We hope you are having a lovely Spring. It is great to see blue skies, blossom, bees and butterflies in Manchester and beyond.
There is so much news to share!
Read on for all the gossip from our brilliant Bake Off and our AGM, some poetry, lots of photos of our culinary creations, and an interview with the fabulous Adam.
But firstly, we have some exciting upcoming events to share.
We have something a bit different to try – our tapas night, on Wednesday 17th May. This needs to be booked in advance, so please check it out on our website.
We will also be at Pride on the Range on Saturday 27th May – look out for our stall, and do come and say hello. There will be cake!
We would love to see you soon, sharing some delicious food.
Enjoy the newsletter, and keep baking!
What we’ve been up to
We kicked off winter with our Halloween Drinks – always a great night out, with brilliant costumes!
The Great Village Bake Off!
In November, we celebrated Village Bakers’ 10th birthday with our famous Bake Off! We had lovely Howard Middleton (from the Great British Bake Off) back to judge, and the fabulous Misty Chance hosting.
The theme was ’10’, and we had an amazing range of bakes.
But for each category, there could only be one winner. Drumroll, please….
The Savoury Starter For Ten was won by Jensen, with his rainbow vegetable focaccias! We interviewed Jensen in our last newsletter, so do have a read!
Savoury runners up: David, James and Adam’s muffins, and Kevin’s pies.
The Sweet Starter for Ten was won by Adam, with his mini-crumbles, complete with spun sugar and ice cream. Learn more about Adam and his bakes in our interview below!
Sweet runners up: Kevin’s blueberry bites; and Stuart’s black forest cakes.
The Showstopper was won by John Smith, with his very happy bee cake, covered in buttercream! Learn more about John in our interview in the Spring 2022 Newsletter!
Showstopper runners up: Lea’s birthday extravaganza cake, and Rosemary’s Higgs boson cake.
Our fabulous winning bakes from Jensen, Adam and John!
Our Christmas meal at Tariff and Dale was really nice and cosy – we enjoyed up to three courses, pulled crackers, wore our colourful paper hats, and had a lot of laughs.
We held our Annual General Meeting in February. You can download our AGM Report (it is a PowerPoint and is colourful and easy to read) from our Committee Minutes & AGM Reports page.
We welcomed Jonathan Whitfield and Jonnie Balls to the Village Bakers Committee as Committee Officers for 2023-24. The Committee otherwise remains the same: Kevin, Steve, Gavin, Liz (me), Laura, and John M.
We’ve had it all at our Sunday socials: brilliant bread, fantastic flapjack, delectable doughnuts, and so much more. We’ve met a lot of new Bakers – welcome! It has been lovely getting to know you.
Here is a sample of what we have tucked into the last few months:
For this Poetry Corner, I wanted to share a poem of mine that celebrates the quieter moments of life in the city, with plenty of lemon cake, and focaccia, and chocolate.
‘…standing by the wooden platform
jutting into the marina, twilight, geese honking,
smoke curling from canal boats, tearing into
a salty tomato focaccia, by the water, thinking,
this will be a Night, one that studs
my memories like a pearl…’
From ‘A kind of peace’ by Elizabeth Gibson
You can read the poem in full here – it was published as part of the Lancaster LitFest Poetry Mosaic. It was also chosen by poet Clare Shaw as one of the winning poems, so I performed it at a special event in Lancaster. It was so nice to be able to share the things I love about Manchester (and food!). I hope you enjoy it.
Meet the Bakers
Adam Draper joined Village Bakers just a year ago, and has wowed us with his excellent bakes and attention to detail. His intricate work paid off when he was crowned the champion of the Sweet Starter for Ten category in our Great Village Bake Off!
It was lovely chatting to Adam about his first year of Bakers, and the joys of fruit crumble, The Archers, and experimental baking.
VB: How long have you been part of Village Bakers, and what inspired you to join?
Adam: I joined Bakers in February 2022 – so still quite new, but I’ve been made really welcome by everyone.
VB: What is your fondest Village Bakers memory?
Adam: It’s my very first memory of Bakers actually. I arrived outside The Molly House (I’d not been to the bar before) and I saw Lea and her wife Rebecca and they were both carrying big cake boxes. I asked if I was in the right place for Bakers, given what they were carrying. They were both so lovely and welcoming. Joining a group for the first time can be a bit daunting, so it really helped bumping in to them and the friendly welcome they both gave me.
VB: What do you enjoy most about baking?
Adam: The eating! I’m a bit of a baking neophyte, and I find it quite hard with the precision required and time management. It’s good to learn a new skill though and whilst baking isn’t something that comes naturally to me, the other Bakers are really encouraging and it feels like a safe space to experiment.
VB: What is your signature bake?
Adam: Because I’m very new to baking, it’s quite hard to answer that, but I definitely prefer eating sweet than savoury. Maybe a crumble? I can pretend because it has fruit in that it’s healthy.
VB: How did you find baking for (and being a winner in!) our Great Village Bake Off?
Adam: I’m not a competitive person with other people, but I am really self-critical. Winning or not wasn’t a priority to me, but I just wanted to do something that I was proud of and I did achieved that. It felt nice to get the recognition of winning the newbie award for sweet baking. Especially when so many other people had entered. I felt quite bad for the judges eating it all!
VB: What other hobbies and passions do you have?
I have quite severe asthma so I had to shield during Covid, which meant I didn’t see another person for 10 weeks. It really got me in to radio plays for company, so since then I’ve become a bit of an addict of The Archers. I often have it on while I’m cooking and baking. My other hobby is also food-related, I cook quite a lot for friends and family. If you’re coming over, you’ll get a full glass and there’s a good chance I’ll cook too.
VB: What advice would you give to new or nervous bakers?
Adam: Joining any new group can be a bit daunting, but don’t worry about your talent or experience as a baker. Turn up to The Molly House on the second Sunday of the month and you’ll get a lovely, warm welcome (and wear stretchy pants because there’s always lots of cake to eat!)
Some of Adam’s brilliant bakes!