As usually happens in the run up to Christmas, baking has taken over building work. I don’t mind at all as kitchens are nice and warm and I’ve been having lots of fun too.
This time last week I’d just finished a four day stint at the Taste of London festival with AEG and I loved every minute. With my friend Kathy (pictured above), we ran a whole series of baking workshops for visitors. I met hundreds of people over the four days and my groups made over 600 sausage rolls – perfect weekend really.
I was teaching people my delicious festive sausage roll recipe, available on the BBC Food website here. In addition, I was teaching people how to make my super quick cranberry chutney – the perfect accompaniment to the sausage rolls – and I’ll give you the recipe here:
- 1 small red onion
- A splash of olive oil to fry the onions
- 170g fresh cranberries
- 100g caster sugar
- Zest of half an orange (and all of its juice)
- 2tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Finely dice the red onion and soften over a low heat in a saucepan with a little olive oil until translucent.
- Take 40g of the cranberries cut them in half and set aside.
- Tip the remaining 130g of cranberries into the pan (with the softened onions) over a low heat and add the caster sugar, salt, vinegar, cayenne, the zest of the orange and its juice.
- Stir constantly for 5-10 minutes until the sugar has melted, then turn the heat up (to a medium heat) and continue stirring until the cranberries burst (about another 5-10 minutes).
- Take off the heat and stir in the remaining uncooked cranberries, then decant into jars for dipping.
Taste was a really good opportunity to catch up with some of my mates, like Martha (above) who was judging the World Cheese Awards, my chef mate Kim Somauroo and the awesome guys from Sari Cakes, whose icing skills put mine to shame!
Speaking of icing, I had a typical cake-related-late-night last night making the whopper above – all 10kg of it! It had the Rainbow mascot Olivia on top and if you were following my Instagram story, you’ll have seen how I marked out the templates for the fondant icing. My wife Sarah is a Rainbow Guide leader and this year is the 30th birthday of Rainbows so about 60 of Mill Hill’s Rainbows and Brownies had a big party today to celebrate. This week, Girlguiding also launched their ‘Know Your Place’ campaign (see below) to encourage more people to volunteer, as the demand for Rainbow, Brownie and Guide places can only be met with more people volunteering so if you’re thinking of it, why not sign up here, or with the Scouts here.
I hear the cake went down well with the party attendees – I always enjoy making rainbow cakes as there are plenty of oohs and aahs when it’s cut open. I’ve mentioned on my blog before that I really recommend Wilton gel colours – they really are the best I’ve used. Which reminds me, this time last year I posted my Christmas gift guide for bakers. I think the links are still intact so have a look here for inspiration for the baker in your life. Top of your list of course should be my recipe book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, available from The Book People for a STEAL at only £5.99 for a limited time. I’m doing three demos in the next fortnight of various recipes from my book as it’s packed with Christmas treats and ideas. It’s been lovely to see so many people starting their Christmas cakes from my recipe this week.
I’ve had a wonderful day today having a festive get together with loads of my friends and family – the friends I went away with over the summer, which I blogged about here. We had such a great laugh together and it’s really put me in the mood for the festive season, particularly when my nephew and I (pictured above) turned up in the same Darth Vader Christmas jumpers. I’ve got loads of fun things planned for the end of the year so I’ve resigned myself to building work going on the back burner until January (when no one ever wants to eat cake). So until next week, Happy Baking!