Hello and welcome to my blog. This isn’t actually my first blog, in fact all over the internet are little pieces and abandoned websites chronicling two of my main loves: baking and south-east London. Those of you that know me will be well-aware of my obsession with cooking and eating, and the amount of time I spent in an apron, covered in flour and swearing at the oven, or traipsing the streets of SE22 balancing cake tins and tupperware. Those of you that don’t know me have probably ended up here by accident, so welcome! I am not a particularly experienced or brilliant baker, but I make up for it with plenty of enthusiasm.
My aim for this particular blog is to bake my way through Dan Lepard‘s classic cookbook, Short and Sweet, in its entirety. Every single recipe. My reason for this is twofold: Firstly, I always need a project. I’m not sure why, maybe it helps me to organise my thoughts. Also, the more projects I have going on, the more I seem to need. Like a compulsion. I am a project addict. Secondly, I am always striving to improve my own baking technique – and what better way to do this then by using the recipes of bakers you trust? I have a range of ‘go-to’s’ when I need a good recipe – Mary Berry, David Lebovitz, Dorie Greenspan, to name but a few – but somehow Dan’s recipes always draw me in. I was given Short and Sweet for Christmas last year, and the advice within its pages has proven invaluable, and conversations with other bakers on Twitter have shown that I’m not alone in this.
I haven’t even counted how many recipes there are, but there are A LOT. So here goes… Oh, and here’s a little bit about me:
I have been baking since I was about four or five years old – I started off making jam tarts and rock cakes in my grandmother’s kitchen, stood on a chair so that I could reach the counter. Baking is something I have enjoyed throughout my life, always opting to make the dessert part of any meal and often whipping up cakes for birthdays. In the summer of 2011 I graduated from Goldsmiths and found that, with all the extra time I had from no longer writing a dissertation, I could start to take my baking more seriously. I went and spent a small fortune in Lakeland, started a blog and started scouring the internet for more challenging recipes. I found I was never happier than when at the oven, but it was a solitary pursuit and I needed to add a social aspect.
In March 2012, I met Naomi and we created Band of Bakers, our south-east London-based baking club. We began to realise that there was a real love of food and baking in our little corner of south-east London – we have an abundance of food stalls, delis and bakeries, and plenty of people blogging and tweeting about them, however there didn’t seem to be much that brought these people together. Our aim was to create a community group that brought people together through their love of baking, a relaxed space where people could meet, chat, drink and, most importantly, eat! We held a number of events throughout this year and are really proud of the baking community that we’ve created, we have some fantastically talented members who have since become good friends. Some of their blogs and websites can be found on the blogroll. Naomi writes two excellent blogs, The Ginger Gourmand and Eats Dulwich – a must have guide to what’s on in SE22. We recently featured in the Christmas issue of delicious. magazine, where my first published recipe – a chocolate and salted caramel yule log – can be found, and are due to appear on TV in March of next year.
Due to copyright, I will not be reproducing any of the text or images from the book, nor will I be writing up any of Dan’s recipes. For recipes that have been posted online (via guardian.co.uk) I will add a link, for any others you wish to try, you will need to buy or borrow the book!
You can follow me on Twitter, @gemma_gannon