Posted 13th Oct 2014
Pyrex National Baking Week 2014 (from 13th to 19th October) ambassador Cathryn Dresser, and 2012 Great British Bake Off contestant and author of ‘Let’s Bake’, shared some of her top tips for making the most of homemade family time in honour of the week, letting us in on her secret to balancing baking with busy family life
MAKING TIME TO BAKE
'You could choose to spend lots of time in the kitchen, and make a delicious loaf of bread, but life can be busy so you could conjure up the tastiest freshly baked treat like scones or my gorgonzola and red onion chutney scone loaf, in less than half an hour. It doesn’t matter how long you want to spend baking, or how little time you may have – there is the perfect recipe for you. Baking a loaf of bread is a brilliant thing, yes it requires a little more time and patience but it is fun, interactive and the sense of achievement when your loaf is done is immense. We like to bake bread in the morning, perhaps snuggling up with a movie or walking the dogs whilst the dough proves and bakes and fills the house with scrumptious smells.'
BEST TIMES TO BAKE
'There are certain times of the year that are perfect to spend in the kitchen baking and for me there are times that feel traditional and nostalgic too. October is a great time of the year to experiment with seasonal produce and bake away those chilly autumnal evenings. Sunday afternoon baking reminds me of my mum making something tasty for tea to cheer us up that the weekend was over and console us that it was a ‘hair wash and early night’. A rainy day is perfect for baking, not only does the weather lend itself to making something cosy and comforting to enjoy, but it is also the perfect stay-inside activity for the whole family.'
LET EVERYONE GET STUCK IN
'Baking has lots of processes – be it choosing the recipe, buying the ingredients, weighing out the ingredients, mixing, stirring, lining tins, kneading dough, washing up or simply eating – so there is a job to suit everyone. My little boy, who is five years old, is the official ‘egg cracker’ for all the baking I do, but there will be some way to get the whole family involved.'
DON’T BE PUT OFF BY KITCHEN DISASTERS
'We all have baking hiccups and whilst it can be disappointing and disheartening, it really does happens to everyone – you watch ‘Great British Bake Off’ right?! Often a baking flop doesn’t have to be wasted, if your cake hasn’t risen as you’d hoped try making it into a trifle. If your bread hasn’t risen, turn it into breadcrumbs and freeze them or try a bread and butter pudding. OK certain mishap bakes may be destined for the bin, but the next time you make the recipe again you’ll be certain to correct any errors and be successful!'
CREATE YOUR OWN RECIPE BOOK
'We like to gather recipes from magazines, the internet and books. We also like to adapt recipes too. It is great to keep a little file or create your own recipe book, as it is another creative activity perfect for a rainy day. What a wonderful gift to give to someone, or to pass on to a new generation. There is something totally priceless, lovely and evocative about a tatty, well-used and loved recipe passed down through the family that tells a story and shares tastes and experiences.'
'Whatever you bake and whoever it’s for, the most important thing of all is to delight in the process and the end result. The smiles you will generate in yourself and others may surprise you. Don’t let it make you stressed let it be a really entertaining escape from all the pressures and stresses of life. Let the kitchen become like the park or the fairground – make it somewhere you can scoot off to for some proper homemade family time.'
To find out more about Pyrex National Baking Week, visit www.pyrexuk.com/nationalbakingweek
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