The night before: the phone rings: "Hello I'm calling on behalf of Daniel Young"
Me: (interior groan, big sigh, this can only be bad news): "So ...is he cancelling?"
Lady: "No, but Daniel has lost his voice and I'm..." big noise in background from Kitchen Aid mixer beating croissant dough " and I will come with Daniel to ...interpret....what he wants to say"
Me: "a kind of telepathic...um...talk?"
Lady: "Well I sort of know what he wants to say, and, I have a print out".
Me: (interior: hesitating) "okaaay"
Lady: "I don't know anything about food blogging."
Me: finally, "Okaaay." Deep breath. "And you are?...."
Lady: "Oh I'm his wife, didn't I mention that? I'm Mrs Young and Foodish. I'm in publishing though"
Me: (interior...oh they are married. Should be ok then. She must know his every thought.) "Fine, no problem, see you tomorrow"
Daniel Young's talk was channelled through his wife Vivian, Editorial Director of Reaktion Books. Sometimes, Daniel would whisper further points, which had the effect of making everybody lean in and listen hard.
We had a 'business breakfast' of home made croissants, plain and almond, pains chocolat (with dark and white chocolate), pains au raisins and coffee. The delegates wore name badges with their blog or Twitter name on them. Food bloggers, suppliers, Tweeters swam in, through rainy February skies, from all over the country, armed with laptops and cameras.
For these almond croissants, I made them fresh from Michel Roux's Pastry book, but added an almond paste inside and on the top.
Fresh croissant dough
100g of ground almonds
100g of unsalted butter, diced
100g of caster sugar
A few drops of orange blossom water
A few sliced blanched almonds to add on top.
Michel Roux's book suggests a triangle template of 9cm's by 18. This produced mini croissants.
Laura James talked about how to write a recipe, giving a list of jumbled up ingredients and asking people to write out the recipe in an understandable form.
Then lunch: a great opportunity to network and meet the other delegates.
Pictured: Spaghetti Vongole in a bag. Lakeland are now doing this combination parchment/foil which is perfect for cooking things in a bag.
Rhubarb and custard clafoutis in individual enamel dishes
Photographic hottie Paul Winch Furness talking about the technicals.
Fire and Knives editor/broadcaster Tim Hayward in characteristic expansive humour, explaining how he got into writing, his background, his advice on writing. In fact I learnt more about him in an hour than I have in the last two years.
People went home with their heads buzzing and their hands full with a goodie bag.
Rachel's Organics showcased their new yoghurts, among them coconut, honey, and passionfruit.
Douwe Egberts gave vintage blend coffee.
A copy of Fire and Knives magazine, the food quarterly.
Small jars of Marmite!
Next conference May 21st: How to start and run a supper club.
Confirmed speakers: MsMarmitelover
James Ramsden of The Secret Larder
Lynn Hill of My Secret Tearoom
and more conferences to come...