I’ve had such a great response from people since I announced my recipe book earlier this week. It’s given me much needed energy in the kitchen while I work to get the book written by the end of January. I’ve been a baking machine, with a conveyor belt of food going to all my neighbours!
As I mentioned last week, I’m over the moon about signing a deal with Quadrille to write my own recipe book: B.I.Y. – Bake It Yourself. I get loads of requests for recipes on Twitter and through my website. It was really difficult not being able to explain to people why I hadn’t shared many as I’m furiously practising and writing them for my book. More new ones will follow on my website from February onwards. I have less than a week to go now to finish my book recipes and I’m really pleased with how it’s gone. It’s the best baking I’ve ever done and I’m pretty chuffed with the recipes I’ve come up with. I wanted to write a ‘manual’ to baking that would appeal to aspiring bakers no matter what their experience levels, and it’s coming together well. This week, Quadrille sent through some ideas for the style of B.I.Y. on a mood board. It starts to make it come alive when you see the visuals and I can really picture how it’s going to look (clue: awesome). I’ve chosen a photographer and I’m really looking forward to working with food and prop stylists. When you go on Bake Off, the team from Love Productions (who make The Great British Bake Off) are very careful about managing contestants’ expectations, so writing a book really is more than I could have ever hoped for. All the hard work of the past two months will be worth it to see B.I.Y. in print. I’ve got loads to look forward to the week after next when I can escape the kitchen, so all in all it’s been a great start to 2015.
Speaking of Love Productions, I was really chuffed that The Great British Bake Off team won Best Skills Challenge Show (weird award title though!) at the National Television Awards this week. Nancy got to go too and looked beautiful! It was so nice to see Chloe, Anna, Jonny and Jamie from the production crew accept the award. They’re a great bunch of people and looked after me really well last year. Chloe’s in charge of all the food for the show, and she had to put up with me regularly emailing her the day before filming to say I’d changed my recipe and needed all new ingredients! She’s a saint.
The other great thing that’s happened in the past few weeks is that our eldest daughter has started Rainbows. She goes to the same place as where both my sisters did Brownies and Guides (they didn’t have Rainbows in our day). She’s absolutely loving it and it’s sent me and my wife Sarah on a massive nostalgia trip. Guides and Scouts were big parts of both our lives and some of our happiest memories involve camping trips and activity weekends. Sarah used to go on Guide holidays with my sisters, though we didn’t meet each other until a few years later.
While wandering down memory lane this morning (a.k.a. procrastinating when I should have been recipe testing), I found my old cub uniform and badges from 30 years ago to show my daughter. I remember earning my cook’s badge – I had to make spaghetti bolognaise for my Akela. Some of the dish suggestions in this handbook are finding their way into my recipe book too! It’s funny to think how much the Scouting movement probably defined most of my young life. Just flicking through my old cub handbook, most of the badges are still my interests now: animal lover; artist; book reader; camper; collector; cook; cyclist; explorer; first aider; fisherman; gardener; handyman; hobbies; home help; scientist; world conservation. It reads a bit like my CV! The badges have probably changed a bit 30 years on. I’d like to volunteer for the Scouts when the kids are a bit older. I don’t think you ever grow out of wanting to go camping and exploring. In the meantime, we have a camping holiday to France to look forward to this summer.
Anyway, I’d better get back to the kitchen. See you next week, by which point I’ll have finished writing my book – hooray!