I’m Claire, originally from Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland beside the Ballinderry River famous for it’s salmon and trout. Close to Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the British Isles. You can find out more about my townland on a dedicated facebook. There are lots of fab pictures of Ardboe, Ballinderry and the surrounding countryside.
Having moved from the beautiful Irish countryside to the beautiful Norfolk countryside, I’ve been a baking fanatic from childhood. Everyone baked when I was little, breads, cakes, scones, everything. When I was young my mum baked the most amazing cakes and pavlovas so I asked her to teach me. I love the countryside – everything it has to offer us!
From about the age of 14 I started working in a local restaurant waitressing, helping out and learning the ropes. I worked my way through college and university while all the time wanting to follow my dream of owing my own establishment.
My two children and my husband have lived in Norfolk for 12 years and loving every minute of it. I love Norwich in particular, it has everything you could ever need but is still homely and friendly. Now that we have two young children things have gotten even more exciting! Plus I seem to have a million more extra things to do.
My dream started to become a reality a few years ago when an opportunity to have a cake stall at the Wayland Farmers Market in Watton, Norfolk every first Saturday of the month came up. What great fun it was, chatting with all the wonderful customers who came to buy local produce and chat. Not only my cakes but Rory’s fresh free range eggs, Nick and Julie’s Aberdeen Angus Beef.
It was even fun standing on cardboard in the winter to stop my feet falling off because of the cold! Such a good laugh and the best year! Here is the video compilation from the market – now I know it’s not all about me! But I’m about 56 secs in (black jumper bright green trousers – looking more like a vegetable myself I think), it’s brief but and I’ve only watched it a dozen times! Do those trousers make my bum look big?!
It was a fantastic time and when the market closed in 2012 due to the recession it was a disappointment to have to give the market up, but other opportunities came up.
I now bake for The Mill Cafe Bar and Restaurant in the beautiful rural village of Yaxham in Norfolk, England. Fresh home made cakes made with the best ingredients. i use organic milk, free range eggs and fair-trade chocolate and sugar.
Hugo and Anna Stevenson have recently purchased The Mill and have transformed it into a local gem. What is great about baking for The Mill is that I get to indulge in my baking every day, coming up with new and exciting cakes and treats for people to try. I am passionate about ensuring everyone who eats one of my cakes think it’s the best they ever tasted and of course comes back for more.
I started the blog as a way to document the knowledge and tips I have picked up over the years. I just want to share the love!
I have seen people get very hung up about scientific baking over the past number of years – you know the thing – it needs to be within 0.000001 of a gram to ensure the cake is not a disaster. I want to reassure people that baking is fun and you don’t need a science degree to be a good home baker, you just need to understand some fundamentals of baking.
Even if a disaster happens you can still turn it around (most of the time!) – like once I added plain flour to my cake batter instead of self raising, but I still turned it into a yummy rum and chocolate tiffin slice by crumbling it up, adding cocoa powder, melted butter, a slosh of rum and some cherries and coconut. Squished it into a dish, chilled, sliced, enjoyed.
Update – Ok I could just about die with embarrassment but I have some photos from my makeover a la the Norwich Evening news – you can see them on theEDP photos page – I did have the best day ever though!
So lets go on a journey through time and cake …
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- Snowy in January (bakewithclaire.wordpress.com)