It’s been a really nice couple of weeks round our way – always the better when I catch up with this lovely lot.
One of the things people often say at food demos and events I go to is “I bet the food is good when all you Bake Off bakers get together”. I really don’t think you’d be surprised to hear that assumption is completely right. Last weekend a load of us went down to Chetna’s gaff in Broadstairs for her belated birthday celebrations. While Chetna’s puds (pictured above) are delicious, as soon as I think about her savoury food my mouth really starts watering. She is a fantastic cook and put on such a feast for us. If you want a glimpse of how good her food is and the chance to replicate it, her second recipe book is available here.
The highlight of the day at Chetna’s was seeing Martha and Michael and finding out the wonderful news that they’d just got engaged. My wife Sarah and I first met Michael about three years ago, when the four of us went to a food festival together and Michael patiently waited while queues of people wanted their pictures taken with Martha. We knew then that he was a very special man, and the perfect complement to Martha, who we all love so much. We’ve been so lucky to spend a fair bit of time with them both as a couple over the years and we are all so delighted that they’re getting married. It’s amazing to think Martha was so young when we first met – the confident, accomplished, inspiring and capable women she’s become has been a pleasure to get to know. And if you need a wedding cake guys, I know a few good bakers! Michael is also running the London Marathon this year so we have high expectations for the cakes and bakes Martha is going to provide us with on the finishing line (hint, hint, Marths!)
This year has been dominated by the London Marathon – training takes over your life and you find yourself turning into a bit of a marathon bore, especially at home with both Sarah and me running it. Last week, Jane Beedle and I went to the launch of this year’s London Marathon theme: The Spirit of London. The short film above reminds you exactly why the London Marathon is the best in the world and made me very proud to be a Londoner too. There’s such an incredible atmosphere at every stage of the course. Please do come down and cheer on all the runners on Sunday 22 April. It’s a fantastic day out. My training is going well with a good 10 miler under my belt this weekend and our Baker’s Dozen whatapp group is very motivating too. I’m so lucky to be running it with such a fun team. Any sponsorship you can offer will make a huge difference to the children and families at Great Ormond Street Hospital and it’s the thought of that that gets me out training in the cold. My fundraising page is here.
I’m really busy at work at the moment and chuffed that after quite a few months of trying, I’ve taken on an apprentice. There are so many interesting jobs in the construction industry and an apprenticeship is a great way to figure out what path to take. After time off to do baking-related work before Christmas, it’s been exciting to make progress on our new kitchen. I reckon we’ve now chosen the units, worktops, tiles, appliances and flooring so I’m looking forward to showcasing the finished result in a few months. It’s a big job though as I’m laying a whole new floor so I’ll be without a working kitchen for up to a month. Baking will have to go on pause and I’ll be experimenting with how much I can do with my pressure cooker on a portable hob. If you have any favourite pressure cooker recipes, by all means ping them my way.
As I’m working on my own home, I’m trying to get out of the house as much as possible so I don’t start climbing the walls. I’m back at Insight School of Art on Tuesday evenings with both of my sisters and my current project is the picture above of my lovely dog Leia. There’s still a way to go on it but it’s just the creative outlet I need, especially as the baking has paused for a while. It’s so nice to be spending time like this with my sisters on something we all enjoy so much. For now, my tired knees need a rest so until next time, Happy Baking!