Sunday, 3 July 2011

Baking and the Bromyard Gala

This weekend was the Bromyard Gala - our local country show, and for the second year running I entered some cakes and jam in their Handicrafts and Produce Show.

Also for the second year running I missed the entry deadline, entered late, entered too many classes and left everything rather late in the day. I have decided that this kind of thing is part of my character.

In fact I had attempted to plan things so that this wouldn't happen. The plan was to go shopping for ingredients on the Thursday evening, then take Friday off work for a lovely relaxed day of baking. Additionally my mum had volunteered to make a couple jams for me which she was to drop off on the Friday. Perfect.

I had entered the following classes, along with a couple of jams. An ambitious list but I had my plan and felt certain all would be well.

Things started to go awry on the Thursday evening, I had had such a busy week at Cottontails (end of the sale) that I was terribly behind and still packing parcels into the evening. Never mind, I thought, I'll work late and get everything finished, shop early tomorrow. It will be fine.

I worked until 10 but still had many, many parcels and emails to attend to. And at some point in the evening my mother called to tell me she had had a jam disaster. So no jam. Never mind, I thought, I'll get up early in the morning to finish things off, then I can go shopping, be home and baking by 11. I can make the jam in the evening. It will still be fine.

The next morning I failed to get up early. But was in the office by 9 and working like the fury. I had gravely underestimated the work still left to do and lunchtime came and went. In fact it was well after 2 by the time I left the office - and I still had the post office run to do. I was starting to think things might not be fine.

About an hour to source recipes, plan the shopping list and measure cake tins (none of the right size, obviously) then I hared off into Ledbury. Two trips to the post office, a quick dash to the cook shop and finally I started the grocery shopping. I arrived home just before 5pm, sat on the sofa for 10 minutes with my head in my hands, then girded myself, donned my apron and began.

It was 3am when I finally took the apron off, and the evening had not passed without its challenges - a cremated Dundee Cake prompted a 9pm dash to the Co-op for more ingredients and there was a tearful moment in the small hours when the strawberry jam failed to 'wrinkle' after about 40 minutes of the cold plate / teaspoon of jam nonsense.

But I did it. Okay the strawberry jam was liquid, I gave up entirely on the Granola Bars and there is still a massive charcoal encrusted Dundee Cake sitting in the kitchen, but by 3am I had my the entries complete, put a bemused-looking Humphrey to bed, and fell asleep happy.

So, drum roll please...................

Success! I was absolutely chuffed to bits - and genuinely surprised - to win four prizes. In fact, I came second over all and within a whisker of the challenge cup. Delighted!

ps. I am now trying to decide whether to retire gracefully or go for the cup next year...!


Leaff Design said...

What a weekend Charlotte! You did so well, and I am ever so impressed! I think you should go for the cup if time is kinder to you next year.

Sue said...

Well, knowing will go for the cup.

But be nice to yourself, make the jam ahead of time and give yourself a day off work for the baking.

Well done on all your awards. I bet you slept well the next night!!

Sue xx

d. moll, said...

Congratulations ! thank goodness there was a happy ending to the story. You absolutely MUST go for the cup next year.

Simply H said...

Wow congratulations Charlotte, all your bakes looked delicious. I hope you had a lovely rest afterwards! x

Bumpkin Hill said...

Hi Charlotte, just got back from my trip and yipeeee for your prizes, wow all that effort was worth it! Catherine xx

Annette Tait said...

well done Charlotte! they all look so yummy :)
(and so much behind the scenes work - who knew!!!?)

FairyCastleFarm said...

congratulations!!! and go for the cup next year we say ;D