Congratulations to Namita Kohli, a member of our Community Kitchen, for winning the first round of the Sainsburys Big Bake Off with this fantastic looking dish. Best of luck with the semi-final Namita!

A busy morning today with 7 families and the volunteer from the Real Bread Campaign. Very grateful to Mari to give up her Saturday morning and show us how to make delicious apple bread. It just goes to show how refined bread making can be. Glad to see so many of our younger members working independently now and congratulations to Hugh, our youngest member, for entering the Junior Bake Off competition. He hasn’t yet been selected of course, but even if he just gets a chance to show them what he can do – it will be a fantastic experience!

The Christening Cake by Alice Bryant – 29th May 2011

For my cousin’s christening I made a two tiered cake, it was concealed in a layer of butter cream and baby pink sugar paste and then decorated with white stars.

The christening was on Sunday morning and I knew that the cake would take a long time to cook and decorate, so on Friday night, after Sticky Mitts, I went home to prepare an 18 egg sponge mixture! Split into 4 cake tins. The mixture took a long time to cook (over 4 hours in total!) and while baking one sponge I mistakably opened the oven too early and it dipped down, however, with the help of a carving knife & a careful hand it became level again! After baking them and cooling them overnight, I began the long process of fitting them together and decorating them.

The first stage was to fill them with a mixture of butter cream and strawberry conserve. Once filled they had to be sandwiched together and covered with more butter cream – giving them a smooth finish to work with. Once the butter cream had hardened, I rolled out the sugar paste to approx 3mm thick and placed it on top of each of the two, two tiered cakes, using my hands to help it take shape and then cake smoothers to give it a professional finish. After both cakes had been covered I cut out about 100 white stars to decorate and placed them on with edible glue. The cake looked nearly complete – just a few finishing touches of placing Dowling rods into the cakes and placing the model and flying stars into position on top. With a finishing touch of ribbon, I placed the cake into the centre of the table and it was complete. The result was amazing – the cake looked and tasted great and was well worth the effort. This cake is not an easy starting point and has many components to it , but it is such an achievement and will stay with me forever.

Today we made another version of a chicken pie using chicken breast, fresh tarragon, shallots and puff pastry. Will, Jenny and Jess made the whole dish with virtually no help which was fantastic. They are also getting really good at clearing away. They wrote up their evaluations for the Jamie Oliver Home Cooking Course.

The youngest member of our group, Hugh, is really getting into the bread making. He has a real feel for it and made a lovely walnut loaf.
We were recently approached by a film company asking if any of our students aged 9-12 years would like to take part in a Junior Bake-Off production. Hugh is going to enter and demonstrate his new found bread skills!

No many photos this week – it was busy and I just forgot!


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