This week, I am returning to the pretty village of Pirton, just outside Hitchin to attend the Farmers' market there, which takes place on the last Friday of the month and annoyingly, it's the day before Hitchin Farmers' and Craft market, which happens on Saturday. So, whenever I have a 'doubler' such as this, I always try and make sure I have the opportunity to relax a bit before the chaos and mayhem begins, as once Thursday evening hits, there is not much chance for a break for me until Saturday afternoon, when I sell my last few loaves.
This Thursday (today) has been no exception, Thursdays generally start with the school run at 8am, followed by the first of two stints at the bakery, where all my different doughs are mixed and proving baskets and tins are prepared. Owing to the volume of loaves that I bake for the Pirton & Hitchin combi, I also had the added challenge of trying to squeeze six 25kg sacks of flour into my teeny tiny bakery; Ok, I confess, I did have help this morning from Shirl-girl. (My lovely neighbour). We managed to finish in record time, just shy or 12.30, which means I have an extended 'afternoon off..' This generally consists of a nice lunch, (The Cheese Teller 'best Camembert EVER' and toasted 5-seeded) and a bit of tele, in the hope that I might nod off for a bit. I think I managed a couple of winks, before the fact that I'd not prepared anything for tea tonight started to niggle at me. What's to do?? Not much in the fridge other than a few 'mature' veggies, half a small loaf of white sourdough and absolutely NO desire to go to Asda. Well, it just so happens I am a magician when it comes to conjuring up tasty and balanced meals from a crumb and a lemon. So now, as I type, it's all ready to cook for 5.45, when my boys come home - I just need a wok, some boiling water for pasta et voila! as my littlest man likes to say. Check out my RECIPE OF THE MOMENT! page - just click the highlighted link if you can't see it at the top.
Call me a cynic, but I have a feeling I will not be winning this award; I feel I have confused the organisers, by having my business registered in Bedfordshire and my baking happening merrily in Hertfordshire. This has meant that I have been nominated in both areas, which is not permitted under their rules. Earlier on this year, I was asked to choose one region so I chose Bedfordshire, not wanting to be up against my friends at the Redbournbury Mill in Hertfordshire, whom I hold in great esteem.
But today, I get another communication, congratulating me on my nomination in Hertfordshire; [sigh]. I was also notified of the others taking part and surprised to see that one of them hasn't actually been trading for over a year now and another on the list I don't think even bakes from scratch on their premises, let alone bakes any bread at all!
I don't want to shoot myself in the foot here, but given that I was nominated last year without being notified until it had all been wound up, I am beginning to wonder whether I should just be serenely contented instead of my usual "Whoop Whoop, bring it on!!" self.
|Mr Gunn, Phil and me at BEDSFDA Press Launch|
In spite of all the bureaucratic shenanigans, I am very grateful to the organisers [Bedfordshire] and the fantastic Fratelli's restaurant in Ampthill for hosting a superb press launch event in January for all the nominees and sponsors. I also had the pleasure of meeting Mr Gunns from Gunns bakery and his wife, who were just lovely and Mr Gunns even fetched cup of tea for my mum, who couldn't walk without the aid of a frame back then. The chap in the middle of the picture is Phil Jellis, a farmer of rare breed Dexter beef, who also runs a farm shop in Broom nr Bigglewade. (He also sells really good bread on a Friday afternoon/Saturday morning!).
So if you would like to cast your vote (please vote for me!!) you can do so by visiting www.bedsfda.co.uk and choose best Artisan Bakery under Categories/Voting, or click on the handy link below.