The Wright side of life: Cake baking and cake tasting

Karen with her scarecrow cake
Karen with her scarecrow cake

Karen Wright writes: What is a whirling dervish? I think I know and to call someone one means that the person resembles a spinning top or is just being wild and exhausting to be around. That’s me this month and that’s going to be me next month. My calendar has something on it every day, sometimes more than one thing, mind you I am not complaining, its great to be busy and variety is as they say the spice of life.

Last week started with me trying to get some recipes practised and written up. It does mean that our menu at home is very unpredictable, not everything works first time, so you know what they say about practice, it eventually makes perfect and I am pleased to report that we eventually had some near perfect meals.

Karen's parsnip soup

Karen's parsnip soup

On Friday I was asked by the Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Wakefield Theatre Royal to pop in and judge the Macmillan Bakes. I always take my husband John along with me to events and he loves the tasting ones, he likes cake and is a massive help, it is hard judging bakes, and how can you compare a perfect brownie to a perfect gateau, it’s tough but someone has to do it!

On Saturday we were out for hours. I had been asked to open the Scarecrow Festival in Sandal. The opening ceremony was in St Helen's Church. The heavens opened and the ribbon cutting had to be done inside the church. It didn’t stop people from coming down though and after a nice cuppa and a chat with everyone I eventually cut the ribbon and declared the festival to be open. A first for me being given this honour. I had made a cake to be raffled and even though I say it myself it was a corker. A four-layer, ginger sponge, filled with caramel and covered in swiss meringue buttercream. The decorations were sunflowers, leaves, apples, pears, pumpkins. I made a scarecrow to sit on top amongst the fruits and vegetables. The colours were all autumnal, yellows, golds, greens, as was my outfit, chosen with care and a yellow beret on my head!

Afterwards we went along to the Hepworth Gallery. There was a special wellness event going on with many different things to tempt visitors. In the gardens there was a tent and yoga sessions taking place, I wasn’t suitably attired, but you never know, one of these days I may well give it a go. I did go along to listen to Kevin Trickett MBE give a talk about health and happiness. It was a very enjoyable, thought provoking talk with lots of laughs and even a bit of dancing, you know the drill, stand up, hands up, hands down, wiggle your bum and then freestyle, it was great, huge smiles on everyone’s faces. We talked about living in the moment and living each day like it is your last. Excellent advice. I always think when I see dogs out walking and playing, for them that second is the only thing on their mind, and they run and chase around whatever the weather for the pure unadulterated joy of the moment. It is a dog’s life you know!

On Saturday night I made some soup for our supper. We had eaten out at lunchtime, so we didn’t want a feast, but I didn’t want a sandwich. Soup it was then. It was divine, heavenly, indulgent and delicate. It was made primarily of parsnips. Now I had to make this discreetly as John does not like parsnips, but I wanted to trick him. I made the soup using potato, onion, butter, white wine, apple juice, mustard, spices and cream. I topped it off with crispy smoked lardons to decorate. John wolfed it down with gusto, then I told him it was parsnip... the recipe is on my website as I have had so many requests. Give it a whirl, great starter for Christmas day maybe!

One of the fab things this weekend for me was a few people have contacted me to say they enjoy my column, it really is great to hear that. If anyone does have something in the kitchen department that they would like me to cover, please contact me through my website and I will do my utmost to oblige http://www.karenwrightbakes.co.uk
Well readers, I better go, I am at the Cake and Bake Show in London this weekend and still need to prepare for it, until next week, batten down the hatches, stay safe and live every day like a dog!