This week’s been at full-pace so once I’ve posted this blog, time for some lion down! (I’ll get my coat…)
On Wednesday this week I went along to the Good Housekeeping Institute in Soho to help launch AEG‘s new SteamBake ovens. I’ve been working with AEG for a few weeks now to develop some recipes for their new range, as the steam function will come as standard in all their single ovens. It was possibly one of my most ambitious demos as I showed how to make rhubarb and ginger Bakewell tart, chorizo toad-in-the-hole and a white bloomer all in about half an hour! I’m not sure I was quite as fast as I seem in the video below but not far off.
I had a great time with the team from Gluts and Gluttony prepping the food for the guests – the recipes above, plus my gruyere and pancetta pretzel bites and my goat’s cheese and wild mushroom focaccia. I met the lovely Aggie MacKenzie there too, who volunteers with the homeless charity St Mungo’s and took one of my rhubarb tarts along to them later that day. I hope they enjoyed it.
This weekend has been really full-on. After an awesome 40th birthday party for my friend Louise last night, my eldest daughter and I were up at 6am today to get to Wembley Stadium (that’s the English national stadium, for the benefit of my US readers) for the North London Half Marathon School’s Challenge. My daughter and her 22 school friends who took part had been running two miles per week after school culminating in the final mile of their half marathon finishing at Wembley Stadium today. I joined them for the final mile and it was a wonderful morning. I was so proud of all the kids and my daughter really has the running bug now. There were hundreds of children there this morning with their families cheering them on – a great way to start the day. I’ve run the London and Paris marathons myself, but before I became a dad so some time ago now. I think my marathon days might be over but I’m looking forward to running the 10k ZSL London Zoo Stampede next month. Why not sign up too?
Speaking of London Zoo, my family and I were lucky enough to be invited there this afternoon for a preview of their amazing new habitat – Land of the Lions. There are only 532 Asiatic Lions left in the world and ZSL is at the forefront of conservation work between London and India to protect this endangered species of lion. This new part of London Zoo opens to the public on Friday and I would really recommend it for a visit over the Easter holidays. It was magnificent and our kids loved it – though the youngest slept throughout the whole visit! It’s been designed in such a way that you can get so close to the beautiful cats and really see them interact with each other.
We’re lucky to live only half an hour from both Wembley Stadium and London Zoo – it’s meant racing all over North London on foot, bus, tube and car this weekend has been a bit more manageable! No trip to the zoo is complete without a visit to the shop on the way out. I think the pencil above might be a bit much though – what do you think?! Anyway, I still have a chocolate cake to finish before bed so I’ll sign off for now and see you next week. Happy Baking!