A quick blog from me tonight as it’s Father’s Day, so I want to get back to watching Netflix on the sofa with my feet up!
Sometimes there are weeks where you want to shield your children from the big, bad world. This week has felt like one of those. I’m much more conscious of it as a Dad, as when the news is on the TV in the background and your kids are old enough to listen to it and ask questions, it’s very hard to find the right answers. It’s definitely been a week where I’ve held them a little tighter and looked for positive things to share with them. The little duckling in the picture above has helped. My Dad found an abandoned duck egg in the park and took it home to put in his incubator (he breeds chickens). It hatched into a lovely little duckling this week and as my parents live across the road from us, the kids and I have been over to play with it every day. We’re lucky that my Dad has a pond in the garden for the duck when it grows, but it’s really brought a ray of sunshine to the week.
On Thursday evening, my wife Sarah and I had a night out together at Taste of London. We go to food festivals pretty frequently, but Taste was one we’d never been to before. That will definitely change from now on as it was wicked! What makes it a bit different, is that some of the top restaurants in London have pop-up stands so you can sample some of their signature dishes. Plus there’s more of a ‘night out’ feel to it, with different bars to work your way through, which we did! I caught up with a few of my food-event mates, like Kim Somauroo, Cyrus Todiwala, Andrew Dickens and Richard Holden and met some great people, including Jeremy Pang (pictured with me above). Jeremy runs the School of Wok in Covent Garden and we had a really good chat about Asian food and baking. Sarah and I were lucky enough to take part in Jeremy’s wok masterclass on the AEG ‘Take Taste Further‘ stand, which was a right laugh. I’m looking forward to visiting the School of Wok and seeing Jeremy again soon – his food is excellent!
I also got talking to loads of people on stalls, including my mates from Joe & Seph’s popcorn, and the guys from Sari Cakes (pictured above is Rish, who does all the piping). I’m really interested to know what got people started in the food business as there always seems to be an interesting story behind each exhibitor. I made my own mandala cake last month, but Rish’s decorations were incredible. I definitely want to invest in an airbrush for cake decorating now – the finish on these looked perfect. Check out their Instagram for more examples. It was one of those evenings that made me glad to be a Londoner and have all of this on my doorstep. My family have lived in London (North London at that) for at least the past five generations and if I could get a London passport I would! Taste of London is a good example of how enriched London is by its diversity and how well-served we are by different cuisines. My own cooking is largely British but is heavily influenced by the food cultures around me. For example, my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, includes challah rolls, baklava, focaccia and chilli con carne pasties; as well as a lot of French patisserie influences. The next Taste of London will be in November so if you get the chance to go, grab it with both hands.
As it’s Father’s Day today I’ve had pretty much my perfect weekend. Yesterday morning, we took the girls to the cinema kids’ club to see The Jungle Book. As a result, the whole family has been singing ‘The Burr Necessities’ all weekend on loop and I’ve been filling up on my own Burr necessities. After the cinema and a scoot around Hobbycraft, we spent a good few hours in Wing Yip, my favourite shop. When Sarah and I were growing up, there used to be a massive centre called the Yaohan Plaza (later Oriental City) on the Edgware Road. My Dad and I used to eat there every week as it was so close to loads of builders’ merchants so were gutted when it closed down. But Wing Yip has filled the void for me and my eldest daughter loves it too. I let her put whatever she likes in the trolley as long as it’s something she’s never tried before. We stocked up on loads of treats yesterday including a new wok (above), as I’m feeling inspired after Jeremy’s School of Wok masterclass.
Today I reckon I’ve racked up my lowest ever step count on my Fitbit as I’ve had a really relaxing day – breakfast in bed (my own recipe); making origami; watching cartoons; and reading Brew, by James Morton. My mother-in-law got me a home brew kit for my birthday so I’m looking forward to getting started with it and James’s book is excellent. No baking, no DIY jobs around the house, but as I’ve bought a ton of ground coconut from Wing Yip I’m looking forward to some macaron experiments this week. Until next Sunday, have a great week, don’t forget to vote on Thursday and Happy Baking!