So I was chatting with the BF (Someone asked why I call him BF. Boyfriend makes me sound about 16. Partner makes me sound well old. And quite frankly I totes love abbreviations) and having a good old moan that I didn’t have a clue what to do for this weeks bake. I needed some inspiration, I knew I wanted to use some gorgeous seasonal produce. The BF lives on the door step of Borough market in London so on Saturday morning we took a stroll down to see what I could use. I always prefer getting my produce from markets, if I’m at home in the Midlands, Bridgenorth in Shropshire has the most wonderful Saturday market full of stalls selling vibrant, fresh and still dirty from the ground veggies. The eggs are always tastier and bigger too than usual supermarket fare. Plus you get the added smugness of knowing your money is supporting someone local than lining the pockets of Tesco.
I have a confession to make. It is pretty bad and I should be thoroughly ashamed of myself. I have found a new love! One that is currently stealing my heart and taking up all my thoughts, all day, every day. And no, the BF shouldn’t fret, my new love is my sewing machine. It has been in my life for a few years now, gathering dust on a shelf, unsure of how to use it. My awesomely skilled crafty friend Laura Cherry had been inspiring me for some time with her beautiful bunting so when a sewing session was suggested to show me how to use my machine, I was super excited. And in those few hours one Saturday afternoon, as I learnt to thread the machine, refill my bobbin and how to stitch straight, I fell head over heels. Since then I have spent many an hour dreaming about what I might create, getting lost in haberdashery departments and raiding my local charity shop for vintage fabrics. So far, I have kept it pretty simple. I’ve made cushion covers using 1970’s bed spreads and replaced the BF’s jean pockets with 80’s curtains. My next project is still dealing with cushions (perfect the simple before moving on) but replacing all the BF’s cushion covers (currently battered and garish Ikea numbers) with John Lewis 1950’s archive print fabric which is just to die for! My new obsession takes time (of which I have little) and sadly, so far I have been taking this time away from cakes and cookies which is why I haven’t been posting much lately but I have noticed how much I have been neglecting my baking and have dedicated myself to coming back with a bang so keep your eyes peeled for some very exciting new cakes coming soon….
I am a sugar queen and I can take or leave savoury food stuffs (Always dessert over starter. Always.). Because I’d rather eat a jam tart over a sausage roll, I tend not to cook. I bake. I really struggle with putting flavours together and I lack the ability to pick up what is missing out of a dish when making a meal. I am the master of bland stir frys and over cooked omelettes. Therefore it was a blessing to spend an hour or two with Tess Ward (www.theyeschef.com). Tess is a talented chef who trained at Le Cordon Bleu after finishing her History degree. She now passes on her wisdom and knowledge through teaching several different cooking programmes and writes for several publications and her own shamazing blog. Tess uses fresh seasonal produce in her cooking and my class with her was no exception. She took inspiration from the food market she had visited that day and on the menu was sweet potato gnocchi with kale and bacon plus a mango, carrot and radish salad. Tess talked me through the process of preparing and cooking the ingredients. She also taught me a great lesson on how to chop and slice properly instead of being perilously close to chopping my finger tips off at any moment! We chatted and drank tea as we prepared dinner. The best bit was rolling the gnocchi which involved getting elbow deep in flour and mashed sweet potato to roll little sausages ready to be chopped up for the pan. I loved this bit as the generous use of flour all over the kitchen table resulted in a mess similar to the icing sugar explosion that appears to happen in my kitchen whilst baking (except in Tess’s kitchen I don’t get told off). We discussed foodie blogs, boyfriends and books with great recommendations from Tess on books and blogs she thought I would enjoy. Before I knew it, it was time to sit down and enjoy all my (ok, ok, it was a joint effort) hard work