It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last blog post. One of my post-GBBO highlights has been appearing on my favourite gameshow, Pointless, which aired last night. It was such a laugh watching it back yesterday. If you haven’t seen it yet, catch it on iPlayer as there are spoilers below!
No blog from me last week as it was my brother-in-law’s wedding and I was flat out – making the cake, being an usher and marshalling our daughters, who were both flower girls. The wedding was in the magnificent Tudor setting of Great Fosters – probably the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The cake, pictured above, had four flavours:
- Pistachio sponge with raspberry jam and Italian meringue butter cream
- Coconut sponge with lime curd and Italian meringue butter cream
- Ginger sponge with lemon curd and Italian meringue butter cream
- Carrot and walnut cake with Amaretto Italian meringue butter cream
All the guests got to sample two flavours each. My personal favourite is the pistachio sponge – what would yours have been?
It’s been quite a cake-y few weeks in Casa Burr as in addition to the wedding cake, I got started on my Christmas cake and am feeding it up with brandy every few days. I’m making a few others for raffle prizes too as they keep and travel so well. The Christmas cake recipe is in my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself (see picture above), along with quite a few other Christmassy bakes including panettone, Swedish wreath, mince pies, mincemeat cupcakes (I cannot begin to explain how delicious these are – if you make one thing from the book – make these), and a recipe and template for making your own gingerbread house. B.I.Y. is only £7.99 on Amazon and The Book People at the moment and it’s really never too late to get started on your Christmas cake. I’m already working on lots of new Christmas recipes that I didn’t have room for in B.I.Y. – any excuse for more experimenting in the kitchen! My wife Sarah has put in a request for a Christmas Day trifle so that’s on my to-do list too.
So last night, Frances Quinn (winner of the Great British Bake Off in 2013) and I were partnered up on a ‘Food & Drink’ special of Pointless Celebrities – incidentally, the best name for a game show ever. We filmed the episode back in the summer so I’ve had to keep my treasured Pointless trophy hidden ever since. Not only did we get to the final, but we won the jackpot with our final, pointless answer! My chosen charity was the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund, as melanoma affects outdoor workers (like builders) quite a lot and it’s a charity close to the heart of a friend of mine too. Also, the other two charities I support (Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and the Zoological Society of London) are both very well-known so I thought the Melanoma Research Fund might benefit more from the publicity. I raised £1,250 for the charity, as did Frances for hers – The Big Draw.
I had a great day signing books at my wife’s work, Transport for London, a few weeks ago with The Book People (pictured above), where we sold out of all the books they’d brought along – about 150 copies. Carys, one of the casting researchers from Love Productions, came along with me to encourage people to apply for series 7 of the Great British Bake Off. Applications are open until early January, so if you’re busy baking for Christmas, snap away at everything you make and flood your application form with pictures – that’s what I did two years ago! I’ve got quite a few personal appearances / book signings / demos coming up this week – at the Taunton Literary Festival, the Foodies Festival London Christmas event and the BBC Good Food Winter Show in Birmingham. Keep an eye on the ‘Appearances’ section of my website for more information.
Finally, this week I got around to making a Facebook page for updates and recipes. If you’re on Facebook, please like and share the page and I’ll make sure I keep it up to date. See you next week, and hopefully see some of you at the events during this week too…