Sunday, 3 March 2013

Guess who met the fabulous baker brothers?


The answer to the above question is me, not once but three times in fact!  


All of yesterday afternoon was spent in my kitchen making and baking to enter the Kendal festival of food competitions. After many spillages of food dye, a few minor disaster and lots of taste testing I managed to finish my entries. They had a theme this year from the sponsor which was 'Herdy, the face of the lake district', a really cute cartoon herdwick sheep. They had two categories for this: children's decorated cupcakes and a novelty cake decorated with a herdy theme. I entered for the cupcakes with my Guinness cupcakes but changed the Guinness to a different stout from my town's brewing company which made them taste even nicer than last time. I managed to come first in the cupcake competition  with my knitting themed cakes and a seal of approval from the judges (Channel 4 Fabulous baker Brothers themselves!).  



Here's a picture of the novelty cake winner which I thought was amazing but also very clever.



The other competition I entered was the multi-grain bread competition, I entered pecan and maple syrup bread and managed to come third. I've come to the conclusion that I'm more pleased with this result than the cupcakes because this round had more entries, was more technical, against adults and Tom Herert is a professional baker so I'm guessing knows a whole heap about bread.
We made the bread from one of our many cook books the other week and the flavors go really well together, when my Mum suggested it I was a bit sceptical about it being to sweet but it tastes just great.

Maple and Pecan Bread from 'cakes and bakes from my mother's kitchen' by Linda Collister 

Makes 2 loaves

  • 350 grams of strong wholemeal bread flour
  • 350 grams of strong white bread flour 
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 7 grams of dried yeast
  • 375 ml of warm water
  • 150 grams of maple syrup
  • 200 grams of pecans (we found this too many last time so used 150 grams this time)
  1. Mix the flours salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl and make a well n the centre.
  2. Pour in the warm water and maple syrup and mix until you have a soft, but not sticky, dough.
  3. If the dough is too dry add a little bit of water, if too soft add a teaspoon of flour.
  4. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes elastic before returning to a clean oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Oil two loaf tins, take the dough out and punch the air out of it, divide into two and place into tins. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm again and leave for another hour, or until double in size (this bread is a labour of love!).
  6. Preheat the oven to 200oC/ 400oF (gas mark 6.
  7. Take off the clingfilm and bake for 30-35 minutes, it should make a hollow sound when tapped and be brown on the top.
  8. Leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy within four days.


The rest of the festival was great fun too, there was lots of made in Cumbria produce stands and cooking demonstrations, even a farm animal tent. We met the baker brothers in waterstones before meeting them a second time for their demonstration, which they posted on twitter. I got to hold the dish they prepared in the front which was 'gunpowder lamb with carrot and pepper salad on roti), 'twas very nom. Lastly I met them when they presented the 5 competition winners and got my picture taken with a signed copy of their new book, a lakeland voucher and a herdy apron. 


the farm animal tent
My signed book

I hope you had a good weekend too and I've inspired you to read up on the fabulous baker brothers if you've never heard of them, I can strongly recommend their new book!