Big up your baking: Oundle Food Festival, Saturday 5th July 2014

I’m really delighted to return to the Oundle Festival this year, and to be able to give you details of how to buy tickets for my workshops

Several times a year I teach intensive hands-on baking classes at Cookery School in London – smallish classes, almost like a personal baking day with me – which are perfect if you want to fast-track your skills and devote a day to learning and baking.

However, I also try to do things which are more inclusive, affordable and easy, aimed at anyone who has even the slightest yearning to bake, without going overboard on techniques and complexity. So when the Oundle Food Festival asked me to teach two workshops this year, it looked like the perfect opportunity to do something!

On Saturday 5th July 2014, I’ll be holding two demonstration classes:

10.30am-12 noon: Bread Made Simple

If you’ve never even made bread then this demonstration class will get you riding on a bread roll. We’ll use a very easy recipe, made with affordable, supermarket ingredients, and produce a light textured, moist and well-flavoured bread with barely any kneading or shaping. You’ll leave thinking “that’s a bread I can make at home”. The class lasts 90 minutes.

2.30pm-4pm: Birthday Cake Bliss

Taking you from getting organised before you start, and what to watch for to ensure your cakes are the best they can be. Including how to make and use different types of icing and buttercream, and the best way to get a simple professional look at home. This class also lasts 90 minutes.

Tickets for each workshop are £15, children under 12 free. Either go to http://www.oundlefoodfestival.co.uk/index.php/events and click the “BOOK NOW” button, or contact the Oundle Festival Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle PE8 4ED (telephone 01832 274734)

The classes will take place at The Small Bread’s Cookery School in the Market Place, Oundle; and I’ll be nearby holding a book signing after each class.

Book now! Sourdough baking classes at Cookery School, London W1

My next “hands-on” sourdough baking classes at Cookery School, Little Portland Street, London W1 will be on

Saturday 30th August

Saturday 4th October and

Saturday 22nd November 2014.

For anyone already planning their Christmas gift list, or if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the sourdough baker in your life, Cookery School can also take your booking and even provide you with a gift certificate for my first class in 2015:

Saturday 24th January 2015 

Classes start at 9.00am sharp, and run till approximately 4.30pm, and cover all the stages from making and keeping a healthy leaven through to the finished loaves coming out of the oven. We’ll look at different aspects of sourdough baking, and how best to use your leaven at home, and work together on how to create that perfect result. There is also time to talk about your own baking with me, either over the traditional Cookery School lunch, or at the end of the day, and to tackle any problems you may be having with your sourdough baking.

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Sourdough at Cookery School

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Here is one of the sourdough loaves from the class at Cookery School, Little Portland St, London W1.

Diary date: 10th World Marmalade Awards, Saturday 28th February & Sunday 1st March 2015

Dalemainpeterspictures-139I was up at Dalemain Mansion in Cumbria again this year, taking part in the 2014 World Marmalade Awards judging and the winners’ presentation. While I was there I held a breadmaking demonstration, with 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales going to support the Awards.

The Awards are one of my favourite events in the year, as they not only encourage people to keep making great marmalade at home, but give small-scale ‘artisan’ producers the chance to shine, and to be judged against the best of their competitors. And behind all that, the event raises a stack of money for two of my favourite charities, Hospice at Home, and Action Medical Research (the Paddington Bear charity).

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Australian-inspired baking: the easiest white loaf




Making bread at home reminds you of those characteristics that make for a great crust and crumb, and I know that with this knowledge you’ll develop even more affection for the great bakeries out there. Here in this video I tell you a little about Australian wheat, the benefits of searching out and using good flour, and allowing time to do the work. Along with that you get to see Michael James at Movida bakery, and The Green Grocer in Fitzroy, one of my favorite Melbourne food shops.