up to Christmas so I’ll make up for it next week. Keep baking…!

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