Newsletter – Summer 2022

Hello, Bakers!

We hope that summer has been treating you well, that the extremes of weather we have experienced have been bearable, and that you are having a good Pride season, and eating lots of cake.

Manchester Pride Parade

We will be walking in the Manchester Pride Parade on Saturday 27 August – look out for us in our colourful new t-shirts! We will be debuting our new logo (see left), to celebrate ten years of Village Bakers. We hope you will agree that it is a fab mix of our established identity and a new flavour and sparkle.

A new way to support us

At our Sunday socials, we now have the option to donate via QR code, so if you have no cash on you but want to help support Village Bakers, just scan our code!

Read on for cake…

We hope you enjoy this newsletter, featuring your bakes from our socials and Facebook group, some queer mermaid poetry, and an interview with soufflé star Dwaipee.

As always, keep an eye on our Facebook page for any changes or updates before the next newsletter.

See you in the autumn, and keep baking!

What we’ve been up to

Pride on the Range

We had a lovely time at Pride on the Range in Whalley Range in May. It was great to meet so many people, and to share our bakes through our tombola. Thank you to everyone who visited us!

Socials and brilliant bakes

We have enjoyed socials at The Molly House in April, May, June and July, with a wide range of sweet and savoury bakes. It has been great to welcome new members, and to spend our Sunday afternoons chatting and eating!

From quiches to trifles, scones to macarons, here are some of our many fabulous spring and summer bakes.

Facebook baking!

We’ve also had some fab bakes shared in our Facebook group, with Pride season and the Jubilee providing inspiration, and ginger emerging as a key flavour, as well as lots of forest fruits!

Thank you to all who have shared their creations. Do give our Facebook group a visit – we’d love to see your bakes, and it is a lovely, supportive community.

Poetry Corner

For our summer Poetry Corner, here is my poem ‘Meryn’, about a brilliant queer mermaid ready to save the world, and also eat plenty of cake…

Meryn – Elizabeth Gibson

She came from the sea: big, bulky, square shoulders
pooling sweat and saltwater, ark-like ribcage heaving,
great heart thrumming, vast belly tucked like wine
into a chalice of tail. She wasted no time when she saw
me outside my tiny house: a slight lass, tired and sad.

She soon settled in. “Listen: next to storms and oil spills,
litter dumping, and coral greying, and humans drowning
– believe me, dry land will be easy,” she said, tail wedged
under my kitchen table, my wall dampening, as we ate
cake, and more cake, and drank chocolate with sea salt.

Over the months, her plump tail shifted into plump legs.
She picked out loud t-shirts, scuffed jeans, sturdy boots
to march in. I never questioned that she would sort things,
tell people to treat the earth, and oceans, and humans, right.
Just like I knew she would stay with me, and be my tide.

Our first night together, as I stroked her firm, rich middle,
she said, flushing sea-green: “You know, back in the ocean,
there’s so much to eat.  Never fish – I felt a strange kinship
to them, you know? – but oh, all those clams and oysters,
kelp and laver, barnacles, and so many colourful minerals.”

“And now you like cake, too,” I reminded her, loving her
the way I loved water, needing her ever deeper and harder.  
“Yes,” she admitted. “Cake, and you – you could counter
all of the ocean – just about.” I nuzzled her shell-like ear,
murmured, “Baby, we are going to make this world better.”

Meet the Bakers

Dwaipee enjoying a brunch made by Rosemary!

Since joining the Bakers last year, Dwaipee has wowed us with her savoury bakes and perfect soufflés. It has been lovely to learn more about Dwaipee, her favourite bakes, a quiche adventure, and her many hobbies and passions.

VB: How long have you been part of Village Bakers, and what inspired you to join?

Dwaipee: I first attended a Village Bakers event in October 2021, when the socials were allowed to start up in the Molly House again after the hiatus caused by the lockdown. My then friend, now girlfriend (yay!), Rosemary, has been part of Village Bakers for several years. She told me how much she enjoyed it and invited me to join her, “There are tasty baked goods, lovely people to meet and the bar has a great selection of whisky that we get a discount on too!” – it was an easy sell to be fair!

VB: What is your fondest Village Bakers memory?

Dwaipee: I still can’t get over how delicious James Maynard’s cheese muffins were on my first visit! Unlike Rosemary, I have more of a savoury tooth, so I jumped on the non-sugary offerings straight away! James’ muffins inspired me to try making some for the following social (they got his approval too!). Another highlight was how well my Comté, Leek and Thyme Quiche went down; I almost didn’t make it as I was busy decorating my flat but actually, taking the time out to bake was a welcome break, and seeing that it was so well received made me feel super chuffed!

VB: What do you enjoy most about baking?

Dwaipee: I love the process where sloppy batter magically transforms into delicious fluffy goodness, it’s so exciting! I tend to sit in front of the oven watching the transformation with child-like giddiness!

VB: What is your signature bake?

Dwaipee: I am no baking expert but I seem to be really good at making soufflés that don’t’ sink! I’m particularly proud of my own recipe of dark chocolate and cardamom soufflé, it’s such a winner, even if it isn’t savoury!

VB: What role has baking played in your life during the pandemic? Have your baking habits changed?

Dwaipee: Baking wasn’t really a frequented hobby during the full force of the pandemic but it became more prominent when I started attending Village Bakers; sharing bakes and seeing people enjoy what each other has made is really heartwarming and I love planning what to bake for the monthly socials.

VB: What other hobbies and passions do you have?

Dwaipee: I work as an Occupational Therapist and am incredibly passionate about my work. I’ve actually used baking as therapy with my patients; it lends itself really well to recovery from illness as it can improve sensory and cognitive processes, enable physical rehabilitation simply by negotiating a kitchen and carrying out baking-related physical movement and is extremely helpful with hidden disabilities as well, as baking can uplift mood, boost well-being and give a sense of meaning to someone; baking is an excellent activity to get involved in on so many levels!

I am also a drummer, have spiritual interests, delve into photography, love travel, play badminton, write poetry and wrote a book during the lockdown.

VB: What advice would you give to new or nervous bakers?

Dwaipee: Try and refrain from opening the oven door during baking so the oven temperature doesn’t drop. Don’t be scared to experiment and add your own twist to your bake, it’s all about creativity. And, most importantly, when you bake, bake with love!

Some of Dwaipee’s delicious bakes!