Back to ‘normality’

Time seems to have gone very quickly since we left Watergate Bay via St Mawes and a quick stop at The Hidden Hut cafe for lunch.  “The Hidden Hut is a small cafe with a big difference. Found tucked away along the National Trust coastal path near Portscatho and St Mawes on the Roseland Peninsula, Cornwall; its a special spot to enjoy freshly cooked food with friends and family” (www.hiddenhut.co.uk).  I can’t really recall how I found out about The Hidden Hut, but I think I came across their cookbook in one of my magazines and decided to purchase it.  The description of the book is ‘irresistible recipes from Cornwall’s best-kept secret’.  I discovered, when I was down in Cornwall that The Hidden Hut is no longer Cornwall’s best-kept secret following an episode of “Cornwall with Caroline Quentin” which featured the restaurant.  At lunch, which is served between 12 and 3 pm, queues start forming very quickly as customers line up to taste the delicious food on the menu..  The food and The Hidden Hut experience did not disappoint and after a quick paddle board in the nearby bay. we made our way back to Coln St Aldwyns via Heathfiled (to pick up Montague from the dog sitter) and Ivybridge to see two of my four nieces.

The holiday was soon forgotten with another six day week.  l was well until Wednesday when I had a very long day at Lynwood.  With another cafe opening in Burford, the prep list got bigger – two types of breakfast pots, two types of wrap, two types of salad pots plus the regular menu items and cakes.  After 9 to 10 hours in the kitchen and with me just about to go home to let Montague out (the dog sitter was away on holiday), I thought I would take a quick look at the orders for the Fairford and Burford cafes.  Good and bad thing that I did, as both cafes needed banana bread and on closer inspection of the cakes, I realised that we had no banana bread.  So rather than getting to go home for the evening, I went home to let Montague out and have a quick cup of tea and then turned around and went back to Lynwood to bake four banana loaves.  I finally got home after 8 pm, only to spend the rest of the evening getting ready for a 5.30 am start at the Coln Community Stores.  I started to get niggling pain on Wednesday evening and this got increasingly worse over the next couple of days.  Although I managed to work at Coln Community Stores on Thursday and Friday, by Friday, I had to resort to taking Tramadol to curb the pain.  I tried to get out of my shift at Lynwood on Sunday, but the Head Chef did not respond to my email to request a day off (he was on holiday and was not responding to emails), so I went in despite having not felt well for four days.   The less I say about the Sunday, the best.  Let’s just say that on the back of Sunday’s shift,  I decided to take a leave of absence from Lynwood until the production kitchen is up and running.

The following week, I used the time that I would have been at Lynwood to organise a few things for setting up the baking business from home.  I ordered a limited number of business cards and stickers (I didn’t want to get carried away), as well as a large shelving unit for our kitchen to ensure that all my baking paraphernalia is in one place and easily accessible.   I am also waiting for a mock-up of personalised aprons from Banksford.  My business cards, stickers and shelving unit have all arrived and Jo and I spent Tuesday evening setting up the shelves and decanting all my equipment onto them.  Scary how much baking equipment I have when you see it all in one place.  We had to reorganise the kitchen slightly, but I now have a baking area, set up with all my equipment and a work surface free of clutter.  Certainly not the biggest baking area, but a baking area nevertheless.  Next step is to produce flyers to promote my home-baking business and distribute them to relevant places.

I also used my Lynwood-free time to try out a few more bakes from BBC Good Food.  I tried their sticky malt loaf; bitter orange and poppy seed loaf and chocolate and banana loaf.  I have to say that every single one of the bakes was absolutely delicious.  My opinion of the deliciousness of the bakes was endorsed by those who tried them as well.  The greatest endorsement most probably came from one of the village residents (and a friend) who had suggested that he had bought a lemon drizzle cake from the Coln Community Stores, which wasn’t to his liking (apparently ‘too moist’ and no-one likes the ‘m’ word).  I decided to leave him a slice of the bitter orange and poppy seed cake to taste, before popping down to the pub to meet a couple of friends for a meal and a drink or two.  The following morning, the gentleman came into the Coln Community Store and took me aside to tell me that the bitter orange and poppy seed cake was the best cake that he had ever eaten.  I couldn’t say enough about how much he had enjoyed the cake.  It made me feel that maybe, just maybe I do get something right.

I should possibly mention that thanks to five retweets, one from BBC Good Food, the sticky malt loaf received 46 likes on Twitter.  Similarly, a retweet from BBC Good Food, along with 10 other retweets, meant that my chocolate and banana loaf received 58 likes on Twitter.

In addition to trying out three loaf cakes, a weekend visit from my in-laws, which included a picnic at a swing band event in Coln St Aldwyns meant that I needed to do a bit more baking.  Along with a number of salads, I made a very decadent salmon and onion quiche with the flakiest of short-crust pastry using a simple short-crust pastry from BBC Good Food.  The decadence came from a combination of Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese and smoked cheese.  Dessert was Eton Mess in jars, made with homemade mini meringues using a Martha Collinson meringue recipe.   Delicious, but could have been a little colder.  Note to self, if taking dessert to a picnic make sure you have a good cool box.

All baked out, I will stop this blog post now as having written down all my antics, I think I need a lie down.  Actually I jest, I am off to the shops to buy more baking ingredients for my weekend bakes.  But more of these later.

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