Yesterday I cycled off to the Woking Food & Drink Festival with my family. It was a brief but very enjoyable visit. I’d gone last year with a few blogger friends and seen Jo Wheatley from The Great British Bakeoff. This year I’d heard that Frances Quinn was going to be attending but had no idea which day. As luck would have it I picked the right day and after a quick lunch I hastened to the demo tent (no getting distracted like I got at the Hampton Court BBC Good Food Festival)! The programme said Frances was making Marzipan Bee’s but there was more to it than that, a zesty orange cupcake with a mascapone, pistachio nut and berry topping provided the back drop for said bees. As Frances made the orange flavoured marzipan she advised using pasteurized egg white if you were pregnant and that she’d been told she had to do so on GBBO for Mary Berry. Not that it was for that reason, she hastened to add! This became a running joke during the demo between her and the compère!
I loved the little bees Frances made. She simply rolled the orangey marzipan into little balls and then using a fine paint brush painted on the eyes and stripes using melted chocolate and finally inserted toasted almond flakes as wings. Not too labour intensive, even for someone like me me who likes to do things as simply as possible! I also liked the fact that the cupcakes didn’t have heavy buttercream on top as Frances wasn’t keen on this and instead she just used mascapone mixed with some icing sugar. The cupcakes looked stunning as I think you’ll agree.
I hadn’t realised that Frances had come from a background as textile designer and she told us that for every colour palette she had to come up with she would always name the colours after food eg Pistachio for green, mascapone for cream etc. No surprise then that her work colleagues placed application forms for the Great British Bakeoff on her desk and the rest as they say is history! Frances is working on her new bakery book and madly testing recipes she told us. I’d really like to know how she manges to keep so slim – maybe she has some very well fed friends and neighbours?
At the end of the demo a whole crowd of people came up to the front to see the wonderful cupcakes and to meet Frances. There were also lots of young girls (aspiring bakes no doubt) who wanted Frances’ autograph and not having a pen I stepped in a lent her mine! When the queue died down we had a little chat and I told her how brave she was to go on GBBO and how cute her marzipan bees were. OK I mentioned my blog too and she said she’d check it out! I then cheekily asked for a selfie with her in return for lending her the pen, which I’m sure she’d have done anyway as she was so nice. I have to say the label “style over substance” which Paul and Mary gave Frances on GBBO was not fair and I think had swayed my opinion of her, but I really, really wanted to eat one of those cupcakes so she completely won me over with her baking skills (and I adore marzipan)!
So after the cookery demo I had a look around all the stalls which seemed to have grown in number since last year.There was every kind of food and drink and one stall that seems to pop up everywhere is the Churros one, I really have to try these fried sweet treats at some point as they do look very tempting!
There was one stall that stood out in particular to me and that was Jimmy Ginger’s Fine Chilli Products. I tried their Woking Special Hot Sweet Chilli which had a gorgeous kick to it as well at their Magnificent Mango – both products were as if you’d just made them in your own kitchen and totally delicious! I think I must have been speaking to Lara who was really friendly and gave me some advice for nurturing my new chilli plant as she and her husband grow all their own chillies! I’m sure she said they were grown in Chobham so it was nice to see a fab local company at the festival.
So that was my short but sweet visit to the Woking Food & Drink Festival and I’ll leave you with another picture of those ever so cute Marzipan Bee Cupcakes. My next stop will be the Elmbridge Food & Drink Festival at Painshill 27 – 28 September.