I’ve had a very busy week catching up with a lot of good friends. Hugely proud of Martha too, as she launched her first (of many I’m sure) recipe book, Twist.
I started the week up to my elbows in flour, as I was making the 75th anniversary cake for the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) – red velvet cake to match their logo. I’m a fourth generation builder and my family have been members of the FMB for 70 years – relative newcomers! They hosted a fantastic reception at the House of Lords on Tuesday this week, which I went to with my business partner (otherwise known as my Dad), my wife Sarah and my Mum.
I’m very proud to be a member of the FMB and I work with them as much as possible to help to promote a positive image of the building trade. There were speeches on the night by Baroness Maddock, Greg Clark MP and John McDonnell MP – showing cross-party support for small and medium building firms and recognising the role we have to play in house building in particular. Baroness Maddock and I talked at length about whether any of my daughters will become a fifth generation Burr Builder and how to attract more women into choosing building as a career. I’m keen to get more young people generally to consider building as a positive career choice. As the UK got a new Prime Minister this week too, I’m pleased to see today’s appointment of a Minister for Housing and Planning. I look forward to seeing what Gavin Barwell MP has to say on this subject – happy to talk to him about it myself some time over tea and cake!
On Thursday this week I got a copy of Martha Collison‘s book Twist through the post. It’s absolutely beautiful and my daughters (who adore Martha) have been leafing through it turning down the corners on recipes they want us to make together. Martha is the fourth of our year’s Bake Off-ers to publish a book, after Luis, Chetna and me. It’s such a fantastic feeling to look at my kitchen bookshelf and see my friends’ names there – and my own! Martha’s launch on Thursday evening was also a great opportunity to catch up with some of our year’s alumni including Iain, Enwezor and Kate. Lots of us are meeting up over the summer at Diana’s, and then at Iain’s wedding in September. They’re the very best gang to be part of.
Martha’s launch was also a chance to catch up with Felicity Spector, pictured with me above. Felicity is one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met. She’s the chief writer at Channel 4 News but is also a food writer, hugely knowledgeable about the food industry and seems to know everyone. Her Instagram account is amazing – if you follow it, you’ll feel hungry every time she posts. She’s one of the best people to go to dinner with in London. After the Twist launch, on Felicity’s recommendation, we went to Foxlow in Clerkenwell. I have been thinking about their jerk pork all week – it was incredible. I would really recommend going there if you’re in town.
Today we went up to Whipsnade Zoo for a sneak preview of their new Zoorassic Park exhibit featuring life sized dinosaurs (eldest daughter doing her best ‘scared of a T-Rex’ face above). Zoorassic Park opens on Saturday and runs for the whole summer. It’s such a good way of explaining to children about the evolutionary connection between dinosaurs and the animals they see in zoos. There’s also the opportunity to camp at Snorassic Park at the zoo this summer – this looks absolutely fantastic! We’re hoping to go along to watch Jurassic Park at their Silent Cinema evening in August too.
We spend a lot of time at London Zoo but I remembered today how incredible Whipsnade is, and we’re only a 40 minute drive away. Their new butterfly house was magical – the kids didn’t want to leave it and neither did I. Having spent a big part of yesterday playing Pokemon Go in the park with my daughters, it was really good to take them out to see real creatures today!
The episode I filmed last year of Pointless Celebrities was repeated on BBC1 this evening, which has led to quite a spike in blog hits so hello to new readers! It was fun to watch it again, and to get to show off my Pointless trophy, that sits proudly on my mantelpiece. The episode is on iPlayer for the next month here if you want to catch it. It was such a laugh to film and Frances Quinn was a perfect partner, even if she does make me look pretty short!
I’ve been baking my goat’s cheese, walnut, pear and honey pinwheel this evening too, as I’ll be demonstrating this at Jimmy’s Farm Festival this weekend. The recipe for this is in my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself. We’re camping for the whole weekend and can’t wait, as the weather’s looking great and we had so much fun there last year. Jimmy Doherty really knows how to host a good party – beer, sausages and Chas & Dave – what more could anyone want?! Tickets are still available here. There won’t be a blog from me next week as I’ll still be at the Festival so I’ll be back in two weeks’ time. Until then, Happy Baking!