Baking, for me, really started in earnest when my children were big enough to hold a wooden spoon. As a busy mum of 5, I’ve always worked full time and a lot of that away from the home when I worked for Mumsnet, so weekends were always very precious and we tended to end up in the kitchen. There’s a lot of love in our kitchen, it is the heart of the home and features in many major memories in our family, from Minnie Mouse/Octonauts/Unicorn birthday cakes through to Valentine’s cookies and baking fresh bread. All of these fill the house with comforting smells, which magically lure stroppy teens from their lairs!
My cooking was tested well whilst at Mumsnet: there’s plenty of youtube evidence of me making many a microwaveable or themed dish to suit the season with lots of fun and laughs along the way. The Mumsnetters certainly taught me a thing or two.
I progressed from cupcakes to bread as I prefer the tactile elements of baking and being engaged more with the ingredients, unconstrained by some of the strict rules that cake recipes can require. I devise a recipe and then I like to feel the dough and judge what it needs to make it perfect before baking. Sometimes you really need to listen to your dough!
Being intolerant to dairy and also a vegetarian has an influence on the food I make but with bread, really good bread, you don’t need substitutes, just flour, water, salt and sometimes yeast, brought together with passion. It’s the simplicity that I love and of course the comforting flavour of a really moreish loaf.
In recent years while working in the ‘Vegan Capital of the World’, Bristol, I became involved with community organisations working to reduce food waste and provide skills and nutritious meals to low income families. I led cooking workshops for parents and children in schools in underprivileged areas of the city and community supper clubs which reignited my passion for baking and cooking and helping people to become happy and confident in the kitchen. There is nothing better than helping people to create and learn, and discover the joy of baking and cooking.
I firmly believe that what we eat impacts our health and well-being and the environment as a whole, we should all be more aware of what we are consuming and the footprint we are leaving behind for future generations. I love the idea of helping people get back to basics and start cooking in a world so full of processed foods – we could all be a little more like Tom and Barbara from The Good Life!
On the home front we have recently finished our house extension and have a brand new member of the family, Snoop, our lovely Cocker Spaniel pup, who joined us in May 2019 and completes our bustling house full of tweens, teens and my lovely partner Jon. I can’t wait to use this lovely new space to host classes and bake up a storm!