I’ve written before about how I love cooking yet I’m not the best baker – since losing my lovely nanny earlier this year I’ve thrown myself into baking from her recipes and I’ve found a love of baking I never knew I had.
So an invite to the #NEFFChristmas Gingerbread House Bake Off with Currys PC World sounded right up my street – and off I trotted recently to go and see what it was all about.
After a long journey into London(train diversion = not cool) I walked the fifteen minutes to L’atelier des Chefs, a cooking school nestled down a side street next to St Pauls Cathedral.
I always get nervous attending blogging events but it was a lovely atmosphere to walk into; everyone was friendly and the smell of mulled wine and gingerbread was deliciously welcoming.
After a glass of bubbly and some cheese and crackers(the brie was amazing) we were introduced to the NEFF oven of dreams; complete with ‘slide & hide’ door(like on the actual real life bake off) that lets you get up close and personal to your cooking and baking. It also self cleans – amazing.
We were split into three teams; each team was tasked with creating a gingerbread house, some biscuits and canapes. Each work space had a rough guide and templates but the rest was down to us. At the end of the evening our bakes would be judged(eek) and the canapes were to be enjoyed by us all.
Now I’m not an experienced baker in the slightest – I watch Bake Off(miss you Mary) and I dabble but I always struggle to bake anything that doesn’t look like my four year old made it. In recent weeks I’ve made some lovely cakes using my Nan’s ancient mixing bowl and a folder containing 90 years of recipes including wartime recipes and lots of gems that I can’t wait to try.
Mulled wine and bubbles
A few glasses of wine later(oops) we successfully cut out and baked our house before decorating it with icing and sweets. It was harder than it looks to make all the components and to keep it standing, we learnt that gingerbread dough should be kept cold and cut and baked quickly before being removed from the oven while still soft to prevent the edges spreading and a hard but not crisp bake.
I’ve never been very good at icing, I had a go but I wasn’t very good at it. I’m blaming the wine. The gingerbread dough had been pre-made for us; it tasted amazing.
Out of the three houses ours did unfortunately fall over and was labelled a ‘post-brexit crack den‘ by the head chef(awkward); however it was an amazing experience meeting other bloggers, the brands and creating our masterpieces and enjoying ourselves. It was really good fun working as a team and I’ve not laughed as much as I did in a while.
I’ve toyed with the idea of taking cooking lessons for a while and this event not only was good fun, it’s reignited my love of cooking and not only will I be baking my own Gingerbread House this week – I’m determined to return to L’atelier des Chefs next year and take some classes to improve my cooking skills and to learn more about something I love doing.
Since the event I’ve enjoyed baking fruit cake, cupcakes, fudge, mince pies and lots more – I’ve found something I really enjoy and really want to work on improving.
Lastly I couldn’t not share a couple of photos from the evening(image credit to the event photographer) which sum up how much fun we all had…
In the mean time I’ll be saving for the NEFF oven of dreams – thank you so much to NEFF, Currys PC World and L’atelier des Chefs for a truly fabulous festive event, and thank you to my teammates for a baking experience I’ll remember for a long time! (You can also find the official write up here)