Another weekend, another food festival, and a great opportunity to take the kids up to one of my favourite places in the world – the Lake District.
We got back late last night from a fantastic weekend in Cockermouth for the Taste Cumbria Food Festival. Technically, it’s only two streets away, round the corner really. It just so happens one of those streets is about 220 miles of the A1 and the other, 80 miles of the A66 so a bit of a trek for a weekend’s jaunt! But my wife Sarah and I were really keen to bring our daughters up to this part of England as we used to spend a fair bit of time in the Lakes before we had the kids. We have a big picture of Derwent Water above the mantelpiece in our bedroom as a reminder of one of our trips up there and we’re already planning when we can go back next year, with our dog and new baby too.
While I was at the festival, I did a couple of masterclasses, which was a lot of fun. It was more intimate than my usual demos, as there were about 15 people booked onto each class. It was a bit of a family affair as my elder daughter was my co-host – handing out dough to all the participants so they could all have a go at shaping the bread into rosettes, and egg washing and sprinkling the poppy seeds on the rolls. I was lucky enough to meet the guys at the Coffee Kitchen Bakery, who let me use their brand new kitchens to prep for my masterclasses and I also caught up with Peter Sidwell, who judges ITV’s Britain’s Best Bakery.
On Saturday afternoon I did a busy book signing at the New Bookshop in the centre of Cockermouth town. I can’t believe it’s only been a month since my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, was published. It’s been non-stop and a real laugh talking about my book so much over the past few weeks. It’s also down to under £8 on Amazon this week so snap it up before the prices change! On our way back home we swung by the Keswick Pencil Museum, which I’d not been to for about a decade. Not much has changed in the history of pencils in the past ten years, funnily enough!
The Quarter Final of this year’s Bake Off has been and gone and I loved this week’s patisserie episode. I was really impressed by what the bakers produced, especially considering how exhausted they were likely to be by this point in the filming schedule. In my weekly review for the Radio Times I said as much and it seemed to resonate with the bakers who made it through. I’m looking forward to seeing who has the stamina to make it all the way and win series six. There was a lot of impressive choux pastry on show in this week’s episode. In my B.I.Y. book, I have recipes for Baileys profiteroles and white chocolate, orange and cardamom éclairs (pictured above). They’re delicious! I’m making the éclairs in the short little video below:
Anyway I’d better sign off as I’ve got another busy week ahead. I’ll be at the Cake & Bake Show in London’s ExCeL this Sunday, if you fancy coming along and seeing my demos. I’ll be making my Swedish Wreath so I reckon I’ll be machine gunning a few of these out of my kitchen this week – lucky neighbours! There are quite a few more events taking place so I’ll add them to my Appearances section as this week goes on.And finally, don’t forget to tune into BBC1 on Sunday 4 October at 4.50pm for our Great British Bake Off Class of 2014 programme. I had loads of fun filming for this so I can’t wait to catch it myself when I’m back from the Cake & Bake Show. See you next week!