We hope you are well and have had some good times this autumn.
At Village Bakers, we have been enjoying getting back into the swing of things – meeting in person, attending Didsbury Pride, and having our Halloween drinks and Village Bake Off – all while taking precautions and being as safe as we can.
It has been wonderful to have our monthly socials back, to be able to take a break from the world outside and spend a Sunday afternoon in the Molly House, eating, drinking and chatting.
Our December event will be our Bakers Christmas Dinner at Velvet. Our next Molly House social will be in January, and it would be great to see you there. Keep an eye on our Facebook group for event details, and any updates or changes.
We hope you enjoy this jam-packed newsletter, with news of everything we have been up to the last few months. There is also poetry, lots of yummy bakes, and an interview with brilliant baker and pie specialist, Andrew.
We hope you have a good festive season, stay warm, and find comfort in friends and food. See you in 2022. Keep baking!
Our Autumn Events
We brought our tombola to Didsbury Pride in September, and had a lovely day. It was great to catch up with some familiar faces, meet many new people, and give out all our prizes!
Our September and October socials at the Molly House were a great way to catch up, and we had some delicious autumnal bakes. Savoury tarts, jammy biscuits, and cookie pies emerged as key seasonal trends – you saw it here first! Here is a selection of our wonderful bakes.
After having to miss last year, we were very excited for the return of our Halloween drinks. It was a spooktacular success, with some great costumes!
The Bake Off!
We gathered in November to celebrate Village Bakers’ 9th birthday with our Bake Off – this year a quieter, pared-down version, to stay safe. We enjoyed some amazing bakes, and voted for our winner.
Everyone I spoke to was torn as to who to choose – everything was so good! However, there could only be one winner, and it was… Jamie, with his perfect cherry Bakewell tarts! Huge congratulations to him.
This month’s Poetry Corner isn’t baking-related, but with World AIDS Day being this week, I wanted to share a poem I wrote about the Manchester vigil a couple of years ago, and this beautiful film that Unheard Poetry made from it.
Beyond words – Elizabeth Gibson (film by Unheard Poetry)
I attended this year’s vigil on Wednesday night, and it was a respectful and moving event. Many thanks to all the volunteers, and everybody who helped to make it happen.
Meet the Bakers
This newsletter’s Star Baker is Andrew, who has been wowing us for five years and has earned a reputation as a master of pies. It was lovely to chat with him about his Village Bakers story, lockdown baking, the best puff pastry, and his experience being a dinner lady at Manchester Pride!
VB: How long have you been part of Village Bakers, and what inspired you to join?
Andrew: I’ve been going to VB since 2016. My friend Dave joined and invited me along to the Bake Off. It seemed like a really fun atmosphere so I decided to join the group.
VB: What is your fondest Village Bakers memory?
Andrew: Definitely the year we won Best Walking Entry in the Manchester Pride march. We were all dressed as dinner ladies. I was waving to the crowd with a spatula and I had intentionally lumpy tights on. It was a very Victoria Wood day.
VB: What do you enjoy most about baking?
Andrew: I like finding new combinations of flavours or ingredients and trying out new recipes and variations.
VB: What is your signature bake?
Andrew: Pies with a hot water crust. I’ve been making them so long, some people have started calling me the pie man.
VB: What role has baking played in your life during the pandemic? Have your baking habits changed?
Andrew: I definitely took refuge in food during the pandemic and I made a lot of cookies and snacks. I changed from mostly baking main meals, to making a lot of in-between-meals snacks. I even worked out which puff pastry tastes the best (it was the Co-op).
VB: What other hobbies and passions do you have?
Andrew: I used to play rugby, but now my days are filled with a law degree on the Open University.
VB: What advice would you give to new or nervous bakers?
Andrew: Come along and share the bakes, have a glass of something. Everyone is very open and friendly. Try baking something that you enjoy, and everyone else will enjoy it as well. Signature bakes always seem to taste better than showstoppers, and it’s all about the taste at the end of the day.
The dinner ladies, and some of Andrew’s brilliant bakes