We hope you have had a nice Bank Holiday, with plenty of fabulous bakes!
Spring is here, with some beautiful, blossomy days, interspersed with patches of snow, hail and wind. Fortunately, we can gather in The Molly House, keep warm, and catch up over drinks and a spread of sweet and savoury bakes.
Read on for a look at some of our delicious creations, as well as highlights from our Christmas lunch and Annual General Meeting. We also have some poetry, and an interview with the talented John Smith.
All being well, we will continue meeting every second Sunday of the month, and we are hoping to be part of some local Pride events over the summer. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for upcoming event details, and any changes. We hope to see you soon.
We hope you have a nice spring, and keep baking!
What we’ve been up to
Our Christmas lunch
Our Christmas lunch at Velvet was a really nice chance to spend time together before the holidays, and to let someone else do the cooking and baking! It was a fun and festive afternoon.
In February, we had our Annual General Meeting, with the Committee presenting updates on finances, membership, media and events.
You can find the presentation here, under ‘Village Bakers AGM Reports’. We also have a few updates to our Constitution, which you can read here.
The Committee has remained the same (Kevin, Steve, Gavin, Laura, Liz, John), but with slight changes to some of our roles. You can learn more at our Meet the Committee page.
We have been enjoying our monthly socials at The Molly House, and have had a lot of new members trying out the group, which has been fab.
There have been so many brilliant bakes, both sweet and savoury. Here are some of them:
The blondies don’t matter – Elizabeth Gibson
The blondies don’t matter, my Mam says,
when I tell her I don’t think I can cope.
I haven’t mentioned the blondies yet today.
I mixed them last night in a whir of joy,
the great creamy, burnt-butter mix filled
with endless handfuls of plump raspberries.
I think fresh raspberries being crushed
into cake mix may be my favourite smell.
I dropped Jammy Dodgers into the top,
a set of neat cogs never quite touching,
and slipped it into the oven. The wetness
of the fruit made the mix slow to solidify,
so I kept it in, and in the end, it was burnt.
I don’t know if it will get eaten by anyone
but me. The white chocolate and raspberry
tastes amazing, but it looks crumpled
and tired, edges flaking, its shape lost.
Today, I am not sure if I can face the world.
I have a blood test soon and I am scared,
and it is raining, and meeting people again
is still new, and my Mam says, the blondies
don’t matter. Go with or without them,
no-one will mind. I breathe, take the tub
and my umbrella, get there, chat, and rest
on my sofa. I think of those raspberries,
how good they tasted, how I loved them,
and I just keep going, and the rain stops.
Meet the Bakers
John Smith started attending our socials last year, but his baking talents were already known within the Village – from his fabulous Star Trek birthday cake for Misty Chance, to the brilliant bakes he has shared online. It was great to get to know him better, from his love of theatre, quizzing and DIY, to the power of his lemon drizzle cake!
VB: How long have you been part of Village Bakers, and what inspired you to join?
John: I’ve been attending Village Bakers since they resumed in-person meets at The Molly House in August 2021. The village legend that is Misty Chance brought the Village Bakers to my attention and said I should join after she saw my baking photos on social media before the pandemic, so you have to thank (or is that blame…) Misty for me joining you!
VB: What is your fondest Village Bakers memory?
John: Being made to feel so welcome by everyone on my first meet – thank you to all.
VB: What do you enjoy most about baking?
John: For me, baking, after a stressful time at work or a challenging personal time, is a great relaxant and you get something tasty at the end of it to enjoy, to help perk you up. Trying a new bake is great fun – I have a growing pile of cookbooks and will flick through and try something new, to either do as per the book, or adapt it.
Then, if I feel brave and it went well, it will come to Village Bakers, or if I’m less confident at its outcome, it will stay at home and just be eaten by me until I get it right.
VB: What is your signature bake?
John: It will have to be some form of Cake – when looking at photos of my bakes, a theme seems to be cake, cake and more cake! I do enjoy making a Lemon Drizzle cake, and this is often requested by friends and work colleagues (it has even been used as currency to rent a parking space before!). Or, as a proud Yorkshireman, a delicious Yorkshire Brack.
VB: What role has baking played in your life during the pandemic? Have your baking habits changed?
John: The pandemic was a challenge, I am the serial office baker at work, so being suddenly locked down at home on my own, not being able to share my bakes with the rest of the staff, I found I was eating all the cake myself!
I had a re-think on what I was baking, and started looking at some lower calorie options, as well as getting to know a few neighbours via the building’s Facebook page and the building concierge staff by sharing my bakes with them.
It even brought back a naughty childhood game of knock-a-door-run, except these were nice, as you got a bake or sometimes groceries, in particular eggs, which were often in short supply!
VB: What other hobbies and passions do you have?
I love the Theatre, especially Musical Theatre – that was sadly missed during the pandemic. I also enjoy a good pub quiz, my team is a regular at Misty Chance’s Wednesday night Quiz and it’s another excuse to bake, as the team gets a baked snack to hep the brain function, or possibly soak up the drinks, to try and win!
Being a hands on practical person, DIY is something I enjoy – my kitchen has a custom made island in it to ensure plenty of room for baking!
VB: What advice would you give to new or nervous bakers?
Come along and don’t be afraid – I’ve not found anyone that bites… yet! I was worried it would all be Michelin-Star-level bakes, and I would be a disaster and feel out of place with a non-flashy non-GBBO show stopper bake, but its really not like that! Every meet has a variety of bakes, both sweet and savoury options, which is great. Even if you’re not a cake person, you will find items like bread and quiches to enjoy, and they will be most welcome!
Some of John’s fabulous bakes!