I was recently invited to attend a baking event, courtesy of Tesco Real Food, via my esteemed chum, Kavita of Kavey Eats.
The baking event took place alongside Tesco’s Real Food Baking Challenge, so have a go at that!
“Our Real Food Baking Challenge is running for six weeks until 21st October. We’re asking customers to upload their best baking recipe to be entered into a weekly prize draw and a grand prize draw, which includes a luxury stay and cooking class at Eckington Manor, a KitchenAid mixer, kitchen utensils, an Eric Lanlard Home Bake cookbook and Persil washing up liquid products.
For more information on the baking challenge, visit our competition page.”
The venue for our event was a cookery school not far from Old Street, in a fairly unprepossessing road.
The location might not be charming but oh my, when you walk in to the school’s premises…well, to say that I would happily live there is an understatement.
Yes, it is a place of business, but it really feels like someone’s home, and that made the whole experience even nicer, on top of the fact that we were there for an evening of baking good food.
I already knew some of the bloggers present, and it was very nice to meet people that I’d so far only ‘met’ on Twitter. We were made very welcome, with drinks being given out and synchronised WiFi logging on happening all around. Yup! Bloggers.
Once we had all arrived, and hung up our coats (and yes, I was coveting the gorgeous old coat hooks, which I need to go back and photograph as soon as I can) we made our way downstairs, some of us rather more carefully then others, because the stairs are slightly different heights.
The downstairs kitchen is a thing of utter beauty. I would like to pick up the entire decor and move it to my house. The kitchen is the kitchen I can only dream of, with a huge, long, oak and stone kitchen table, handmade by John himself!
This amazing room, combined with the warm welcome that everyone gave us, proved to be the mood of the entire night.
You have no idea how much I want this kitchen.
We divided up into two teams, one at either end of the table, and cooking started in earnest. Well, okay, it started in earnest after I had taken some photos of Mmmmmknives.
First up for our team was pastry cases for Mini Bakewell Tarts, so we set to with rolling pins and floury hands.
(Personally I’d have added some almond extract to the frangipane mix, but then I’m an almond addict.)
Then it was on to Perfect Scones.
While the scones were cooking and the pastry cases cooling we whipped up a Victoria Sponge with raspberry jam and buttercream and then moved back on to the Bakewells. At least I think that was the order, but to be honest, it was loud, fun and happy chaos so I don’t care if I have got the cooking order wrong!
Handy tip: use a spare bit of pastry to press the pastry circles into the tart tins, much easier than using fingers! Thank you John.
The scone mix accidentally got an egg added to it, so we started again on that one but both sets turned out fine. The one without the egg was better though!
You have NO IDEA just how much bowl and spoon licking went on. I made sure to feed the photographer too, because that’s only fair.
At one point the KitchenAid was accidentally set spinning when it was not in the bowl, and Kavey got rather splattered with cake batter. I am sure you will not be surprised to find out that it DID NOT go to waste.
The Green Goddess in all her glory.
The other team was making Black Forest Cupcakes, Fruit Tartlets and Salted Caramel Shortbread.
The smell of the caramel as it cooked was gorgeous, and a bit distracting. They cooked the first batch for too long, and had to start again, but that just meant we all ended up with salted caramel fudge! Win all round really.
The recipe for the shortbread is here:
Just cook the caramel until it is a nice dark colour, then tip it into a tin lined with non-stick cooking sheet and leave it to set.
When everyone had finished cooking, we went back upstairs to gather ourselves together a bit, drink the fabulous coffee made for us by this lovely dynamo (I do hope your ‘back’ is better my lovely)
and natter for a while, possibly dreaming about something savoury to eat.
Back down we went, to be greeted by the fabulous table, laden with our efforts, plus some gorgeous savoury dishes too. Chicken and tarragon rolls, smoked salmon on sourdough, olives…it was all there and of course, we all took photos.
Yes. That is me.
I had an excellent evening, and the only minor gripe is that sometimes, people at these types of event seem to forget that not everyone is at the same level of cooking knowledge, and so talking through a demonstration is both irritating and distracting.
Personally, I have never made scones before, and a Victoria Sponge only once, so I was very interested to hear how to do it using a food processor, and found that I had to strain to hear what was going on because people were having their own conversations. It’s disrespectful to the person doing the demo, plus some of us oldies are also a bit hard of hearing, so pipe down you foodies!
All in all though, it was an excellent event, with very kind and gracious hosts.
To everyone at Food at 52 – you rock.
Many thanks to Vanessa et al from Tesco Real Food for inviting me along, I am very grateful indeed.
Food at 52
96 Central Street
I received a Tesco goodie bag and travel expenses were reimbursed.