It’s been the sort of week where if I’m going to indulge in treats, I need to burn it off too.
Just a quick blog update this week as I’ve earned an evening chilling out after the ZSL 10k Stampede at London Zoo today. It was a glorious day for it and the early start was worth it to have the zoo to ourselves. By ‘ourselves’, I mean the hundreds of runners taking part in the race and their families, as well as my wife Sarah, daughters, mum and dad (the one in the picture above who looks just like me with a ‘tache) – a real family atmosphere. As we got there at 8.30am and the zoo doesn’t open to the public until 10am, it was still pretty empty so we got to watch quite a few animals having their breakfasts and stretching out in the spring sunshine.
I visit London Zoo quite often and have talked on the blog before about how much I enjoy working with the zoo. Along with Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is one of the charities in London I’m always keen to support as my BSc was in Biodiversity & Conservation. Events like the Stampede are a great way of raising money for ZSL and as the majority of the run takes place through Regent’s Park, it doesn’t disturb the animals and gives runners a really fun, scenic route. I’d really recommend doing it and there’s another taking place in September so have a think about signing up for it yourselves. Today I got to meet the money saving expert Martin Lewis, pictured with me above. For the benefit of my blog readers outside the UK, Martin Lewis is one of the country’s most prominent and trusted financial journalists and philanthropists, and he also runs a pretty fast 10k too! It was a real pleasure to meet him today.
As for me, it’s been a while since I last ran a 10k but I was glad to have done it in under an hour and I’m still wearing my medal around the house this evening. I was also pleased to have got through it without picking up an injury, as I’m back to the building work all week. My next run is the Great Ormond Street Race for the Kids with my eldest daughter in May. She sped around the course last year so I’m looking forward to seeing how she does a year on.
I got an exciting delivery this week – a copy of my Bake Off friend Chetna‘s recipe book – The Cardamom Trail. I can’t wait to start working my way through it – her food is so good. It’s her book launch this Thursday so I’m looking forward to catching up with all my baker buddies. Martha got the first copy of her book through this week too. It’s called Twist and it’s out in July. It’s an amazing feeling to hold your book for the first time. Chris Terry, who did the photography for my book, reckons that loads of people sleep with their book next to their pillow when it first arrives. My personal copy of B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself (£9 on Amazon and comes with five star reviews) is now covered in flour and caramel, like all good cookery books should be!
My daughters still had a week of Easter holidays this week and on Thursday, were passing by our local fire station and got invited in to explore the fire engine. They had such a good time that I’m going to make a thank you cake for the fire fighters. It’s the 150th anniversary of the London Fire Brigade this year, but I’m not planning anything as elaborate as the awesome cake that Mat Riley from last year’s Bake Off made (see here).
I’ve been making (and eating!) a lot of macarons at the moment, as I’ve got a few wedding cakes to do this year that might include them, so I think there will be more macaron and cake experiments on the cards. I’ll need to do a whole lot more running to burn it off! There’s a great blackcurrant macaron recipe in my book (pictured above), but this week’s (pictured at the top of this post) were flavoured with elderflower liquor. I’m basically going through my booze shelf and mixing them all up with macarons – a winning combo. I think I’ll do some chocolate and frangelico ones next. I’ve also got loads of St George’s Day cakes to make for my daughters’ school on Friday so Chetna’s book launch will be my only night off from baking. Builder by day, baker by night – it’s still working for me! See you next week, Happy Baking!