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I am having fun with #marchmeetthemaker on instagram.

A great way for you to see what goes on behind the scenes at 'Great Bakes'

and an excellent challenge to encourage me to make more of social media.

Follow the link here and take a look.

https://www.instagram.com/greatbakes_uk

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Things I love this week:

Bourne Valley Inn
St Mary Bourne
Hampshire.
 

We were blessed last weekend with the most glorious weather, so Mr GB and I were feeling rather chuffed that we’d booked a night out in the countryside at BVI. We couldn’t have planned it better if we’d tried. A quick blast down the M3 and we are out of London in a flash enjoying a blissful Bloody Mary and a bowl of tasty soup in glorious sunshine – perfect.

Next stop our hotel for the night, Bourne Valley Inn – we were greeted like old friends by the very hospitable and helpful Joseph who quickly pointed out a beautiful walk so off we went to explore the glorious countryside. I'm a big kid at heart and love the thrill of seeing rabbits in the wild and this walk did not disappoint. We were also treated to pheasants and even a few majestic red kites.  We completed our walk in the idyllic village of St Mary Bourne, a place filled with chocolate box cottages with the lowest hanging thatched roofs I have ever seen. I marveled at the craftsmanship in their creation. 

Back to BVI for drinks and dinner, wow what a dinner. We both opted for the locally shot Venison, apparently paid for by the kitchen in rounds of drinks! There are so many deer running wild in the area they are classed as vermin therefore you are free to shoot them without fear of punishment. We figured this was a great arrangement and as it turned out, a fabulous choice, tender and deeply flavourful with just the right amount of gameness about it.,We selected a rich,smooth bottle of Malbec as the perfect accompaniment and rounded the meal off with a selection of refreshing tangy sorbets.

Well sated and very happy, we retired to our room, no 7. All was clean and comfortable and the bed was truly sumptuous. The room was however rather cold and the heating didn't work but Joseph came quickly to the rescue with a heater which certainly provided the solution. All in all it's a great place to stay and easily escape the city. I would highly recommend BVI for its food and hospitality and look forward to visiting again or going to one of its sister venues, The Epicurean collection.

 

 Sunday morning and our next stop was Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Laverstoke Mill, Whitchurch.

Again blessed by perfect March weather, we enjoyed a fun and informative few hours here. My favourite, the botanicals dry room where we got to smell, touch and in some cases taste the ten botanicals that give Bombay Sapphire gin its distinctive flavour. Who knew how amazing the taste of ground liquorice could be!

We got close up to all the botanicals in their natural state in the truly stunning and magnificent Glasshouses.

Our tour ended in the bar with cocktails made to measure based on our personal preferences and very delicious it was too!

 

Mini GB had a good time too, showing off with the Gin!

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Wednesday and it must be Paris!

What an amazing week I’m having, four fun loving birthday girls on a day trip to Paris, just because…. 

An early start and a grumpy fellow passenger who failed to appreciate our joie de vivre was not the greatest start but, c'est la vie. We spent an indulgent day eating, drinking and soaking up the atmosphere despite the cold. A big thank you to all the Parisians we met. Truthfully I was so surprised to find everyone so welcoming – many of my previous experiences of the French have been a little frosty and distinctly inhospitable. Not a bit of it this time, everyone we encountered was chatty and sociable. Is this a new Paris in the face of  adversity? Who knows, but long may it last.

It was certainly an indulgent way to celebrate our Birthdays, I vote for it to become an annual event, who knows where we might go next year!

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 Mini GB on tour, a rest by the River Seine!

 

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Great Bakes are proud to be sponsoring the Great Britain stand at the Dubai Trade Fair, celebrating all things Great and British

 

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Our stand all set to go!

Lucky visitors to the show will enjoy a lovely Great Bakes treat.

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Great Bakes With Simply

We Love Local: Great Bakes

I was at the wonderful Bellevue Road Fair several weeks ago and chanced upon a stall I couldn’t allow myself to walk past. Naturally it was full of cakes. Truly scrumptious cakes made by Caroline of Great Bakes.  Intrigued – I decided to find out more about Caroline’s artisan baking business… any excuse.

I defy you not to salivate! Enjoy.

Great Bakes Website
Twitter
Facebook

Caroline, what made you decide to start an artisan baking business?
I didn’t set out to start a baking business, it evolved! I have a wonderful working life in the world of cooking and all things foodie. Great Bakes grew from my freelance party planning and catering. I needed something more to plug the odd gaps in my diary. I approached a few of my favourite local cafes with some delicious cake samples and was delighted (and a little surprised!) that they were so well received. Orders picked up very quickly; clearly my cakes were very popular. From there the seed grew, why just supply locally? So now, here I am baking more than catering and my husband is now my business partner.

What would you be doing if you weren’t running Great Bakes?
I have two dream jobs, my first would involve getting up close and personal with the world’s wonderful wildlife, David Attenborough style. My second is to take over from John Torrode or Greg Wallace on MasterChef!!

What do you enjoy most about baking?
Eating the results!

You won a Gold Great Taste Award in 2013 for your Carrot Cake – how did that change things?
Ultimately it was a huge confidence boost. That confidence is really responsible for the growth of the business taking me from supplying local cafes to us launching the website in September 2015 and selling nationwide.

What do you put the enormous enthusiasm for all things ‘baking’ down to in recent years?
The Great British Bake Off has a lot to do with that! Everyone wants to have a go. I also feel that generally there is an increasing interest in the provenance of food and what better way to ensure your ingredients and quality than by cooking it yourself? You can’t beat a home baked treat!

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting a home baking business?
Don’t be scared, go for it. Be organised, creative and enjoy yourself and by the way, register with your local environmental health department – get them to look at your kitchen first, they can be really helpful.

If you are hosting at home, what is your ‘go to’ dessert?
Nigel Slaters wonderful Cherry and Almond Tart served warm with Crème Fraiche.

Tell me about the first thing you ever baked…
Chocolate Crunch – a simple biscuit cake, so not officially baking I guess but I was only 4! My mum tells the story of the mess she had to clean up. Not only did I spread chocolate all over the kitchen but I pretty much covered myself in it too, apparently. I’ve still got the book the recipe came from and the state of the page speaks for itself!

I’m a sucker for an Afternoon Tea – what’s the best you have had?
That’s any easy one. Devon cream tea in the village of Newton Poppleford where they served us with beautiful soft, light freshly baked doughy bread in place of scones, huge amounts of clotted cream and homemade raspberry jam. It was years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday!

What word would you use to sum up Mary Berry? 
Awesome (can I add her job to my list of dream jobs?)!

Is The Great British Bake Off a bit of an event in your house?
Yes! We all love it. I think they are all brilliant, I wish I could bake as well as they do!

I used to ask myself things like ‘what did we do before the internet?’, more recently it’s ‘what on earth did we do before salted caramel!!?’…
What can I say? Salted caramel is in so many of my products. The salt balances the sweetness perfectly. My salted fudge brownie is my best seller and I use salted caramel in our incredible Stickyjack. These days so many sweet things just taste wrong without a little salt. This is certainly one fad that’s here to stay!

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Baking bloggers – who do you rate?
Ruth Clemens ‘The Pink Whisk’ – she has inspired me so many times and is so generous with her ideas and recipes.

What are the 3 biggest baking mistakes?
My biggest mistakes are:
Opening the oven door whilst the cakes are baking
Forgetting to set the timer
Using plain flour when the recipe calls for self-raising!

Do you lick the spoon!?
Do I have to answer that?

What’s next for Great Bakes and have you any exciting new creations in the pipeline?
So many things, first we have just launched a fantastic Ginger Brownie for the festive season and The GB Club, the ultimate gift. Sign up for 3, 6 or 12 months and in your first month you will receive a delicious tin of our signature product, Stickyjack. In each of the following months, you will receive a seasonal refill pack. Join for 12 months you will also receive an extra tin, a baker’s dozen so to speak.
I am always tweaking and developing the recipes and at the moment I am working on something special for Valentine’s Day. I have learnt very quickly that everything takes a little longer than expected so it’s best to be forward thinking.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Only to say to all of your lovely readers… if you are looking for a delicious and affordable gift that is beautifully packaged and perfect for any occasion, take a look at our website – Great Bakes

 

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We have had a crazy couple of weeks. First off we joined up with our friends at
Field and Flower www.fieldandflower.co.uk  and show cased at their Balham 'Meat' up.
What a lot of fabulous customers, we really enjoyed meeting you all.
So much encouragement and kind comments - so happy you enjoyed all our treats.

 

Next came a wonderful day at the Northcote White Christmas Fair.
We tempted everyone with our delicious products and all our gift tins
were fashioning their colourful festive ribbon.
 All tins sent out from now until Christmas will be donning a pretty bow. 
Thank you to all who braved the cold and wind and came to support us .
It is always such fun to meet and chat with so many lovely customers. 

 

We are busy at HQ preparing for an enormous bake off in the week before
Christmas but found some time to take a stroll along the Thames at Barnes.
Another cold afternoon, thank goodness for the hat! 

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There is still plenty  of time to get your orders in for Christmas.
Our last order date to include delivery is 4pm on Monday 21st December. 
If you live close to our HQ in SW London we can deliver up until midday on
24th for orders received by 4pm on 23rd.
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Due to popular demand we have launched our refills, same delicious product just without the tin.

Now, once you have enjoyed your fantastic Great Bakes Brownie or Stickyjack you can order another and save money on the packaging.

Order now from the www.greatbakes.co.uk .

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b2ap3_thumbnail_news1.jpgNorthcote Road Summer Fete 2015

Come and visit us on Sunday 12th July - 11:00am to 5:00pm

Northcote Road, London SW11

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