It’s two years ago today that we first entered the tent so it’s been great to celebrate the success of my Bake Off team this week.
Two years ago I met the motley crew above in the tent for the first time. Little did I know that this bunch of awesome people would become friends for life. I still have the Bake Off schedule pinned up in my kitchen as it’s a good reminder of that crazy and incredibly busy few months. I’ve been wondering this week how the next batch are getting on as they’re probably starting filming around now (if you’re reading this, hi!) It’s been a pretty cool week for Bake Off Alumni. Nadiya from last year’s Bake Off got to make Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday cake and she and Martha were presented to the Queen on Thursday. It makes me wonder whether the Queen settles in on a Wednesday evening every summer like the rest of us for a spot of GBBO. Maybe she gets the palace kitchens to knock up a Victoria sponge to have while she watches? If you ever need any building work on your castles, Your Majesty, gis a shout!
It was Chetna Makan‘s book launch this week at the Library in Covent Garden. Chetna is also hosting supper clubs at the Library (which can be booked here) over the next week to showcase the recipes from The Cardamom Trail, so if you want the opportunity to taste how amazing her food is for yourself, you’d better book quickly. It’s testament to how much we all love Chetna that our year’s Bake Off-ers came from far and wide to celebrate with her (see the picture at the top of this post). There’s never enough time to catch up properly (even though we Whatsapp every day) but it was great to hear everyone’s news and luckily the family and I have got a weekend at Chetna’s booked in a few months time – just long enough to work through her book and request all our favourite dishes. She’s got a cool video from the book launch here:
Chetna and I were lucky enough to have worked with the same prop stylist on both of our books – Polly Webb Wilson. It shows how creative and artistic Polly is that our books have such distinct and personal styles. Chetna’s reflects her background in textiles and fashion and her Indian flavours, with really vivid colours throughout. My book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, is quite different again and we had loads of fun raiding my building stores for props while shooting (as you can see in the pork pie picture from the book above – one of Polly’s prop masterpieces). If you’ve already bought and enjoyed my book, please leave a review on Amazon for it. I’ve been so chuffed that it’s been really well received with five-star averages. It’s also helped me refine future recipes, knowing what people have most enjoyed making from the book.
I was so busy chatting at Chetna’s launch that I barely got a chance to eat any of the amazing food she laid on. So after the launch a few of us went along to the Opera Tavern, part of the Salt Yard Group. My wife Sarah and I went with Iain and another chef friend of mine, Kim Somauroo (all pictured above). I first met Kim at The Big Feastival last year, where he’s the main home economist for all the demonstrations and is a top bloke and great to work with. Kim seems to know every chef in the business, including Ben Tish, the chef / patron of the Salt Yard Group. Salt Yard’s restaurants are mainly Spanish and Italian tapas, which I love, especially when you’re eating with quite a few people – we ordered 18 dishes between six of us when we went to Dehesa recently. We were really well looked-after by the team at the Opera Tavern and I can’t wait to go again. Ben’s book Grill Smoke BBQ was also released this week and is top of my list for cooking from this summer. It’ll give me a good excuse to build a brick BBQ in the garden this year!
Finally, as tomorrow is Anzac Day, you can find my recipe from last year for Anzac biscuits here. I’ve been baking all week, from red velvet cakes for my local fire station, to St George’s Day macarons for the school bake sale. But these biscuits are really easy – they take no time to knock up – so I’m making some tonight as a treat for packed lunches this week. A quick reminder, if you don’t already you can follow me on Instagram at @richardpburr and on Facebook at facebook.com/richardburrbuilderbaker. See you next week – Happy Baking!